Hand Antiqued Alligator Finish for Your Custom Straps

IWC Big Pilot on Alligator strap with Hand Antiquing ‘Full Dye’ Technique

Hi strap lovers, in 2011, soon after my arrival in Germany, Andrea and I attended the Munich Time watch fair, which is a wonderful little watch fair that takes place in Bayersherhof Hotel in Munich every October.  Among the wonderful examples of watches from the many great brands represented, I as a strap maker was overall left unimpressed overall with the straps on offer with many of these magnificent timepieces.  However, on our way out, we stopped by the IWC booth to have a look an was smitten by the IWC Portuguese 8-day Rose Gold with Anthracite grey dial.  Now, this is truly a stunning watch, but the thing that bowled me over was the antiqued finish Alligator strap made for them by Santoni.  I just loved the outstanding beauty and depth of color that this strap offered and compared to the rather bland strap offerings we had seen throughout the rest of the watch fair, this was a real show stopper!  I resolved then and there to teach myself the technique of Hand Antiquing alligator:

My source of inspiration:

Hand Antiquing Over Tannery Dyed Alligator:

Quickly thereafter, I began my first experimentations.  Success soon followed and I have been custom dying and staining Alligator to achieve a Hand Antiqued finish evry since.  When I first started making these, I was using Alligator which had been dyed to a lighter brown color by the Tannery and just adding the Antiquing color between an at the edges of the scales.  These are some great examples of the color finish that I can achieve using this technique and this is a technique which I can still use on certain lighter color Alligator skins if they have a finish that is capable of absorbing leather dye and where the base color is ideal for achieving the final color finish that the customer desires:

Hand Antiqued finish over old Walnut Alligator from our Veneto Collection

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Full Dye Technique:

IWC Big Pilot on Alligator strap with Hand Antiquing 'Full Dye' Technique
IWC Big Pilot on Alligator strap with Hand Antiquing ‘Full Dye’ Technique

However, since 2015, I have been doing the full dye technique, which is where I start from undyed Alligator, which I currently stock in our Veneto Alligator Collection, and dye the underlying color and the antiqued finish as well.  In most cases, this is my preferred method of doing the Hand Antiqued finish.  The reason I prefer this is that I can have complete control over the dying a staining process, thereby giving me a wider color option which can be achieved

‘Full Dye’ Hand Antiqued Alligator Bund strap on Panerai PAM051

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