Whether you call it a strap, a bracelet or a band, it's an essential part of your watch, both functionally and aesthetically. In fact, it's quite easy to refresh the look of your watch, just by fitting a different strap.
Perhaps it is coincidental, but in recent weeks we've spoken to several people about watch straps. One gentleman (not yet a Pinchbeck owner) told us that in his experience leather straps don't last five minutes. It's certainly true that cheap ones need replacing with alarming regularity, but at the other end of the scale, we heard about the hundreds of pounds charged by a top watch brand for a replacement, together with the advice that it should be renewed annually. For that price, it should last a lifetime! Someone else said that the strap on his household name watch had broken after only a few months and that the retailers weren't interested in helping him.
The life of a leather strap depends on many things. The quality of the leather and the way it is made are the most important, but, of course, how much it is worn also matters. Equally, everyone's skin is different, and this also plays a part.
We believe that the strap is almost as important as the watch itself, which is why Tanner Bates straps are available on all our watches. These are made individually in Devon, by John Hagger. A trained saddler, he uses traditional hand methods and tools, as well as the best quality leather; his straps are stitched rather than glued. They look superb and have that wonderful old fashioned aroma; they are comfortable and last far longer than 'ordinary' straps. Craftsmanship like this doesn't come cheap, but it does give true value, in terms both of longevity and the pleasure of ownership. Our website shows a few of the colours he can make, but other types of leather, and a wide range of coloured threads, are available - just ask, and we will do our best to help!
Last Wednesday, 14th January, Tanner Bates was featured in 'Escape to the Country' on BBC1. You'll find it on the BBC Iplayer, series 15-31, towards the end of the programme. If you look carefully you will see that John is wearing his Harold Pinchbeck watch! Presenter Jules Hudson talks about his leather belt as an old friend: he could just as easily have used that expression about a Tanner Bates watch strap. I know, because I wear one every day: it's actually improved over three years. All part of the Harold Pinchbeck experience.