Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Saturday, I’m reviewing a bunch of new straps from one of my favourite local handcrafted strap labels, Cozy Handmade.
Cozy Handmade has recently revamped their web-store, and took the opportunity to introduce several new strap offerings. They kindly sent a few over for me to review. Let’s take a look at some of their new handcrafted straps!
Cozy Handmade – the Brand
I’ve previously reviewed a couple of straps from Cozy Handmade, and covered the brand in detail as well. For those interested in my initial review, you can read it here.
Cozy Handmade – Video Review
If you would like to see some hands-on footage, do check out my Youtube review of Cozy Handmade’s straps below!
Up first is the Vintage Nero strap.
The Vintage Nero strap is crafted out of Italian vegetable tanned full grain leather, straight out of Tuscany. Cozy Handmade only uses leather from one of the associated tanneries of Consorzio Vera Pelle Italiana Conciata al Vegetale, thus ensuring that the leather they use are of high quality. As the leather used is full-grain, one can expect a beautiful patina to develop over time, though that will be less obvious on the black leather of the Vintage Nero.
My favourite aspect of Cozy Handmade has always been their leather. I firmly believe that the brand uses some of the best leather at the sub-S$100 price point. Firstly, all leather used by the brand are full-grain. For those uninitiated with leather, leather generally comes in three quality tiers – genuine leather, top-grain leather, and full-grain leather, in ascending order of quality. With full-grain leather, you see the beautiful natural wrinkles and pores that are inherent to the leather, as full-grain leather is derived from the outermost section of the cowhide. Furthermore, the Italian full-grain leather that Cozy Handmade uses is vegetable tanned, which lends a more natural tone to the leather and should be less abrasive to the skin as compared to regular chrome tanned leather (which are tanned by chemicals).
The Vintage Nero strap is lined with soft vegetable tanned cowhide leather for both comfort and durability. It’s also beautiful to look at – one can again see the natural wrinkles and pores of the leather.
In addition, the edges of the Vintage Nero strap are beveled and finished by hand for a smooth finish. Edge finishing is a detail that’s usually only present on handcrafted straps – this separates said straps from common off-the-rack ones in terms of quality and finishing.
Overall, I quite like the Vintage Nero strap. It’s billed as a minimalist, monochrome strap, and it does its job of elevating your timepiece. I paired the Vintage Nero strap with my Aries Gold Roadster, and I think the strap highlights the beauty of the timepiece. It pairs well with complicated watches, such as the chronograph dial of the Roadster – the simplicity of the strap serves as a nice contrast. It’s comfortable, flexible with little break-in time, meticulously crafted, and feels premium to the touch. At ~S$70 (after the promo code below), it’s good value as well given that it’s cheaper than most of the off-the-rack Hirsch straps one sees in watch stores.
Next, let’s take a look at their new Rally Leather strap.
Like the Vintage Nero strap, the Rally Leather Strap is crafted out of full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from some of the best tanneries in Italy. The quality is superb, and on this reddish-brown colour variant, one should see beautiful patina forming over time.
Unlike the Vintage Nero strap however, there is a slight marbling texture on the Rally Leather strap, which I find to be absolutely beautiful. It gives the strap a lovely vintage vibe, which works great with the Rally strap’s perforated design.
Like the Vintage Nero, the Rally Leather strap is lined with soft vegetable tanned cowhide leather. Once again, it’s immensely comfortable on the skin, and feels nice to the touch. One can also see the marbling texture on the lining. I like this continuation of texture, that one gets the marbling texture both on the exterior leather and the inner lining.
It’s also edge finished, with the edges of the Rally strap beveled and burnished by hand for a smooth finish.
All in all, I really like the Rally Leather Strap from Cozy Handmade. Its stitchless nature, combined with the marbled texture and its perforated design, results in a strap that’s perfect for racing-inspired watches, especially chronographs. I paired it on my racing-inspired Aries Gold Jolter, and I personally find it to be a perfect fit. The Aries Gold Jolter isn’t an expensive watch (it costs under S$200) but paired with Cozy Handmade’s Rally Leather strap, it looks like a thousand dollar watch. Like the Vintage Nero strap, it’s pretty affordable as well at only ~S$70 (after the promo code below). Personally, I enjoyed this even more than the Vintage Nero strap as the Rally Leather Strap has a tad more character to it.
For those who want ultimate minimalism, the Vintage 404 strap is for you.
Like the aforementioned two straps, the Vintage 404 strap is crafted out of high-grade full-grain Italian vegetable tanned leather from one of the best tanneries in Italy. As such, you get the same great leather quality that you do on the Vintage Nero and Rally Leather straps.
Due to the high quality of the leather used, you can visibly see its inherent pores and wrinkles. It’s has a gorgeous texture with natural characteristics, and will patina beautifully over time due to it being full-grain leather.
The strap is lined with vegetable tanned cowhide leather, and is thus very comfortable to wear on the wrist. I should also highlight that the Vintage 404 strap is a tad thinner than the abovementioned two straps, and thus it even more pliant and flexible, with no break-in period required.
Ultimately, I have to say that the Vintage 404 is my favourite strap out of the four that I have reviewed today. It’s made from great quality leather, and is meticulously handcrafted – as all straps are from Cozy Handmade. However, I really appreciated how clean and elegant the strap is due to its stitchless aesthetic. Paired on my UNDONE Urban Vintage, the simple design of the Vintage 404 strap elevated the timepiece, resulting in a stunning look. I love the texture of the strap, and in particular the olive green colour of the Vintage 404, which pairs beautifully with the yellow gold case of the Urban Vintage. It’s also very comfortable on the wrist due to the vegetable tanned cowhide lining and its thin nature. Again, at just ~S$70 I think the Vintage 404 strap is a steal.
Finally, Cozy Handmade also sent me their Douglas 110 strap for me to review.
Once again, the Douglas 110 is crafted out of premium full-grain Italian vegetable tanned leather from one of the best tanneries in Italy, so I have no complaints regarding its leather quality. The leather has a lovely vintage texture to it that reminds me of seasoned sofas, and will patina beautifully over time.
It’s also lined with vegetable tanned cowhide, so the strap feels nice and comfortable on the wrist.
Unlike the straps reviewed above, one gets to choose their preferred stitching colour, from a curated selection of 20 options. If you wish to have the stitching match the watch dial, go ahead – that’s the beautiful of commissioning a handcrafted strap!
Another critical difference between the Douglas 110 and the previous straps is its thickness. The Douglas 110 is a substantially bulky strap at 4mm thick. Cozy Handmade recommends the Douglas 110 for bulkier watches, such as a Panerai Luminor or a Zelos Hammerhead. This is certainly not one that you would pair with a dress watch!
While the Douglas 110 strap is objectively well-crafted, it was my least favourite out of the four I’ve reviewed today for one simple reason: it was incredibly difficult to strap/unstrap the Douglas 110 from my wrist. I’m not quite sure the exact reason why – perhaps the strap is too thick, perhaps it needed some time to break in. My bet however is on the sharply shaped pin, as pictured above. Because the buckle pin had such an acute angle, it was often a challenge for me to disentangle the pin from the strap hole, and it takes me quite a while to unstrap the watch.
It’s also worth noting that the Douglas 110 strap costs significantly more than the previous three straps at S$116 (after promo code below). I understand why there’s a price increase, due to its full stitched nature (which requires more man hours to craft) and the thicker leather (which requires more material cost). If you’re specifically looking for a thick strap, something to pair with your Panerai watch, you still can consider the Douglas 110 strap. Swap out the default buckle for the original Panerai buckle and you should be fine. However, my preference would definitely still be for the previous three straps.
Conclusion – so Cozy Handmade 2020 straps “shiok” or not?
For the most part, yes. I really like their ~S$70 straps, such as the Vintage Nero strap, the Rally Leather strap, and the Vintage 404 strap. I have a particular fondness for the latter two, and I think their complimented the watches I’ve paired them with rather well. The Douglas 110 is still a good strap – just change the buckle, and I think it would be a great strap for thicker watches, especially if you’re someone who’s looking to customise the stitching colour. Overall, I really enjoyed Cozy Handmade’s new 2020 straps. I know the brand has worked hard during the COVID period (when their workshop was closed) to revamp their web-store and come up with new offerings – and it shows. I personally believe Cozy Handmade to be one of the best handcrafted strap options under S$100. The leather they use is great, the craftsmanship is stellar, and I love the rugged, vintage aesthetic that most of their straps possess.
For those interested in the straps from Cozy Handmade, simply use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off! After the discount, the Vintage Nero, Rally Leather and Vintage 404 straps can be had for just S$71, while the Douglas 110 would be S$116. At those prices, I think Cozy Handmade’s straps are steals, especially considered the quality of the leather used and the artisanal craftsmanship involved in each of their straps. Their straps are even cheaper than the off-the-rack Hirsch straps one finds in watch stores – how’s that for a value proposition?
View the full range of Cozy Handmade straps here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned.
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.