I finally made my way into see Bea today to look into having a customized alligator watch strap made up to replace the horribly sub-par one I wasted my money on about two years ago. This watch has seen very little wear, ( about 4 times in the last 3 years) simply due to my incredible talent in losing crowns. The watch sat unfixed for the last 8 months or so, after the last crown managed to unwind and fall off while I was at work ( mostly my fault, I felt it loosening and didn't take it off my wrist, thinking it would make it thru the day). I just got it back from having it repaired and decided it was time to act on my desire to really upgrade the band to something more suiting the vision I had for the watch. I'm a 3-4 watch kind of guy, and this is my main dress watch, but I wanted it to stand out so I opted for a navy blue band with a contrast stitch that resembled the rose gold of the dial. She gave me the lead on a good watchmaker in San Francisco who might be able to help me get the watch hands swapped out to blued ones. I'll save the original hands in case I ever want to switch it back to stock.
Here's an earlier photo that showed the dial better. The crown on it at this time was too wide, unwound and fell off. I'll have comparison shots to put up when it's finished.
The creasing on this band is quite evident. It's a cheaper highly polished type of alligator. The padding is too thick and the scales are obscured. Mind you, it's only been worn a total of 4 times, maybe a total of 36 hours, yet looks like it's very worn. The photos actually make it look better than it does in real life. Another very important detail to her work, on the strap, the holes are smaller, and closer together, greatly improving the fit. On this one, it's either a bit too tight or too loose. These are 7mm apart and there's 7 of them. On hers, I was able to go with only 5, and they are 4-5mm apart. I was tempted to just go with 3 holes, but thought it would be too limiting. I just want the beautiful scales to as unobscured as possible.
The scales on the band that will replace this one has the exact shape that I chose. I opted for a balance of small spherical scales, that have good 3 dimensional depth to them and texture, but not quite appearing like frog skin ( ugly IMO). It also will have less shine than this. Not quite matte finished, but less glossy for sure. The buttery texture of the alligator is amazing. She was able to flex and stretch the material easily. I thought it was fragile. I was wrong.
Bea is busy with the holiday rush, so it will be a while before the strap is finished, but I will update this post with before and after pictures for comparison sake. I tried to take some moderately better photo's of it this time.
I also picked up a nice simple slim wallet while I was there. Like it's been mentioned several times before in this thread, Bea is an absolute charm to work with. She still is enthusiastic about her craft, all these years later.
Trying to tweak the color temp and white balance to show the most accurate shade of deep blue.
I really like the arch on the left, making it easier to see the denomination of the bills. The thumb hole on the right makes it very easy to slide out the one debit card and drivers license I carry, trying to keep it a slim front pocket wallet.
Her non custom wallets are machine stitched. If you're laying down serious money for a custom designed piece or a luxury hide like alligator it will be hand sewn. The embossed "stingray" pattern leathers that she purchases from tanneries in France are buttery soft.