Watch Strap Review 58 — North Street Straps
Watch Strap Review is back after taking some much-deserved time off in February. Ben penned the last two articles, but I had to take the wheel back for this one. Finally, the world is opening again, which means we are back on the road. That, however, does not mean that you will be without your monthly dose of strap reviews. On the contrary, we hope to bring you more from ateliers and events like Watches and Wonders. Today we have a traditional company from Greenwich, Connecticut. North Street Straps sent me four beautiful straps that I’ll take a closer look at today.
Four straps, all individually packed with a friendly personal note for me; this was the content of the parcel that landed on my desk only a few weeks after the initial contact. And I was excited to see what the box labeled “NORTH St.” contained!
North Street Straps
We are not dealing with a one-man show here. North Street Straps is an established company hailing from Connecticut, US. All of its straps are handmade in America by a team of six artisans. As you will see by the selection the brand sent us, North Street Straps offers a large variety of leathers to choose from. The folks there select and buy from the best tanneries in France, Italy, and Germany. The method that North Street’s artisans use to turn these fabrics into leather goods is meticulous. Aside from the NSW Collection, which we will look at today, North Street Straps also offers a large number of straps for smartwatches. Although, if you are shopping for a rubber strap, the brand stocks those and nylon NATO straps too.
First, we’ll check out this beautiful whiskey-brown strap called the Milbrook. What I love about North Street Straps’ approach is how the brand integrates its hometown into the business. The name of every NSW strap I’ll review comes from a place around Greenwich, which is such a lovely touch. “Milbrook is a pastoral community in Greenwich,” as you can find out on the North Street Straps site. I invite you to read each product description. Not only will you learn about the origin of the name, but you’ll also get some tips about how to style and wear your strap.
The Milbrook is a clean and elegant mid-brown strap, with a classic length of 115/75mm. My example is 18mm wide, which tapers perfectly to 16mm at the clasp. In addition to this size, you can get it in 20mm or 21mm with polished or brushed buckles. Mine has the latter, and I dig this low-key look as opposed to the shininess of a polished buckle. The thickness is less than 3mm, the leather is soft, and the strap does not need time to break in. For quality purposes, the edges feature color-matched paint. The lining is comfortable against the wrist too. I paired it with my vintage bumper Seamaster, and it was a great fit. Thanks to the quick-release spring bars (these have grown on me more and more), you don’t need a tool to swap between straps anymore. I’m eager to learn about North Street (and Greenwich), so let’s check out the next strap.
“Valleywood Road is known for ancient trees…” as the description says. So it is no surprise that the next strap we are dealing with has a beautiful deep green tone. The leather this time is not just any old hide; this is the world-famous Epsom grain. You might see this on Hermés bags, for example. As with the Millbrook, the Valleywood is entirely handmade, from the cutting of the leather to the gluing and stitching. The length measurements are the same as above, but I received the 20mm-wide version this time. I debated between pairing it with this Hamilton or my Rolex GMT, but I went with the former (you’ll soon see why). The Epsom leather has an exceptional shine that looks dark green, almost black from one angle, but lighter, oily green from another. As such, it is more of a classy option, but as you can see, it works well with sports watches too. It came with a polished buckle that fits the style well.
“In 1687… Greenwich formalized its first subdivision and the district of Stanwich was born.” Aside from the Milbrook, this is perhaps the most uncomplicated, cleanest strap in the lot. The Stanwich, again, has the exact length of the others. It also came in a 20mm width, but you can get one in 18mm or 21mm as well. The deep navy blue almost looks black in most light, and as such, it is perfect for most watches with either dark or light dials. However, I chose to pair it with my Rolex GMT, and I think the combination looks stunning. Once again, the brushed buckle on it adds to the low-key look and feel of the strap. Perhaps the Speedy Tuesday 1 with its brushed look would’ve been a better option, but I love it on the GMT too. The Stanwich from North Street Straps is one of those must-haves for a strap aficionado.
Lastly, we arrive at the final strap of the lot, The Grahampton. “Grahampton Lane is the pastoral road that connects the thoroughfares North Street and Lake Avenue.” Many of the houses there have gray slate roofs, which serve as inspiration for the color of the strap. Nubuck is a charming, soft material and one of my personal favorites. Although it is not the easiest to clean, with time, nubuck leather develops unmatched character, and so does your watch while on a strap of this material. I picked my vintage King Seiko to pair with The Grahampton, and boy, was that a great combo? I don’t need to tell you the sizes or length. You know those already. However, I want to say that you should not be afraid of color and material like this dove-gray nubuck. It might not be the first choice for many, but it can look like a million bucks with the right watch.
What’s left to say?
We have not talked about one of the most critical factors for buying a new strap — the price. As you can imagine, the North Street Straps NSW Collection is the pinnacle of the brand’s strap repertoire, and as such, the price reflects that. Every strap that we reviewed carries a price of $138 USD, including a premium steel buckle (polished or brushed) and quick-release spring bars. I think the price is more than fair for what you are getting here. But if you are looking for something cheaper, take a look at North Street’s Ready-Made options. You’re sure to find a strap or two that will freshen up your look and get your watch ready for T-shirt weather.
Make sure you check out the North Street Straps website for more info.