Hello everyone, and welcome back to another one of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing a pair of new leather straps from local strap label, Strapatelier.
I’ve previously reviewed some of Strapatelier’s straps last year. However, since then the brand has gone upmarket and revamped its strap offerings. Part of that includes introducing a handcrafted leather straps collection, which currently comprises a point-stitch leather strap and a Horween Chromexcel leather strap – and Strapatelier was kind enough to send both to me for review. Let’s see if they are any good!
Strapatelier – Video Review
For those interested in viewing some hands-on footage of the straps, do check out my Youtube review of Strapatelier’s latest watch straps below:
The brand’s first handcrafted offering is the point-stitched leather strap, which is priced at a relatively affordable $63 (after promo code below).
Unlike the Strapatelier straps that I’ve previously reviewed, the point-stitched leather strap is handcrafted. In other words, it’s an artisanal product, with the burnishing, edge creasing and stitching all done by hand.
The point-stitched leather strap is available in a variety of colourways, from various shades of brown to navy and even green. However, I most preferred it in black – I like the subtlety of the black-on-black appearance. It’s also more versatile stylistically and would fit a variety of timepieces with no issues. I paired it on my Heuer Monaco, and the black point-stitch leather strap serves as the perfect canvas for the monochrome grey dial of the Monaco to pop.
In addition, the strap is crafted from full-grain leather, so it will patina beautifully over time. For the uninitiated, leather generally comes in three quality tiers – genuine leather, top-grain leather, and full-grain leather, in ascending order of quality. Being the crème de la crème of leather, the strap feels premium to the touch, and should last for some time. The lining is made from full-grain leather as well, so the strap is supple and comfortable on the wrist. There’s also quick-release spring bars, allowing the wearer to swap straps conveniently.
Overall, I would say that Strapatelier’s new point-stitch leather strap is a great value proposition at $63 (after the promo code below). In fact, it’s one of the cheapest handcrafted straps in the market currently – similar straps from alternatives would cost at least 50% more. If you’re looking for a bang-for-buck handcrafted strap, the point-stitch leather strap from Strapatelier is hard to beat.
For those seeking something a little bit more premium, the Horween Chromexcel Leather Strap fits the bill nicely.
Like the point-stitch leather strap, Strapatelier’s new Horween Chromexcel leather is handcrafted, with the full side-stitching done entirely by hand. Unlike the point-stitch leather strap however, the Horween Chromexcel strap is currently only available in three colours – brown, burgundy, and peacock blue. Out of the three, I found the peacock blue variant to be the most visually intriguing, and chose to pair it on my IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince.
Horween is perhaps one of the most famous names in leather. Founded in 1905, Horween Leather Company is one of the oldest tanneries in the United States. Well known for their high level of quality, consistency and innovation, their leathers today are still hand made using traditional techniques and equipment with modern-day updates in the process. For those wondering, Chromexcel is actually a type of leather that is specific and exclusive to Horween. It is characterized by a rich pull-up effect which is the temporary lightening of colours when folded or flexed. An 89 steps process over 28 days, it is highly supervised as various naturally occurring materials such as hides, retannage from tree barks and more come together, increasing complexity when achieving uniformity and consistency. After the initial chrome-based tannage, the hides undergo vegetable retanning using Horween’s guarded recipe before being hot stuffed with a special blend of oils, waxes and greases which is responsible for the pull-up effect. Lastly, the hides are hand-rubbed with coats of aniline finish for an even staining. This combination tanning imparts the leather the best of its qualities, making them soft, supple, durable, mouldable for comfort and the ability to develop a great patina over time.
Both the exterior and interior lining of the strap are crafted using Horween Chromexcel leather, resulting in the strap being immensely comfortable on the wrist. The pull-up effect of Horween Chromexcel leather is distinctive, and as it’s a type of full-grain leather the strap will also age beautifully over time. Furthermore, due to the high percentage of wax, any scratches can also be easily buffed out with just a simple brushing or friction from rubbing. Like the point-stitch strap, there’s also quick-release spring bars for easy interchangeability.
All in all, I think Strapatelier’s new Horween Chromexcel strap is a winner. The leather quality is great, and the craftmanship is remarkable. It’s definitely a step-up from machine-made Horween straps from brands like Nomadwatchworks, albeit at double the price. Still, it’s one of the cheapest handcrafted Horween Chromexcel straps out there – a similar full-stitched one from The House of Straps cost almost twice as much. Priced at just $89 (after the promo code below), the Strapatelier Horween Chromexcel strap is a no-brainer value proposition.
Conclusion – so Strapatelier Handcrafted Leather Straps “shiok” or not?
Definitely so. Both the point-stitch leather strap and the Horween Chromexcel strap are a definite step up from Strapatelier’s previous machine-made offerings, and I was really impressed by the quality. Between the two however, I would probably still go for the Horween Chromexcel strap, which should be the more durable of the two given the inherent quality of Horween leather. Given that it’s a mere ~$20+ difference, I think the Horween Chromexcel leather strap is the obvious choice if you’re deliberating between the two, unless you’re specifically looking for a variety of colourways. It’s also great value, going toe-to-toe (in terms of quality and finishing) with pricier brands such as Delugs and The House of Straps.
If you’re interested in any of Strapatelier’s offerings, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products store-wide! After the discount, the point-stitch leather strap would cost $63, while the Horween Chromexcel leather strap would be a mere $89. Strapatelier is also now offering bespoke strap options starting at $80, making it perhaps the most affordable custom strap option in the local market. In other words, Strapatelier is delivering great value with their new handcrafted strap collection, and I can’t wait to see what new leather options they offer next – perhaps Buttero?
View Strapatelier’s full range of offerings here.
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.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.