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
- 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.
- 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.
- Bevel the edges (Not done until later in the video. Doing it earlier would make it easier.)
- Creating the Strap
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Edge Kote the sides, and when dry, buff with a wooden burnishing tool.
- Repeat the process at least 3 times, with ideally 5 repetitions.
- 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.
- It is possible to not require more than 2 sewing holes for the skived area; see the Hundred Acre Watch Strap‘s design.
- 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.