As a watch enthusiast, I demand an unparalleled quality for my watches even to its most trifling details, it is of no exception for what holds them in place as well, an exemplary watch strap.
The team at Vario was nice enough to send us three of their watch straps specifically, Harris Tweed, Vintage Italian Leather and a 2-Piece Cordura Leather Strap.
I’ve worn them for about a week now, specifically on my beloved 101 Ten Year Edition from J&S Watch Co which I’ve bought from Iceland (I’ll write an article about the company and my personal experience) and the Seiko SKX031J.
You might be wondering how was I supposed to wear it if we’re all staying at home? Precisely, I wore it whilst working from home and when doing my groceries!
In this article, I’ll be rating these straps from Vario in terms of “Appearance”, “Wearability” and “Quality” with the highest score being 10. I will further breakdown the categories mentioned so you have a better understanding of how I actually rate them.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Vintage Italian Leather (Sand Beige)
Starting with my personal favourite due to its compatibility with the watch as it oozes out pure elegance, the Vintage Italian Leather from Vario, as its name suggests, uses the world’s finest full-grain leather from northern Italy, Provincia di Vicenza.
As with other leather straps, this strap requires no break-in period as it is soft yet firm right out of the box. It wears incredibly well, wrapping my small 6 inch wrist right on the spot.
Needless to say with such quality, it comes with a quick-release which, in my opinion, should be the norm for every strap these days due to its convenience.
Many people also worry that the back of a leather strap (near the quick release) would peel off after a while and I don’t blame them, I’ve experienced it myself. I have not worn this strap long enough to notice that but I gave it a good scratch on the back and it seems as fit as a flea.
Everything on the strap feels firm and durable including the keepers of the strap and buckle. For the aficionados out there, I know you hate the “loose” feeling of the buckle and keepers, me too. It just gives off the feeling of a poorly made strap, however, this piece of charmer right here doesn’t.
With that, I’ll rate the Vintage Italian Leather from Vario with the 3 categories.
The look of this strap tells you exactly what the name suggests Vintage and Italian which translates to Vintage and Class, no-nonsense behind it and I’d like to think that many of you will agree with me on this.
Just look at the texture of the strap with a slight contrast from the stitching.
To be honest, I was afraid that even the last hole on the strap wouldn’t fit my small wrist and I was wrong. It does not only fit but it feels snugged (not too tight) and also really comfortable. It’s that “amazing feeling of shaking your wrist and your watch stays in place kind of feel”.
Not forgetting that it also requires no break-in period and wears incredibly well right off the box.
It may seem to you by now that I may not be as critical with the strap with the high scores but trust me, It’s as critical as I can get with a week of wearing the strap, there is just nothing much to complain about.
With a touch and a sniff, you can already tell that it is of quality with the smooth texture of the strap. The buckle, keepers and the quick release feels firm, the only reason I am giving it a 9/10 is because “feels firm” can be subjective, but really, how much more firm can it get?
2-Piece Cordura Leather ZULU Straps (Khaki Brown)
If you do not know what Cordura is, it is an extremely durable kind of fabric which was used in tyres by the US military during WWII. Imagine having that on your watch strap.
The type of Cordura used in this strap though is made from woven 1000 denier coated nylon fabric. In English, it means that it is highly resistant to any tears, abrasions, scuffs, water and stains. You’ll get this together with an oiled leather beneath and above the lugs of the watches.
The strap looks perfect when paired with something like a dive watch due to its rugged appearance. You may think that it could add on some weight to your watch, but it is actually quite light due to the cotton lining underneath the strap which aids in comfort.
If you haven’t noticed, the adjustment holes on the strap for the buckle tongue is made of steel and this will be my only qualm about the strap, it might actually be a big one too.
Due to my small wrist, you can imagine I would need to use the last adjustment hole on the strap and due to the design of the buckle tongue and the steel holes, it can be quite hard for me to pry the strap out from the hole. Usually it is easier with leather just that it might require a little bit of scuffle.
If you have wrists as small as mine, this is how the strap will look when you use the last adjustment hole. Thankfully, like a NATO, you can bend the excess inwards into the keepers.
Much better! Can you fathom my agony because of my wrist…
However, for those with average-sized wrists, I don’t see any problem with this strap and it could feel and look much nicer without having to bend the excess of the strap into the keeper (depending on how you like the look).
It’s time to give this strap some “AWQ” rating.
Depending on how you like the rugged look, the appearance can differ from people to people. However, rating it with a neutral point of view, the nice touch of leather together with the Cordura definitely played a huge part in making this strap a kind of its own.
On behalf of people with smaller wrists, the wearability of this strap may not be exceptional due to the awkwardness of trying to get the buckle tongue out from the last adjustment hole when taking off the strap. However, it still manages a 6/10 due to the ability to fold the excess strap into the keepers and it is also a quick-release strap!
The quality of this strap, however, is of no doubt one of the highest quality straps you can find. From the durable material of the strap to steel adjustment holes, I can’t think of a way to destroy this strap, burn it perhaps? I mean why would you even do that?
Harris Tweed Strap (Pecan Brown)
Harris… wha.. what?
Yes, we’ve come to, probably, one of the most unique watch straps ever made.
The Harris Tweed Strap is the pride of Vario as it is made from a type of wool dyed and spun by islanders in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. This is such a big deal because it is only woven by these indigenous people of Scotland.
They even have a governing body known as The Harris Tweed Authority which specialises in ensuring the originality of the wool and safeguarding the standards and reputation of Harris Tweed. In fact, this authority erected because of the Harris Tweed Act in 1993. A big deal isn’t it?
Due to its fame internationally, the logo or Orb of the Harris Tweed, as they call it is a registered certification mark which can only be obtained from the Harris Tweed Authority. This means that if you see this mark, it verifies the authenticity of the wool.
Now with a better understanding of the material used in this strap, it is safe to say, without a doubt, if you have this strap, you’re owning something not just exclusive but also of extremely high quality.
The strap looks really unique when paired with a watch due to the texture of the wool. I don’t know why but to me, it gives off a “Peaky Blinders” vibe and that to me, is really cool.
Funny how a strap can be associated with a Netflix series but that’s how influential a proper, high-grade watch and strap does to me.
Time to get down to business with the final judgement of Vario’s Harris Tweed Strap with my personally acclaimed “AWQ” rating system.
A full score for its uniqueness, the strap looks really vintage and antique, perfect when paired with a fine vintage watch, bonus if you have patina on the dials too.
For the most part, the strap fits really well on my wrist right back on the last adjustment hole. At the start, it can feel a little stiff and it took a few days to break-in but it is not much of an issue. The let down of such an impressive strap, at least to me, is the absence of a quick-release.
Without a doubt, the material, buckle, stitching and keepers are of top quality. The wool does not fray so far and it is also water-resistant! More of what comes from this strap is the security and pride you get when donning such an exclusive piece of material.
In closing, the straps Vario sent us were really impressive, I know what to buy for Father’s Day already.
If you would like to get your hands on these, be sure to use our promo code “NOMAD360” for an 8% off! Take a look at more of their products here or you can check out their collections page here https://vario.sg/
Be sure to check out other articles, probably the expert guide to watch straps if you want to know more about the different kind of straps for your watches.