Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing a pair of custom watch straps from local strap label Nomad Watch Works and a pair of its ready-made straps.
NomadWatchWorks is known for its wide range of affordable ready-made straps. However, it’s now trying to move upmarket by offering a limited selection of exotic custom straps available for both regular watches and Apple Watches. The brand sent me a pair of its custom-made straps to review, as well as a pair of its bread-and-better ready-made offerings – let’s see if they are any good.
NomadWatchWorks – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the straps, do check out my Youtube video below:
NomadWatchWorks – the Brand
NomadWatchWorks – Custom Crocodile Leather
NomadWatchWorks now offers a limited selection of custom straps, namely in Ostrich, Lizard, and Crocodile. I decided to get a pair of custom Crocodile straps – one for my Cartier Tank Jumbo, and one for my Apple Watch.
Unlike its readymade exotic straps, the custom straps are available in a variety of colours – 15 in fact. I decided to go for the evergreen Black to pair on my Cartier Tank Jumbo, while Brown was my colour of choice for the Apple Watch.
I’ve reviewed quite a number of exotic straps before, and I can say that not all exotic straps are made equal. For example, crocodile hides come in grades, with higher-quality hides costing more. I’m pleased to report that the quality of the crocodile used in NomadWatchWorks’ custom straps feels premium to the touch, with the leather feeling natural and not overly treated.
Being custom, the straps are also handstitched, making them more durable than regular machine-stitched straps. I particularly like the way the strap is stitched diagonally, giving it added visual interest.
On the inside, the custom straps are lined with Zermatt calf leather that feels premium to the touch and comfortable on the skin. It’s also resistant to water and discolouration, making it more durable than regular linings. Furthermore, the strap loop is also stitched by hand for greater durability.
Due to the custom nature of the strap, customers can also opt for embossing on the lining. I chose to have my initials embossed, making it a truly unique strap. It’s a small but nice touch that reinforces the custom-made nature of the strap.
Crocodile is one of my favourite leather materials. It’s the Jack of all trades – it pairs superbly with almost every watch, from a vintage golden Cartier Tank, to a modern Apple Watch. Black and Brown are safer colours, but NomadWatchWorks also have more striking colours such as pink and yellow.
Furthermore, I found it interesting that NomadWatchWorks offered Apple Watch adapters to go along with its custom watch straps. Custom watch straps are a dime a dozen in the local market, but Apple Watch-compatible ones are still rare. And that’s strange, considering how the Apple Watch is by far the most popular timepiece in today’s world. Personally, I’ve always wanted a leather strap for my Apple Watch – wearing a rubber-strapped Apple Watch with a suit just felt wrong.
At S$134 (after the promo code below), it’s also pretty affordable for a custom-made exotic strap, with comparable alternatives retailing for S$200+. The only catch is the relatively long lead-time, which at 4 weeks remains quite substantial. Still, if you’re willing to wait, then it’s undoubtedly a solid value proposition.
NomadWatchWorks – Readymade Exotic Leather Review
However, if Nomad’s custom-made straps are still too expensive, there are still readymade offerings.
I’m pleased to report that the quality of the Ostrich strap is almost as good, if not as good, as the custom-made offerings. I didn’t have a custom-made Ostrich strap from Nomad to compare with, but the readymade Ostrich strap certainly feels and looks as premium as any custom-made Ostrich strap I’ve ever handled. The grains are visible and look natural, and once again the strap doesn’t feel overly treated.
Unlike the custom straps, the stitching on the readymade Ostrich strap is straight, which indicates that it’s machine-stitched rather than hand-stitched.
However, the inner lining remains the same, being crafted from Zermatt calf leather. No embossing is available – instead, one gets a somewhat in-your-face “exotic leather” branding instead.
Still, NomadWatchWorks’ readymade exotic offerings are incredible value-for-money. At $62 (after the promo code below), the readymade Ostrich strap is almost half the price of its custom-made counterpart. If you’re not looking for custom lengths or unique colours, and don’t mind forgoing certain custom aspects like embossing and hand stitching, then Nomad’s readymade exotic offerings are a great way to zhng your watch without breaking the bank.
NomadWatchWorks – Performax Saffiano Leather FKM Rubber Hybrid Strap
Last but not least, NomadWatchWorks also sent me its new Performax Saffiano Leather FKM rubber hybrid strap.
As its name suggests, the strap is a hybrid one. The exterior is made from saffiano leather, which is made popular by Prada. Known for its cross-hatch texture, saffiano leather is beloved for its scratch and stain-resisting properties, making it great for everyday tool watches such as the UNDONE Aqua. In contrast, the interior is crafted from FKM (Fluoroelastomer) rubber, which has higher heat and chemical resistance as compared to other rubber types.
The cross-hatch texture of the Performax Saffiano Leather FKM strap is evident, and is striking even from a distance. When paired with a tool watch such as the UNDONE Aqua, it elevates the watch, giving it a slightly dressier feel.
The interior also possesses visual interest in the form of a wave-like texture. Once again, I think it pairs well with desk divers as it gives a nod towards the watch’s diving roots.
Due to the rubber lining, the Performax Saffiano Leather FKM strap is comfortable on the wrist. And at S$40 (after the promo code below), it’s also relatively affordable, especially given that you get the best of both worlds (leather and rubber).
Conclusion – so NomadWatchWorks custom straps “shiok” or not?
Definitely so. The custom straps are value-for-money – I don’t think you can find handmade crocodile straps for ~S$130 – and are well-crafted. For those on a budget, the readymade line of exotic straps delivers much of the same premium look (minus the customisation) for less than half the price. NomadWatchWorks’ exotic straps look and feel at home with some of my most valuable watches (like my gold Cartier Tank), as well as some of my most inexpensive ones (like the Aries Gold El Toro). And for those looking for a unique hybrid blend of leather and rubber, the Performax Saffiano Leather FKM strap is a great option as well that doesn’t break the bank.
For those interested in learning more about Nomad’s custom straps, the brand did a video on the different customisation options above. As the icing on the cake, Wah So Shiok readers also get a discount – simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy a 10% discount. After the promo code, the handmade exotic straps would start from just S$116, the readymade exotic straps would start from S$62, while the Performax Saffiano Leather FKM strap would cost a mere $40. Talk about bang-for-buck!
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.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.