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The Best Leather Watch Bands You Can Buy

Not all leather watch bands are created equal, and more and more options seem to crop up every day.

best leather watch straps gear patrol lead full
Chandler Bondurant and Hunter D. Kelley

While we watch lovers often categorize bands into several well-established types according to style and material (NATO, leather, bracelet, etc.), in truth it’s a gross oversimplification to lump all leather watch bands (or straps, if you prefer) together. What type of leather are we talking about – full grain, top grain, nubuck, suede or cordovan? Is the strap a 1-piece or a 2-piece? Is it top-stitched all around the perimeter or does it feature vintage-style threading near the lugs?

All of these factors (and more) dictate which type of watch or occasion the band will be appropriate for, and certainly, not all are created equal. What follows are some of our favorite leather watch straps from some of the best brands across three continents you'll want to swap onto your favorite watch right away:

B&R Bands Russet Le Mans Racing Watch Strap

B&R Bands Russet Le Mans Racing Watch Strap

bandrbands.com
$79.99

Every self-respecting watch nerd needs a “rally” strap in his or her collection (or “ralley,” or “rallye,” or whatever). Essentially a leather strap perforated with holes, this type of strap accompanied vintage Heuer and Omega racing chronographs in the 1960s, but it looks good on just about any chunky tool watch. The Le Mans from B&R Bands, founded in 2009, is a modern take on this classic style, available in three sizes, two lengths, and several colors. Personally, we dig the Russet version, a dark brown with contrasting top-stitching and brushed hardware that perfectly compliments darker dials.

  • Type of Leather: Full-grain Italian leather with waxed finish
  • Available Sizes: 18mm, 19mm, 20mm, 22mm
  • Available Colors: Black, Malt, Navy, Russet, Cognac

    Analog:Shift Alpine Strap

    Analog:Shift Alpine Strap

    analogshift.com
    $89.00
    $49.00 (45% off)

    Beige might not be a traditional leather strap color, but it's more versatile than you might think — especially when it's the right shade and texture as in Analog:Shift's Alpine strap. There are plenty of watches with gold-tone elements that would match it perfectly, but it can even enliven a monochromatic design. The matte finish and subtle texture provide just the right level of interest while letting the watch itself remain the star of the show. Handmade in Italy, the different size options all taper nicely toward the buckle and offer a strong value.

    • Type of Leather: Alpine
    • Available Sizes: 18mm, 19mm, 20mm and 22mm
    • Available Colors: Denham Beige, Quartermain Grey, Jones Brown, Drake Green, Bridger Blue, "Single Red" (LE), "Ultramoon" (LE), Pitt Orange, Adora Pink, Croft White, Wells Red, Laika Black, White Black

      Worn & Wound Model 2 Premium Stone

      Worn & Wound Model 2 Premium Stone

      windupwatchshop.com
      $95.00

      Worn & Wound’s Model 2 Premium (shown here in Stone) is essentially a refined version of their Model 2 Classic that uses a tapering design made of Wickett & Craig vegetable-tanned lining and Horween top leather. With painted edges in a complimentary color (the strap is available in 14 different colors), waxed cotton braided knots near the lug edges, fixed metal loop and leather keepers, the Model 2 is, for the money, simply one of the best leather watch straps available on the market. With all the different colors to choose from to precisely match the strap to your watch, not to mention available sizes in 18, 20, and 22mm, there’s a Model 2 Premium that’s right for every watch out there (except perhaps that pesky 34mm vintage Rolex).

      • Type of Leather: Nubuck
      • Available Sizes: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm
      • Available Colors: Black, Tobacco Brown, Stout Brown, Rye Tan, Stone Gray, Color 8 Burgundy, Peanut Brown, Moss Brown, Natural, Olive, Dark Navy, Yukon Brown, Marsh Green, Pine Green, Bone Gray

        Hodinkee Amagoh Vegan Pineapple Leather Watch Strap

        Hodinkee Amagoh Vegan Pineapple Leather Watch Strap

        hodinkee.com
        $110.00

        Everyone needs a black leather strap in their rotation, ready to go to accompany a thin dress watch or spruce up an otherwise playful tool watch. And though lizard or croc is a classic choice for such a band, it's good to have an option for those who would rather avoid animal products. Hodinkee's Amagoh collection is a totally vegan-friendly leather alternative with a fibrous texture made from pineapple leaves (!). With matching black stitching and keepers and a stainless steel pin buckle, this minimalist strap is the perfect option for that formal look but should also remain perfectly appropriate on a Sub. It comes in 18mm, 19mm, 20mm or 22mm versions and in more colors, so you can definitely dress up that vintage 34mm Rolex or larger dive watch.

        • Type of Leather: Pineapple leaves (vegan leather alternative)
        • Available Sizes: 18mm, 19mm, 20mm, 22mm
        • Available Colors: Kilauea, Carlsbad Caverns, Mesa Verde, Death Valley

          Bas & Lokes Silas Textured Leather NATO Watch Strap

          Bas & Lokes Silas Textured Leather NATO Watch Strap

          basandlokes.com
          $115.00

          A NATO or Zulu single-pass style offers an interesting alternative among leather straps. You'll ideally want it soft and thin for comfort and to keep the bulk down, and that's exactly what the Silas, a semi-bespoke strap from Australian company Bas & Lokes, delivers. It's handmade in Sydney from American cowhide and given a pebbled texture that's sure to lend this otherwise rugged style of strap (military in origin) a distinctly luxurious feel — the edges even have a decorative groove. Dress up a tool watch with it or pop it on a smaller watch that could use a little more wrist presence. With numerous lengths, widths and buckle finishes available, it’s possible to semi-customize a Bas & Lokes strap until it feels like it was made especially for your wrist.

          • Type of Leather: American cow leather
          • Available Sizes: 16mm-24mm
          • Available Colors: many

            Molequin Taupe Suede

            Molequin Taupe Suede

            molequin.com
            €99.00

            The Suede Collection from Molequin is crafted from premium goat leather from France for uniform quality and feel. The result is a strap that’s low-key, subdued and perfect for a variety of watches, both vintage and modern. Available in 6 colors, two lengths, five widths (from 18mm through 22mm), two spring bar choices and two buckle choices, the Suede straps make use of a calf leather lining to prevent damage from moisture and sweat. We personally love the Taupe colorway, which pairs beautifully with all manner of dial colors.

            • Type of Leather: Suede
            • Available Sizes: 17mm-22mm
            • Available Colors: many

              Molequin Grained Calf Strap in Taupe

              Molequin Grained Calf Strap in Taupe

              molequin.com
              €105.00

              Based in Brussels, Belgium, vintage Rolex enthusiast Michael Luther’s brand Molequin fashions straps in a variety of leathers, and their robust, thinly cut Grained Calf is far and away one of the best. Available in nine different colors, two lengths, five widths (from 18mm through 22mm), two spring bar choices and two buckle choices, the Grained Calf is particularly versatile in taupe. Pair this band with a monochromatic watch to maintain a subdued look or use it to counterbalance a timepiece with a louder dial. (Pro Tip: It’s worth springing for the quick-release spring bars since you’ll likely want to throw this baby on multiple watches.)

              • Type of Leather: Calf
              • Available Sizes: 17mm-22mm
              • Available Colors: Anthracite, Black, Chocolate Brown, Sea Blue, Turquoise, Almond White, Desert Sand, Hunter Green, Mistral, Navy Blue, Smoke Gray, Sunrise, Taupe, Whiskey Tan

                Bulang & Sons Denim Blue Retro Leather Watch Strap

                Bulang & Sons Denim Blue Retro Leather Watch Strap

                bulangandsons.com
                $130.00

                Easily one of the most striking leather straps we’ve ever seen, full stop. This beautiful band is handcrafted by Jean-Paul Meniccuci, the OG of leather strappage, especially for Netherlands-based Bulang & Sons, and we’d be hard-pressed to find something comparable from the other big players. Painted in a cool, denim-colored leather with a distressed pattern and using cream-colored edge stitching and natural leather keepers, the Denim Blue Retro strap pairs perfectly with a vintage tool watch and a beat-up pair of selvedge jeans. Available in sizes from 18mm through 22mm — including 19mm and 21mm for those pesky vintage watches — we challenge you to find a more unique strap for the money.

                • Type of Leather: All-natural vegetable-tanned leather
                • Available Sizes: 18mm-22mm
                • Available Colors: Denim Blue

                  Crown & Buckle American-Made Walnut Boxcalf

                  Crown & Buckle American Made Walnut Boxcalf

                  crownandbuckle.com
                  $145.00

                  While there are several styles of two-piece strap available in C&B’s American Made Collection, the Walnut Boxcalf is a standout offering. This is a two-layer strap with an underside and topside made from matching “Boxcalf”-style leather, which is chrome-tanned, full-grain calfskin sourced from France. Boxcalf leather is typically used in high-end leather dress shoes, and the Boxcalf used in this strap is “boarded,” a process by which a tight grain is created that closes the hair follicles. This is an incredibly versatile color that will work well with a wide variety of dial types, and the slightly darker edge dying, as well as perimeter top-stitching and corner knots near the buckles, lend this strap a vintage look that doesn’t seem to be going out of style any time soon.

                  • Type of Leather: Full-grain calfskin Boxcalf
                  • Available Sizes: 20mm, 22mm
                  • Available Colors: Walnut

                    Hodinkee Bedford Strap Collection in Olive Green

                    Hodinkee Bedford Strap Collection in Olive Green

                    hodinkee.com
                    $165.00

                    The Hodinkee Shop began with a small collection of fine leather watch straps and has been regularly updating its stock with new collections ever since. The company’s Bedford Collection, launched in 2019, is made in the U.S.A. and available in 10 colors and four sizes. Crafted from high-quality nubuck leather in attractive, subdued shades with off-white stitching brushed buckles and calfskin lining, the Bedford is another strap that serves as the perfect compliment to a vintage piece or an upgrade to a modern watch. The Olive Green version is our personal favorite, but there’s truly something for everybody in this high-quality collection, available from 18mm through 22mm

                    • Type of Leather: Nubuck
                    • Available Sizes: 18mm, 19mm, 20mm, 22mm
                    • Available Colors: Olive Green, Navy, Sky Blue, Slate Gray, Sand, Light Gray, Mint Green, Dark Brown

                      Hodinkee Heaton Bund Strap

                      Hodinkee Heaton Bund Strap

                      $170.00

                      A bund strap consists of an extra layer of leather that sits beneath the watch and through which the other two pieces are threaded — originally to protect German pilots' wrists from extreme temperatures. There are two sides to the bund story: one is its military history, and the other is its later place in '70s style. We love both. And Hodinkee makes one of the nicest versions you can find, available in a range of versions, sizes and colors.

                      • Type of Leather: Calfskin, Shell Cordovan
                      • Available Sizes: 19mm, 20mm, 22mm
                      • Available Colors: Cooper Light Brown, Moss Green, Faded Brown, Color No. 4, Color No. 8, Blue, Cooper Black, Cooper Burgundy, Brown, Dark Brown

                        Shinola Genuine Alligator

                        Shinola Genuine Alligator

                        shinola.com
                        $225.00

                        Shinola makes some fun watches and some nice leather products, so no surprise that they've got some actually darn good leather straps. We've included a lot of straps here that fall on the "rugged" end of leather's style spectrum, but sometimes when you're looking for a leather strap it's for dressing up. And when you really want to do dressy and formal, it's gotta be black alligator. Though other colors are also available (and quite classy), this is going to pair perfectly with something along the stylistic lines of a Cartier — or take a dressy-leaning watch all the way.

                        • Type of Leather: Genuine alligator
                        • Available Sizes: 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, 24mm
                        • Available Colors: Black, Brown, Cognac, Oxblood

                          Everest Bands Curved End Link Leather (for Rolex Submariner)

                          Everest Bands Curved End Link Leather (for Rolex Submariner)

                          everestbands.com
                          $240.00

                          Michael DiMartini, founder of Everest Horology Products, conceived of an Italian vegetable-tanned calf leather strap with hypoallergenic lining made for Rolex wearers. The strap features an ABS plastic insert embedded at the case connection point for a precision fit to your Rolex Submariner (there are however several models of Submariner that are not compatible with the curved-end leather model, so we recommend checking the Everest website regarding compatibility). The curved-end leather Sub strap, available in nine finishes, is incredibly over-designed and ergonomic, with its precision-fit ends and steel buckle that looks robust enough to use as a weapon in close-quarters combat. For die-hard Rolex enthusiasts, an Everest strap is about as good as you can get.

                          • Type of Leather: Italian vegetable-tanned calf leather
                          • Available Sizes: 20mm
                          • Available Colors: Black, Brown, Dark Brown, Tan, Blue
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