Watch Strap Review 45 — Time Team Roma Straps
I think I have told this many times, but here it comes again; the beauty of the watch community is that it’s so vast and colorful that even after many years, you’ll still find new and exciting things to discover. Sometimes, thanks to the internet, these things come to you. Most of the time, I’m the one hunting for new brands for our Watch Strap Review series. Other times, luckily, these brands find us and the collaboration forms. That is how today’s review of the fantastic straps by Time Team Roma came into being…
I have been doing this series for over six years now. I have had my fair share of exciting straps, be they exotic leather, limited edition, or future classics. But it’s safe to say that this selection is by far the most versatile I have ever come across. Not only because of its sheer size but also because of the materials, colors, shapes, and designs these Time Team Roma straps bring to the table.
Time Team Roma
Contrary to most of the brands we previously featured, Time Team Roma is not (only) a strap company. For over 20 years, the business’s primary focus has been watch selling under the ownership, and later on supervision, of Alessandro Ciani. His name might sound familiar to vintage watch fans, having been an illustrious watch dealer for many decades now. While he is not actively part of Time Team Roma’s life anymore, three of his friends are still at the helm of the company.
I was in touch with Alberto (one of the three musketeers). He explained that while the company started as a vintage watch shop, eventually straps became part of its offering. This is where we come into the picture. Time Team Roma and Alberto sent us a fascinating bunch of straps to review. Let’ see their intriguing designs made of exotic leathers.
Scratched Leather Bund Strap
Bund straps have always been around but aren’t so popular with consumers these days. However, since the Paul Newman Daytona auction from a few years back, they are slowly becoming trendy again. They do not represent my first pick when it comes to straps, but to each their own, right?
Time Team Roma sent me two bund straps. Let’s start with the subtler version. According to Alberto, this is their “scratched leather “version that looks more vintage than trendy. What I mean is not only the obviously cracked leather with this interesting pattern, but I’m also referring to the way in which the strap is constructed. The keepers are added on top of the base of the strap, which is one piece. Usually, bund straps come in 3 pieces; the two parts of the strap and a plate under the watch. This time it’s a little different.
Time Team Roma uses vintage calf leather for the Scratched Leather strap. We have an effortless execution here that seems to work best with vintage watches. As said above, the base of the strap is cut from one piece with two flaps added (stitched) on top of it to use for the spring bars. While it may well work for a modern watch as well, I immediately threw it on my vintage Angelus as I think they work well together. The strap is thin at only 2.9mm with smooth edges. Since we only have a piece of leather here, there is no need to paint the edges. Prices start at €80 for vintage leather and as such for this strap as well.
Paul Newman Bund Strap
If a simple vintage leather bund does not tickle your fancy, check this one out. I must say I would’ve loved the strap even more without the little steel rivets, but that’s a personal thing. I guess then it would’ve been too similar to its namesake. Time Team Roma’s second strap (and the one I was the most puzzled about), is this €140, black alligator leather Paul Newman strap. This is the classic bund style where you put the strap on the watch and then lace it under (or use it without) the base. It’s a very distinct look, and I’m not sure I’m cool enough to pull it off. But it’s quite the beauty, I must say, and the product quality is immaculate. Beautiful black alligator leather, soft lining, and level stitching.
Technically you get two straps for the price of one. Use it without the base as a regular alligator strap, if you think alligator straps are regular. Or lace it under the base to add a bit of flare to your look. The painted edges are round, the strap is only 2.2mm thick, 6.5 if you use it as a bund. If you have the fitting vintage Daytona, what are you waiting for?
Mississippi Alligator Strap
Staying with exotic leather strap (four out of six are) here something less “loud” than the Paul Newman Bund. This strap is equally sophisticated, though. We are talking about a light yellow/beige color Mississippi Alligator Time Team Roma Strap. Other than the striking choice of material, the strap itself is relatively standard. At 20/16mm, the strap width is my favorite tapering. The thickness is 3.8mm, which might seem thick, but I can assure you this is as soft and flexible as it gets. The same soft lining as we had on the Paul Newman bund makes the Mississippi Alligator strap comfortable on the wrist. The edges are round and painted again, and the beige side stitching is perfect. Not too much, but it still adds vintage character to the strap.
The price is around €100-120 (for an exact quote, you have to get in touch with Time Team Roma), which is fair for a product made from such material. I need to mention that the company has many designs, so if you visit their social media account (Instagram) or their website, don’t worry if you can’t find these exact straps. Just send them a message, and the guys will be happy to work with you.
Lacquered Crocodile Strap
Although this one is just as “loud” as some of the previous straps, it has to be my favorite from the lot. Let me tell you why. Have you ever held a NOS watch from the 1950s or 1960s with its original strap? If so, you might remember how thin yet sturdy those leather straps were. This lacquered, black crocodile leather goodness reminds me of these straps. Yes, it’s lacquered, which might not be the trendiest look these days, some may say. And I hear you, lacquered screams early 1990s. However, I think that this is a bit more modern in terms of look, everything is as tacky as we make them, and, come on, the 90s are back in style. All jokes aside, we have a thin (2mm) crocodile leather strap with soft light lining in 20/16mm size. Simple, elegant, and easily pairable with anything.
Gold Alligator Strap
Don’t worry; we only have two straps left. Kudos, for reading my article this far. Let me award you with the golden surprise. The leather is still exotic (gator) and the design is similar to the Mississippi Alligator strap but the color. Oh, the color, well, that’s something else. Time Team Roma wanted to show me its versatility. With this one, the brand succeeded. For a while, I was not even sure if I had access to a watch that could model this strap in its true glory.
Then I came across the two-tone vintage DJ. There you have it. If Auric Goldfinger preferred straps over bracelets, he’d rock this combo in a heartbeat. As far as the nitty-gritty goes, we have the same everything as with the Mississippi strap; size, edges, thickness, even the price. You never knew you needed a gold alligator strap until you read this article. You are very welcome.
Vintage Leather Strap
For all you nonconformists, please stop reading. For the rest of us, here’s our last strap from Time Team Roma. I hate to repeat myself, but again, the size, thickness even the stitching are the same as the Gold and Mississippi Alligator straps. Although this a vintage calf leather strap — it is less fancy but more versatile. Like every product I received, this Vintage Leather Strap is also hand made in Italy with attention to every detail. And while we’re used to seeing black, dark grey, or brown straps in this style, here we have one in blue. Or a rather grey-ish blue. That one also went on a vintage chronograph, but I feel that it is the perfect match for most modern pieces.
What an eclectic bunch Time Team Roma blessed us with, right? As much as I was afraid at the beginning of this crazy bunch of leather goods, I enjoyed writing this piece quite a lot. The guys from Time Team Roma seem like a great group of individuals who are not afraid to be different from time to time. Yet, they take this very seriously. According to Alberto, “we believe that a strap is not only something that can be changed in a watch but a true element of the watch itself,” and I could not agree more. Their selection is outstanding, so again don’t be afraid to get in touch with them if you can’t find what you are looking for on their website. I will close this unique Watch Strap Review with another quote from Alberto, which should be the aphorism for all the watch business; “we try to sell a unique emotion to our client.”