Aftermarket Panerai Strap Review
Attirail Straps Review
Attirail Straps Panerai Straps
Materials: New and Vintage Leathers
Buckles & Tubes: Tubes Included Buckles Extra
Price Range: €70-100
Website: Click Here
Date of Review: September 28th, 2013
Attirail straps is a strapmaker that I only recently stumbled upon. Francois is the name of the fellow that runs the shop and makes the straps, and he is quite a talented strapmaker. He is in good company though - the only other French-based strapmaker I am acquainted with is ABP, and they're one of the best. Attirail won't cost you nearly as much, though his scope isn't quite as expansive. His focus is primarily Panerai style straps, and he does a lot of Ammo and Nato/Zulu style straps. I have one of each to review today, and they're both superbly crafted.
First up is the Navy Horween Shell Cordovan Nato strap. I have a lot of Shell Cordovan Nato straps, so I'm used to seeing the level of quality that comes out of one of these. Attirails Shell Cordovan Natos are among the best I've handled - and he's by far the cheapest! Its hard to hide any mistakes with a Nato, but Attirail doesn't need to. That's why this strap is so great, the example I have here is flawless. Plus I absolutely LOVE the smell of Horween Shell Cordovan and that red stitching detail is just cool. Francois purchases this leather from a French distributor for Horween.
Another bit of extra care that Francois puts into his Attirail Nato Straps is the extra sizing holes. He has almost double the amount and density of holes that any of the others I have seen. This is a useful thing to have and added work on the part of the strapmaker. He's got to line up and punch that much more holes, and they're not always easy to get perfectly in line - trust me, I have some straps that the holes don't line up.
This particular Nato style strap from Attirail features the two flap construction where there is a second flap of leather that goes under the watch. This construction generally is considered better, but does weigh more and once in a while if it is not made properly, a watch may not fit in the strap since it has to allow enough room for the size of the case. This one is sized for Panerai-sized watches and anything within 3-4mm of that should be ok. I have had 22mm Natos where I tried them on a 47mm Pilot watch and they did not fit. All of Francois' straps are custom made to fit so you should not have a problem with fit of the watch or of the wrist as long as you measured correctly and you aren't swapping watches.
One other thing to note about Attirail's two flap construction is that it is done with a single run of leather rather than two separate runs. This means that the leather must be cut longer from the original piece. This is not only harder to do correctly, but means that he can't make as many of these straps from a single piece of leather or in the very least must plan much better.
Next up we have the super cool and rustic Ammo. I received these straps only shortly before he started including tubes with his straps, so they aren't constructed exactly the same as they are now. This ammo strap here has a fairly large lug/tube hole which the tube will not stay snug in when the strap isn't mounted. However, the new straps are built with the tube inside and will have a slightly different look as well as experience. I love ammo straps like this one where there is tons of character in the leather and the stitching is stopped in sections to allow full appreciation of the markings.
Lots of fantastic Character in this strap which Francois has treated a bit to bring out some contrast in the leather, very nice. The little bit of Red stitching at the end there is a super cool touch too, I can tell he likes his red. The strap has the expected musky smell that vintage ammo leather always seems to carry, which is a testament to its authenticity as a vintage ammo strap.
He also uses ammo pouches with lots of character and markings on them, though I guess that depends on the availability and he stock at any given time. I like the straps that have the stamped writing on them more than just the plain leather ones.
The back is stamped with the Attirail maker's mark as shown above, and for the price of his Ammo straps, he is sure impressive. His attention to detail and level of finish compare with similar straps from American and North American makers at 50-60% more. In fact, Francois' French-made straps are even priced competitively with many of the mass-market Chinese strapmakers out there. I don't know if he'll keep his prices this low for long, but if he does I think he'll get a lot of business once people start to take notice.
His tumbler site actually has some more info than his actual website, so its worth taking a look at here: http://attirail-straps.tumblr.com/. Francois also asked me to include his email in this review when he saw it as his work is mostly custom made-to-order: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Straps As Shown:
Model: Horween Shell Cordovan NATO Strap
Keeper Type: Double Rings
Stitch Color: Black and Red
Edge Finish: Raw
Model: Ammo Strap
Keeper Type: 1 Fixed 1 Floating
Stitch Color: Gold and Red
Edge Finish: Burnished