Watch Strap Review 44 — B & R Bands From Brooklyn
Traveling around the world and exploring new strap makers, at least virtually, was one of the reasons I started Watch Strap Review. We have featured ateliers from about 15-20 countries, and we are not done yet. In our last article, we took a closer look at Zeigr from Germany. So, this month we’re flying over the pond to one of my favorite cities in the world, New York. Well, Brooklyn, to be precise, to check out five excellent straps by B & R Bands.
As soon as you click on this link to visit B & R Bands’ website, you realize that this is a pretty serious operation. To clarify, I mean, as far as the offers are concerned it will be easy for you to find what you want. This brand has everything. Ok, maybe not everything, but the selection offered is vast, to say the least.
B & R Bands
Despite the professional site and the immense stock of straps, B & R Bands is a small, family-run company. It’s not a mom-and-pop establishment. Instead, it is a father-and-son store — namely Barry (the son) and Ron (the father). B & R, get it? They have been a part of the watch industry supplying fans all over the world since 2010. Aside from the store, B & R Bands is very active on social media as well. The company’s IG account is a treat to browse through for fantastic quality images of beautiful watches “wearing” B & R Bands creations.
Furthermore, from the very first message between Barry and me about the article, he was super active, sending me messages, making sure that the straps reach me in perfect condition. This attention to detail is not just a result of my watch journalist privilege. Consequently, that just shows how the brand carries itself. Now let’s have a look at these great straps I received for review.
Tan Pueblo Vintage Heritage
The first leather goods that I threw on my vintage Omega Jumbo was this 18mm vegetable-tanned strap, from the Carlo Badalassi tannery in Italy. Badalassi calls this leather “Pueblo”. Therefore, B & R Bands calls it by the same name. Firstly, it has a smooth touch and a marbleized texture that becomes more prominent with every passing day on the wrist.
Since the strap is part of the brand’s Vintage Heritage line, it should have a rustic look. Aside from the aging, the heat stamp line that runs parallel with the strap’s border also adds to this aged appearance. Furthermore, we have round edges and ecru-colored and waxed thread side stitching by hand, with an embossed logo on the back. B & R Bands offers the Tan Pueblo Vintage Heritage strap in 18, 20, or 22mm with small or medium length (measurements on the site) for the price of $79.99 (ca. €67).
Cognac Classic Vintage
The second strap from B & R Bands is a tad different from the Tan Pueblo. This time we have a strap that, let me quote Barry on this one “…adds pop and pizzazz to any watch”. He is not wrong. The Classic Vintage is as extraordinary as it gets. Hence, I paired it with my vintage GMT. The leather is again from Italy — full-grain with a waxed finish. Since the leather will age, this strap is the perfect choice for a cool vintage piece. Like before, we have side stitches, with black, waxed thread.
The perforated rally-style pattern with a painted black side and minimal tapering looks very smart indeed. I can tell this about every B & R Bands strap; they feel sturdy but not stiff at all. They wear well and feel good on the wrist. You have the same size, length, and price as above.
Le Mans Racing
Ok, this was a volltreffer (bull’ s-eye) as the German’s say. The black Le Mans Racing Strap with orange stitching was made for my Ultraman. Quite literally, mind you. Needless to say, it was no coincidence that B & R Bands sent me this one. The story behind it is even cooler. According to Barry, they managed to reserve the Speedy Tuesday Ultraman back in ’18, and the watch inspired them to design this strap. Italian leather with an even sleeker tapering than before. I must say, this is the tapering I love as it puts the focus on the watch while still complementing it. The perforated holes are smaller, and the orange contour stitching runs around the side of the strap. Currently, B & R Bands offers it in 20mm, but if you don’t fancy the black/orange combo, don’t worry. They have a bunch of other options to choose from, all for $79.99.
Chicago Tan Horween Chromexcel Classic
Another classy piece that needed a beautiful vintage chronograph to model it correctly. The strap is made of a stunning soft pull-up leather. These are usually infused with oils and waxes. When you pull or stretch the material, the deep tone slowly becomes lighter, developing a striking soft patinated texture on the strap. As its name suggests, the leather comes from the world-famous Horween Leather Co. in Chicago. Slightly more expensive than the previous three at $89.99 (€76), this strap has painted edges and light stitching. It is super soft and with the same tapering as the Le Mans Racing. Just an elegant piece for virtually any watch, vintage, or new alike. You cannot go wrong with Horween straps, and this pull-up leather is truly something else. B & R Band offers it in 19 or 20mm in three sizes (S, M, L). Is it worth the extra ten bucks? Absolutely!
Beige Vintage Suede
I love suede straps – and according to Barry, they do too. Moreover, suede adds a certain warmth to a watch. Whether we are talking about a tool watch or a vintage, dressy piece, suede just works with most timepieces. Of course, B & R Bands have quite a few suede straps in its lineup. The last strap we are taking a closer look at is the Beige Vintage Suede made of Italian leather. Soft and easily wearable with black lining with unpainted edges. It looks a bit raw at first glance, but don’t let that fool you.
Suede straps usually don’t have round edges. It’s hard to work with this type of leather. Besides, the black lining adds a great contrast to the beige leather. The cheapest among this selection at $59.99 (€50), you can get in the usual three lug-sizes and S or M length.
Every strap I got from B & R Bands came with a brushed steel buckle. This is part of the package. Meanwhile, spring bars are not. However, if you need some, they can obviously supply you with them (for a small fee). Needless to say, the five straps I reviewed today are just a small slice of B & R Bands’ line up. Aside from the straps, the brand also offers watch rolls, tools, buckles, spring bars, and straps for exceptional timepieces like the Apple Watch, IWC, Bell & Ross, and so on. I’m sure you will find a strap or two for that particular watch of yours. Most importantly, their prices are great, the quality is there and if you have any questions shoot them a mail. If Barry replies half as fast as he did to me, you will get an answer in no time.
Click here to visit the B & R Bands website.