Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???
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Thread: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

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  1. #1
    Member macchina's Avatar
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    Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    As a Michigan boy, I have always wanted a Shinola Watch and finally was able to purchase a Filson watch made by Shinola. My thinking was I would get the Made-in-Michigan watch from Shinola with some awesome Filson leather for the strap. This thread is not about the whole Shinola only assembling watches from Swiss and Asian parts, I understand that whole story and my own conclusion is Shinola is doing something awesome in my home state! Bottom Line about the watch body: AWESOME AND EXTREMELY HAPPY WITH IT!


    I have worn this watch for a bit more than a week now. It may not be worth the full $700 price tag they ask, but I got it on a decent sale and have fallen in love with it. Of course there are many other options in this price range, most of them Automatics etc... The body is incredibly high quality, the face is very well done, and best of all my wife says she likes it too! This was by far my most expensive watch to date (I have other made in America watches from Marathon but nothing like this Filson/Shinola. I'm mostly a Seiko Automatic and Citizen Quartz guy). The band is very thick leather advertised by Filson as being "saddle-grade, USA-tanned Bridle Leather". The roller buckle is very nice touch and very well machined. I have bought several watches in the past with the intention of throwing the strap away and buying a nicer one right away. I bought this watch over a standard (cheaper) Shinola watch specifically because it comes with a Filson leather strap and I love my other Filson leather products.


    After a week of wear, unfortunately the new-car-smell wore off when I noticed large chunks of the edge dressing wore off the strap. Initially I thought "no problem, I'm OK with a raw leather edge on a large rustic knife like this". Then I looked closer at the watch band and realized it is in fact a 3 piece glued together construction with only the outer layer appearing to be genuine leather. The inner layer is quite clearly bonded leather and the middle layer is GROUND UP FIBER! I have seen this construction of cheap leather imitation on very cheap watches, but even $50 Timex watches come with solid genuine leather. I usually replace most watch straps with a leather band of my choice and rarely spend more than $30 for a high quality leather strap that lasts for years, sometimes I can even find them Made in the USA for that price.


    To say I was bummed would be an understatement! To find a fiber-filled glued construction "leather" strap is bad enough on a $700 watch, but to find it on a FILSON product is just a slap in the face. I contacted their customer service and the woman I've been working with is very nice but insists that this type of leather is in fact "Bridle Leather". I expressed my deep frustration with buying an expensive watch specifically from Filson to get a nice leather strap right off the bat (the straps themselves are $95 separate) and the bummer it was to find out it was in fact not what I would ever consider "Bridle Leather". The best she can do is send me the exact same band and hope it was a fluke that it fell apart after a week. I asked repeatedly for her to send me an actual "Bridle Leather" strap that is solid leather but she said she couldn't multiple times...


    How can Filson advertise this leather as being either "Saddle-Grade" or "Bridle Leather". Both of these terms are almost universally used to in the leather industry to describe full grain leather that has both the Grain and Flesh sides still intact (meaning the leather has not been corrected or artificially trimmed in height). This leather certainly has been trimmed in height and most of the material is actually not even genuine leather! Can you imagine shipping this type of leather to a Saddle maker and seeing their reaction?

    (I am too new to post pictures directly, I will post pictures as soon as I am able to)

    All of this to say: if the replacement strap doesn't work out, I'd like to get a quality leather strap for this watch (20mm). I'd prefer to match the aesthetics of the body and stick with a rather thick black leather strap. I'd prefer one possibly with rivets and to be able to swap in the roller buckle on this current strap.

  2. #2
    Member macchina's Avatar
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    The watch body I like very much! Definitely a keeper and a great daily wear watch:





    This is a picture after 7 days of wear (5 in the office and 2 days of casual wear at my cabin):



    And after 8 days of wear. The "leather" has stretched significantly and the hole I'm using on the strap is already twice the size it started at. The entire edge dressing is loose and the leather surface looks heavily worn and dried out:



    After 9 days of wear I noticed the band is starting to separate where it connects to the watch body. The thread has begun to break here. Notice the tag line "Unfailing Goods" in this picture too:

  3. #3
    Member macchina's Avatar
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    This is about the clearest picture I can manage of the layers that make up the "Bridle Leather". To my eye only the outer (black) layer appears to be genuine leather. The center layer has actual fibers coming off of it and is quite spongy. Clearly this material is too flexible to be able to maintain a bond with the edge dressing.
    G26okie likes this.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    That would indeed be quite the disappointment. Nothing about that strap would make me happy, either.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

    Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    Send it back for a replacement. They will honor the warranty.

  7. #6
    Member Toothbras's Avatar
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    That strap is the physical embodiment of Shinola marketing campaign
    robbery, brandon\, Nokie and 2 others like this.

  8. #7
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    Quote Originally Posted by ninjastyle View Post
    Send it back for a replacement. They will honor the warranty.
    Doesn't this presuppose that there was, in some measure, an error in the construction of this particular strap? If we limit attention to the stitching failure...that could be. The rest of the issues don't suggest that a replacement strap will be any more in line with the OP's expectations. I certainly agree it can't hurt to try to return the strap, as it has 0 value to the OP; I just couldn't get my hopes up that the next one would be any better.

    And he said he likes the watch body. I'd be inclined to find a nice light tan Horween...or maybe the Colareb Amalfi, which is a light latte color:





    or maybe the Martu green waxed denim. The lume stands out a great deal, so it's kinda tricky to figure the color I'd want the strap to play off...dial or lume.
    Karkarov likes this.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

    Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

  9. #8
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    This is outrageous, I am so angry for you! I too thought that Filson could be trusted to provide great quality. What a bitter, bitter disappointment. I hope the replacement strap works out, but if not there are plenty of stellar options from makers here on the forum.
    Last edited by robbery; August 24th, 2016 at 06:35.

  10. #9
    Member macchina's Avatar
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    Thanks for the suggestions gangrel, I will certainly check those out.

    I do have a replacement strap being shipped to me by Filson. They said it's the exact same strap so I don't have much faith it will last any longer. They must be getting slammed with calls on these... I wore it for a week!

    Any suggestions for strap makers to look at for reasonably priced leather straps that use quality leather?
    Last edited by macchina; August 24th, 2016 at 14:33.

  11. #10
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    Re: Filson (Shinola) Watch with "Bridle Leather" Strap: LOVE the watch, but this strap???

    What's your price range?

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