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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a newcomer I didn't realise that leather straps can wear quite fast, and sometimes look pretty scruffy, pretty quickly. Further, that deployment clasps are supposed to preserve the strap from wear.
Assuming an ordinary tang buckle, how long do people expect a decent quality strap to retain its good looks? It's an added expense over a metal bracelet.
And, while I am asking questions, do costly straps wear any better, or just use exotic leathers? To put it another way, does a crocodile strap wear any better than a normal leather one?
 

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Depends on how and where it is worn. I have destroyed a leather strap in a year when I wore it exclusively for everything...I think that how dry you keep it will make a world of difference...I have then moved to steel in summer and leather in cooler seasons...
 

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How a leather strap wears is entirely dependent on how you treat it. On average, a good strap with a pin buckle should last at least 400 wearings. If you have multiple watches and the strap can sit and air our for a few days between wearings, you may go longer. If you wear the same strap every day, you may go shorter.

The quality of construction and the backing materials, as well as the thickness of the strap material will all have a bearing on the wear. From a cosmetic standpoint, softer leathers, like ostrich, will wear quicker than harder or more durable leathers.

Going for the exotics, croc, gator, hornback caymen, etc, will cost you more simply because the materials cost more in general. Again, overall longevity will depend on how you treat your strap as well as how tightly you wear it. Some less expensive OEM straps will wear out quicker because they are of thinner or inferior material to more expensive straps from high end OEMs or custom houses. In short, there are far too many variables to give you an exact expectation.

FWIW, deployants MAY have an impact on your strap, but there are different types of deployant and they can vary in how strap friendly they are. My Breitling has a deployant that allows the adjusting end to pass through mostly straight, with a slight kink - good for the strap. My JLC uses a deployant with a pin that goes through the same hole a pin buckle would - about the same wear as a pin buckle. My B&M has a deployant that requires the free end to make a tight u turn and double back on itself, this is the fail point for that strap. The underlying leather will last a lot longer than the top gator because of the wear that the buckle puts on the leather. The wear is cosmetic, but it is there.
 

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The inner lining of a strap makes a big difference too. My cheaper customs show moderate signs of wear after 30-40 times on the wrist. My better custom straps have showed no signs of wear just yet. Seems like the lining of the higher end straps costs as much as the entire strap on the more affordables.

I've heard people say that alligator is more water resistant than stamped veggie tan. I don't know the answer to this one so it may be that I'm crediting the lining when it's really the type of material.

Mostly I find the thread shows more wear then the leather.

I should note note that my oldest strap is only 18 months and I probably don't wear any strap more then 2xweek. So I may note be the best judge.
 

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Wearing it everyday...1 year. 18 months and it starts disintegrating. So like another member said about 400 wears. And that's not showering with it and not exposing it to water. Leather is an ephemeral luxury...
 

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I have an alligator strap that is several years old and looks fine on the outside but is worn on the inside. Also, I will mention that it is most worn (and would probably break) at the point of intersection of two of the large scales. Over time the strap has developed a natural 'curve' as if it is on the wrist, even when taken off. Since I started storing my watch on a pillow which keeps this natural curve even when not worn, it has not really gotten worse. I used to store it flat, essentially flattening the strap when not worn, probably adding wear to the kink/failure point....if that makes sense.

Bottom line, I think you will get more lifetime out of a nice leather strap if you keep it stored on a pillow in a watch box.
 

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I went through a cheap strap on a standard tang buckle in less than a year. Since then I buy top quality straps, use deployment clasps, and wear my watches in rotation; all of my current straps are at least 2 years old and they look nearly brand new.
 

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My two and half year old Omega croc strap looks pretty new, but it is worn as part of a rotations and I don't wear it in the rain or during the dog days of summer. Although perishable, I do enjoy not worrying about scratches and dings like I do when wearing bracelets.
 

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As a newcomer I didn't realise that leather straps can wear quite fast, and sometimes look pretty scruffy, pretty quickly. Further, that deployment clasps are supposed to preserve the strap from wear.
Assuming an ordinary tang buckle, how long do people expect a decent quality strap to retain its good looks? It's an added expense over a metal bracelet.
And, while I am asking questions, do costly straps wear any better, or just use exotic leathers? To put it another way, does a crocodile strap wear any better than a normal leather one?
Like everything else, it depends. The conditions you put the strap through will determine the longevity. Even an inexpensive leather strap will last for years in cool, low humidity climates, Conversely, the best leather will succumb to sweat and humidity quickly. Finally, how often will you wear it? If you wear it every day it will go more quickly. I personally like a distressed leather look, so I use thick straps and I break them in with olive oil (which will darken the strap but also make it softer), leather conditioner, and some hand twisting. After that, I make sure that I only wear leather straps when conditions aren't extreme. If you are going to sweat up a storm, wear a bracelet, a nato, or rubber.
 
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Just like my shoes, boots, belts, ect. I use Meltonian shoe cream on straps. It jeeps them moist. Lots of colors. I have not had to change a strap in years because it didn't hold up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everybody. I can now see why so many people choose a bracelet, it's probably cheaper in the long run. But a good leather strap can look so attractive.....I've got an Everest leather strap for my Submariner ; but I wear that watch a lot and the strap is ageing faster than I expected.
 

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Climate is the key. I swap my straps for bracelets in summer as croc and leather gets destroyed then. Do that and they will last for a good long time.
 

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I've heard that croc straps last longer than other types of leather straps, but I have no experience with croc straps, I have a genuine leather strap that served me for 7 or 8 years before I throw it, not because it's damaged but because it looks dirty and smells badly.
 

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I've been wearing my alligator strap that came with my Zenith for almost three years, on average five times a week. The strap looks completely fine and has a lot of life left in it. The inside is lined with some type of thin rubber to keep the strap from soaking in moisture. The only discernible difference is that the strap is less glossy than it was before. Other than that, fine.
 
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