Every March the (watch) world is celebrating in Switzerland. BaselWorld takes place and we cannot be more excited about it. However I also have a duty to all watch strap lovers around the world and no fair can stop me from doing my usual monthly review.
After February’s article on Strapped Watch Co. from Chi-town we boarded the imaginary Fratello Jet (a Gulfstream G650 in case you wonder) to cross the ocean back to good old Europe. Another article, another country; Latvia. The company we are about to view has hands in everything. They make leather straps, duffle bags, suspenders, wallets etc. We are going to focus on the straps of course, of which I received two. So let’s have a look at our watch strap review topic of the month: V.R. Workshop.
One of the best places to find leather goods is Etsy, as many if you might know. It is packed with skilled and talented craftsmen from around the world selling anything and everything you can possible imagine. I love browsing through the various sellers on Etsy and it was one of these late night surfing that I came across the wonderful work of V.R. Workshop. I sent them a message immediately and asked them if we could feature their work in Fratello Watches. They were open about collaboration and the result of that is this article. As said it before they are based in Latvia, this small European country a stone throw away from Finland, and according to them they are „…leather craftsmen who made gorgeous things from leather with a twist (watch straps, wallets, bags and other accessories ) in small homely studio.” Just what we are looking for. Every item they do is 100% hand made of course, using the best leather around, however they also do –made-to-order items as well. Have a look at their Etsy shop and make sure to place an order while you’re there.
Passionate is a term we throw around loosely these days. Anybody who has the money to buy a vintage Rolex (God forbid a Patek) feels he has the right to call himself passionate all of a sudden. It’s the guys like V.R. Workshop amongst others who are the real passionate people though. Who produce every item as best as they can, who are researching, improving skills, buying tools with the money they earn on these wonderful objects so they can come up with stuff people like. This whole process gives them joy while doing it. So every time you read some of those lousy hash tags under this super cool guy who doesn’t even know how to spell Patek Philippe remember guys like V.R. Workshop because they are the real passionate people. Don’t get it twisted.
I received 2 straps from V.R. Workshop a few weeks ago. The first we are about to have a look is a bund-style strap in light brown. I have never had a bund strap so this was a first time for me. For a long time I thought that only old people wear these types of straps. The bund strap for old men in Europe is the equivalent to the Twist-o-flex for the seniors in the US. Boy, was I wrong. These straps are super cool and if you pair them with the right watch they can actually look pretty awesome. Nowadays vintage racing bikes, 70’s horn-rimmed glasses and OG Sneakers are hotter than the sun so it is only obvious that bund straps will make a come back as they look stylish and fit into this group. The one I received is actually different from your everyday black leather bund. It is made of light brown leather but not just any leather. V.R. Workshop uses 60-year old Swedish military heat-protecting leather gloves. The funny stamp on the top of the strap is actually the crest of the Swedish Armed Forces. The measurements of the strap are 14cm and 8,2cm the patch the goes under the watch is 4.8cm wide. The bund is not tapered, it’s 20/20mm. The yellow stitching goes around it and matches the color of the leather perfectly. The tip of the strap is not round or pointy but asymmetrical. The edges are soft but not painted, giving a more rugged look to the bund. If you flip the strap over you see V.R. Workshop’s signature VR stamped into the back. It comes on a 20mm Pam style buckle. Priced at $120 it is not on the cheap side for sure but this is not any ordinary leather either.
Let’s move on to the second strap from V.R. Workshop. This is a normal 20/20mm in fact very similar to the pervious one on terms of design. This is also stitched all the way around using some light beige thread. The material in this case is vintage Swiss ammo bag so the missing stitching on the long end is not a mistake but the part where the original mark from the bag is visible. The measurements are a bit different this time; it is 13cm and 8,5cm. While the bund has 2 unfixed thin holders; this one has one thicker holder. The buckle is again Pam style 20mm brushed steel. Softened but not painted edges and the usual VR at the back stamped into the strap. Nothing out of the ordinary just some great comfortable vintage leather goodness. Both this and the bund are really soft and comfortable to wear. I wore both for a few days and they were really nice indeed. If you want to order this strap again the price would be around the $120 mark.
V.R. Workshop came correct with the above reviewed straps. No, they are not the cheapest nor are they the most intriguing we have ever seen, but they are very well made and extremely comfortable. The leather is superb and packed with tons of history. The military marking being visible all add to the history the leather had before it was converted into a great strap. Now it’s your time to continue this chronicle with a watch equipped with these straps, around your wrist. If you liked what you saw and want to order a strap – or something else for that matter – from V.R. Workshop check out their Etsy shop. Alternatively you can visit their eBay shop, Twitter or Pinterest site. Stay tuned people as we will be back next month and if you can’t wait for our newest contestant head over to my Instagram (@ferenczibazs). I gave you a hint already!