The Seiko SKX007 happens to be one of my favorite dive watches. It’s sized right, you can find one for under $200, uses an automatic movement, is tough as nails, and looks good dressed up or down. The one thing missing is a decent strap. The black rubber band it ships with is ugly and uncomfortable on my wrist. Not a week passed before I was ordering new NATO style straps for my 007. If my watch is going to carry the 007 namesake, it needs a strap worthy of Mr. Bond’s prowess and perseverance.
Known for making some of the most handsome camera bags you can buy, Wotancraft also carries an entire line of handmade leather watch straps to perfectly compliment your Rolex, Bell & Ross, Panerai, IWC, and even my Seiko. After carefully looking over their collection, I decided on the WWII 001 model. Having already reviewed their Scout camera bag and experiencing the quality of their craftsmanship first hand, I gave Jimmy a ring at Wotancraft to ask him about the straps. Unlike most strap makers who simply choose the leathers they work with based on color, Wotancraft takes it a step further combining a historic look into the past on your wrist.
The WWII series straps are inspired by vintage Swiss ammo pouches. Just like every pouch was stamped with distinctive markings to signify the makers descriptions and inspectors initials, so are the watch straps. In order to perfectly match the maturity and look of the STGW57 Rifle 24 Round Magazine Leather Pouches, they added a hand-vintaging process that delivers burnished edges and aged creases on the leather surface. The strap is then stamped with Sz (Swiss insignia), replicating actual ammo pouches.
The NATO style strap was originally created for British Military soldiers for ease of use and replacement convenience. This was the obvious choice for the WWII series. The buckle is aluminum for better rust-proof ability, aged to match the actual antique Swiss Army backpack/rucksack used in WWII. There are also three metal keepers to secure the strap length in place.
The leather is Italian Buffalo with vintage gold stitching throughout.
The Wotancraft WWII is only 1.1mm thick, keeping it nice and tight around your wrist. Having a thin watch strap makes it easy to get in and out of your pocket and won’t catch on your cuff. Thick or thin is a matter or choice depending on the style of your watch.
Also included with your watch strap is a nice faux wool strap holder. I’ve been carrying it with me during my travels to hold my watch passing through airport security. The entire watch fits nicely inside and keeps everything protected.
In order to properly report on the strap, I’ve been wearing it over the past two months while traveling extensively. The watch and strap have been on my wrist no less than 45 days. Plenty of time to offer my thoughts.
As you can see the strap is properly broken in and developing a wonderful patina. The leather and stitching are holding up great.
However subtle, the Sz marking has turned a few heads on the road which lead to questions and conversations.
Neither sweat nor rain have caused any damage to the strap. For the purpose of this review I have not conditioned the leather. I wanted to see how it would look and hold up to abuse. These photographs were taken today, just before writing this review. The strap is doing a great job handling moisture without tarnishing its appearance.
The more I wear the strap, the better it looks. 2 or 3 years from now I know it’s going to look fantastic. With mostly favorable notes for the strap, what would I change? The aluminum buckle leaves something to be desired. Everything about the WWII strap speaks of elegance and quality, aside from the buckle. It looks okay, but feels cheap. I would have preferred to see stainless steel here. The keepers are SS so it makes me wonder if aluminum was used to save on build cost rather than keeping rust away. With a price tag of $169 US, premium hardware should be used throughout.
James Bond may never sport a Seiko SKX007, but chances are your 007 is going to look far closer to something a gentleman spy would wear strapped around his wrist in rich leather. If you have a Panerai in your collection, you should definitely take a look at their Serpent Class series. A nice, large timepiece like that deserves a great strap.
Head on over to Wotancraft to review the entire collection right here.
Adding a handsome leather strap to your watch brings character to even less expensive pieces in your collection. It will age beautifully and grab attention from even the top watch aficionados.