I'm very excited to give a review for Nick at strapLAB. He's also known as "Syms" on this forum if you'd like to contact him via the forum. If he provides me permission to post other contact information...I'll gladly be doing so. This was the first time I have had custom straps made for me. Nick did a fantastic job too! He has excellent customer service and is very quick on correspondence. This is also one of the few reviews I have done, so if you have questions or want certain photos, I'll be glad to try and accomodate .
My goal was to get a proper fitting strap for both my orange dialed Sumo, as well as for my 300m Marine Master (which I'll call the MM for the point of this thread). The rubber that came with the MM just didn't look thick enough for the watch (to me). Also, I have heard many times that the Sumo just doesn't look good on straps because of the gap between the strap and the case. The sumo does have fairly long lugs and the holes for the springbars are out at the end of those gorgeous looking lugs . I've seen pleanty of examples of a large gap on this model...so I put my trust in Nicks abilities and let him work on it. I only asked him to locate the holes in the leather for the springbars just a little further inward if possible to help offset this possible gap.
I wanted to accent the orange in the Sumo, and I didn't want anything to take away from the watch head on the Marine Master. So, I requested orange thread on the Sumo strap, and simple black thread for the MM strap. Nick actually went thru the trouble of ordering the orange thread to use on my straps, and had to hand-wax them as the proper orange wasn't available waxed. Probably a good choice for him and his business...I can see others ordering this same strap setup.
One thing I really dislike about straps (be they rubber or leather) is that the keepers always seem to move around on me. Nick assured me that the reason is the keepers aren't actually tight, and so they "float". He let me know his are made tight on purpose to prevent this. Ah! Someone who understands what I want. Again, I'm telling you Nick has some great customer service.
The straps are amazingly thick, yet pliable and comfortable. I installed the Sumo strap first, and as soon as I put it on, it curved right to my wrist, with the watch sitting and staying right where I wanted it. The leather is so thick that it perfectly matches the downward curve of the lugs from the side. It looks like some custom-molded rubber strap that Seiko would make (from the side) to match the case lines going down the wrist. It blew me away how good this looks on the Sumo.
You can also see that there is NO gap on the Sumo. in fact...the leather is actually so thick it's touching the case just a smidge . UNBELIEVEABLE!!! Let me say this again..."There is no gap on my Sumo with a strapLAB strap!". It's awesome looking. And the keepers are tight enough so they don't move.
The MM strap was similar fare. No gap, great fitting strap, very high quality thick leather, and some serious attention to detail. From the side, it too fits the curve of the lugs beautifully. I couldn't have asked for a better pair of straps.
Everything done by Nick is done by hand, other than the punching of the stitch holes. This means he spends the time to thread it all by hand. The holes punched in the strap are done (AFAIK) by hand as well. These straps are just stunning in their beauty and simplicity.
I don't think it's possible to give enough for his work.
So, here's some "proof" of his exceptional labor:
The candidates...300m MM...
...and the Sumo.
Here's the strap for the MM.
Here's the strap for the Sumo.
Strap installed on the Sumo.
Backed out a little bit for better perspective.
I put the watch on some ruled notebook paper to show no gap between the strap and case. You can see little triangles of the paper to the sides of where the strap actually touches the case (which I don't consider a "gap")...amazing work to get the Sumo to look like this.
Again...very thick leather and no gap on the Sumo...this shot is at the 12 o'clock side of the case...
...and here's the 6 o'clock side.
On the wrist .
Look how well the size/thickness of the strap matches the lug curve and thickness!
I think this really accents the Sumo curves .
Sorry...a bit blurry. Just another wristshot anyways .
The step out from the 20mm lug width to the strap width looks great to me too. It doesn't overpower the curving flowing lines of the case at all.
Big keeper that won't move. And for now I had Nick use a polished "Pre-V" buckle, but I may switch this to a "thumbnail" style buckle later.
And here is the MM with the strap installed.
Again, no gap here either.
12 o'clock side of the case...
...and 6 o'clock side of the case.
MM on my wrist.
This is how that blurry shot from the Sumo should have turned out. The strap fits quite nicely .
Again with the big keeper and buckle. This one is a brushed finish and has a screwbar instead of a springbar.