I appreciate a manufacturer that listens and responds to customer feedback to evolve its products. It seems obvious to most that this should be the case. But you may be surprised how many companies mindlessly ignore criticism to focus on churning out the same stock. Thankfully, Artem continually seeks improvement to maintain its customer base and expand its horizon. As with Artem’s Loop-Less sailcloth strap, the Australian outfit applies the lessons on comfort and out-of-the-box wearability to its classic collection. Does it work? Let’s strap in.

The Classic sailcloth collection is where Artem cut its teeth. Before its expansion into NATO straps, hybrid FKM rubber, and colors, the Artem Straps product offering was limited. A few years ago, all that was available was the sailcloth strap with a pin buckle. As with the quote often misattributed to Henry Ford about the Model T, at Artem, “You could have any color, as long as it was black.” There were a few stitching color choices, including white, gray, black, blue, and red, but Artem focused on a black base as the ubiquitous option for most watches. I bought my first Artem sailcloth strap in the summer of 2021 for my Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. This strap was my first of many from Artem, with the Loop-Less becoming my go-to replacement for OEM straps. It’s an excellent time to compare it with the old classic strap, which is now getting a refresher and more color options.

Artem Classic Straps

Artem Classic sailcloth straps

As someone who prefers straps with deployant clasps over pin buckles, break-in time was not too much of a bugbear. Even with the stiffest straps, the deployant clasp holds most of the tension to stretch and mold the strap to your wrist shape/size. With pin-buckle straps, a lot of that wear-in tension puts pressure on your wrist. A common occurrence is that the straps are produced and packaged flat to ship to customers. Therefore, the ergonomic curve is not provided out of the box. It makes sense to send a watch strap this way, ensuring it can eventually shape itself to the wearer’s unique wrist. But flat and stiff pin-buckle watch straps are initially uncomfortable. In 2021, I didn’t note how long it took for my Artem Classic strap to contour. However, I have selected a few comments from our Artem articles as feedback examples.

Artem Classic Straps

Daan testing the Artem strap on this Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy:

“I have the same combo and did find the strap to be a bit stiff right out of the box. However, I tightly wrapped the lug ends around a ballpoint pen for a minute or two and it very quickly lost the rigidity…” — ARTBLUE2004

Ben trying out the first Artem Loop-Less:

“I have the original on my Speedy. I like it, but I have some different takes on some of the statements made in this review. First, I’m not convinced that the break-in period is an hour. Mine took days of on-and-off wearing…” — CORSOKID

Rob looking at the first batches of Classic Artem straps:

“Just got one and was surprised at how stiff and uncomfortable it is. Did you wear it particularly tight to break it in?” — ANPUCAGLAS

Getting comfortable with sailcloth

As you can see, there is a common sentiment around the Artem Classic strap and the initial discomfort. Therefore, Artem took away similar feedback to refresh its Classic collection. The strap is now much more pliable. The padding tapers more dramatically from the lug end and is much thinner where it curves on the wrist. This means this section of the strap is far more flexible than previously. The same goes for the pin-buckle end, which equates to a less rigid strap fresh out of the box. Luckily, this time, I monitored the molding time for the Classic strap. Within 30 minutes, each end started taking the shape of my wrist. And I didn’t feel the pinching that usually accompanies a sailcloth strap. After another 30 minutes, it fully conformed to my wrist and led to no discomfort.

The strap maintains this shape after a few days, and I can wear it comfortably all day. It may just be the newness, but the strap also felt softer to the touch. All these features add to a pliant and supple strap, which are words not often associated with the sailcloth material. Another addition is the range of colors now available in the Classic family. Like the Loop-Less collection, khaki green, gray, and sand beige join the Classic sailcloth straps. Unlike the blue and black variants, these colors only come with matched stitching. What is less obvious is that the 22mm-wide straps are now available in XS and XL lengths for different wrist circumferences. Therefore, the 22mm strap joins the 20mm strap in offering varying lengths.

Artem Classic Straps

Final thoughts

These new Classic sailcloth straps are a nice upgrade to the lineup. If you’ve previously been on the fence about Artem and heard about the break-in time, it’s worth checking these straps out again. Another bonus is that the pricing remains the same as when I got mine in 2021. The Classic sailcloth strap is US$85 in any width and US$98 with the quick-release spring bars (highly recommended). If you need an XS or XL length in either 20mm or 22mm, there is a slight premium of US$11 at US$96. With the quick-release spring bars, that takes you to US$109. You can see the complete catalog and select your sizing preferences via the Artem Straps website here.

We expect to have these new straps in our shop soon as well, besides our current collection of Artem straps (here).

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