The making of a leather watch strap is a a complex process that consists of multiple steps, it requires the expertise of a highly skilled artisan with a meticulous attention to detail.
Leather is an organic material and every leather hide comes with its own characteristics and natural marks. The hide is first carefully inspected for irregularities before the best part is selected and cut for the watch strap to present the best qualities of the leather. Strips are first cut before trimming them down to specific lengths for each strap.
On the flesh side, the folding points are marked and the strap ends are thinned down uniformly using a skiving knife to reduce bulk and thickness. This gives pliability to the leather and allows it to be wrapped well around the spring bars, fitting nicely into the watch lugs.
With a clean cut, the edges of the leather are perpendicular. The first step in making the sharp edge to be rounded and smooth is by beveling the edge of the top side and flesh side using an edge beveler. When worn on wrist, this step prevents any discomfort that might arise due to the leather edge.
Burnishing is a technique that gives best results on vegetable tanned leather. A special solution is applied to the edge of the straps and a wooden burnisher runs briskly back and forth on it, slight pressure is applied to create heat for a rounded polished edge that is smooth and evenly coloured, the end result elevates the aesthetics of the watch strap.
Vergez Blanchard is a French Company with a long history, they supply the finest tools to luxury leather goods makers and are well loved for their quality and dependability. Pricking irons from Vergez Blanchard are used to mark the stitching holes on the watch straps, playing a big part in the refined and slanted stitches.
Every watch strap is hand stitched using the traditional saddle stitch technique. Saddle stitch is the most durable form of stitching and each stitch is made up of 2 independent stitches, increasing the strength and durability of your watch strap.
Fil Au Chinois Lin Cable is the choice thread here. Used by luxury fashion houses, the French company is favoured for its consistency, strength and quality. Due to the natural fibres which are twisted and immersed in beeswax, linen thread is strong, resilient, and does not stretch over time.
A needle is looped on either end of the lightly waxed linen thread and while one is passed through the stitching hole from one side, the other needle passes through the same hole from the opposite side. Once both needles are through, they are pulled taut and the steps repeat till the end.
To finish off the stitches, back stitch is performed. Back stitch is where the needles retraces the route back with the same steps. Instead of the usual once or twice back stitch, an entire row is done to balance out the look of the stitches and to reinforce the strength. Care is taken to ensure the stitches do not overlap and each thread sits above the other in perfect parallel.
It is important to ensure the tension is the same throughout this process and that the stitches are not too tight or too loose. A time consuming process, this clearly shows the honed skills of the artisan.
The bottom strap is then measured and watch holes are punched using a tool to ensure equidistant holes.
A heated awl then runs through the spring bar holes to ensure ease in strap change and the hardware is attached.
Lastly, the strap is buffed and polished till shine using a horsehair brush and a canvas cloth before being inspected for the last time.