Leather Watch Strap | Making, Patina & Vegetable-Tanning

High-quality leather can last a long time, and we wish our leather straps stay with the wearers for as long as possible. Choosing which leather to use for our product has more than one aspect to consider. Other than texture and colour, balancing between production efficiency and quality is also important to us. After months of careful consideration, vegetable-tanned leather seemed to be an ideal option.

Vegetable x Leather

Vegetable-tanned leather is friendlier to the environment, and gentler to your skin.

The back-story of Vegetable Tanned Leather starts with rawhide, nuts, twigs and leaves. As the name implies, the tanning process involves plant-based materials, making it the most organic tanning method, with minimal usage of chemicals. Most commonly involved materials in vegetable tanning solutions are tree barks, woods, nuts, and leaves. Rawhide is soaked in pits several times, each time 2 to 3 days with progressively more concentrated solution. Repeated soaking allows tannin to penetrate the fibers of the leather.

Hides go through complex procedures to become commercial leather, and that process has an impact on more than just the leather itself. One of the reasons Tordney had chosen vegetable-tanned leather is the environmental impact. As the tanning process uses naturally produced materials, the disposal of tanning solution is less likely to harm the environment. When the water used in tanning eventually reaches nature, it will place a lighter burden on the waterways. Vegetable-tanned leather is friendlier to the environment, and gentler to your skin.

Despite the long processing time of vegetable tanning, Tordney understands how leather-lovers would value the patina on their leather goods. Other forms of processing will not preserve the natural state of the leather hence patina will not develop over time.

Patina: True Personalisation

You personalise your leather straps over the years, it is a true form of personalisation.

When a leather strap is regularly used, as time passes, the surface gives off a soft sheen where most contacts are made. While all leather straps will show chromatic change, a patina is verification of genuine leather, as it is an exclusive feature of natural products. Vegetable tanned leather undergoes minimal amount of chemical processing, and preserves most of the natural component on the surface, allowing patina to pronounce over time and usage.

The leather strap will grow with you, as patina develops from absorbing the moisture, natural body oil and heat, forming unique patterns for each user. This characteristic is the most obvious during the first few years of usage, and saturates overtime, subtly documenting history of the wearer. You personalise your leather straps over the years, it is a true form of personalisation.

From Vegetable-Tanned Leather to Watch Strap

The making of leather straps is more than just cutting the leather out and stitching them together. The leather undergoes numerous steps before turning into the supple straps that sit comfortably on your wrist. Cutting, skiving, sewing, hole punching, polishing, coating are but some of the steps involved. We were amazed when our supplier shared with us the steps required to produce a strap. With their assistance, we gained better understanding of goes into a watch strap.

Tordney Leather Straps: The Details

Top Leather - Tordney straps use full grain vegetable-tanned leather. Full grain refers to the topmost surface layer of the hide. High level of fibre strength makes it more durable than other parts of the hide. Retaining the grain layer and markings, full grain leather is a beautiful and truly unique natural material. Leather is a natural material where colour does inevitably come off and fading happens as you wear the watch. However, rest assured that Tordney straps has been oiled for water repellency, they also underwent rubbing test to ensure minimum loss of colour in daily use.

Lining - For the part that touches your wrist, we use water repellent leather to reduce the lining’s exposure to sweat and water, making the strap more durable. Its velvet-like breathable texture makes smooth contact with your skin, making everyday use all the more pleasant. Just in case you sweat a lot, the lining comes with pale colour tone to minimise impact on your skin and clothing.

Padding - From case lug to buckle, the strap thickness gradually decreases for your added comfort and increased durability. Heavier padding is installed near the watch case to maintain consistency with case thickness. Towards the middle and end of the strap, padding become less heavy because two straps overlap here and lighter padding means more flexibility on your wrist.

Buckle - 316L anti-corrosion stainless steel is used to fasten your straps. Our prime concern is to use a buckle that maximises comfort and minimises distraction an uncomfortable buckle may cause.

Holes - Maximum number of holes punched whenever possible, to fit more wrist sizes!

Why Not Quick Release Strap?

Tordney values every detail of our product’s manufacturing process, and how each aspect impacts the brand experience. The product design is more than an item, but also the crafting process. Along with our production partners, we put our hearts and minds into each piece, we wish you can receive the same thoughts on the other end.

Quite often we are asked why quick release strap is not offered. Please read our blog post “Why Not Quick Release Strap?” to learn more.