Vintage watch straps

The watch is certainly the world’s best-selling jewel for men. Appart from being useful to control the time, over time it became a whole differentiating item. For this reason, the moment of buying a watch requires that you stop for a while thinking of which style goes better with your personality. For that, it is necessary to know the different types of watch cases and straps available in the market.

Retro is trendy

Not only in the jewellery world. In every sphere of fashion or decoration, one can see a big volume of retro items that go perfectly well with the most modern and contemporary looks.

In the watch industry world, the same is happening; one of the current best-selling styles is that of the models that resemble the watches from some years ago. In a world of mass production where industrial productions completely crush the handmade product’s personality, the retro watch models are a touch of difference to your style, ripping the moulds of production chain fashion.

How to match your vintage watch

One of the advantages of this kind of jewels is that it matches with any kind of outfit. Because of its simple and discreet design, you will be able to wear your retro watch both in informal situations and in working dinners or special ceremonies. This handmade delicate jewel will give you a touch of elegance and style in any situation, making your look more original and with character.

The production chain of fashion brought many advantages, such as the decrease of costs and hence of prices, but also many drawbacks. Since production is industrialised, originality and exclusivity were lost along the way. Every product is the same. Maybe because of that clients started looking for retro items, which have details that make them unique.

How to distinguish the commercial from the genuine

The vintage style is so much at its peak that many firms started mass producing imitations. For this reason, to make sure you are purchasing a genuine retro model, you should pay attention to several details.

The genuine retro model is the one that was produced with the original production techniques. This means it was not imitated with the help of new technologies. This includes handmade parts, as the strap’s stitching can be. It is easy to know when a product was handmade and when it was made in a machine; the handcrafted products usually have small differences among them. The artisan’s hand doesn’t stitch always at the exact same distance or treats the leather the exact same way. This allows each piece to have unique characteristics, being impossible to find two straps that are exactly the same. This is precisely what makes each one of our watches special.

You should also pay attention to the materials. Many manufacturers make their products in imitation leather to make them cheaper. However, if what you are looking for is a special and elegant jewel, you should make sure the watch strap you are buying is made out of leather.

As in the handcrafted products, leather doesn’t always have the same texture and colour in all parts. This fact that could be seen as a flaw at first sight for those who are used to industrial goods, is exactly what ensures you of the authenticity of the leather item.

These are the details that make each one of our jewels unique. This originality is what will give you a sophisticated and elegant look in any situation.

A watch is much more than an accessory to see the time. If this wasn’t the case, with the emergence of mobile phones, they would have disappeared. However, far from that scenario, their sales keep continuously increasing. This is so because the watch is a jewel, and that’s how you have to see it when buying one.

Before choosing the model you should stop and think about which case goes the best with you or which strap do you like the best. There are models for every style but, if you want to get it right, with a retro model you will be your most elegant self in every aspect of your life, without looking ostentatious. A vintage watch model will boost your look, regardless of it being more or less formal. With a retro model, you will always get it right.

Buying your strap for a Vintage watch

Take a look at our wide range of vintage watch straps.

Leather straps collection redesigned!

Waxed leather strap: 77

I have a special affection for some models because I grew up with them. Without a doubt, one of these straps from the leather collection is the 77. For many years it was one of the best-selling models in every market where Diloy was present, however, over time, it had become obsolete, wherefore we decided to put it through a reinvigoration process, which I now explain.

Old model leather watch strap 77

Old model leather watch strap 77

Redesigning the model 77: from greased leather to waxed leather

The first big shift was the leather. Originally, we used greased cow leather from Italy. Good, beautiful, and expensive. Notwithstanding the price, the client could see the quality and would have no problems paying its price. But the crisis came and the Italian tanneries started to mischief with the leathers.

Where there used to be an excellent leather with the exact amount of oil, was now an extremely expensive material with far too much oil in order to cover up the flaws of a definitely reduced quality leather. In the end, when heating the leather to make the semi-turned process, the mould would look like a fryer with the quantity of oil coming out of the leather. Of course, the oil and the glues don’t go well together. Thus, before we had any complaints from clients, we decided to change the leather type.

We went through countless suppliers of greased leather: Spanish, Italian, Pakistani… The problem was always the same: too much or too less oil. This way, the straps would easily tear, the oil would slip into the linings, staining them, there were problems with glues, etc. Luckily, these problems were managed at the production level and never came to the market.

Our second attempt was a cow leather imitating the greased finishing. It wasn’t bad, the leather quality was good, but the result was a strap that, instead of grease, was feeling like plastic. Something has to be wrong when you have to explain to your clients over and over again that the strap is made out of genuine leather and not plastic. If it resembles plastic, it doesn’t matter the material that is actually used to produce the strap. Thus once again, before someone complained, we changed the material.

Finally, we found the leather that pleased me. So much that we are now using it also, step by step, in our Vintage collection. It is a waxed leather. The wax gives it a matte finish, very trendy in this kind of strap, instead of the initial glossy finish of the greased leather. The waxed finish keeps the feeling of genuine leather, with a smooth and natural touch.

Changing the mould: from square tip to sharp tip

The next big shift was to refresh the strap’s body. We stopped producing it with the classical square tip mould and started using our sharp tip mould. The result is a more contemporary model with a much more Mediterranian look. I know this will be hard to explain to our central European clients, who are still very found of the classical square tip, but we believe they will embrace the change.

To make it even more complicated: change of the lining and buckle

We wanted the new version of the model 77 to get back the position that used to occupy in the watch strap world, so we made it even better by changing the lining to boost smoothness and switching the buckle of golden aluminium for a new, more modern, stainless steel model.

Available sizes and colours

How could we say we had changed the model without adding the best-selling size of the last few years? Now, this strap is also available in 22mm.

Regarding colours, we keep the classical: black, dark brown, and intermediate brown. We don’t set aside the possibility of including a lighter brown soon.

The final result

We are proud to present you the new model 77. A classical strap with a modern and contemporary design, with a quality pattern much higher than the original that will surely be available very soon in all watch stores.

New leather watch straps Diloy 77

New leather watch straps Diloy 77

Bonus Track

Do you know which brand is building straps very similar to the 77? Take a look at St Mawes strap by Daniel Wellington. I wish they continue to sell lots of watches. They surely build them in 20mm.

Daniel Wellintong strap

Daniel Wellintong strap

If you want to see more leather watch straps models, stop by our homepage.

How to produce a leather watch strap?

As there are no secrets anymore, I want to teach you how to make a leather watch strap and how we do it at Diloy. Although, to be honest, I will skip a few steps that my production chiefs don’t let me reveal.

Types of leather watch straps

According to their production process, we can find three big groups. I sorted them out according to the difficulty level and required knowledge:

  1. Cut edge
  2. Remborder
  3. Semi-remborder

Each one of these types requires different competencies, technology, and knowledge. Ultimately, this knowledge is the main restraint and what leads some producers to offer only a very specific type of leather strap.

Let’s see a bit of each of these types and what makes them different.

Leather strap produced at cut edge

This is the simplest way to make a watch strap and anyone can make it. You will understand that straight ahead. What do we need?

  • A piece of leather
  • A ruler
  • A cutter
  • Contact adhesive
  • Someone handy, but, as you’ll see, doesn’t need to have years of experience.

Below you can see a video that perfectly illustrates this kind of production. With slight variations, that is how the so-called “artisanal” straps are made, and I believe it is easy to understand why the quality of the finish is usually not that good. I must say that there are incredible artisans who make real works of art, but you will probably agree with me that they represent a minority.

If we put handicraft aside and talk about the industrial production of straps in some enterprises from Madrid or from the Alicante area, the production is pretty much the same, with small differences:

  1. Presses and strip cutters are used to cut the leather into the shape of the strap, to open the holes where the buckle fits in or the hole for the strap’s tongue.
  2. Reducers are used to reduce the strap’s thickness.
  3. Sewing machines are used.

What is usually the problem with this type of watch strap?

  • Firstly, the fact that the strip cutters get damaged rather quickly and it is necessary to change them frequently, which is not done. If you have one of those so-called “national” straps (as if the others were aliens), I invite you to slide your finger through the strap’s corner and you will see that it is not soft.
  • The second major problem is that the glues that are used are developed for footwear, and a watch strap is not a shoe. The surfaces to be glued are much smaller, the thicknesses are not the same, let alone the strains they are exposed to, etc. In the end, they peel off. And, naturally, a glue thought to attach the sole to the shoe has no reason to take into account possible allergies that it may cause, once it will not be in contact with the skin. That is often the source of the allergies and inconveniences many clients report to us when they use one of those inaccurately called “national” straps.
  • When painting the strap’s corner, anything can be used. I have even seen plastic paint like Titanlux, or shoes cleaning liquid like Kanfor, etc.
  • The holes for the pins are often occluded with glue.

Obviously, this is a very cost-efficient way of producing. To make a strap, a factory takes usually between 12 and 18 steps.

We will see that in the following video

Diloy Factory, at cut straps?

The answer is yes, we produce several at cut straps. Specifically, our Vintage range is produced following this technic, and we do so to be loyal to the way they were produced in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. But we introduced several improvements:

  • We use glues that are specially developed for the watch strap industry, eco-friendly and harmless to the user’s skin. These glues fulfil all the European and North-American regulations for objects that will be in direct contact with skin.
  • We make sure our cutters are always well sharpened. Not least because of the cleaner the cut, the least work we have afterwards. It is a simple matter of costs because we worry about those details. Certainly, in your shop, you have one of our at cut straps and other from our competition. Take a minute to examine their edges, slide your finger through them, which one do you think has the best finishing?
  • To accomplish this finishing, we sand all the corners until we get a uniform surface. It is a slow step that needs to be handmade one strap at a time, but in the end, the difference can be noted.
  • We use special inks to paint the strap’s corners. These inks are specially developed for leather. They are not plastic paint, as it often is used.
  • Instead of one coating, each strap gets 5 to 7 coatings with their respective drying cycles.

Finally, while our competition justifies its high costs because it has to make 18 different steps, we never make an at cut strap with less than 40 steps. Each one of these steps adds value to the final product, and that can be noted.

Appart from the Vintage watch straps, we have some sports models that we produce at cut.

Remborder edge leather watch straps

In this case, the leather in the upper part of the strap “hugs” the lining.

As in the previous case, it is a type of strap that almost anyone can make, but here one would need, at least, a good reducer and a bit more ability because otherwise, the result would be far from good.

There is a big advantage in comparison to at cut straps. If it is well made, the finishing is more elegant.

Who uses this kind of technique? Usually, factories that don’t have the technology for the semi-turned either because of the required investment or for lack of knowledge. Also, factories specialised in producing watch straps for big brands, in which costs are not a problem and productions are in limited quantities. These are small factories with highly skilled employees. Unfortunately, it is not common to see this kind of finishing in our markets. Or rather, there are many turned corner straps that are, as Matias Prat put it, “to turn… down”.

At Diloy, we use this technique for over 20 years, but here you can see how it is produced. Our current process is similar, except for the framing process. I believe this is a really interesting video.

 

Semi-remborder edge leather watch straps

While in the previous process, the strap’s leather “hugged” the lining, in the case of the semi-turned straps, the leather coats the strap’s edge and ends precisely in the lining’s edge.

What is needed to make a semi-turned watch strap?

This kind of production is no longer within the reach of anyone, once it implies technical knowledge, highly qualified personnel, and a substantial investment in technology. In short, we need:

  • Adequate leathers. We can’t make the strap with any leather.
  • Special glues, because there are some surfaces to be glued about just. one millimeter large.
  • Moulds, many moulds, really a lot: to cut the upper part, the inside, the linings, to mark the sewing lines, etc., etc., etc. Naturally, each size requires a different set of moulds.
  • A high-quality leather splitting machine. We will reduce the leather to 1.4mm large, and the parts that are to be folded to make the corner at 0.6mm. However, it has to be 0.6 mm uniform, and that’s not in the reach of every splitting machine.
  • The semi-remborder presses themselves, which are the crown jewel, being responsible for bending the leather’s corners and leaving them perfect.

Altogether, the simplest semi-turned strap produced by Diloy has a total of 52 steps. Do you believe that anyone can offer the same quality in 18 steps that we do in 52? Obviously not.

In this video, you will see some of the machines we use. They are not all here. Some of them we designed and developed ourselves. Others were completely altered to adapt to our workflow. You will also see some of those we use to make at cut straps, like the edge polisher or the machine to paint corners.

Now you know everything that is behind a strap. Now you only need to pay a visit to our leather watch bands collection and suit up your watch.

Presenting the new milanesa watch strap model: MeshEP

MESHEP, our most elegant milanesa model

One of the most solid market trends in the past two or three years are milanesa or mesh straps. This are straps made of mesh steel thread. But do you know where these straps come from? Their origin dates back to the pocket watch chains of the 19th century, and this adaptation was idealised in the city of Milan, hence the name. The creation of the milanesa (also known as mesh) lead to the entry of metal straps in the clock making industry. Then came the extendable straps and the bonds bracelets. We can see Milanesa straps in the first Rolex Oyster in the 20s.

Appart from those who never stopped using it as an identity element, such as Skagen, a myriad of brands started presenting their collections with this strap: from low-cost watches, such as Marea, to big brands, such as Omega, Breitling, IWC, or Zenith, and more popular brands, such as Lotus, Festina, Viceroy, Mondaine, Calvin Klein, or Hamilton. And, obviously, the two trendy brands of the past two years: Daniel Wellington and Bering. Albeit the brand that ended up consolidating this sort of aesthetics to the great public was not a watchmaking brand itself, but rather the Apple Watch.

At Diloy, we have invested for years in the retro aesthetics, both in vintage leather watch straps and in metal, with our range of mesh or milanesa watch bands. Now we reinforce this collection with this new model, the most elegant of them all, the MESH EP with spike meshing. Mesh EP is available in sizes between 18 and 24mm, in steel colour and high-quality IPG plating.

Military Chic

Straps produced with military thread

Season after season, there’s something that never goes missing: military is trendy. But not only the camouflage printings or the olive-green clothing items. Since Summer 2017 this trend extends to all kinds of clothing items and accessories: from printed t-shirts to parkas, purses, earrings, and inevitably watch straps.

At Diloy, we have put our faith in this trend, including olive green in many of our models and, on top of that, putting onto market two straps 100% military: our latest novelty, the Nato Military model, available in the sizes 20 and 22mm. It is made of a nylon fabric, very similar to the one used in seatbelts, printed with three different camouflage patterns.

Military fabric watch strap

Military fabric watch strap

Furthermore, there’s our popular model 370, produced with military fabric and available between 18 and 30mm. Some time ago, we started the process of redesigning this model, implementing a few technical improvements that we learnt recently. And replacing materials to get to a much softer strap.

If what you are looking for is a more classical model, but matching with your military look, you can take a look at our watch leather strap collection and you will see that we have a myriad of models available in the military green colour.

Water-resistant watch strap. The best option for Summer 2018

Watch strap especial for vegans and, besides that, water-resistant

We did it again! This time we present you a special strap for the Summer, 100% water-resistant. And, additionally, especial for those who asked for a strap for vegans.

Watch strap special for vegans and water-resistant

If it is special for vegans, what is it made of?

Our vegan strap model is made out of microfibre, a technical material that we experimented for some time and has, among others, these characteristics:

  • Soft touch. You will see it is a simple and convenient strap from the first day.
  • This fabric is very hard to crease or deform. This is perfect for the strap to keep its original shape despite months of wear.
  • It is a water-repellent fabric, but not waterproof. Almost not at all :). In other words, it doesn’t like water, but it is resistant to transpiration It dries quickly. It does not mean the strap will not get wet, it means it will dry as fast as possible without deteriorating.
  • Related to the previous point, it is a breathable fabric: it eliminates sweat, being ideal to wear with sports watches.
  • It is a very light material. Well, it’s not like we were going to feel a big difference comparing to leather in something the size of a watch strap, but one can feel the material is much lighter than leather.
  • Highly resistant to changes in pH, and consequently, to sweat.
  • It has antibacterial properties, which avoids the bad odour that one can usually find in leather straps in Summer. Obviously, if you refrain from showering, miracles should not be expected either.
  • It is a hypoallergenic material. It is always important to highlight that a hypoallergenic material is the one that reduces the risks of suffering an allergic reaction, which doesn’t mean it makes it impossible to happen. It shouldn’t be the normal case scenario, though.
  • It has anti-pilling properties, which prevent pilling and detached threads.

But, what is exactly microfibre?

For those who like to get a bit more technical, I’ll tell you that microfibre is a high-tech development comprised of two ultra-thin fibres: polyester (80%) and polyamide (20%). The thread that is obtained is 100 times thinner than the human hair. With just half the thickness of silk.

Appart from Diloy straps, what is microfibre used for?

These are a few of the uses of the so-called fabric of the 21st century:

  • Working clothes, for its high resistance.
  • Functional clothes. For instance, sports equipment or rainwear.
  • Silk-like fabrics for clothes and sheets production, among others. As a matter of fact, the most delicate and comfortable.
  • Every kind of use to substitute leather: gloves, coats, furniture, etc. (This is where we step in.)
  • High-performance cleaning fabrics that use less cleaning products.

What microfibre is not? With what should we not confuse it?

Microfibre is neither a PU nor a PVC. It is easy to tell these materials apart with the touch. Being a fabric, microfibre doesn’t have the cold feeling of plastic. For this reason, it doesn’t break easily, as plastic does, and it breathes.

Do not be fooled with a plastic strap.

Vegans

Model 415 is the first watch strap model for vegans that we launch in the market, with which we aim at covering the demand of our clients who were asking more and more for this kind of strap.

Although we have included this model, in our store, in the watch leather straps category, we want to make it very clear that it is 100% leather-free. Its categorisation follows our hope that the general public accesses this model and, in the current market, it would be difficult to classify it without creating any confusions.

Variety

At the moment, this strap is available in the following colours: black, three shades of brown, navy blue, red, and white. We produce it in sizes between 18 and 26mm, with vintage style.

For now, it is only available with steel buckle. Soon, we will have some with golden buckles, coppery (rose gold), and black finish. All of them galvanised by physical vapour deposition, also known as PVD.

While the stock with different buckles doesn’t arrive, remember we have buckles of every colour for sale.