Making a Watch Strap

It takes one full day to make a watch strap. The marginal utility of making multiple watch straps increases since this is due to time draining processes such as waiting for the edge-kote to dry. Anyway, a video:

  • Preparing the blank
    1. Use an edge creaser to precisely mark out the width of the watch strap. In this case, I was making an Apple Watch strap with a width of 24mm. I have to stress that precision is key for watch straps; any small differences will be seen very clearly.
    2. Add a layer of leather adhesive to the back and attach the suede backing. Stretch the suede to prevent it from bunching up later when it wraps around the wrist.
    3. Bevel the edges (Not done until later in the video. Doing it earlier would make it easier.)
  • Creating the Strap
    1. Skive off half the thickness of the leather 2cm from the edge of the strap. This takes practice and is not an easy step. I find that long dragging strokes help.
    2. Create a triangular tip by cutting out a crude triangle, then rounding the tip and edges with a small circular object. I used one of my leather hold punches for this.
    3. Fold down the skived ends by 1cm and glue them together around a needle. Take care not to glue the needle as well, although some residual glue on the needle will not matter.
      1. Take this time to also check if the needle is perfectly perpendicular to the strap. A needle the slants in either direction may indicate that the leather was not skived evenly.
    4. Edge Kote the sides, and when dry, buff with a wooden burnishing tool.
      1. Repeat the process at least 3 times, with ideally 5 repetitions.
    5. Hammer sewing holes into the skived edge. From there, hammer sewing holes around the rest of the strap, either using the initial width or another edge creased line (I recommend a setting of less than 5mm on the creaser) as reference.
      1. It is possible to not require more than 2 sewing holes for the skived area; see the Hundred Acre Watch Strap‘s design.
    6. Saddle stitch around the entire watch. Take care not to use too much force when pulling the thread, lest the strap deforms.

Straps, though small, really are a labour of love since they require a full day of concentrated effort. However, a well-made strap will see you through many, many journeys.


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