Recently, I had the opportunity to check out two bands from The Sydney Strap Co.
Founded in 2015 in the Land Down Under, so it’s a new company. They offer a wide range of straps – leather straps in various styles, canvas, NATO, even steel bracelets.
I chose two very different bands to get a good picture of the offer.
“Casino Royale” NATO (22mm)
- Width: 22mm (tested – available also in 18 and 20mm)
- Length: 28cm
- Thickness: 1.2mm
- Material: Nylon
When I saw this one, I thought that pairing it with my Dan Henry 1970 would be a match made in heaven. And it is. The black, grey, and orange stripes get along really well with the black and orange dial.
I’ve no idea why they call it the Casino Royale. In that film, Bond wore an Omega Seamaster Diver’s 300m and the Planet Ocean on a black rubber strap. No NATOs to be seen in it whatsoever.
The edges are finished well and don’t feel “scratchy” at all. The finishing is a bit coarse at the tip, but that’s that. The orange stripe in the middle feels like it rises above the surface of the rest of the strap. I don’t pretend to know why that is.
If I have to pick something to be critical of, it’s the steel hardware. The buckle feels like there’s little substance to it. The band is meant to be paired with diver watches. By extension, that buckle somehow doesn’t match the whole thing.
All in all, while I’d prefer a different buckle, I’ve nothing to complain about here. The strap feels solid, supple, and well-made.
“Kensington Navy” leather strap (18mm)
- Width: 18mm (tested – available also in 20 and 22mm)
- Lengths: Short side 7.5cm, long side 12cm
- Thickness: 3mm
- Material: Calfskin
We’ve seen a massive increase in the popularity of “vintage-style” leather straps with two stitches by the lugs in the last decade. Now, these are intended mostly for 1950s-1960s tool watches. It’s funny, as there are no records that such designs were used back in the day. So, how are they vintage-style exactly? I don’t know. But that’s just a matter of terminology and semantics.
I’ve paired the Kensington Navy with my 1952 Eterna, the dial of which has turned a lovely gold-ish tone. As the song by Bad Company goes, “give me silver, blue and gold…”
The photos of the strap on the site suggested that the surface of the band is suede-like. In reality, it’s a semi-gloss smooth finish, not even remotely resembling suede. Not that it’s bad – in fact, I like the surface finish. It’s only that the photos could be a bit more accurate.
I must say that I was slightly afraid that this type of strap would be rather stiff. This one’s anything but that, though. It didn’t need to break in. For a thick chunk of leather, it’s surprisingly supple. The soft lining on the underside of the strap, as well as the excellent finishing of the edges, make it feel well-made and comfortable.
The beige stitches match well with the deep, navy blue color of the band, as well as with the dial of the watch.
The buckle, made of 304L steel, is substantial, but not overly large.
One issue that I have with this type of strap, in general, is that it doesn’t have one fixed and one free loop. Instead, it has two free loops. Fortunately, on this particular band, these loops are tight and they stick to their place. The one thing I hate is a loop flying all around the strap, and these don’t do that in the slightest. Good job, Sydney Strap Co. chaps!
Pricing and shipping
The total for the Sydney Strap Co. bands was 42 euros, or $47, shipping (Australia Post tracked parcel) included.
For what you’re getting, complete with the spring bars, this is an excellent deal. The only issue with the delivery was Australia Post’s malfunctioning tracking (the company had a technical problem at that time). Waited, waited, and waited, but it was well worth the wait.