Mens relógios

[Buying Guide] Faux leather and other vegan watch straps

2018.04.02 23:48 khadyoung [Buying Guide] Faux leather and other vegan watch straps

Why faux leather?

One obvious reason for a vegan or vegetarian choosing faux leather is the ethical concerns. We simply don't want to contribute to the suffering of other beings. That said, there are other reasons you might want a faux leather strap. Compared to leather, faux leather straps can be:
Lastly, as someone who is into watches, you might simply appreciate good engineering. The textile industry continues to amaze me with their innovations in the faux leather space.

Alcantara

Alcantara is an Italian microfiber with a suede-like feel. It's approximately 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane, and it's actually molded not woven, which means it is more durable and stain resistant than suede. On the environmental side, the company has been carbon neutral since 2009.
The material has been used as a seat covering in Formular One cars and many other car, jet, and yacht interiors. It's even used in haute horlogerie. The strap of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Minute Repeater School Piece has an Alcantara lining, for example. And one of the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield models comes on a beige Alcantara strap.
For best results, because it's a suede-like material, I wouldn't exposed it to water in daily use. That said, you can machine wash Alcantara. Just don't put it through the spin cycle or dryer.

Where to buy

Visconti Milano sells Alcantara straps in a rainbow of colors. Some options include black, chocolate, orange, gray, and many different shades of blue. Prices range from EUR€138–184 (USD$170–227).
The Strap Smith makes custom Alcantara straps in black. Prices range from USD$189–209.

Ultrasuede

Ultrasuede is similar to Alcantara. In fact, they're both owned by Toray Industries. Alcantara is their Italian subsidiary and makes everything in Italy. Ultrasuede is made in Japan. There may be some slight variations and quality differences, but they are very similar materials.
Outside of the world of horology, there are too many uses of Ultrasuede to list. Surprisingly the list is also pretty long within the world of horology:

Where to buy

Aside from the products listed above, I haven't been able to find any Ultrasuede watch straps for sale separately. If you know of one, let me know. In the meantime, consider an Alcantara strap.

Lorica

Lorica is a Latin word that has been used to describe a number of types of Ancient Roman military clothing. You can think of it essentially as "armor". Modern Lorica material is made from microfibers that are soaked in special resins, and it has a "microporous structure" which is very similar to skin. This gives Lorica excellent softness, durability and breathability.
Sidi, Alpinestars, and Dainese all make motorcycle boots that are either fully or partially constructed of Lorica, so you can be sure it's durable. And it's fully waterproof. If I wasn't opposed to wearing a watch with a swimsuit, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it for a swim.
Lorica is a bit stiffer than some of the other materials and takes a little bit longer to break in, but given enough time, it does loosen up and stretch a little, like you may be used to with other straps.
For some reason, I've never seen a brown Lorica strap. Let me know if you find one.

Where to buy

Amazon has a pretty good selection of Hadley-Roma Lorica straps. Some options include black, orange, red, white, and blue. Prices range from about USD$16–25.
Holben's Fine Watch Bands has the Hadley-Roma straps in blue and black. Priced at USD$21.
Watchbandcenter.com has a boatload of Lorica straps in a rainbow of colors and with various colors of stitching. I particularly like Morellato's Green Collection. But steer clear of the Meyhofer straps listed on that page. Their Lorica straps contain leather. Only the underside is Lorica. Prices range from EUR€20–25 (USD$25–30).

Other leather-like straps

Not every manufacturer uses a brand name material. This is actually kind of the sweet spot if you ask me. I don't even know how many ColaReb straps I have now. You can get a bunch of quality straps for about USD$40 a pop.
This is where you'll find all the brown straps you couldn't find made from Lorica.

Where to buy

Holben's Fine Watch Bands sells leather-like straps from ColaReb in black and brown. They also sell them on Amazon. Priced at USD$40.
Watchbandcenter.com has a boatload of leather-like straps in a rainbow of colors. Some are smooth. Some have an alligator grain finish. Some have contrast stitching. My favorite ones might be from Morellato's Green Collection. Prices range from EUR€13–71 (USD$17–87).
Votch sells leather-like straps in black and pastel colors in 16mm, 18mm, and 20mm. Priced at USD$36.
TIme IV Change sells leather-like straps in classic colors mostly in 20mm with one in 18mm. Prices range from AUD$35–60 (USD$27–46).
Hurtig Lane sells one leather-like strap in 20mm. It's black. Priced at EUR€19 (USD$23).
Aubrey Watches sells a variety of leather-like straps for ladies in 16mm and 18mm. Priced at GBP£29 (USD$41).

Other suede-like straps

I'm quite pleased with my rust-colored, suede-like ColaReb strap. It's one of my favorites.

Where to buy

Holben's Fine Watch Bands sells suede-like strap from ColaReb in black, mud, and rust. They also sell them on Amazon. Priced at USD$47.
Time IV Change sells suede-like straps in classic colors mostly in 20mm with one in 18mm. Prices range from AUD$50–60 (USD$38–46).

Denim

Yep, the same stuff your Canadian tuxedo is made out of. Well, probably higher quality.

Where to buy

You can buy denim straps in just about every shade of blue from Visconti Milano. They're not really my thing, but all the straps at Visconti Milano appear to be of high quality. Some are made from Japanese denim, and some have Alcantara linings. These aren't made from someone's old jeggings. Prices range from EUR€135–190 (USD$166–234).

Wood

ColaReb makes a decent wood strap. It's flexible. It's nothing like the oyster-style bracelets you see on those wood watches. Check it out.
In fact, Victorinox announced the I.N.O.X. Mechanical at Baselworld 2018, which is available on a very similar wood strap. They are either working with ColaReb or completely ripped them off.
Other than that, I haven't seen any other decent wood straps or bracelets. They're either junk, designed specifically for smartwatches, or both.

Where to buy

Holben's Fine Watch Bands sells wood straps from ColaReb in black, brown, and tan. They also sell them on Amazon. Priced at USD$55.

Piñatex

Piñatex is made from pineapple leaves. No joke. The leaves are the byproduct of existing agriculture, and their use creates an additional income stream for farming communities. No extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce the leaves used in Piñatex. It's crazy what we humans can do when we put our minds to it.
Bourgeois Boheme in London makes shoes out of it. Maniwala in California makes bags, purses, and more out of it. Liselore Frowijn is a fashion designer who makes some crazy clothing from it.

Where to buy

Votch sells straps made from Piñatex, but only in 18mm and 20mm and only in black (though with various metal buckles). Priced at USD$43.
Time IV Change sells one Piñatex strap that appears to be "natural" or maybe cream colored. It's only available in 20mm. Priced at AUD$60 (USD$46).

Cork

It's not just for wine bottles and bulletin boards anymore. If you haven't been keeping up, you can now buy belts, bags, and even flooring all made from cork. It's strong, resilient, and sustainable because the cork tree isn't cut down. Only the bark is stripped.
The majority of cork comes from Portugal, which has 34% of the world's cork trees by land area. So it probably comes as no surprise that the best cork straps are from Portugal.

Where to buy

Museu do Relógio (Watch Museum) in Portugal sells very nice cork straps. Prices range from EUR€25–35 (USD$31–43).
Martú in Chile also sells very nice cork straps. Prices range from USD$46–56.
Amazon sells a couple different cheap cork straps if you want to try one, but quality is hit or miss.
Visconti Milano also sells cork straps. Prices range from EUR€150–173 (USD$185–213).

Cordura

My first motorcycle jacket was Cordura. It's technically a range of materials, but they're all rugged and known for their abrasion resistance and overall durability.
Cordura is used for a lot of outdoor gear where leather would not be suitable because of contact with the elements. It's also used for luggage, backpacks, shoes, and more. You can sort of think of it as a super heavy-duty canvas.

Where to buy

Amazon sells Hadley-Roma cordura straps. Price ranges from USD$14–25.
Visconti Milano sells some cordura straps with red stitching. Prices range from EUR€155–173 (USD$191–213).

Silicone and rubber

I don't personally wear a watch when I go out for a run, but I'm sure rubber straps are great for when you're active. They're definitely waterproof.

Where to buy

Watchbandcenter.com has a mountain of silicone and rubber straps in a rainbow of colors. Some have alligator grain. Some are perforated for that racing look. Some have deployant clasps. Some have the look of an oyster-style bracelet. Seriously. A mountain. Prices range from EUR€13–85 (USD$17–105).

Nylon

Yes, your NATO straps are vegan. Live it up!

Where to buy

Hurtig Lane sells one in 20mm that is green with rose gold hardware, which is kind of a neat look. And they're a vegan company if you want to support that.
Also, every damn site that sells watch straps sells NATO straps.

Tweed

Traditionally made from wool, I stumbled across some vegan tweed straps while writing this. It's nice to have so many options!

Where to buy

Hurtig Lane sells two 20mm vegan tweed straps in gray and camel. Priced at EUR€29 (USD$36).

Metal bracelets

I suppose this one goes without saying, but I thought it could be worth the reminder. If you have the choice, when buying your watch, always choose the metal bracelet. This is a no-brainer if you're avoiding leather, but I've also heard plenty of non-veg folks suggest the same thing.
It's relatively easy to find aftermarket straps that will fit your watch and look good doing it. (See above.) It can be much harder to find a matching metal bracelet after your initial watch purchase.

Appendix: Vegan watch companies

A few companies make "vegan watches" (which I take to simply mean they are regular watches that come with faux leather straps). They're fashion watches. All of them are quartz. Let's get that out of the way. The straps some of them sell separately have been listed above. They're not my thing, but I include them here for the sake of completeness:

End transmission

If you read this whole damn thing, give yourself an upvote. I'm looking forward to updating this with additional information from the community. Let me know if you spotted a typo or have an idea for an addition.
submitted by khadyoung to Watches [link] [comments]