I’d like a nicely made, black leather strap please.
If only it was that easy. If you truly want to spend days on the internet, enter that search term and kiss your free time goodbye.
See when I was young, you went to the department store’s watch department, found a strap that you liked, and bought it. Pretty easy. I actually attempted precisely this here in Melbourne and it was the opposite of easy (ahem..hard).
The few straps on offer were either ridiculously expensive or absolute garbage. This seems to be my experience these days with retail in general, shops never seem to have what I want and if they do, the markups are just so extreme to be able to keep the doors open. In fairness, there was another issue to solve. I had finally come to the conclusion that my Halios Seaforth Bronze truly looked the best on a black strap. Since this is a bronze version, and the bronze used is slightly unusual in that it’s a little lighter than most, all the bronze buckles on offer were in no way matching the colour.
What to do. Enter Etsy. Certainly no shortage of watch straps on Etsy and I finally come across a local artisan (after trawling through about 183 from the Ukraine, nothing against them but I quite like taking delivery whilst I’m still in my 40s).
I must admit, I managed to find his website and genuinely thought it would be better to go direct and make him some more money rather than a big Etsy commission. So I contacted Erfan through his site directly and asked if I could send him the buckle and have him use it for a custom made strap.I heard back almost immediately, he sent me the address and just asked me to go ahead and buy from his site. I did precisely that, and two weeks later I had a hand made black leather strap in my hand, ready to attach to my Halios watch.
The strap I chose is the ‘Padded Kangaroo Leather watch strap’ I chose the medium thickness and black. Not the most adventurous option, but the watch here is the hero and I want to highlight it. Also, I am still absolutely in love with the black/grey fume dial and the black leather draws even more attention to it.
Leather strap from E.S Handcrafted
So the upper part of the strap is kangaroo leather and we have cow underneath. Apparently, cow leather is tougher and will last longer.
The underside does have a colour that reminds me of udders, possibly not the best choice but obviously it’ll darken with time. It’s fairly rough texture but not uncomfortable at all. It’s stamped with Erfan’s brand name and ‘hand made’, very subtle.
Back to the upper part, the black. It’s a lovely texture. If you’re reading this outside of Australia and thinking ‘what kind of sadistic maniac would use kangaroo leather’, well it’s a little bit like reindeer skin in the northern hemisphere, alpaca in South America or something like antelope in Africa. Not your most common choice for leather but a reasonable choice under some circumstances.
Note however, kangaroo leather can not be exported outside of Australia so you will have to choose other options if ordering from overseas.
Anyway, it’s already starting to wear just from the buckle. Not damaged at all but time will tell how it lasts, the buckle is fairly sharp where it comes in contact with the strap so might have take a bit of sandpaper to this part.
Sadly, the distance between the holes are just a tiny bit off for me so the strap is either a tad tight or slightly too loose, but I can live with it. The buckle looks great and Erfan appears to have made custom sized holes for it to fit, very nice.
The padded, upper section of the strap looks fantastic. Wearing the watch, that’s all you really see and it’s beautiful. I had to bend this section a little bit when receiving the watch, which was easy and it keeps its form well.
I was really happy to have found someone local, a small business that makes nice leather straps at very reasonable prices (AUD 85). It’s a little bit like having your local leather strap maker down the street, just pop in and ask a few questions before going ahead. The personal touch and customisation is truly the future of buying things online and I really appreciated the basic, but lovely cardboard packaging with a hand written note by Erfan. The quality is definitely there. Would it stand up to the super exclusive straps available from certain other providers in Australia and elsewhere? Perhaps not this particular strap but Erfan offers other options as well and I believe that they absolutely would be comparable.
Whether you are based in Australia or overseas, I would highly recommend Erfan’s services, particularly since you are supporting a one man band that will offer you that personal touch, so rare these days.