Watchstraps are like supportive characters in a movie. They are vital for the story but never the center of attention. They are holding our watches securely on our wrists but beyond looks, we usually don’t pay much attention to them. If you are obsessed with watches like we are, you want to make sure you get the best in each component of your watch, and wristbands are no exception. As a young company we are discovering everyday and we want to share with you our latest insights on our straps.
Each watch brand commonly has their trusted supplier for making their straps. Amongst strapmakers, there can be huge differences in the raw materials and the methods they use, depending on where they are located and what kind of leather they specialize in. When we started exploring who we want to work with, we decided to go with some of the most experienced manufacturers who craft high quality leather from France and Italy.
Having recently visited one of our manufacturers we work with for MYKU, we learnt a lot about the complex work that goes into a simple strap. We are glad to share the steps to a good watchband with you today:
1. THE TANNING
Fundamental to working with leather is the process of tanning, in which raw animal hides are modified in order to prevent them for decomposing. There are two common types of tanning; vegetable and chrome tanning. The latter is usually preferred in manufacturing watch straps, as the leather will be more resistant and durable.
Creating durable, high quality leather takes up to 8 weeks and involves about 50 technical processes. When the leather is ready to be worked, the workshop will begin by meticulously inspect every inch of the hides to ensure their best quality. Just like our skin has scars and bruises, so do cows!
2. THE FIRST CUT OR THE PREPARATION CUT:
Once the leather has been checked and is up to our standards, the craftsman will begin by generously drafting out the shape of the wristbands on the hides, following the pattern of the grains. He will cut them slightly bigger than the final strap to give some tolerance for a perfect finish at the end. This process is also known as “Press and Punch”, in which three layers of the wristband are created.
We know people are concerned with wearing leather straps in summer due to heat and humidity. Therefore, we worked closely with our craftsman to create a special leather lining, known as Azalvel. which makes the band resistant to sweat, sunscreen and so on.
3. THE PREPARATION:
The next two processes, called Slithering and Skiving, will press the leather into flattened straps. Imagine a pasta machine, which presses the dough into a slim and even sheet.
As leather features a naturally uneven surface, the aim is to minimise the gap between the layers when the straps are placed on top of each other. Once the layers of each strap fit perfectly on top of each other, the craftsmen will proceed to cut them into their final shape and glue the layers together.
4. The Grand Finale
The final step is where all the expertise comes in. The perfect assembling of a strap is what makes or breaks its quality and sets the bar for a luxury product.
Firstly the edges of each band are painted. Six layers of a special coating are applied, forming a consistent finishing around all edges to make it longer lasting. Most strapmakers commonly use only one layer.
Adding a final touch, MYKU’s signature steel buckle, spring mechanisms and embossment are added to each strap. Finally, each top strap is paired with a perfectly matching bottom strap. It’s a match!
5. THE QUALITY CONTROL
As a constant companion on your wrist, our straps must withstand all challenges, so in this final step we challenge them extensively.
Each strap is assessed in a multitude of tests, simulating all influences it must withstand, including heat, corrosion, bending etc.
To make it as realistic as possible, our manufacturer uses quality control machines such as the rock tumbler. Imagine a giant washing machine, filled with all sorts of things one keeps in his/her pockets. The straps are spun with mobile phones, key and wallets for hours to ensure they can withstand rubbing with items of our daily life. Now that’s a test!
Why all this fuss? We want you to enjoy your MYKU all day, every day for as long as possible. It is key that all components of our watches are superior.
Now with all that new insight, we hope you even get a little bit more excited to put on your watch in the morning. Remember, your strap is the “piece de resistance”, which made it through this excruciating test.