Belgium is known for the usual suspects: beer, chocolate, laces, waffles and Manneken Pis. Nowadays the country seems to have a couple of new additions to that list. More precisely; additions coming from the watch world. Belgium is the home of Belgian Watch Club, a group who share the love and passion for watches as much as they do for straps. Well, at least one of them. Michael, the name behind Molequin (one out of a few), is one of the corner stones of BWC. I met him a handful of times in the past, way before I even heard of his strap brand but could not connect the dots, until this year’s Basel World. He sent me a few straps to check out and feature on Watch Strap Review and this is exactly what I’m about to do.
As you can learn from their website, Molequin is the child of 3 very different guys from 3 countries who happen to have the same interest in, at least, one thing; beautiful leather watch straps. Their line up is not extensive nor does it have to be. However they offer straps made from various leathers from ostrich to calf, cordovan, buffalo or alligator. Michael graciously sent me 4 straps, 4 pretty different ones by material. A buffalo in 20mm, an alligator also in 20mm horse leather strap (Cavallo) in 18mm and an 18mm Barenia calf. All of the straps are some shade of brown it just so happens, that I love brown leather straps and I think vintage watches look awesome on them. So let’s look at the straps one by one.
The first strap we are going to take a closer look is the Molequin Buffalo. You can choose between 5 different colors and 2 styles of stitching for the Buffalo strap. I received a 20mm Smoke Grey Buffalo with Classic Stitch. You can order it in 18-19-20mm for a very friendly price of €89. I have to say that this is the cheapest strap in the lot but the quality that Molequin produces is higher than your average strap makers’. The leather is smooth, the stitching is even and the edges are painted. The buffalo leather has a sweet tumble leather pattern and bit of suede-like feel. It’s a very, and I mean very, nice strap in a lovely color. The leather is flexible and comfortable on the wrist but still has a bit of stiffness. Pairs nicely with a vintage chronograph.
Cavallo (Italian for horse) leather is known for its sturdiness. Living up to the expectation, the Molequin Chestnut Cavallo is a perfect everyday strap. It’s not too glamorous looking but gets the job done day in day out. You can choose between 2 colors and 4 different sizes (18, 19, 20 and 22 mm) to pair it up with any watch. Let that be vintage or modern, the strap will most likely fit. One thing I noticed is that the color on the website is a bit richer, more caramel than in reality. Molequin sells this for €105 and again beautifully crafted strap with vintage stitching. The leather has this aged look, a characteristic of horse leather. While the buffalo is about 3.5-4mm thick this one is a bit thinner at 3mm exact. Feels great on the wrist with a dress watch as well as a larger sports model.
Finally we arrived to the leather most straps are made of; calf. The name is Smooth Chocolate Brown and actually it is a well fitting description. The strap has gorgeous deep brown color, very smooth surface and classic stitch. This one has to be the thinnest and smoothest of all 4 straps. I put it on a small chronograph and had to check my wrist a few time to see if the watch was still there. It feels like air on the wrist. The price for the strap is €120, you can buy it in 18-19 or 20mm. Molequin offers 9 different colors for calf and I have to say I loved them all. From Navy Blue to Whiskey Tan and Hunter Green there are a lot of options. The classic stitch makes all the difference though. This is the all-around strap for any watch. Period.
No strap review is complete without exotic leather. In case of Molequin it is alligator. But boy what a strap this one is. I’m a big fan of idea of “less is more” and the Oak Alligator from Molequin is the embodiment of this in the strap world. It looks nothing extra to the naked eye, just patterned leather on your Rolex (or Speedy in my case). But take a closer look and you immediately get what it is. The leather, unlike in the case of many other makes, is not shiny, also the strap is thin (3mm) and the tapering is perfect. The matching brown vintage stitching is almost unrecognizable. Sizes differ from color to color and prices are not cheap at €210. Keep in mind though that this is not your average strap but the one many consider “crème de la crème” in strap making, alligator.
It is worth mentioning that Belgium is not exactly famous for its tanneries and leather products. So Molequin uses leathers from various sources in France and Italy. They works with top quality fabrics, I’m sure you already see this of you got this far in reading. Whatever strap took your liking I invite you to read the little description next to the photos. It tells you where the exact leather was coming from, how many times and in what was it tanned and so on. One more thing: if you are not the standard size when it comes to straps, look no further. Molequin offers a Made To Order service for a number of their straps. The types of straps I listed above are not the only ones they have of course. Pay a visit to their site and check out their stock. I’m sure you’ll find the right one.
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