Watch Strap Review Part 15. – Kami Leather
The last month of the year is going on full swing and we have two more Watch Strap Reviews for you. We are still touring around the world and now arrived to a beautiful Scandinavian country to check out their own strap maker. The country I’m talking about is Norway and the craftsman is Vladimir. He operates by the name of Kami Leather. Vladimir hails from Oslo, capital of Norway and beside straps he also makes accessories like wallets, pen holders and so on. We will look at some of his amazing straps as well as a few other things. So join us on our imaginary trip to the icy north, put on your warmest Helly Hansen parka and enjoy the leather goodness coming your way.
I found Kami Leather on the Internet when searching for a new contestant for our Watch Strap Review feature. His site is not the flashiest but plain, simple and packed with a lot of interesting detail about straps, leathers, strap makers and design in general. He also has a YouTube channel where he shares video tutorials of making straps. I contacted Vladimir and he graciously agreed to supply some straps for this review. I think other than Bulang and G.L.C. Straps this was probably the most versatile collection of goods I received. Unfortunately since Norway is not EU it took a bit longer for the parcel to arrive and I was missing a wallet Kami Leather had prepared for me. I would like to say that I hope that the German customs officer who opened my parcel and took the wallet is enjoying it. Thanks for ruining our show!! Now let’s look at what was left in the box.
Though it’s probably better not to know the type of leather this strap is made of (ostrich leg) it is a truly interesting and high quality piece. The measurements of the strap are 20/20mm but due to the tapered, square tip it wears a bit slimmer. The length is just normal 12,7cm/8,5cm but the strap itself is pretty thin but still stiff. By stiff I mean it has a nice solid feel, not too easy to bend yet sits on your wrist comfortably. I have to say that this strap is very close in looks and quality of those you see in high-end boutiques. Vladimir built his business very consciously from the beginning. He studied techniques, and the works of legendary craftsmen to improve his style. He also learned the French styles of saddle stitching and edge finishing with wax polish as for him those are crucial points in creating a high quality strap. All this can be found in this brown ostrich strap and that makes it stand out from the average for sure. The strap is padded so towards the watch it is about 3mm while on the lower side it’s roughly 2mm. It comes on a stainless steel buckle and one holder, but as most items coming out of the hands of Kami Leather it is completely customizable. Vladimir told me, many of his straps only have one hole to fit the wrist of the customer perfectly. I love this strap and I think the photos will convince you as well.
I know that the renaissance of NATO straps is long gone, regardless of what the watch companies think, and overall it is a hate it or love it situation when it comes to them. I enjoy wearing one every once in a while. Not so much of the military effect, more the look of it on my wrist attracts me to them. When I wear a smaller watch on a leather nato (nylon is not my thing) it looks bigger on my large wrist. So I was happy when I received this 20mm horseback strap from Vladimir. It is nothing special in terms of design but then again what could be so special about a nato, right? The color is just stunning and with time it develops an excellent patina. The effect of the leather when worn and torn is a bit similar of the Colareb straps we reviewed a month ago. The lining is soft; the edges are waxed, just like the ostrich strap, giving a comfortable wear even on a heavier watch. Vladimir started Kami Leather because he could not find the perfect fitting strap to his Panerai, it’s safe to say that he knows large, heavy watches. He pretty much had the same indication as Capt. Miklos Varga when he came up with the idea of his watch brand Jet Pilot; I could not find what I was looking for so I had it made for myself by myself. That’s real dedication if you ask me. The strap is just the usual 3-buckle nato version with brushed metal parts. Simple, contented something you need to spice up your wrist game.
This is the first time we have a strap maker who sends us something for the ladies. As Vladimir’s talent allows him to wonder into the areas not many strap maker dares to go he is capable of coming up with some neat projects. I asked him if he was able to produce a strap for a vintage lady Omega and he said sure. The strap we are talking about is, as you would imagine, really sleek at only 14mm at the lugs and 12mm on the tip. Again, you have a strap that is so perfect that if I were to put it in a bag and give it to any of my friends or colleagues they would not tell this is not one from any big brand. Completely hand made from start to finish the stitching is so even, the waxing is so professionally done it’s really hard to imagine how Kami Leather was able to come up with this; but he did and the result is outstanding.
Now this is something for the true aficionados. Nowadays life is so fast we barely have time to enjoy the little things like the joy a beautiful pen. We have all sorts’ of plastic pens we just toss them when they’re out of ink it’s very rare someone actually cares, much less carries a pen with him at all times. If you are one of the few this is something you’ll enjoy. Crafted from the finest horseback Horween leather I have the prototype (!) of a Mont Blanc penholder in the same color as the nato from above. The quality on this is simply outstanding, hand made from start to finish. I really don’t have to say much about this wonderful living testimony of fine craftsmanship Kami Leather is capable of producing.
What else you need to know?
One of the most important things we have not discussed yet is the pricing. As Vladimir explains to me; “The price range for straps is roughly from 70€ (for Nato style as you get) up to several hundreds of € depending constructional complexity, leather type and eventual additions (jewels, gold, silver)… Being oriented to bespoke and custom designs, prices can vary, but for some “standard” straps like classic for Panerai price lies between 110 – 150€ depending on leather and eventually hand-dying, patinization and finishes.” Not the cheapest strap maker for sure but not astronomically high and don’t forget how these strap are made. Furthermore Kami Leather offers a 5-year worldwide warranty on his creations, something I rarely see in the strap world. He also has special straps that actually have lifetime warranty! During the warranty period he offers free maintenance and repair on the strap and if they become irreparable he simply sends you a new one. What’s this if not one of the sweetest deals around? Kami Leather has a homepage, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Please pay him a visit, like, share and order. Spread the word people and stay tuned for the next episode of Watch Strap Review coming to you before the end of the year.