Watch Strap Review 67 — MSBespoke From Malaysia
I have quite the backlog of artisans for Watch Strap Review, but don’t worry, I will get to everyone in due time. The next in line — and a brand whose products I’ve wanted to see for a while now — is today’s atelier, MSBespoke from Malaysia. The company’s presence on social media is small, but how it showcases its creations is outstanding. So it was no brainier for me to check MSBespoke out. Luckily, Syafiq, the man behind the brand, was happy to work with me.
He sent me three straps, three very different models. They demonstrate the versatility and attention to detail that MSBespoke has. We will dive into the straps I’ve received, but first, here are some words about the brand.
I have the utmost respect for small companies trying to make a mark in our challenging industry. MSBespoke is such a brand. Syafiq is a one-man show with no team behind him. Since the company is still young and has only been on the market since 2021, he has a long road ahead. If he keeps creating straps as he does now, he has nothing to fear. I want to avoid getting into the company’s origin story as Syafiq has a blog post about it on the site. You can find it here. You can already see what I love about his story in the first two sentences.
I was given a watch by my father. I searched numerous websites and could not find a suitable leather strap.
It shows passion and determination, even if these are often overused words. This a great example of why some embark on a mission to educate themselves about leather, learn how to craft it, and eventually be able to bring a brand like MSBespoke to life. Let’s move on to said straps now.
Every strap I got came individually packed with a little tag hanging off of it. This label explains everything one needs to know about the product. The Barenia leather strap was the first one I picked up. It’s a 19/16mm strap, something I could use with my Angelus 216, so it went on that vintage beauty. As you likely know, 19mm is not a common size, so I only have a few straps of this size in my collection. This Barenia strap was a perfect fit. The length is average at 115/75mm with a 2.5mm thickness. It was incredibly soft and flexible right out of the box too. It has beautifully painted edges, quick-release spring bars, and beige side stitching.
Barenia leather is one of Syafiq’s favorite materials to work with, and I must admit that I love it too. It comes from the famous Haas Tannery in France. When new, Barenia straps look pristine, smooth, and deep caramel brown, but eventually, as they age, they tend to scratch. There’s nothing to worry about. It is part of the strap’s patina. They do not look worn but aged, which suits this leather well. Every Barenia strap develops unique characteristics over time that tell the story of the strap and the watch.
The next in line is an intriguing leather strap that was meant to go onto the Speedy. We have a classic 20/16mm width and the same length as above at 115/75mm. It has the same thickness and painted edges, but this strap is made of rugged Italian cowhide leather. Dollaro leather, according to Syafiq, comes from the same Italian tannery (Conceria Walpier) that manufactures Buttero leather. They heat the leather, making the temper much firmer and scratch resistant. The leather also develops a prominent texture. Dollaro straps are sturdier than your average leather strap.
While this Dollaro strap has a different feel from the Barenia, it is not stiff. Thanks to its size and thickness, it can be enjoyed immediately; no break-in period is needed. For easy installation, this one also comes with quick-release spring bars and, like all three straps I’ll review today, on a brushed MSBespoke steel buckle. Due to its grain, I’d put this on a sports watch. It has a sportier feel. As far as the tone goes, dark brown is easy to pair with anything.
Finally, we get to the last strap from MSBespoke. It’s been a while since I last reviewed an exotic leather strap like this one. I won’t repeat the measurements; they are the same as above except for the thickness. Alligator leather is always thicker due to its texture, so we have a 3.5mm-thick strap this time. Horiuchi Trading Co. is one of the most well-known companies dealing in exotic leathers, from alligator to crocodile and ostrich. That is where the material for this strap comes from.
Tone-on-tone stitching and lining make this MSBespoke goody an understated and elegant strap. It took me a while to figure out what to pair this up with, and I eventually went with another Angelus. The 215 chrono is a recurring “model” in my Watch Strap Review articles because many straps work well with it. This alligator strap is no exception. It is just comfortable and adaptable, qualities that most exotic straps initially lack. While the texture could be more prominent, the MSBespoke Alligator can be an excellent strap for virtually any timepiece.
What’s left to say?
MSBespoke has many more styles, colors, and sizes to offer. Check out the brand’s Instagram page and get in touch with Syafiq directly. As the name suggests, he is open to bespoke orders and ships worldwide. As far as the prices of the three straps I featured go, the Barenia and the Dollaro are €66. For the Alligator strap, MSBespoke charges €134. These are very reasonable prices, even if shipping (and import tax) may apply to some. Lastly, I recommend checking out MSBespoke’s website to see all of the straps and options on offer.
If you missed last month’s Watch Strap Review article, you can find it here.