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Crocodile watch band

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Law stud, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. dport86

    dport86 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    129
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    btw, to the poster above who prefers exotics to calf, one of the big frustrations for vintage watch collectors is that the quality of calf bands has declined considerably from before while exotic qualtiy has gotten better in general IMHO. Perhaps the greater markup potential in exotics has led to market to concentrate there (like the auto business--nobody's incentivized to develop a great cheap car). I do believe that most commerically produced calfskin bands today are of disappointing quality, so if you're going to spend real money on a band, why not get crocodile if you like the look. A good source for the european exotics at great prices is OKSANA2967 on ebay. check out her made in Italy and Made in France gucci bands--great quality for the price. much better quality than the foxband ones you are looking at. very nice seller as well.
     
  2. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    182
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Texas
    I recently bought an Alligator strap from 'the watch boys' on ebay. I'm very happy with it. I think they offer a fantastic product, especially considering they only cost about $100.

    I went for a matte finish, since its for a Panerai.



    Might get one of those! I have 3 for my Panerai but they they were free --- genuine Panerai but I like the ones in the pics better..
     
  3. haganah

    haganah Well-Known Member

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    6,351
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    Nov 24, 2007
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I may have asked an obscure question and did the follow on plea (something I rarely do I might add), but if I hadn't you wouldn't have seen this and written an amazing response. Thank you so much. I'm digesting it all. [​IMG]

    And just to clarify what aleeboy wrote, the larger scale patterns will be better quality or does it come down to what I prefer?


    I always love the "why isn't anyone responding" pleas, like the magic SF fairy should be on duty 24/7 on the most obscure questions.

    Well, far from discouraging such pleas, I actually recognize several of the bands pictures by the OP. The top one is I believe from Foxbands, which make their own bands and sell them directly on ebay. Quality is decent, the same level or slightly lower than ZRC in Europe. Decent patterns and colors and wear OK but here's where the corners are cut: lower quality backing leather, slightly sloppy machine stitching, skins that are tanned with a thick layer of plastic/shellac/polish on top that does not age as well as the top quality skins, and flat finished rather than rolled edges (the edges of the leather are not folded under, they are simply glued on, cut off and edge dressed). Still, great value for money. The shoe equivalent would be, say, Cole Haan or Kenneth Cole or current Bass Weejuns.

    Up a level, equivalent say to Johnston & Murphy, Mezlan etc., would be the better offerings from the big aftermarket band makers like Hirsch. These bands have a better finish, not necessarily better leathers and better construction. Still not great and potentially very overpriced for what they are. The lower end product lines for these makers are garbage--run away. Only for suckers, the ill-informed and the desperate--for jeweller high-markup point of sale purchases. One level up, and equivalent to say Alden or Allen Edmonds are the high end lines of Hirsch (artisanal) and the straps these makers produce for particular brands (e.g. Tiffany, Tourneau, Gucci, Breitling). manufacturers charge a huge markup for "original mfr/spec" bands, and collectors happily pay it (for vintage, even higher); this is not always justified by the quality and some mfr's bands, like Sinn, can be purchased for half the price without the mfr's mark from the original maker DiModell. Finally, there are manufacturers that make their own bands or commission extremely high quality bands--for e.g. Patek Philippe, Audemars PIguet, Cartier (often made by Camille Fournet), Franck Muller, Jaeger Le Coultre. These bands are superb quality and rival the best artisan made bands but often come with $150+ price tags. Can you see the difference from the $24-30 fox bands--very obviously. From the $100 hirsch artisanal bands--in most cases yes. So looking out for these bands on ebay can be very rewarding. however, beware of fakes and old dried out bands that will fall apart on your wrist (sending your precious timepiece crashing to the floor and thereafter to your watchmaker). There are also some great quality vintage bands that are now commanding a premium over new because the quality of the work was better and the styles and colors are not being reproduced today (think vintage florsheim vs. new florsheim)

    For a range of quality from Hirsch, DiModell, Tiffany etc. at good discounts, try RUSTWATCH on ebay. great service too. There are great bargains from VACHERONNL but she is a wholesaler/jobber of jewellry business closures, so the quality variation is huge--some things are throw away some things are superb, with a few exceptions everything is a bargain--very cheap. I know one dealer who bought hundreds of Heuer-style racing bands from her at less than $10 a pop who is now selling them for $125 on ebay. Be warned, she is a very nice person with a small operation in her garage in the Netherlands. It can take several weeks for the bands to arrive and occasionally she gets the order wrong. She always fixes it--eventually--but it can be frustrating until you look at the bargain you're getting. For less expensive bands made in China but decent quality try International Watchman. RMnilsen sells these on Ebay at a substantial markup but offers excellent service


    btw, to the poster above who prefers exotics to calf, one of the big frustrations for vintage watch collectors is that the quality of calf bands has declined considerably from before while exotic qualtiy has gotten better in general IMHO. Perhaps the greater markup potential in exotics has led to market to concentrate there (like the auto business--nobody's incentivized to develop a great cheap car). I do believe that most commerically produced calfskin bands today are of disappointing quality, so if you're going to spend real money on a band, why not get crocodile if you like the look. A good source for the european exotics at great prices is OKSANA2967 on ebay. check out her made in Italy and Made in France gucci bands--great quality for the price. much better quality than the foxband ones you are looking at. very nice seller as well.
     
  4. Aperipan

    Aperipan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Location:
    Portland Principality
  5. dport86

    dport86 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    129
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    in general people seem to prefer larger patterns. For luggage and shoes, large scales means the leather came from the belly--the primo part of the hide. The flattest, most supple, easiest to tan and arguably most attractive. With watchbands, you are flexing in one direction only and you are bonding your exotic to a layer of flexible calf so it's not as big a deal and some of the very largest grain would be almost invisible--too big. On some vintage bands, you only see one or two striations! So much of it is dependent on your preference and aesthetics. But generally the more regular and aligned the pattern, the better. Check out ads or website photos for Jaeger LeCoultre's and Cartier's to see what the best quality alligator grain looks like. BEware of the made in thailand stuff on ebay--and the lower quality Hadley and Hirsch where the hide quality is so poor that the grain is barely recognizable. You should see nice crisply defined patterns.
     

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