Strap Being Reviewed: Swiss Gustav Ammo by MK Leathers
Email: [email protected]
About: "My name is Mateusz (Mat). Four years ago I picked up leather working as a hobby. I wanted to make a belt pouch for my grandfather’s Victorinox from early ’60 but knew nothing about leathers. With a help of few more experienced crafters, books, Internet and hours of trials I made my first item. (Today deep in the drawer as a reminder where it all started) Learnt from the lesson, took all the critic and made another, better, and then another.
Soon after I started by making knife sheath and pouches for custom made knives. From there it went smoothly (among others) to belts, bags, wallets and watch straps. I work with full grain veg tanned leather, which I usually dye myself. That gives me full control over the making process and gives me opportunity to come up with unique effects. I also use various top quality exotic skins such as caiman, varan, ostrich, stingray and fish. Always trying to find new interesting materials for straps. All straps are hand stitched. Almost all my straps (as well as other items) are custom made and I try to work closely with customer for best possible effect. I have a motto that if something is not in my portfolio yet, just ask. It for sure can be done and I like working on new projects.
Apart from straps for standard watches, past years I have been making wrist straps for pocket watches based on WWI wristlets. I like watches, I'm not a collector but I love working with leather and strap making is one of my favorite ways in leather craft. This hobby became my second job and ‘MK Leathers’ is huge part of my life now but foremost it’s a great fun. Price range of my straps really depends on the final design my customer decides on and materials used. I’d say from 65$ - 140$ I have one ammo like this listed for 97$ I ship worldwide.
My pocket watch straps come with standard, small, ss buckle and normal straps usually without. I don’t have many hi end buckles in stock but this will change soon. If customer wants a buckle, deployment or any other kind it of course can be arranged."
Price: Approximately $133 USD
Thoughts and impressions: As many of you are aware I have be fortunate to handle many different Ammo straps from various makers around the world. The majority of the ammo straps that I have had the pleasure to see have all been of great quality, however, this Swiss ammo strap from MK leathers has to be the one with the most character and unique appearance. The strap comes packaged nicely in a leather shell tied off by leather and a leather branded tag.
The strap is made from Swiss ammo pouch for Carl Gustav m45 dating back to sometime in the mid 1940s. This particular strap is made from the side part of the pouch which is considered the “working” part of the pouch which is bent and squashed adding to the character of the leather with the superb distressed appearance. The leather still has a rather strong smell of gunpowder which I absolutely believe is a must to grasp the full nature of an ammo pouch watch strap. One of the coolest and more unique aspects of this ammo strap is that MK Leathers didn't discard the parts of the pouch where the rivets were but rather incorporated those aspects into the style of the strap with 2 on each strap piece and even one on the keeper giving the strap a much more unique appearance.
This particular strap measures 24/24mm in width and approximately 130/85mm in length and 4mm in thickness for quite substantial appearance. The edges are well finished rather than a raw edge that I have seen on many ammo straps. Another quality aspect is that the strap has a black leather backing which I actually prefer on all straps. Initially the ammo straps I have worked with have been quite stiff out of the box but this particular strap was quite soft and supple. I'm not sure if softness is due entirely to the distressed nature of the strap, possible tanning process or a combination of both but I was quite pleased as the strap is extremely comfortable on the wrist. The comfort level and the distressed appearance has increased each day from wear. The strap came with one floating keeper. I'm not certain how many have had issues with one floating keeper on their straps but time and again I have had issues with keepers not restricting the tail of the strap well enough resulting with the tail easily working its way out. The particular floating keeper on this strap is quite restrictive and keeps the strap tail in place which I find refreshing.
Overall quality at under $150 for a Hand Made ammo strap is well within reason based on my extensive past experiences. I can easily envision prices increasing as MK Leathers gains more experience and recognition. So, if you are looking for a well made ammo strap I would definitely consider checking out what MK Leathers has to offer. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your comments.