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Old 08-09-2014, 06:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Strap Review: Rob Montana "The StrapSmith" Slate Grey w/ Skull Buckle

Reviewer: UKWolfeman
strap donated for review

Strap being reviewed: Slate Grey w/ Skull Buckle

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Thoughts and Comments: I had been searching for a while now for a quality leather strap to compliment my Maranez Racha Dive Watch. Sure I have the Cuda and nice leather strap that come standard with the Racha plus an Isofrane but I really wanted something a bit different than standard brown/black leather or rubber. When I noticed Rob Montana, "The StrapSmith", recently acquired some new leather at a show in Sheridan, Wyoming I was certain that I found the perfect strap to compliment my Racha while also providing a more unique overall look and a bit of flair.

When I first opened the package I knew I was in for something special as the strap was wrapped very nicely in a brown velour pouch. Packaging for a strap is completely unimportant at least to me but it is always nice to receive more than you expect. Every strap company should consider some sort of finishing touch such as this type of packaging. After removing the strap from the pouch the quality was highly evident from lug end to tail. The strap is created from cow leather that could possibly be a result of both a veg and chrome tanning process? Vegetable tanned leather has not been chemically dyed unlike the chrome. Tree bark, tannin or other natural sources can be involved in the tanning process. Unlike the chrome tanned leathers vegetable tanned leather is designed for individuals with allergies to chrome. Vegetable tanning is a lengthier process compared to chrome tanning, however, the quality is also viewed by many to be better, stronger, more water resistant and durable over time.

The strap measures a substantial 4mm in overall thickness thickness. The length of the strap is 130/85mm which is the perfect size for my 7 3/4 inch wrist. The striking grey colored strap is extremely well finished from the black edges to the precise black nylon stitch work. The strap comes with two keepers, one floating and one fixed, that are also finished just as nicely to match the rest of the strap. I really appreciate the keeper finishing aspect as obviously Rob pays attention to the smallest details. Of course if you are more of a fan of the raw look I'm certain the strap could be finished that way as well but I strongly prefer the refined overall look of this finished product. As far as comfort is concerned, unlike historic and canvas straps, this leather strap was extremely soft and supple right out of the packaging. While not as soft and supple as horween leather the break-in period will be rather short. The measurement precision on the strap overall is outstanding as well. I have owned many 24mm straps where the actual measurement in width winds up being well under the 24mm desired width. Just a slight amount off can cause the buckle to look a bit odd with some slight gapping on the edges.

The brushed custom screw-in skull buckle is a fantastic option. While not as huge as many other custom buckles that I have seen it still measures about 3mm in thickness and has nice curvature keeping it angled downward to the strap more so than some of the other massive pre-v style buckles I have seen and owned which tend to at times get hung up on various things. The buckle is a bit raw as far as finishing but truly sharp looking overall. If you are not into skull style buckles well Rob can have a wide variety of custom buckles crafted so go on over to his website and check out some of the other options. The pre-made custom buckles run $69 but personal designed buckles can be created and ordered in batches of 5.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with the quality and craftsmanship of this leather strap. The coloring is superb. I can honestly say this will not be my last strap from "The StrapSmith" as I have become more of a strap guy over the last few years so as I acquire additional watches I'll be turning to Rob if he can keep delivering as he did on this occasion. Without the custom skull buckle you can grab one of these great looking straps from Rob for $189 shipped with a standard buckle. Truly a great value for such an established strap maker so check out his work personally if you haven't already. I would like to thank each of you for reading and I look forward to any comments you may have about the review or personal experiences with straps from Rob.

Last edited by UKWolfeman; 08-14-2014 at 11:08 PM.
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