Is there any overview on strap leather types, differences etc.?
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  1. #1
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Question Is there any overview on strap leather types, differences etc.?

    Hello, all y'all. Never really looked into watch straps before, now I'm curious and sort of would want to find out more - I'm obviously seeing many different leather types being sold, at vastly varying prices and finishes...

    But I don't really know what the actual difference would be between, say, calf, ostrich, gator, lizard, and human. I mean, okay, they look different, but isn't that achieved by embossing & colouring anyways? Is there any tangible benefit to shelling out more for the more expensive leather types?

    I was sort of hoping that there would be a sticky post in this section, listing and explaining everything... It seems not. So I must ask, is there anyplace I could check out and read up on?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Is there any overview on strap leather types, differences etc.?

    Well, first off, the looks of the various species is NOT done with embossing. In other words real alligator has that pattern because thats the pattern it has. Same with ostrich, lizard...etc. Yes, dyeing will give it the desired color, but the pattern is already there.

    Embossing is done to replicate the pattern of an exotic on a normally smooth finished hide like cowhide/calfskin, goat, sheep...etc. It doesn't mean its not a good quality hide, but its dishonest if marketed as the real thing.

    Calfskin/cowhide/goat/sheep can also be textured other ways. There are tanning techniques that can impart a different texture without actually embossing. Shrunken grain cowhide is the most common example. Basically, the tannery controls the different chemicals that react with the collagen in the surface of the hide, causing it the shrink at different rates than the deeper layers.

    In the end, buy what looks good to you, from a reputable source, at the price that makes sense to you. Be aware of straps simply marked "genuine leather" when they are supposed to be alligator, croc. ostrich....etc.

    The wikipedia page on leather is actually pretty good

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather
    Last edited by amacman; March 28th, 2014 at 18:41.
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    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Is there any overview on strap leather types, differences etc.?

    Also a number of videos on YouTube on watch straps and how they are made, their materials, etc, that might be of interest to you.
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  5. #4
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Re: Is there any overview on strap leather types, differences etc.?

    Mkay, thanks. I guess I'll have to go look it up.

    About the embossing - aye, I just meant that you can get the look of any kind of leather on any other kind of leather via using all kinds of leathery mumbojumbo, so I was curious about what other reasons are there for taking a, say, genuine croc strap over a cow strap made to carry a croc pattern. Looks can be 'edited', but what about stuff like durability, or water resilience, or comfort/flexibility, or.. idk. You tell me. Is there any real reason to not go for the basic calf/cowhide with whatever pattern looks best?
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    Re: Is there any overview on strap leather types, differences etc.?

    The real gator with quality tanning/construction is fairly obvious, with clearly delineated scales. Croc can come close but is usually more of a wild spiderweb pattern with shallow markings and, typically shiny. There are some decent and inexpensive ($50 ish) gator pattern straps out there, but embossing tends to leave less well defined scales. Almost any leather that is commonly used for straps can be tanned to be the basis for excellent straps. However, if you start with attractive but junky leather, it's just like buying cheap shoes that are good looking and junky.

    If you don't want to learn much more about leather for straps, just limit yourself to decent brands like Hirsch, Hadley, Rios and Dimodell. For $35-$50, they all have some nicely made products.

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