With this 7th episode of Watch Strap Review we are leaving the world of fashion and return to the roots of strap making. We started with small homemade watch straps, craftsmen who do this for the pure passion of creating something cool for our beloved watches. This edition features a name, or brand if you like, firstly (and mostly) introduced to the Paneristi. If you have a Panerai and looking for a custom made strap I bet you already came across this name. You can find their products on every forum, every Panerai GTG and on the wrists of the occasional Panerai buyer as well as celebrities. Yet they remained humble and continue to provide us with their outstanding vintage looking straps. I am sure you guessed by know that they are none other than: Gunny Straps.
I was in touch with Gunny Straps pretty much from the beginning of the Watch Strap Review series. They promised me a few pieces and a couple of months ago I received 3 of their top sellers in my office in Germany. We try to keep the strap review once per month but BaselWorld came along so weeks went by pretty quickly. Finally I had the time to have a look at what they offered me. Please do not expect anything but the core of vintage inspired leather strap goodness from one of the best in the market.
The first strap I had a look at was from their Caitlin 4s (T527). This strap has the usual 4mm thickness due to its 2 layers. Comfortable enough yet not too thick or bulky. For a heavier watch you can have it custom made in 6mm version. It has raw-cut edges for a cool rugged look and aged leather to complete the vintage feel. The leather itself is very smooth and even. The strap is not water resistant so please do not swim with it however water drops from rain and such can ad a nice color to the leather. The price of the Caitlin 4 is $89.99 and you can finish the look with a matching buckle for $17 extra. Deployants can be a tight fit due to the thickness of the strap but manageable nonetheless.
Secondly, we got one of their Arrillo (T528) straps. The thickness is around 3.2-3.5mm on the long side and a bit thicker around 5-6mm on the buckle side of the strap. This could be due to the fact that while the long side is 2-folded leather the buckle side is 3-folded. I got the tapered and padded version, similar to what Breitling would offer for their certain models. It has a nice deep brown color, especially towards the edges. This strap like the previous one likes to be around no water. Price-wise you are looking a bit of a premium here at $164.99 (due to the pad otherwise it is about 15 bucks cheaper) but this includes the buckle as well. I should mention that all 3 straps I received were 22mm and even though the Caitlin 4 can be squeezed onto a 20mm watch, this is not possible with this one.
Last but not least I had a sample from their Blackbay (T592) series. The 4mm thick vintage leather strap almost looks black from a distance. Upon closer inspection you realize that it is more like a faded black with brown areas. While the previous 2 straps had softer edges this one is quite rough but this does not bother you when worn. It is not so easy to bend it, which is the case with the Arrillo as well. The more you use them the more wrinkled they become adding some more character to the strap. This strap sets you back $149.99 with the buckle, not too cheap but well worth the money. As with all other Gunny Straps products they are customizable to the smallest detail.
If you pay a visit to Gunny Straps’ site you see that the variety of straps they offer are insane. I am comfortable to say that no matter what kind of watch you have you will find at least 2-3 options for your piece. Special requests are also an option and they technically can produce anything you want. Of course in this league I do not have to mention that every strap is hand made from start to finish and when I say this I mean literary from cutting the leather out until the last final touches. But these guys don’t look at strap making as a job, they think if this as an art. As Peter very adequately puts it on their site: It’s an artwork on your wrist. I can only agree, as well as thousands of happy customers around the world. If it is good enough for Schwarzenegger it will be good enough for you.