Does perfect mean perfection?
I often hear from customers that the handmade watch strap I just created for them is "perfect" and has given their watch a new life. But does that mean that the watch band I made is actually perfect? I can tell you right now: No it doesn't. In over a decade of making hand crafted custom watch straps for Panerai and other brands as my profession and living, I have made perhaps three perfect straps... and I think I'm being generous by about 33%. So what does "perfect" mean, and why should we stop expecting perfection in hand made leather watch bands?
Shouldn't that keeper be... perfectly... smooth? NO.
Perfect = sterile
When I think of what a "perfect" custom watch strap would look like, I don't imagine a strap with absolutely zero color variation, or a strap with stitch intervals that are all exactly identical, I don't even think of a strap without cracks or blemishes. Instead I think of a strap that's got some character, some style, some pizazz. I want a leather watch strap that makes my watch look better and also catches the eye with patina or some age, or some kind of something to bring out the style combo that my hand made leather watch band and my Panerai create together. I don't want it to be a completely clean, uninteresting piece of leather that was punched out by a computer controlled clicker press and then stitched by a human automaton sending their 300th strap of the day through the machine. Give me style, give me patina, give me the character of a hand made strap that a real person put their thought into making! Because that character shows, it comes through and makes a strap... perfect for my watch.
Smooth... but not perfectly smooth
Perfect = boring
Even on clean, smooth watch straps I want to see something that reminds me why I wanted that watch band in the first place. A little texture, a little style, something that shows that a human being made my watch strap. Most people looking for custom hand made leather watch straps are seeking to enhance their Panerai or other fine watch, not make it more bland. So of course that means something with soul, something that pops and stands out. And for a watch band to have those characteristics it needs to have character and style, evinced by a combination of hand made quality and attention to detail. Should a strap have massively differently sized end stitches? Of course not. But does every stitch have to be robotically identical? Not only no... emphatically no. Edge coat should be clean and durable, but should it be glass smooth and without nuance? I say no again! There are times you want the static boredom of technical perfection, but when it comes to custom crafted leather goods such as watch straps a little soul goes a long ways.
Think any of these will make perfect straps?
Perfect = perfect for your watch
I do want my handmade watch straps to be perfect; perfect for your watch and your wrist. I created custom watch bands with soul, with character, with style. I pay incredible attention to small details while also balancing that attention with knowing when to let the leather speak for itself... when to let the stitching shine on its own... when to look at a strap as a package, not a product, and understand how a watch band for a Panerai should be a little thicker to reflect the historic robust style of the watch, while a strap for a Rolex might want to be thinner so it doesn't overwhelm the watch or wrist. But I never seek the sterile, soulless perfection of a factory made strap. My hands make your watch straps, and each one tells a story. That's how it should be.