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Tmuir

Longevity of Leather bands

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I'm after peoples opinions as to whether the more expensive hand made leather strap made with quality leather do last much longer than the cheaper bands.

I'm sure they will last a lot longer than the £2 straps you can buy in bulk, but was wondering how much longer than the £10 or £15 leather straps.

I tend to usually get no more than 1 or 2 years from a leather strap before it reaches a point I think I should replace it on a daily worn watch, but other than keeping it from getting wet I don't do any maintenance on my leather straps. I see on some of the more expensive leather straps they recommend applying leather conditioner to keep them lasting longer.

Does anyone here carry out any maintenance on their leather straps to make them last longer and if I was to buy a £60 or more expensive hand made leather strap should I expect it to last significantly longer?

I don't wear metal straps as I'm always tightening and loosening my straps depending on what I'm doing as I find a tight strap will give me a rash on my wrist and that's too hard to do with s metal strap.

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Hi Tmuir     My own opinion is that the better quality the leather and stitching the better it will wear. That is of course depending on useage and how you take care of the leather. Regular cleaning with saddle soap and treating with neatsfoot oil will keep it supple. If it is exposed to the elements  ie water and sun any leather will crack and deteriorate.  Sweat is another destroyer of leather straps hence the cleaning.

I myself wear a rice grain bracelet which is subject to an ultrasonic clean on a regular basis. 

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It’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string.

Providing you look after it and say work in an office, a reasonable priced strap will last a long time. If however, the person has heavy manual work and swats a lot it will not last very long.

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Yes I should clarify, I work in Data centers, so I'm indoors, they don't get subject to dirt or dust and if I'm doing something that will make me sweat I usually take it off.

But the consensus so far seems to be that the better quality straps should indeed last considerably longer if looked after.

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I've always used Hirch straps they are very hard wearing and at around £25.00 for a padded one I think they are good value and I can get a good few years from one and a good range of styles available and their straps for fixed wire strap bars are very good.

I do not think you would get any longer use out of the extortionately priced manufactures straps such as Omega and Breitling with prices starting at £200.00 even if it lasted 5 years you could still have many many years worth of straps at a fraction of the price of one branded strap they are another way of extracting money from the gullible.

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I keep desiccant in my watch box. My hope is that it helps preserve both the leather straps and the movement. I frequently have to dry out the packets in an oven as the watch box isn't air tight. I don't have a good way of knowing if this actually helps or if it is pointless but this is just a trick I use that might help.

One thing I do on many new watches I buy is to buy a replacement strap right away and store it for later use. It can get a bit expensive depending on the strap. The original strap is part of the overall aesthetics that attract you to a watch so it is nice knowing that I can go back to the original look should my strap wear out. Oftentimes it isn't possible to get an exact strap match for a watch years later if it is discontinued or changed.

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I have my late father's Cyma WWW that he was issued with in 1945. He wore it most everyday after that for about 40 years, working as a builder. The black pigskin strap is still serviceable although has a small piece of leather glued over a crack on the inside. 

I never saw him clean it or use any leather treatment.

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Dont know the longevity of watch straps as I have many watches and wear them at infrequent intervals but I can tell you about leather as I'm into leather as well as watches and I've made belts, wallets, bags, watch straps, purses etc. There are many different kinds of leather with the most durable and hardest to cut being stingray which also is the most expensive. I dulled a blade cutting 1 watch strap then there is alligator, croco, caiman, buffalo, cow, pig etc. and there are many different ways of tanning the leather. Tanneries can tan the same leather and produce soft or hard leather, leather with a grain etc. Full grain leather is the whole thickness of the leather and is the best. Top grain is the top layer of the leather after it has been split to make it thinner and produces the top grain and suede then there are the various fakes starting with PU leather which utilizes the suede left over from making top grain leather. They basically coat the suede with polyurethane to make it look like leather. If you ever bought a cheap belt and after a month it cracked on the top layer this is what you have. The suede part will hold up but the PU part cracked. then there is leatherette and another form of leather where they take the scraps, grind them up and combine with a glue and I think they call this genuine leather. A leather watch strap that is sewn together would be made from top grain leather on top or alligator or whatever and on the bottom a softer, more comfortable leather such as pigskin. Pigskin can last many years, I have a shoe lined with pigskin that I have for about 20 yrs. I put 5-7km on it daily and its lasted. 

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