Watch Strap Review 56 — The Strap Tailor
A favorite pastime of mine is to scroll through the archives of Balázs’s extensive Watch Strap Review series. In most cases, I’m hunting for inspiration to pair an ol’ faithful watch with a fresh strap. However, in this case, my investigation on Watch Strap Review centered around whether Fratello Watches had previously covered acclaimed British strap-maker The Strap Tailor. Surely, the emerging brilliance of this one-man-band(maker) had graced our Sedna-toned pages? Well, yes, but only recently, and not in the scope of a full-blown review of not one but TWO of his straps. So, let’s get to it.
We’ve featured The Strap Tailor on Fratello before via the most recent Studio Underd0g Mint Ch0c Chip watch. The Mint Ch0c Chip came with an appropriately chocolatey goatskin leather strap supplied by none other than the titular The Strap Tailor. David Richards has carved out a niche in the market for highly bespoke strap creations since 2018. Typically, watch collectors and connoisseurs specify their requirements and dimensions to The Strap Tailor, who then expertly crafts a strap with exacting precision. Yet, with Studio Underd0g, David supplies a bulk order for the British-designed microbrand.
The amount is untrodden territory for The Strap Tailor to deliver at this scale. Each strap is handmade, quality tested by the man himself, and immeasurably time-consuming. Providing around 70 straps is neither a fast fulfillment from one strap-maker nor a level of industrialization to bring on additional strap-makers. But such is David’s dedication to supporting British designers and entrepreneurs that it’s a challenge he is willing to endeavor.
A meeting with a Memovox
Before I even met The Strap Tailor, I had become familiar with his face. No, not via the unsocial medium of social media. Instead, founder and strap-maker David Richards graces billboards and posters in and around Central London. If this sounds strange why a humble watch strap specialist is mass-marketing his business amongst posters for West-End musicals, it’s not quite like that. Instead, David is part of the Tide Digital Bank marketing campaign to highlight independent, innovative, and frankly, in David’s case, supremely handsome entrepreneurs. But I finally got the chance to meet David during this summer’s 175th anniversary of the Fears Watch company. This was a fantastic event hosted on the top floors of the London Shard.
Awkward lug spacing limit options from some strap ateliers, but The Strap Tailor caters to most lug widths.
Mingling amongst the crowd at the bar, I got to speak with David. He showed me his Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea European edition with his strap creation perfectly complementing the case and dial. After some time with his JLC, I knew his strap styles would look great with one of my watches. We went back and forth, but showing David the watch I had intended to pair with a strap, the ideas came flooding in. The watch in question is the new Omega Seamaster 300. The new 300 maintains the 21mm lug width of the outgoing model. Awkward lug spacing limits options from some strap ateliers, but The Strap Tailor caters to most lug widths. David picked out two quick-release straps with earthy/aged tones to match the vintage aesthetic.
The Strap Tailor-made service
Both straps are leather that comes pre-aged from the Badalassi Carlo tannery in Italy. The leather comes from the shoulder and is tanned in a wooden drum using oils and animal fats. It is then dyed the distinctive tan/brown color. The result is a semi-distressed look without appearing heavily worn. Instead, it gives the appearance the strap has stood the test of time. While aesthetics are important, it’s all about comfort to back up the incredible designs and grainy textures. The quick-release pins make attaching the strap to the Seamaster 300 case short work. Luckily, the lug holes provide enough distance from the 300’s case-band not to rub the end of the leather strap. Many Rolex sports cases, especially the Explorer, require curved spring bars to avoid wearing away the surface of the strap.
Getting the right size improves the wearing experience, so always measure your wrist before adding the “standard” size to the shopping cart.
The first strap I tried was the Badalassi Wax with padding and full cream stitching. This was the strap I was most drawn to, as the padding was almost a continuation of the 300’s pronounced bezel. Noticing the brushed steel pin buckle landed squarely in the middle of my wrist, it became apparent why David requested my wrist dimensions. Getting the right size improves the wearing experience, so always measure up rather than adding the “standard” size to the cart — everyone’s standard is different! The stitching is magnificent, with contrasting wax edging on the strap sides and the keepers with matching motifs. With a supple leather-lined inside and a grainy texture on the outside, comfort is matched with a rugged appearance.
Twin-stitch or full-stitch boogie
Like the Badalassi Wax with full stitching is the twin-stitch option with no padding. This is the more pared-back variety that bears a strong resemblance to the Omega leather strap option for the Seamaster 300. At first, I didn’t think I’d respond to the strap as much as I had the padded leather. On the wrist, I did miss that curvature that followed the lines of the bezel from the padding. But in return, the strap was even more comfortable, with it hugging the wrist on the first try. Both strap options are way better than the ultra-thick and uncomfortable ones from other manufacturers, whose pairings look “tough” but sacrifice wearability — I’m looking at you, Bremont!
The difference with The Strap Tailor is that you immediately want to put the watch on your wrist when you hold the strap.
Bringing it back to the Mint Ch0c Chip watch from earlier, the difference with The Strap Tailor is that you immediately want to put it on your wrist when you hold the strap. I compared previous Studio Underd0g watches simultaneously, and this was the biggest differentiator between the models. The older watches have fantastic dials, but the stiff straps made me only want to hold in my hand to observe the case and dial. With the Mint Ch0c Chip, it was a knee-jerk reaction to affix the watch to my wrist without the stiff, unmolded feel. No doubt, all straps will mold to wrists over time, but the Strap Tailor’s creations do this right away without feeling thin or flimsy. These are still some sturdy straps that can easily take the girth of a dive watch. But equally, they won’t pinch your wrists at the sides.
Strap season is underway and I am a strong proponent of leather straps on dive watches. As such, I heartily recommend The Strap Tailor. The prices range from £114 to anywhere your heart desires with bespoke customization. The Badalassi Wax with twin-stitch is £126, whereas the tan/brown with full cream stitching is £133. Both straps feel their value, and if you are lucky, one of the straps in clearance could match your style and dimensions. Check out The Strap Tailor site here for full details and how to get in contact for bespoke options.
Happy strap hunting season!