Between the Lugs: Review of the Worn & Wound Model 2 Leather strap
Last October I was lucky enough to attend the Fratello Watches Speedmaster Get Together in London, unfortunately attending sans Speedmaster, a bit of a horological faux pas, and managed to meet several enthusiastic watch collectors and appreciators. Just after meeting Oak & Oscar for the first time I commented on how his name (Chase) was very "American" and he said that he gets that all the time from Brits. In my enthusiasm I blurted out what I thought was a witty retort and said that at least his name wasn't Chuck. There was a moment of silence until Chase broke the silence and said that his Father was named Chuck. Thankfully I wasn't the only one to suffer an awkward silence as I overheard Robert-Jan Broer inadvertently telling the owner of WatchStrapson, a Perlon (and now canvas NATO) strap seller, that you shouldn't wear a Perlon strap on a vintage watch for long periods of time as it can gradually buff away any engravings on the case back. Undeterred by this assessment I was quite taken with the idea of a Perlon strap and I was impressed with the idea of unique look and slimness of the strap so ordered one a few days later. A few weeks ago the keeper finally gave way and I had to start looking for a new strap however, I wasn't shedding any tears of the loss of my Perlon.
There were many benefits to it (how adjustable it was, how you could just whip it off and wash it without fear of damage), but whilst I was always impressed with the slim qualities I was never 100% confident in the durability of the strap; perpetually expecting a particularly aggressive door knob or table corner to catch and rip it from the spring bars. I wouldn't say no to wearing one in the future but it would only be occasional wear. I had been following the Worn & Wound Instagram page for a while now and apart from making me want a Speedmaster Mark 4.5, I had been intrigued by their strap collection. So as the opportunity had arisen and after a bit of research I decided to purchase the Worn & Wound Model 2 Horween Leather strap in Olive, currently priced at $65.00.
The most important part of a watch strap is its ability to secure the watch to your wrist and not once whilst wearing this strap have I worried about my watch. With the perlon I was always slightly concerned that the very soft buckle (especially the tongue) would bend but the quality of the Model 2 has waylaid any such fears from arising again. I've been wearing the watch constantly for nearly two weeks now doing various busy work, errands and travelling several thousand miles and it's never blinked at anything. Measuring at 80mm buckle side and 125mm hole side this strap can easily accommodate a larger wrist and I've been wearing it on the last two or three holes depending on the weather.
Whilst I've been wearing it the most noticeable part of the strap is how soft and supple the leather is. Now I'm not an expert on the tanning process by any means so I don't know how this leather is so soft but I appreciate the finished product regardless (Here is a Worn & Wound video showing their manufacture process. Not of the Model 2 but of the Model 1 just to confuse you). The strap is matt all over with what appears to be an almost suede finish on the topside at first glance, but a closer look will reveal the subtle grain and variety of different hues hidden in plain site on the strap. Unlike the original alligator strap that came with my Zenith when I first bought it, this watch is unlined and has an almost rough velvet like appearance on the underside with contrasting top side fold overs which are the spring bar ends. These folded end parts of the strap are affixed with two naturally waxed linen threads on each side, a touch of detail which I really like.
Just how crucial they are to the integrity of the strap I don't know, but I really like the design aesthetic so I don't really care either way. Something that I especially like on this strap is the metal first keeper just after the buckle and the extra wide second keeper on the strap itself, both adding a sense of durability that fits with the overall style of this watch. I'm honestly surprised how much I like the extra wide keeper as they are usually associated with much larger and thicker straps but I've grown to appreciate it and it definitely suits the rugged smart look the Model 2 is going for. In future designs I would like to see more detailing on the clasp itself, perhaps a W&W logo similar to the font that can be found on the reverse of the strap? I can understand that it would add more to the manufacture costs and some watch owners would prefer a brand neutral strap but I think it would definitely add a certain something to the overall design.
I'm excited for the leather to start gracefully aging and forming a patina especially on the beautiful Olive colour. Olive is a good neutral colour and I feel it doesn't detract from or clash with the blued hands of the watch or other detailing as I feared it might. The strap does taper ever so slightly making it more elegant on closer inspection than its ruggedness rough'n'ready demeanour might look at first glance, the Teddy Roosevelt of watch straps maybe? The Model 1 strap at Worn & Wound is the bigger, chunkier brother to the Model 2 which is made for larger dive and tool watches. I really do like the rugged smart look this strap gives my Zenith, if you own a dress watch and are looking for an alternative to the traditional crocodile or alligator then I highly recommend the Model 2. When the need or want arises I'll be purchasing with confidence from Worn & Wound and will probably end up going for the Model 2 in Crimson or Russet but for now I am very happy with what I have here.