Thursday, January 02, 2020

A strap review...

This is a review of a custom made leather strap for the MDM Geneve Hublot Modele Depose. The Model Depose comes with a natural rubber strap that MDM Geneve is well known for but it is rather slim at 17 mm wide and 1 mm thin. As such, the decision was made to get a leather strap made for the watch to add some 'bulk' to the watch. 

The MDM Geneve Modele Depose with the original rubber strap. The strap comes with a butterfly deployant clasp. 

The rubber strap, removed from the watch. The unique aspect of the rubber strap is that it comes in fixed length and you have to go to Hublot to get longer or shorter straps to fit your wrist. And if I am not mistaken, the straps comes in at 2 mm size difference, i.e. 68, 70, 72 mm.

The strap is held in place by screws (2 off each) at the lugs and at the deployant clasp. The holes are reinforced with a metal plate (?) inside the rubber strap. 

Anyway, on to the strap that was custom made for the watch. The strap is from Wotancraft, one of my favourite strap makers. They are based in Taiwan and I have been dealing with them for the past decade. 

The strap mounted on the watch. As you can see, there is a bund pad or cuff watch band with the leather strap. This was a conscious choice made to further add 'bulk' to the watch, making it larger then it is looks. 

The back part of the strap and the bund pad. 

The leather chosen for the strap is a simple black leather strap with minimal stitching. It does not even come with a backing liner and has a raw finish on the back of the strap. This was done to maintain the slimness of the strap at 1 mm so that it can be mounted on the rather unique design strap mounting points at the lugs. 

Lets have a closer look at the mount points of the leather strap. As you can see from the photograph above, the strap is mounted inside the metal 'lips' and is held by two screws. The photograph below shows the mounting points with the bund pad removed.

The strap is 20 mm wide along the length of the strap. It is wider then the original. This was made so that the outer edges of the strap lines up with the outer edge of the lugs, giving it a smoother look when transitioning from the watch to the strap. Additionally, it helps to give some 'bulk' to the strap. 

Another view of the mounting points, with the screws removed. 

The screws that holds the strap in place. 

The holes on the strap for the screws to go through. Sadly there is no metal plate inside the leather strap and that is a downside of the strap design as it is not as robust as the original rubber strap. 

Lets look at the buckle side of the strap. The buckle side is 80 mm in length (minus the buckle). There are no stitching save for the ones to hold the strap keeper and buckle spring-bars in place. 

The strap comes with two strap keepers, one fixed and the other floating. Each keeper is 7 mm wide and has no lining as well. It is stitched at the joins (butt ends), unlike some straps that are just glued (overlap). 

The stitching is very well executed and uses a vintage coloured (ecru) thread, which I like. The stitching for the spring-bars is simple and is only at the edge of the strap unlike the stitching at the termination of the strap. Nice details. 

The buckle is a simple stainless steel pin buckle. The design of the buckle is similar to the pin buckle used on IWC straps. It has a brushed finish at the top of the buckle and is polished along the edge bevelling. It is easy to use. 

The inside of the buckle has a polished finish. There are no tool marks that I can see on the buckle. 

Another view of the inside of the buckle. The only failing point of the buckle is that the tang may not sit properly in the notch on the top of the buckle and the inside edge of the buckle can be sharp. This was the case of the buckle on this strap. 

Lets look at the other half of the strap, the side with the holes. It is 130mm long and is 20mm along the length of the strap. This side of the strap is totally void of any stitching. The strap is well made and the edges are well sealed. The strap is very soft. 

The underside of the strap. You can see that raw finish of the strap. It is actually smooth to the touch and does not itch when worn. 

Since this is a custom strap, the holes were made to measure. There are 3 holes, the middle one giving the perfect size. The other two holes? One for weight gain and the other for weight loss (?). The holes are 5 mm apart, giving a total of 10 mm adjustment. 

You can see some stretch marks on the hole. This is exaggerated due to the slimness of the strap. 

The tip of the strap. 

Now lets look at the cuff or Bund pad. 

The bund pad is 85 mm long, 42 mm wide and 2.5 mm thick (not including the loops). The pad is very soft and is made of two pieces of leather stitched together. The stitching on the top of the pad is the same colour as on the strap but at the back, it is black. 

The loops are 10 mm wide and is attached to the pad.

The back of the pad. Lovely. 

The edge finish of the bund pad where the loops terminate. It is good as you can hardly see where the loop finish and where the pad starts. 

Edge sealing along the pad is just awesome. Let you in on a little secret, Wotancraft use to design the Bund Pad for Zenith Pilot watches. 

The strap on the bund pad, minus the watch. You can see that the strap fits into the loop with minimal gaps. 

Overall, I have to say that I am happy with the strap. I have been Wotancraft customer for a long time and the quality of their products, be it straps or bags, have never failed me and this strap is a testament to their quality. 

If you want to check out their products...

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