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Hi strap lovers, I am really excited to share this just completed Alligator bund strap with hand-antiqued finish for a customer’s PAM. This strap is very special in several ways. First, it is the fist Hand Antiqued Alligator that I have made starting from entirely undyed Alligator skin (our previously made Alligators with hand antiquing, I started from typically light brown Alligator and then just added the antiquing dye). This undyed Alligator is a new product for us and part of our Veneto Alligator Collection. The Alligator had been fully tanned but just not dyed to any color, which allows me to use the underlying dye color of my choice before adding the antiquing finish. This also allows us to offer just about any color you can imagine in Alligator straps. Would you like Army Green Alligator, Light Pink, Orange, Red, Purple or Olive? We can now offer all of these as well as a myriad of other colors without the necessity of buying an entire Alligator skin in that color, which is cost-prohibitive for us when we may only be get one request per year in some unusual color.
The Second reason this strap is very special are the details chosen by our customer for his strap: This strap also features our ‘Thick Curved Lug System’ (TCLS) upgrade, which is designed to give the strap an integrated fit between the lugs, and well as padding at the lug, which gives this strap a uniquely custom look that no other strap can match.
The Third reason this strap is very special is, of course, our custom shape bund underlayment. This bund underlayment was custom shaped to fit our customer’s Panerai watch and made from matching hand Antiqued Alligator, lined with Black Motorcycle Kangaroo leather (more about that in a moment) and fully hand saddle stitched using our finest French linen thread. The retaining loop sewn onto the bund underlayment being also lined with kangaroo leather for strength and with just the right fit to hold the strap firmly in place but allowing enough room to allow easy removal of the bund underlayment from the strap, so that the strap can be worn alone, essentially giving you two straps in one.
The final reason this strap is very special is the lining. The Black Motorcycle Kangaroo leather is one of the strongest and most durable leathers we offer, while at the same time being one of our most supple (really buttery soft – you won’t believe how comfortable it is on the wrist). This leather is tanned by Packer Leather, Australia’s largest tanner of Kangaroo leathers. This leather was designed for use in motorcycle gloves and engineered to be both incredibly soft and to be extremely moisture tolerant, This means that even after repeated wet/drying cycles the leather will not become stiff or brittle (this is ultimately the reason most straps will fail over time).
Contrary to popular belief, the outside of the strap that you see while wearing the strap typically lives it pretty easy and is (in all but the rarest of instances) not subject to extreme conditions that cause wear. The inside lining of the strap is where most of the damage is typically done and where a failure of the watch straps most often occurs. The harshest environment – absorbing body moisture day after day (even if you’re not sweating into your strap) requires the leather to go through many wet/drying cycles throughout it’s life and with each of these cycles absorbing salts from the skin and loosing a little of the oils added to the leather at the tannery (which makes the leather soft and supple). The lining leather eventually becomes dry and brittle, cracking and generally becoming yucky (yes, this is a professional term). Often conditioning the lining leather of your straps (I really like Obenhauf’s Heavy Duty LP for this) can really help to prevent these issues and prolong the service life of your strap. Also not wearing the same strap 7/365 is recommended. In fact, I recommend switching straps/watches every few days thereby giving your leather straps the opportunity to rest and completely dry out (Imagine wearing the same pair of shoes every day, all day for a year and without socks and you will get the idea of how nasty things can become). Another option is for us to use leathers that have been specifically engineered in the tanning process to deal with these issues. This brings us full circle back to Packer’s amazingly soft gloving leather. This leather has been engineered to handle these harshest of environments with aplomb and to look great while doing it (Black or other dark colors are also helpful, in that these won’t as easily show the moisture/sweat staining that can discolor lighter leathers over time). Kangaroo leather is also known to be the world’s strongest leather having a much higher tensile strength than cow’s leather of the same thickness. All of which makes our new Packer Kangaroo leathers ideal for watch strap linings.