A while ago, I did a write-up on watchstraps. This write-up mainly covers the original watchfactory straps and the 3rd party straps from Sirtoli, Officina Italia Bros, TC, Camille Fournet, ABP and so on.
My Panerai is the watch which I have most straps for, which is kind of weird since I own this watch relatively short… (June 2004). Besides three original (the watch comes with two) factory straps, I have a few Camille Fournet straps and Officina Italia Bros straps for it. My Speedmaster Pro come probably second, I have a few original Omega straps (croco) and besides those.. from Hirsch to Officina Italia Bros and Kauffman. Where Hirsch is a brand I rather don’t want on my watches anymore. I bought my first Speedmaster Pro when I was a student and for straps I had a student’s budget. So Hirsch it was. However, I don’t like croco grain (which Hirsch sells, which is a normal leather strap with a croco print on it) or shark grain. An expensive watch should earn a quality strap, and Hirsch is relatively (to the expensive watch) not in my opinion.
Anyway, back to the point I want to make… which is that I am wondering what the characteristics are of a good strap besides optical finish. With optical finish I mean the stitches, glue (since stitches are just for looks nowadays, the glue which is used is more important, as I have been told), looks of the material/animal used etc. Ofcourse, these characteristics are of great influence of the quality of the strap, but have nothing to do with the comfy-factor when wearing it. For example, the factory straps by Panerai (except for the rubber ones ofcourse) and those from Camille Fournet are quite stiff when you first wear them. I always have to bend them a few times before I wear them else the watch just floats above my wrist with these stiff strap-pieces attached to it. The original louisiana croco strap by Omega for my Speedmaster Pro 3573.50 or Officina Italia Bros straps for both my Speedmaster Pro and Panerai on the contrary are very smooth/soft and don’t need bending them the first time you use them. They just go around your wrist very easily.
So what’s the better characteristic? The easy smooth one or the stiff one which gets easier to wear after a while. I can guess what makes the differences in terms of fabrication, but I really don’t know if you can speak here in terms of quality.
What do you prefer and think?