Strap Check: The Blue Sailcloth Strap By Artem Was Destined For My Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue
I’m a major fan of blue! I was always proud of my colorful wardrobe until my wife said, “But everything is blue!” That’s also why I got myself the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight in this color. It matches the rest of my wardrobe perfectly. I love wearing this watch on its proprietary bracelet, and the feeling of confidence it inspires in me. Some people complain that they can’t get the right fit, but, for me, the bracelet works very well. Though I’ve tried wearing the watch on other straps, the bracelet is still my favorite by far. When I saw this blue sailcloth strap by Artem, however, I immediately knew it would be a perfect alternative!
We’ve already reviewed and discussed a few of Artem’s straps. So today I’ll take the opportunity to also pay some attention to the hardware the company from Adelaide puts on its straps. And as a bonus, if we all team up, we can even give the folks at Artem a big push towards the next color they should consider! So sit tight, just as you would on a sailboat, and get ready to put this blue sailcloth strap to the test.
Something different than a bracelet or another black strap
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a bracelet guy. Bracelets make me feel more confident, and I also really like putting on a watch with a bracelet. There’s something reassuring about the closed loop around your wrist and the act of closing the clasp. But sometimes you want something different. Maybe because you’re going swimming or because you simply want to play around with the looks of your watch. Well, if you’re looking for an all-around strap, you should certainly consider Artem’s offerings.
If you’re not familiar with Artem’s sailcloth straps, please head over to Rob’s review he did last year on the original black version. Since its introduction, the company from Adelaide, Australia has had some requests from watch enthusiasts for additional colors. Responding to those requests, the brand decided to offer a blue version next. That is not an easy task, as there are many different kinds of blue. In the end, Artem went for a dark navy blue with either contrasting white or matching blue stitching.
(Not) Made for the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue
When these blue straps came in, actually intended for my colleague Ignacio, I immediately told him they were destined to go on my blue Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. The tones of blue are certainly not a perfect match, but I’d say they work very well together. The blue on the strap is a bit darker, but the light reflecting on the strap’s texture makes it look a bit brighter. I almost thought Artem purposely designed this strap for the blue Black Bay Fifty-Eight, but the guys there assured me they just wanted to make a very good-looking blue version of their sailcloth strap. I’ve worn it for a couple of weeks now, and I think they’ve succeeded!
Very close to its inspirator!
The blue Artem has chosen is a bit subdued, which works well with the matte blue on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. It’s certainly not an in-your-face blue, and the white stitching matches well with the white details on the watch. The material is very similar to Blancpain’s sailcloth strap, which came with my secondhand Bathyscaphe. That strap is from 2017, and it already looks quite worn. At this point, I can’t say anything about the build quality on the Artem Straps. But construction-wise, I can’t really see any differences, so I’d expect it to age similarly to the strap from Blancpain.
That Blancpain strap has also become very supple over the years. But Artem’s version is actually not that bad right out of the box. Moreover, it’s also a very moldable strap. Every night, I put the Black Bay Fifty-Eight on this strap back in my watch box, in which it remains strapped to a cushion. By doing that, the strap has actually taken on the cushion’s shape, which is exactly right for my wrist. And even now, having taken the strap off the watch, that shape still remains in the strap itself. That means it will be very comfortable to wear when I decide to put it back on the watch again.
The padding is nice. The buckle, not so much… yet
One thing I don’t really like about the strap on this watch is something I don’t like with any of the straps I put on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight — the rather large gaps that appear between the straight strap ends and the case. It’s something people often mention about NOMOS lugs, but the highly sloped Black Bay lugs cause a similar effect. It makes me notice the height of the watch a lot more than when I wear it on the bracelet, and that’s not something I enjoy. That said, the fact that the Artem Straps are a bit padded helps to take away some of that gap.
Another thing I didn’t enjoy was the buckle Artem uses on the strap. There’s no recess underneath the buckle, so it sticks out a bit on the wrist because the strap has nowhere to go. The buckle on the Blancpain strap has a similar bulky design, but it does have some recess underneath, so it sits nicely on the wrist. I’ve mentioned this to Artem, and the folks there have said it’s something they’re going to improve in the near future. They also sent us one of their leaf-spring-loaded butterfly clasps (inspired by Richard Mille), which wears a lot better on the wrist.
The alternative — a leaf-spring-loaded butterfly
Artem told me that this is quickly becoming its most popular clasp. And the clasp actually reminded me of wearing the Black Bay on its bracelet. It makes a closed loop, and once you set it to your size, you don’t have to adjust it every time you put it on. There’s some extra bulk, because of the folding part, but I didn’t mind that. It sits nice and flush around the wrist and feels very secure. It’s also very easy to open, by just pulling on both ends. I did have a little more trouble with closing it, though. Because of the leaf springs inside, my skin did get caught several times when putting the watch on. But after getting used to it, you should be able to avoid this.
A great strap for summer swimming and childrens’ baths!
Something else I also tried out was getting the strap wet. Though not in an actual swimming pool, but during bathtime with my kids. When water hits the strap, it looks like the fabric repels it rather than soaking it up. After their baths, I would just keep wearing my watch, and by the time we got out of the bathroom, the strap would already be dry again. It almost feels like a rubber/tropic strap in that sense, and to me, that’s a good thing. You don’t want to be walking around with a wet strap for a long time.
Since October, I have also owned a Vanguard rubber “integrated” strap for my Black Bay Fifty-Eight. I thought that was going to be my go-to strap for this summer, but now that I’ve tried the Artem Sailcloth on the butterfly clasp, I think there’s fierce competition in the house! The blue on the strap matches very well with the watch. The material is very comfortable to wear, and I hope that, over time, it will handle water just as well as that rubber Vanguard strap.
What would your pick for the next color be?
I’m already looking forward to the next color Artem will introduce in its line of sailcloth straps. Who else is thinking a desert or sand-colored one would be a good direction to go in next? Let’s hear it in the comments! The people at Artem said they always listen to their customers’ requests, so let’s see if we can persuade them.
Would you like to see more shots of the Black Bay on the Artem Sailcloth? If so, check my Instagram @fliptheparrot or this article on why this Black Bay Fifty-Eight kicked my Black Bay 36 out of the collection.