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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow watch enthusiasts! I am new to this site and I'm excited about being here. I want some feedback from fellow watch lovers. I make custom watchbands and I'm not going to try selling anything here but I'm interested in what you watch fans are looking for in a replacement band. What colors, styles, materials, thickness and size, stitching weights and colors, any other factor are you interested in? Feel free to post photo of what makes you happy in a strap. What is your dream strap that you either can't find or can't afford. I'm always looking for new inspiration for my work. I'm curious what others feel is the most attractive choices.
 

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Also check out the "WRUW" threads here and in the other well-populated subforums. People are just as happy to show off a new strap as a new watch.
 

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Welcome.

And, why not, we can talk straps. I tend to use aftermarket straps a lot, and there are some particular things that I'm looking for, when browsing.

- Padding. As in, the lack of it. I much, *much* prefer just two thick slabs of leather stitched together, instead of a leather-thick padder - bottom leather construction. The 'central' padding that makes the centre of the strap bulge up is even less appealing, and the worst are those straps that have one or two plastic inlays inside that make exaggerated grooves. Besides, if the strap bends like, well, a strip of leather, then that's a much better feeling than if it had a rubbery bounce or clumsy stiffness from plastic rods.

- Stitching - I think I prefer to see fatter threads, because I'm looking for casual-style straps most of the time. Of course, for a dress strap, I'd want colour-matched, thin stitches, but for any other kind of strap, give me contrast (but *NOT* white! Because white threads seem to show yellowing a lot, which looks really unsightly after a while) and give me thickness. And, bonus points if the thread on the underside is as thick/strong as the thread on top, instead of a wimpy teensy sewing-thread.

- The leather - basically, what I'm looking for is interesting texture. Smooth I can get all over the place, faux crocodile stamping as well. From third-party hand-made straps, I think the natural graining works best. All kinds of brown tones work the best, as they can be matched to most watches & clothing. Personally I prefer the types of leather that show wear in a good way - oiled, pull-up and the like. Vegetable-tanned is a plus, because of the slight hue variations. That said... I know there's a market for straps made of old leather novelty items (slippers and baseball gloves and codpieces and weird sports stuff like that) - never got the point or appeal myself, tbh.

- Threaded ends at the very least. I don't trust glue to hold, so the strap should have the critical wear-points tied with thread (such as around the springbars, at the bottom of the long bit, and around any fixed loops).

I've tried a bunch of non-usual straps (shark, ostrich, no gator yet though), and from those, I think nowadays I just prefer a good, well-oiled livestock hide.


As for other materials.. idk. Canvas has never really appealed to me, and the one canvas strap I tried, that came with a seiko5, was pretty miserable and itchy. Natos.. eh. Well, more like 'meh' tbh. What appeals to me about leather most is that it shows wear in colour, not in breaking-apart-ness. Not even sure if there are any other materials to think about - suede picks up lint too much, rubber is, well, y'know, super-boring, paracord rope straps just look cartoonish, and metal is not really feasible to make on your own. There's something interesting about the way perlon straps are woven, but they seem a bit too thin most of the time, and I think that the standard cross-hatch weave is a bit dull - there's a lot of interesting patterns that could be incorporated as perlon weave from otraditional nordic/baltic folk art & ornaments.
 

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This will give you an idea ... if we're posting our pic's ... that's what we like. Good luck figuring it out 'cause one man's trash is another man's treasure .. & vice versa.

Thread: Leather strap on a Diver...got any?
Pick a theme (dress/sports etc) utilizing the leathers you enjoy working with the most. Master your art focusing on that theme. Sales will follow.

Then, broaden your scope of work from there. Never compromise. And ... good luck, pursue the dream.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to all for the warm greetings. Let me respond to 2x-Elijah's post: I don't use padding, my bands really wouldn't work with it. Most of my bands are made from heavy weight cowhide which wouldn't work with padding. I have gone away from using heavy woven waxed nylon stitching and now prefer to use regular heavy weight axed thread. Some are color matched an come contrast. I get the white stitching thing, I can barely get the thin stitched before it has gone off white but I do like the look of white stitching. Unless they are an exotic hide they usually are smooth but in working in the leather it will wrinkle a bit. I use glue to hold things together for assembly but the stitching is the part that actually keeps it together. I'll post a fe photos of my work and you can comment on what I should do differently. Thanks again guys. The first one is Alligator, the second is Stingray, the third is from a baseball glove, the fourth is just plain old cowhide, and the last is blue Toad Skin.
 

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