Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Saturday, I’m reviewing a couple of straps from Singaporean strap label, Wabi Straps.
Wabi Straps offers a wide range of straps, from metal bracelets and perlon straps to rubber and leather straps. They sent me a couple to test out – let’s see if they are any good!
Wabi Straps – the Brand
Wabi Straps was first founded by Jerome back in 2017. The business started off as a hobby when Jerome met someone selling a large bulk of leftover vintage watch straps from a now defunct German leather factory. Initially, he wanted to buy a few pieces for personal use but was eventually talked into buying the entire lot at wholesale price. Jerome started selling a couple of these vintage straps to his friends, before moving onto Carousell. After receiving overwhelmingly positive responses, he decided to cobble together a web-store, and Wabi Straps was born!
For those wondering, Jerome named the brand Wabi Straps after the Japanese aesthetics of Wabi-Sabi. Interestingly, I first got to know Jerome on Carousell – I was interested in purchasing a vintage Breitling Top Time from him. It’s always reassuring to know that the brand is run by a genuine watch enthusiast!
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review.
Let’s start by taking a look at the Milanese Watch Band.
According to Wabi Straps, their Milanese Watch Band “is made of very fine steel that looks smooth from a distance but has a glittery sandy texture on close inspection”. Personally, I find the texture of Wabi Straps’ Milanese Watch Band intriguing. The description really is accurate – it looks smooth and matte at first sight, but glossy up close. As compared to the other Milanese bracelets that I’ve tried, it definitely has a more captivating look.
As compared to other Milanese mesh bracelets from other strap brands, Wabi Straps’ Milanese Watch Band has a finer texture. When I first saw the bracelet, the fine texture actually reminded me of chainmail! Again, it definitely adds to the exotic nature of the Milanese strap, especially this PVD-black version.
That being said, the strap does have a few flaws. Firstly, the clasp feels a tad flimsy, and I found it hard to secure at times. Secondly, the clasp is unsigned, which unfortunately gives the Milanese Watch Band a more generic feel. Thirdly, it is a bit pricey at S$32 for a Milanese strap, in my opinion – you can find Milanese straps from other strap purveyors elsewhere for 20-30% less.
Nevertheless, I think the Milanese Watch Band from Wabi Straps is an intriguing alternative that differentiates itself from the other Milanese straps in the market with its fine, smooth and glossy texture. If you don’t mind paying a bit more for a more visually arresting strap, definitely check out Wabi Straps’ Milanese Watch Band!
Next up is a black/beige braided perlon strap.
According to Wabi Straps, their braided perlon strap “utilizes a slightly thicker nylon thread giving it a slightly thicker feel. By using different colour threads, it has achieved an interesting symmetrical intertwined pattern than adds pizzazz and contrast to your watch.” I must say, this is the first time I’ve seen a braided perlon strap.
Just like the Milanese Watch Strap, what I love about Wabi Straps’ perlon straps is how intriguing it looks, and how it stands out from the other perlon straps available in the market. It’s incredibly striking, and unlike any other perlon strap I’ve seen before. Upon close inspection, you can see how the weaving intertwines, and it is interesting to say the least. There’s a rustic quality to the strap that I absolutely love.
However, I must admit that perlon has never been my favourite strap material, because of how rough it can feel on the skin. The braided perlon from Wabi Straps is unfortunately no exception. If you already own a perlon strap, and know how perlon straps feel, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you haven’t interacted with a perlon strap before, this is something you should keep in mind.
Overall though, if you’re looking for a bold look, the braided perlon straps from Wabi Straps do a great job in changing up the look of the watch. I find it pretty unique looking, and at just S$16, I think it’s good value of money as well.
The next strap I’m going to look at is their blue trim silicone strap.
According to Wabi Straps, their “blue trim black silicone strap is made of high quality silicone that is not only waterproof but also incredibly soft and flexible. Whether you take it for a run or a swim, it is easy to clean ensuring a sterile and odorless wear every time. The accented edges add a touch of sportiness.” I have to concur – what I love about the strap is simply how supple it feels on the wrist. On cheaper rubber/silicone strap, the strap can be a tad stiff and require some break-in time. That’s not the case here!
As the name of the strap suggests, this strap comes with contrasting blue trims on the side for an added dose of sportiness. I quite like it – again, it’s a striking look that not only differentiates the strap from the plethora of silicone straps in the market, but also transforms and adds intrigue to the watch.
I should also mention that the inner portion of the strap is fully coloured blue, which juxtaposes nicely with its black exterior. Cute little pop of colour!
All in all, I really enjoyed the blue trim silicone strap from Wabi Straps. It’s soft, supple, and immensely comfortable on the wrist, no break-in time required. The blue accents on the side and on the underside of the strap adds a nice dose of striking sportiness too. My only gripe would be the price – at S$36, I would say that it is pretty pricey for a silicone strap. However, if your budget allows, I think this is one brilliant silicone strap that would be the perfect accompaniment to a lot of dive watches!
Wabi Straps started off offering leather straps, and in my opinion it is still their leather offerings that are the best value propositions.
According to Wabi Straps, the light Chestnut brown of the strap “adds a rustic feel to your watch giving it a warm and refined look, which brings out the elegance of your time piece.” In addition, the contrasting white stitching “is perfect if there are contrasting elements on the dial of your watch like a contrast white hands or numerals.” On my Orient Sun and Moon v3 (one of my favourite dress watches) I think the White Stitched Classic Brown Leather Strap elevates the dressiness of the watch, while the white stitching complements the white dial nicely.
Wabi Straps states that the leather is fashioned out of a soft leather with subtle grains, and that the leather is gently dyed without polish, resulting in a matte finish. I have to say, I think the leather looks pretty great here! The grains of the leather are clearly visible, which is a far cry from the synthetic uniformity found on cheaper, corrected leather.
Furthermore, I’m glad to report that the strap loops are stitched for added durability! Also, the lining of the strap feels pretty comfortable on the skin. Again, it’s a stark difference as compared to those stiff, cardboard-like lining one often finds on cheaper straps.
In my opinion, the White Stitched Classic Brown Leather Strap is solid value for money. The leather is decent, and it is well-crafted for the money. Sure, it’s not full or even top grain leather so the strap won’t patina over time, but if you’re looking for those you would have to pay triple, if not quadruple the amount. As it is, I think it’s an incredibly affordable upgrade to those mediocre leather straps that come default on cheaper Orient/Seiko watches.
Last but definitely not least is the tapered dress watch strap from Wabi Straps.
According to Wabi Straps, their tapered leather strap is best for ultra thin watches. The brand further elaborates that the strap “..is the epitome of refined elegance with its light gloss finish and a stony alligator style grain texture.” I must say, the first thing that caught my eye was the alligator patterning – it really does adds an additional dose of elegance to the watch.
While the alligator patterning was what first attracted me about this strap, I came to love the slim yet sturdy nature of Wabi Straps’ tapered dress watch strap over time. The slim and non-padded nature of the strap is perfect for sleek dress watches like my Tissot Porto. I was initially apprehensive about the durability of the strap, but this one from Wabi Straps doesn’t feel flimsy at all. In addition, the lining is pretty comfortable on the skin too, and is again a marked improvement from the cardboard-like linings one often sees from straps at this price point.
I absolutely adore this tapered dress leather strap from Wabi Straps. I think this might be my favourite out of the lot. I think the alligator texture results in an added sophistication, but I love the slimness of the strap the most. It’s pretty hard to find an affordable thin strap for dress watches – most are flimsy and won’t last. Of course, the faux alligator texture can’t compare to the grains on a genuine alligator strap, but if you’re looking for a genuine alligator strap you would need to pay at least S$200. At just S$32, I think Wabi Straps’ tapered dress leather strap makes for a great affordable alternative.
Conclusion – so Wabi Straps “shiok” or not?
One thing is for sure – Wabi Straps offer a lot of variety. Whether you’re looking for NATO, metal, leather, or rubber, you can pretty much find everything that you’re looking for at Wabi Straps. And for the most part, their offerings are aesthetically intriguing, yet durable as well. That being said, I do think that their leather straps present the best value proposition – they look great, and are well-built. I would also recommend checking out their vintage JB Champion straps as well – I think those are a steal, for the quality that you’re getting!
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off all items store-wide! After the discount, I think most of their straps are great value propositions, especially the leather straps. That also means that you can get a vintage JB lizard strap (pictured above) for just S$25 – how dope is that?
View Wabi Straps’ full range of strap offerings 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!