Wow! These look great! Will be fun to se the evolution of this leather with wear and I have to admit that the only gripe I have with my 8111's are traction in slippery conditions.You mentioned a japanese version of the Blacksmith that came unstructured, do you have the model number or pictures of that one?
I've found that the biggest culprit in failing water resistance in vintage watches is perishing rubber gaskets within the crown. i had a datejust in for service recently (70's) and the crown looked perfect from the outside and it screwed down perfectly. When I removed the crown and stem I noticed some black gunk on the crown tube and when I removed the gasket from within the crown it came out as a black paste. Regular pressure tests is important and newer gaskets doesn't...
My cousin has one of the Fender Robben Ford signatures, which honestly is one of the best playing and sounding guitars I've ever played. Great weight distribution and the fretboard is ebony if I remember correctly. Great fastplaying neck and great playing the upper register.
The mesh is perfect for that watch. The traditional mesh and milanaise bracelets have made a comeback in the watch world the last couple of years.
I've also seen alpine skier, Aksel Lund Svindal wearing the Camaro cased Longines on several occasions.