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Vintage Watch Straps

Straps and bands for fixed wire lug vintage military trench or officers Great War wristwatches.



Contents
One piece straps
Basic designs
Double slots
Cutter limitations
Strap length
Strap width
Strap thickness
Single thickness leather
Leathers
Shell Cordovan Leather
Leather Colours
Buckles
Contrast stitching
Fitting notes
Bund style
Two piece straps
Smaller wrists
Cushion cases
Wristlets
Straps with covers
Wrist Compasses

Leather NATO G10

If you are interested in a leather version of the NATO G10 strap, they are now on a separate page: NATO G10.

My Designs of Watch Straps and Watch Bands

Copyright © Notice

This page describes in detail the designs of the replica Great War era wristwatch straps that I supply. Details of prices, postage costs and how to place an order can be found on the Ordering page.

If you have any questions you are welcome to email me at Please don't give out my email address, refer anyone interested to this web site. I try to answer all emails I receive so if you don't get a reply in a few days please check your junk or spam folders.


J C Vickery Advert 1916

Authenticity and Originality

As I explain on the History page, there was an upsurge in demand for men's wristwatches during the Great War (the First World War or World War One, WW1 - 1914 to 1918.) Before this, most watch manufacturer were making pocket watches and hadn't anticipated the sudden demand for wristwatches. Men's wristwatches had been made before the Great War, but there was not really much demand for them and not much thought had gone into their design. The easiest way to produce a wristwatch was to make some modifications to an existing small model of pocket watch wristwatch, adding loops of wire, called lugs, and passing a strap or band of leather through these to secure the watch to the wrist. The first wristwatch straps were single continuous pieces of leather which passed through the wire lugs and across the back of the watch, and this was the type of watch that was produced in huge quantities during the Great War.

My two piece cuff straps are authentic replicas of period military pieces like the one shown in the 1916 advert by J C Vickery here. They look good and chunky on the wrist, are comfortable to wear and show off your vintage timepiece at its best. No mans fixed wire lug watch looks right without one of these style of straps. I wanted a strap like this so that I could wear my grandfather's 1918 silver Rolex watch, but I couldn't find any of satisfactory design and quality, so I had some made!

Strap Mark on Silver Case
Strap Witness Mark on 1916 Omega

Because the lugs on trench watches are only 10mm or 12mm wide they have to be fitted with a narrow strap. Sometimes that's all they get fitted with, a narrow strap not much wider than a decent bootlace. Although this is authentic - there are plenty of pictures showing men wearing watches with very narrow straps, to modern eyes a narrow strap on a man's wrist looks completely wrong and ruins the appearance of the watch. If you have ever worn a watch with a strap like tis, you will know that it is also very uncomfortable to wear. However, there is evidence, such as the J C Vickery advert from 1916 reproduced above, that the benefits of a wide strap were soon recognised. These had to be made with a narrow strap that would pass throught the lugs, so a wider back pad was added for comfort.

Trench watches are also often fitted with straps that fit onto the lugs rather than looping through the lugs and across the back of the watch. Again this is authentic, there are adverts from the period that show watches with this type of strap. But most trench watches were used with one piece straps, which is what I prefer for period authenticity - you can often see witness marks on the back of the case where the one piece strap used to run, as in the picture of the 1916 Omega shown on the right. Sorry it's a bit tarnished, but that's when the witness marks show up best.

One Piece Strap

Strap Detail
Fixed wire lug showing path of strap

My straps are designed primarily for Great War era watches that have fixed wire lugs which take a one piece strap that passes through the lugs and across the back of the watch case as shown in the strap details picture here. The wire lugs of these early watch cases are simply made from bent pieces of wire soldered to the case, shaped to allow the strap to loop across the back of the case. Wire lugs usually have a dropped shape to guide the one piece strap across the back of the case, and also leave plenty of room between the case and the lug for the strap to slip through as shown in the picture. The back of the case is also rounded so that the strap doesn't need to make a sharp bend to go across the back of the case.

To be sure that your watch will take a one piece strap you need to look at the path the leather will take through the lugs and across the back of the case. If the lugs are sized and positioned so that the strap can take a gently curved path like the one in the picture, and there is at least a 2mm gap between the case and the lugs for the strap to pass through, then it will be fine. usually it is obvious if the case and lugs were intended to take a one piece strap. If the path that the strap would have to take has sharp or right angled bends, then it is probably not suitable for a one piece strap and you should take a look at my open ended straps described below.

Modern "Horn" and "Spring Bar" or "Fixed Bar" Strap Fixings

After the early fixed wire lug watches, more modern watches have "horns" fixed on side of the case, and either spring bars or fixed bars which engage with these horns. The bars usually come closer to the case than fixed wire lugs, and often they either don't leave enough space for a one piece leather strap to pass between the bars and the case. Also the placement of the bars on the mid line of the case often doesn't allow a one piece strap to wrap easily around the bars and then across the back of the case.

If you have a watch like this, then I can supply a two piece strap that fits directly onto the bars instead of looping across the back of the case. This type of strap fits the horn and bar configuration better than a one piece strap, which is more correct for wire lugs. These can be either open ended for fixed bars or closed end for spring bars. Please read the section on "bund style straps" below.

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My Three Basic Designs of Vintage Watch Straps

I have cutters for three basic designs. The original Type A and Type B design are shown on the left, the more recently added Type C is shown on the right. The Type A and B are illustrated with standard slots, the Type C with double slots.

The Type A design is only be supplied with the standard single slots for the strap to pass through as shown in the picture, but both the Type B and the Type C can be made with either the standard single slots, or with the double slots as shown on the Type C and described further below.

Basic Designs
Type A and Type B designs with Standard Slots
Basic Designs
Type C with Double Slots

Type A:

The Type A design has straight sides, and the back piece is 25mm or one inch wide all the way along.

The Type A design will take straps up to 14mm in width. It is not really suitable for straps wider than 14mm on aesthetic grounds: clearly a 25mm back pad could accommodate a 16mm strap but I just don't think it looks right (though it can be done if you really want). I usually keep 10mm and 12mm in stock.

The Type A design is not suitable for double slots (described below).

Type B:

The standard Type B design is about 35mm wide before flaring out to a wider section of just over 40mm wide behind the watch with a notch for the crown. This size of the Type B design suits average size trench watches of diameters between about 32mm to 37mm best. I have also had cutters made so that I can supply two larger sizes of the Type B strap that suit watches of (1) up to 45mm and (2) up to 50mm.

The Type B design can take straps up to 20mm width, and can be supplied with either single slots as shown in the picture, or double slots for 10mm, 12mm or 14mm straps. I keep the Type B strap in stock in 10mm in the single slot design, and in 12mm width in both single and double slot styles. If you make a special order on a Type B and you want double slots, please be sure to make this clear. The Type B can also be made without the notch in the standard size but not the larger sizes.

Type C:

The Type C design is similar to the Type A, but is about 31mm wide. I had this design made to take wider straps than the Type A can accommodate; the Type C can take straps up to 20mm in width.

The Type C can also take the double slot feature, which just doesn't work on the Type A because it is not stiff enough. I keep the Type C strap in stock in 12mm widths in the double slot design. If you make a special order on a Type C and you want standard single slots, please make that clear with your order.

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Omega watch on Type B tan morocco
Type B tan morocco double slots.

Single or Double Slots

I found a picture of a watch with a strap that had closely spaced double slots so that the thinner strap ran on the outside of the backpiece over most of the circumference. I liked the somehow more rugged appearance of this strap so I have now had some more cutters made to reproduce this appearance. You can see my version of this strap fitted to an early Omega in the picture to the left.

This design can be made on the Type B and Type C back pieces, but only for 10mm, 12mm and 14mm straps due to limitations in the cutters.

Please note: Double slots maximum width 14mm.

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Cutting Out Leather - why I can't make just anything

The straps and back pads are made from two pieces of leather glued back to back. To make a neat job the two pieces of leather must be glued together before the shaped pieces are cut out. Because of this each piece needs to have a special cutter made to cut it out. These cutters are in principle just like pastry cutters that cooks use to cut shapes out of pastry, but the difference is that these cutters are made from tool steel, and are pressed through the leather using a hydraulic press which exerts tons of force! It simply isn't possible to cut the glued double sided leather neatly any other way, scissors and knives just don't make a neat job.

Although the length of the actual straps can be varied within reason because they are straight sided and one end is folded over and stitches, I can only supply the designs of the shaped back pads that I actually have have cutters for. This is also the reason why I can't cut down any of the back pads that are too long.

If you have a really special project in mind, then of course I could get the cutter, or cutters, made for specially for you, but do bear in mind that each cutter costs about £60 - £80, so you can see that they are not cheap, and that I have already invested quite a bit of capital in setting up to make these straps. If you want a special design that I don't have a cutter for, then I will need to charge you to get the cutter made, unless possibly it is a design that I can use and sell to others, in which case there might be room for negotiation. I am always happy to talk about special projects, so drop me an email.

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Strap / Band and Back Pad Lengths

From experience I know that the standard length of my straps suits most people. To some extent, how a strap fits depends on how chunky your watch is, because of the way the strap loops through the lugs, and how tight you like to wear your strap.

If your wrist is measures less than 165mm / 6½" around, or more than 195mm / 7&2/3;" around, or your watch is particularly chunk or has a tortuous path for the strap, then please send me a measurement around your wrist and / or a picture of the lugs of your watch. If your wrist is close to the limits I have just quoted and you don't want to be on the last hole of a standard length strap, then send me the measurement around your wrist and I will get a strap made of the correct length to suit you.

Please keep thing simple and just send me your actual wrist measurement, preferably in millimetres. The best way to take the measurement is to wrap a dressmaker's flexible tape measure around your wrist at the point you wear you watch and take a reading from this, or wrap a piece of string around your wrist and make a mark with a pen where it overlaps and then measure the distance between the two marks with a rule.

Please don't try to second guess me on this and give me a measurement that you think will somehow work better. If you take a measurement from an existing strap this produces a slightly different result. If you do just give me what your wrist actually measures, then I guarantee the strap will fit; if you give me a different measurement, then my guarantee of fit obviously cannot and does not apply.

Please also bear in mind that one piece straps are intended to fit a watch like the one shown in the picture "Fixed Wire Lug Strap Details" at the top of the page, where the lugs droop to make the strap pass easily across the back of the watch. If the strap of your watch takes a more convoluted path than the one shown, or has sharper bends because the lugs don't droop as much, then a longer strap will be needed to follow the path. Please let me know, and if at all possible let me have a photograph of the lugs from the side.

Standard back pads, whether Type A, B or C, are 168mm or a little over 6½" long. These fit OK on a wrist that measures 6½", or even very slightly less around because when you wrap the strap around the wrist the strap travels a little more than 6½" inches and so the ends don't meet, but if your wrist measures less than 6½" or 165mm around, then the standard back pads will be too long (unless you are happy for the ends of the back pad to overlap of course.) If your wrist is smaller than 6½" or 165mm around, then take a look at my Straps for Smaller Wrists.

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Lug Strap Width
Lug & Strap Width

What width Strap or Band do I need?

What width strap do you need? The strap should fit the lugs snugly, or else the watch is always wandering off to one side and it gets very annoying pulling it back to the centre all the time. If your watch has a strap currently fitted that doesn't fit the lugs snugly, then it is the wrong size. When new, the strap should fit the lugs tightly because as you wear the strap and it stretches lengthwise, it also shrinks slightly across the width, and if it only just fitted the lugs when new, it soon goes sloppy.

The picture shows an Electa watch with a correct size strap, 12mm in this case - see how it snugly fits the wire lugs. To find out what width of strap you need, either carefully measure the inside width of the lugs on your watch, or cut a strip of card so that it just slides through the lugs, and then measure the width of the strip.

Please note that I can only supply straps in even sizes, that is even numbers of millimetres i.e. 10mm, 12mm, 14mm etc. which is determined by the cutters in the workshop.

If you are sure that your lugs are an odd size, I suggest that you go for the next larger size, e.g if you measure your lugs as 11mm, get a 12mm strap. It will fit with a bit of careful threading through the lugs: leather is a marvellous material which will squash down to fit the lugs - see the advice about fitting a one piece strap above if you think it will be really tight. This looks a lot better than a narrow strap that leaves your watch slopping about from side to side. And also leather straps always get slightly narrower as you wear them, because as they stretch slightly in length, they contract in width, and you don't want it to go sloppy after a few wears.

If you measure your lugs as a fraction of an even size, e.g. 10.5mm, then go for a 10mm. A ¼mm either side will not show. Please remember that working with leather is not like precision machining; an accuracy of 1mm in cutting out the leather is about as good as can be achieved given the nature of the material, and it will stretch or squash in use. This is one of its great qualities which has not yet been replicated by artificial materials, so please bear it in mind when you are thinking about a strap.

I try to always keep in stock the standard 10mm and 12mm widths. I can also supply 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 20mm etc. wide straps to special order, which takes up to a couple of weeks, but if you need one it is well worth the wait! Please bear remember that the cutters go up in 2mm increments, so I can't do odd sizes like 13 or 15mm.

The standard Type A design does not look right with straps larger than 14mm, but if you need a wider strap, the Type C design is perfect. We also have cutters for straight back pieces in 35mm and 41mm widths if required, which will take even wider straps. As I mentioned above the Type B back piece is also available in bigger sizes, which will also take wider straps, although the standard Type B back piece can easily accommodate 20mm widths. If you have a watch that none of these options suits, then get in touch; I can usually come up with something - try me!

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Strap Thickness

Each strap is each made of double sided leather, that is a leather outer piece and leather lining, glued flesh sides together with the top or outer surfaces of the leather on the outside of both sides. These are then stitched all the way round.

Why do we do this? Raw leather has two sides, an outer side where the hair or fur was called the "grain" side, and an inner side called the flesh side for obvious reasons. The grain side has close knit fibres and is dense and strong, but as you move through the leather towards the flesh side the fibre structure gets progressively looser and the leather weaker.

As it comes to the tannery the raw hide is very thick and so the hides are split before tanning to make them thinner. The grain side leather is what we want for watch straps, the layer or layers of flesh side leather split off from the grain side are used for less demanding applications where strength is not so important such as suede. Leather from the tannery is often too thick to use and is further split or skived down to a usable thickness. Skiving is the term used in the leather industry for shaving down the thickness of the leather. So yes, the leather industry does employ professional skivers!

To make a watch strap that is as strong and durable as possible, yet still flexible so that it is comfortable to wear, we use two pieces of the grain side leather. These are glued back to back before being cut into the strap parts using press cutting knives as I describe above. They are then stitched all round. The stitching stops the two parts from separating, and also helps to make the finished strap stronger, with less "stretch". The minimum thickness that hide can be reduced to and still retain useful strength is about 1mm, so the thickness of a finished double sided leather strap is about 2mm.

If the lugs on your watch are very close to the case, less than 2mm gap, then let me know. Sometimes it is possible to skive the leather down further to make it thinner. However, skiving the leather much more than normal will make it more stretchy it and won't be as durable or last as long as the standard thickness and I am very reluctant to do this apart from exceptional cases.

Making the strap thinner is also not the answer if the lugs of your watch, or the shape of the case, means that the leather has to make very tight bends that a normal thickness strap will not make - please read the section about this "One Piece Strap for Fixed Wire Lugs" above.

Single Thickness Leather

A leather strap made from a single piece of leather is either very thick or it is thin and weak; and if it is made very thin, then it is very weak. You will see straps like this advertised as being "soft" and "flexible", which is true, but for some reason they don't say "floppy" or "weak".

I prefer to supply leather straps that will last, which means made in the traditional way, from two pieces of leather glued back to back and stitched all round. I have in the past, against my better judgement, supplied straps made from a single thickness of leather, but due to general customer dissatisfaction with these I will not supply any more; as an engineer by training and at heart, I prefer things made in a way that I feel comfortable with.

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Leather Types, Finishes, Colours etc.

All my straps are made of the best quality leather I can find. They are double sided, meaning that the outer part is leather and the lining is leather. The lining may be made from leather left over from other jobs, but as it is not seen I don't think this matters, it is still full grain leather, not a composite or synthetic.

There used to be lots of suppliers of raw leather in the UK but over the years these have dwindled and the choice is now much reduced. This problem is compounded by the fact that I don't use a huge square footage of leather, unlike a shoe factory or furniture maker for instance, so I can't order special batches of leather in a one-off finish or colour that I want - the tanneries are only interested in specially processing large orders of hundreds of square feet. It is a constant struggle to find suitable leather, the main problem is getting leather split to the 1mm or so that is needed for watch straps. The problem is that the merchants often can't split the hides from the raw 5mm or so that they come from the tannery, and the workshop can't skive the unsplit leather because it's too thick for the skiving machine.

If you know of any source of suitable leather, please let me know.

Shell Cordovan Leather

I occasionally get asked about shell cordovan leather. I have never yet found any shell cordovan that is suitable to be made into watch straps. I have investigated sources of shell cordovan and in my experience it is usually made to be used for saddles and bridles. This is much too thick to be used for my watch straps, and it is a very tought leather that is not easy to skive down. It is also "hot stuffed" with heavy wax (basically it is boiled in wax) to make it durable under outdoor weather conditions. This gives it a very heavy waxy finish which, in my opinion, makes it unattractive to look at and to wear. I am not sure why shell cordovan is as desired as it appears to be, if someone could enlighten me I would be most grateful.

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Type A Five Colours Annotated
Type A straps in five different colours.

Leather Colours

At the moment the following basic colours are available. Cognac is no longer available, it has been replaced by chestnut, which is a slightly lighter and brighter colour, like a freshly opened conker. I have put a picture of the chestnut on the pictures page.

Most of these colours are illustrated in the picture of the Type A straps to the right.

Military Tan
Military Tan leather.

The picture to the below right shows some straps made up in the military tan leather.


New tan morocco grain

We have now run out of the old printing of tan morocco and the company we got that from has gone out of business. We managed to find another company which could print up some tan morocco for us, but you will notice that the morocco pebbling is slightly larger than that pictured elsewhere on the web site. I hope you like it, I think it rather more authentic than the previous version. Until stocks of the old tan morocco have run out completely, new stock will be labelled "new tan morocco grain". Special orders will be made up in the new grain.

If you want a colour I haven't illustrated, please ask - I can supply green, red, yellow, blue, white etc. as well as metallics. I have supplied straps in dark green, yellow, silver, etc. The pictures below show straps made in green and yellow. I can also currently supply straps in real crocodile, which is more expensive than the standard leathers. The picture below shows a brown real Croc, and we have some black, although stocks of both are running low and may not be replaced when exhausted. If you click on the images, larger versions will pop up. These pictures just give you an idea of some of the different colours that I can supply.

Colour Fidelity

Please bear in mind that because leather is a natural material, not only does colour vary from hide to hide, it even varies across a single hide depending on the way it takes up the dye. It also is very difficult to get an accurate colour reproduction using a digital camera and also on a computer screen. Because of this the colours shown in these pictures must be taken as a guide rather than an absolute reference. But I only use top quality leathers and "nice" colours, so I am sure that you won't be disappointed with the colour when it arrives.

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Buckles

Standard Buckles

White metal buckles (usually chromium plated) are fitted to my stock straps and as standard. I try to use buckles that look correct for the period, but in the small sizes there is often not much choice available. As far as I am aware no one in the UK makes these so the ones on my straps come from Germany. The supplier we used to get the buckles shown in most of the pictures no longer makes them, so the current design is slightly different, but still period looking.

Yellow coloured metal buckles to go with watches with gold cases can be supplied as special orders at no extra cost. I can't currently supply solid gold buckles, but if you know of a source for these, please let me know.


Replica and original 1918 Sterling silver buckles

Hand Made and English Hallmarked Sterling Silver Buckles

To further improve the authenticity of my replica Great War straps I am now offering them with hand made solid sterling silver (925) reproduction buckles. My first attempt at copying an original Sterling silver buckle was done by entirely by hand and eye, and I soon realised that it was not easy to make neat and consistent bends, so I designed and made a machine to make the bends neatly and the production versions are better, rather better than the original I like to think, although they still look hand made and authentically "artisan". I have now completed the first small batch and they have been hallmarked. The picture shows one of my buckles in the foreground, with the original I copied it from behind.

The first buckle I copied has London Assay Office hallmarks for 1918. This type of buckle was used both before and all throught the Great War of 1914-18. My Sterling silver buckles are also hallmarked by the London Assay Office, with a full set of hand punched UK hallmarks including the leopards head and the walking lion, just like the original. The only change is that 925 is struck in addition to the walking lion. Straps with sterling silver buckles are now available from my Period Replica Buckles page.

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Contrast Stitching

Contrast stitching works quite well, although bear in mind that the stitches on my straps are small machine made stitches. See below for why I can't supply straps with big stitches

White looks very good with black, and red with brown. The workshop has most colours, but do ask if there is a colour combination you particularly want.

Because Type A, B or C straps with coloured stitching must be specially made, please email me for details of how to order one.

Big Stitches

My straps are machine stitched which produces fairly small but neat and even stitches. Big stitches made with heavy gauge thread are made either by a special purpose machine, which we don't have, or more usually be done by hand sowing, which would be expensive if done in the UK. Hand stitching also requires extra punches in the cutters used to cut the strap parts, so that all the holes for the stitches are cut out at the same time as the leather parts are cut out from the hide - which my cutters don't have. So I can't supply straps with big stitches.

How to Order

Details of how to order can be found on the Ordering page. If you have any questions you can email me at Please don't give out my email address, refer anyone interested to this web site. I try to answer all emails I receive so if you don't get a reply in a few days please check your junk or spam folders.

Fitting One Piece Straps

Fitting a leather strap to a modern watch that was not specifically designed to take a leather strap can be a bit tricky, Some modern watches have a narrow gap between the bars and the body which, although wide enough to take a leather strap, can make fitting difficult but not impossible. This is usually because the location of the lugs and the shape of the case makes the strap take a sharp bend to turn across the back of the case. Because modern watches are not designed with leather straps in mind the watch case can also have sharp edges that can damage the leather as you pull it through if you are not careful.

One of my customers had some problems fitting a G10 strap because his watch has quite a narrow gap between the bars and the body. You can see the notes by Mike about how he tackled this here: Fitting a leather NATO G10, but basically he wrapped the strap in aluminium foil which enabled him to slide it through the bars without damage.

I gave this a bit of thought and realised that using a piece of plastic film, e.g. a piece cut from a carrier bag, would be better. Simply cut a strip of plastic just over twice the width of your strap from a carrier bag and wrap this around the strap and secure with sticky tape. Leave a couple of inches of plastic surplus at the end of the strap as a "leader" and feed this through the lugs. Because it doesn't have the strap in it it will go through easily. You can then use the leader to pull the rest of the plastic containing the strap through the lugs. After the strap is in place, just hold the buckle end of the strap and gently pull the plastic out.

You can use this technique to fit a one piece leather strap or a leather NATO G10 to a modern watch easily, and without damaging the surface finish of the leather.

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NATO G10 Leather Strap

If you are interested in a leather version of the NATO G10 strap, they are now on a separate page: NATO G10.


"Bund Style" Straps

Bund Style Strap
"Bund Style" Type B back pad with Open Ended Strap

If you have a modern watch with fixed bars or spring bars, it is quite likely that my standard one-piece strap won't fit between the bars and the case. My standard straps are about 2mm thick, but it is not just the thickness of the leather that can be the problem, it is the actual placement of the bars on the case, designed to take a strap that terminates on the bars, not one that wraps through the bars and across the back of the case. Great War era watches with wire lugs and later Military Standard (MilStan) watches with fixed bars have a larger gap between the lugs/bars and the case to allow for a one piece strap. If your watch has a narrow gap between the bars and the case, then I can supply to special order "bund style" variations of my standard straps.

The "bund style" strap consists of a standard back pad with a two piece "open ended" strap which fits directly onto the bars of your watch, rather than looping through them. The two piece strap is open ended, which means that the ends of the strap are not stitched together. You wrap the ends of the straps around the bars of your watch, and then fix them together with metal tabs that are stitched into the straps. The picture shows a Type B back pad with this type of strap, the inset showing how it attaches to the spring bars. I supply open ended straps even if your watch has spring bars because the normal strap ends that take spring bars are a struggle to pull through the slots in the back pads. Open ended straps are quite easy to fit, and very secure.

"Bund Style" straps like this can be made with either the Type A, Type B or Type C back pads, but only in standard or longer lengths because of the problem of fitting the straps to the watch in anything shorter than standard length. If you wrist measures less than 180mm or 7" around, please see the straps for smaller wrists below, which can also be made bund-style.

Please note that I can only supply straps in even sizes, that is even numbers of millimetres i.e. 10mm, 12mm, 14mm etc. which is determined by the cutters in the workshop.

If you need a bund-style strap, it will be made specially for you because I don't keep these in stock. Please drop me an email and I will sort out the details with you and send you a link so that you can place your order. Email Please don't give out my email address, refer anyone interested to this web site. I try to answer all emails I receive so if you don't get a reply in a few days please check your junk or spam folders.

Actual bund straps, like those issued to the German armed forces, have a short back pad that only goes just behind the immediate back of the watch case. These might look sort-of-OK if your strap is a decent width, say 20mm plus, but I personally don't like the look of the short bund back pad. If the strap on your watch is wide enough to look OK without a back pad, I don't see the point of the short bund back pad. But if you do want a back pad on a wider strap, I prefer a back pad that wraps further around the wrist like my Type B strap. A long back pad is essential if your strap is narrow, say 10mm or 12mm as those on my Great War era watches are, because the short bund back pad only emphasises the girly look of the narrow strap around the rest of your wrist. I don't supply bund straps; when I say "bund style" I mean an open ended strap with a back pad, rathet than a one piece strap with a back pad.

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Open ended straps
Open ended straps

Two Piece Open Ended and Closed End Straps

Two piece straps are different from my usual vintage straps in that they fit without the strap crossing the back of the watch case. They are more suited to what I call "modern" watches with horns and bars rather than fixed wire lugs. (Anything made after WW2 is modern to me.)

Two piece open ended straps will fit any case with either fixed bars or spring bars. The strap is supplied in two pieces with open ends that wrap around the bars and are then fixed together with a "tin tab". See the section above on "Bund "Style" straps for a more detailed description of how these are fitted.

I can also supply two piece straps with closed ends that are suitable for spring bars.

Two piece open end or closed end straight (parallel sided) straps are available in widths from 8mm to 24mm in 2mm increments in any length and in your choice of leather colour. Bukles are silver coloured as standard, you may specify a gold coloured buckle at no extra cost, or one of my hand made sterling silver buckles at extra cost.

Because of the difficulty of sourcing and stocking metal keepers in every possible size these straps will usually be supplied with leather keepers - either angled as shown in the picture or straight, let me know which you prefer. If you particularly want a metal keeper, then please inquire about availability before ordering.

I don't keep these in stock but you can place an order for one to be made on the ordering page using this link: Order open ended strap.

I can also supply two piece open end or closed end straps with tapered sides in 1mm increments from 6mm to 24mm, but only in standard length.

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Straps for Smaller Wrists

Small Back Pads
Shorter Back Pads: Type BS top, AS bottom

The back pads of the Type A, B and C designs are 165mm or 6½" long. These fit OK on a wrist that measures 6½" or even slightly less around because when you wrap the strap around the wrist the strap travels a little more than 6½" inches and so the ends don't meet, but if your wrist measures significantly less than 6½" or 165mm around, then the standard back pads will be too long. (Unless you are happy for the ends of the back pad to overlap.)

I have two designs of shorter back pad which are suitable for smaller wrists, straight or flared as shown in the picture. The back pads are both about 135mm long.

These back pads can be made up with either my standard one piece pull-through strap for vintage wire luge timepieces, or with an open ended strap "bund style" as described above for more modern timepieces.

If you need one of these straps, it will be made specially for you because I don't keep these straps in stock so you can have it made in whatever colour and strap width (within reason) you wish. Please drop me an email and I send you a link to a page where you can place your order. Email Please don't give out my email address, refer anyone interested to this web site. I try to answer all emails I receive so if you don't get a reply in a few days please check your junk or spam folders.

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Cushion case
Cushion case wristwatch

Cushion Cases

Cushion cased watches are usually difficult to fit with back pads. The problem is that the lugs are usually almost as wide as the watch case, so you either end up with a strap that is almost as wide as the back pad, or a back pad that is very much wider than the watch.

The picture here gives you an idea of what I am talking about. Actually, on this case the lugs are probably enough smaller than the case that it would look OK with a back pad, but often the lugs are an even greater width in proportion to the case than shown here.

Neither of these options looks very good. A cushion cased watch would originally have had a "normal" strap without a back pad, and because the lugs take up most of the width of the case, such a strap generally looks and feels fine. I usually recommend that this is what you use for a cushion cased watch.

Despite the relatively large width of their lugs, cushion cased watches are often quite small, which was the fashion at the time they were made. There is a natural tendency to think that a strap with a back pad might make the watch look larger, which is more fashionable today. However, if you are thinking along these lines you might want to first try a mock up to envisage how it would look, because to me a small watch on a strap with a big back pad often looks like . . . . well, a small watch on a big strap. If you are happy with that look, then that is perfectly fine with me, and I suggest that you consider my Type C design.


Pocket Watch Wrist Strap
Wrist Strap for Pocket Watch

Wristlets: Wrist Straps for Pocket Watches - Why I Can't Supply Them

I have occasinally been asked if I can supply wristlets or wrist straps for pocket watches like the one referred to on the History page and used by the Captain in the North Staffordshire Regiment. At the moment I have nothing like this available.

I would need to get at least two new cutters made, to cut out the pieces of the strap, and a mould to form the cup. This would be quite a capital investment as the cutters and mould would be expensive to make.

I would also need to know how to stiffen the leather so that the cup retains its shape. There are various articles on the web about this, in particular the technique of "cuir bouilli" or boiled leather, which was used to make medieval armour. However, I have never used this and the articles available are not consistent in their recommendations, some say to use just water, others say to use oils or waxes, others animal urine. I would need to spend some time experimenting with the technique to ensure good and consistent results.

The workshop have also told me that they can't do the stitching around the cup where it attaches to the wrist strap. This stitching is very close to the cup and needs a sewing machine with an exceptionally narrow foot, which they don't have.

So I would need to get at least two cutters and a mould made, spend time experimenting with leather stiffening, and modify or purchase a sewing machine. I might do this at sometime in the future but as of today, 21st of October 2014, I am not working on this, and I am not even planning to start work on it. If this situation changes I will update this paragraph with details.

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Wristwatch Straps with Covers - Why I Can't Supply Them

I don't make straps with covers. I do get asked for them occasionally, but to make one of an acceptable quality would not be easy, rather like making the wristlets for wearing pocket watches discussed above, the main problem is forming and stitching the cup part. I have seen some replica straps like this with the cup just pressed into a piece of leather and I don't think they are an acceptable standard of design or appearance.

I am also not personally keen on them, for two reasons, (a) the purpose of wearing a wristwatch was to make it easily visible and without using both hands, but the cup type strap needs you to fiddle about with both hands every time you want to read the time; this seems to defeat the object of wearing a wristwatch. And (b) if you have a nice vintage watch, why hide it inside a cup rather than show it off.

Wrist Compass Straps

I have supplied an adaptation of a Type B strap without the winding crown notch for a World War One era wrist compass. You can see this wrist compass fitted to the strap on the customers' pictures page. If you have similar project in mind, then please contact me - I am always happy to help on something out of the ordinary.


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