I greatly prefer the belly and agree largely with Apropos. Honestly, I don't really care for hornback. Also IMHO hornback works better with watches of a sporty nature. But if you like the texture that's a personal choice.
More textured and bumpy surfaces can be less costly, as they often hide defects, scars, or marks. This can work to ones advantage if you are very tough on leather good be it shoes, briefcases or coats.
Perfect, unscarred bellies on crocs or gators are often difficult to obtain, and are very prized and costly. The best sections are used for larger items like handbags, briefcases, jackets etc. smaller areas obviously are used for smaller items such as wallets and watch straps. Years ago I thought the price of croc or alligator was because they are dangerous and difficult for people to work with. However a large part of their value is because even on farms, they are vicious wild animals that often fight with each other and develop scars and imperfections, making perfect skins rare. There is a great section on exotic skins in the book "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster."
Pig is an unusual option that can take a high polish. I personally avoid lizard because of its poor durability.
Alternatively try belly scale in an unusual colour like dark olive..[/quote]
Unusual skins and colors can really add a lot to a watch. A friend of worked in the art and design fields and he has chosen some unusual skins... stingray (almost like small stones & very rugged, ostrich leg (looks sort of like a cross between python and alligator), pig skin, etc. He did an emerald green croc strap on a white gold and diamond Cartier Tank that was very impressive. A white metal watch is a blank canvas in terms of color. I've seen a watch with a dark blue alligator strap with medium blue stitching and it really tied in nicely with the blue moon phase subdial.
The only skin I personally won't consider is ostrich. It's durable but I always look at it and think it looks like leather with acne. Just my 2 cents.
Good luck with whatever you get..,and straps although pricey arent a major committment and can always be changed if an idea doesn't turn out as well as you hoped so be adventurous and have fun with it.
Edited by Dino944 - 2/17/13 at 4:56am