Strap Guide written by @thewatchphoto. Thank you Majd!
While I appreciate the practicality of the stainless steel sports pieces currently in vogue (I own and love a few myself), I have always had a soft spot for simple, elegant dress pieces. In fact, looking back at old photos of myself from 10, 15, and even 20 years ago (long before I started collecting watches) it seems as though I have always been drawn to a clean, understated piece on a well made leather strap above all else. And while COVID has robbed many of us of the events and office environments that we would typically wear dress pieces in, I still choose to wear one most days, despite continuing to work from home.
Vacheron Constantin needs no introduction. The company had already celebrated its centennial anniversary before some of today’s most well-known watch brands even existed. So when the opportunity to pick up the quintessential Vacheron dress watch came up last year and I began weighing the pros and cons, I had one fear: I worried that I might not wear it enough due to how formal it is--for context, these typically come on black alligator straps. The thing about well-designed dress watches, however, is that they can easily be dressed up or down with a quick strap change. Follow along as I explore several options on the formality spectrum.
Glossy Caramel Crocodile Signature (Curved)
In my books, nothing dresses up a timepiece quite like a well made crocodile or alligator strap. Real crocodile leather has an unmistakable quality to it that embossed leather will never have. Do not conflate dressiness with formality, though--a three-piece suit is not required to pull off this kind of strap and I often find myself donning this with more casual attire. The aptly named Caramel strap shown here is brown enough to go with a wide range of outfits, but this particular warm shade of brown, coupled with the glossy finish, is still different enough from your run of the mill generic brown straps that it easily stands out in a crowd. If someone asked me to keep this watch on one strap for the rest of my life, this would probably be it.
Glossy Navy Crocodile Signature (Curved)
Next up: another glossy crocodile strap, this time in a less conventional and much more attention-grabbing navy. The strap tapers from 4.5mm to 2.2mm in thickness, meaning that there is a more seamless transition from the watch case to the strap, while maintaining comfort towards the buckle end by giving the whole package a slim profile, even where the strap overlaps itself. For those of you who, like me, spend a lot of time working at a desk (and resting their watch hand on a laptop surface) this is an extremely valuable feature. Anothing thing I love is that, on a sunny day, the bright blue creases between the tiles of this crocodile leather really pop, further accentuating the leather’s gorgeous texture.
Taupe Saffiano Signature (Curved)
The big selling point of Saffiano is clear: the signature cross-hatch pattern gives it a high level of scratch and water resistance. The colour Taupe, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery to me. Under some lighting conditions, it appears beige-brown. Other times, it appears closer to stone gray. When the Sun is out in full force, it turns dark cream… Taupe is a true chameleon of the watch strap colour wheel. So what do you get when you combine Saffiano leather with this shade of taupe? A strap that you can wear to dress up an informal outfit, or dress down a more formal outfit, all while not having to worry too much about its ability to keep up.
Chestnut Buttero Signature (Curved)
Put simply, Buttero leather has soul. As it slowly picks up scratches over time, it begins to develop this beautiful patina in a way that few other kinds of leather do. And because it is also incredibly smooth to the touch, I can safely say that a great Buttero leather strap is like your favourite pair of shoes: well made, familiar, and supremely comfortable... Chestnut is a no fuss colour option here, and can lend itself well to an array of metals, from steel to various shades of gold and beyond. This choice is slightly off the beaten path, and is a surefire way to signal that you have given thought to the matter.
Light Grey Nubuck Slim (Curved)
Nubuck leather straps are as soft as suede, but more durable by virtue of the fact that they come from the tougher outside layer of the leather hide which is then sanded down. This makes Nubuck straps perfect for casual daily wear. Seen here in Light Gray, this strap is a canvas that takes a backseat and lets whatever watch you are wearing it on do all the talking. Perfect for those family get-togethers when you want to remain incognito and avoid answering awkward questions about your horological hobby.
- Reference: Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle in White Gold (Ref. 82172)
- Case Size: 38mm
- Lug-to-Lug: 47mm
- Thickness: 7.77mm
- Lug Width: 20mm (Curved)
- Wrist Size: 7.25” / 18.5cm
If you enjoyed this Strap Guide, be sure to check out the rest of our Strap Guides for more inspirations!