Aftermarket Panerai Review
The Watch Boys Strap Review
The Watch Boys Panerai Straps
Materials: New Leathers and Crocodile
Buckles & Tubes: None
Price Range: $30-110
Website: Click Here
Original Review: April 5th, 2009
Updated Review: August 29th, 2009
I finally picked up another Crocodile strap from The Watch Boys, and so I have taken some photos to review it. This time I have a proper Crocodile strap from them, designed for use with Panerai Deployant as opposed to tang buckle like the prevous one. The photos from the original review do show the TWB strap on a non-Panerai deployant, however.
This one that I just got is a medium brown Alligator strap, with contrast white stitching, which I thought worked really well with the white dial PAM114.
While similar to the OEM straps in many ways, the TWB strap does have some differences in the way it feels when putting it on and wearing it. The strap is noticeably softer and less form-fitting than the OEM panerai straps which tend to mold into a position. The keepers are also thicker on the TWB strap and to not allow the tail to be tucked in quite as easily, sometimes causing the tail to fold onto itself from trying to tuck it in, which is a matter of quality control.
My strap has developed a bit of what appears to be slight cracking or wear where the alligator scales join. This doesn't look that good. The edging is done very well and does not crack and wear off like cheaper aftermarket straps do.
The back of course is a totally different color than Panerai's OEM straps are, and is stamped with TWB. The backing on TWB straps are very nice in my opinion, and resist sweat quite readily. The black backing also doesn't show wear as readily as a tan backing does.
Its nice to have an aftermarket alternative to the OEM Panerai deployant straps as not always do I want to use a chunky aftermarket buckle. Sometimes you just want a deployant alternative to the OEM without the big $300 OEM pricetag, and TWB does it very nicely for $100.
Stitching is done nicely, and also available in many different combinations from TWB. Some color combinations are out of stock sometimes, so check to makr sure yours is available. The large-scaled Alligator pattern is fantastic, and is a good value. However, I admittedly feel that TWB's regular Tang-Buckle straps may be made slightly better as the thin portion of the deployant straps are not does quite as well. Still an excellent value compared with any other choice out there.
Kurt from the Watch Boys of Ontario, Canada is well-known on the watch forums as anyone that frequents the buy/sell forums will have seen his ads. The Watch Boys sell Panerai, IWC and Breitling style straps, and are one of the only major players in the OEM replacement game for deployants for both Breitling and Panerai. This makes their stuff very interesting to guys that want to replace their worn-out OEM strap with something of equivalent or better quality without forking out the big bucks for a Thailand-made OEM Panerai strap.
The strap under review here is the standard $30 leather 22mm Panerai strap. I have also owned alligator straps for my IWC Portuguese from TWB, and they are of exceptional quality. In fact, I would say that their Alligator straps are among some of the best, especially given the $100 price tag. While their prices are not dirt cheap, they are comparably cheaper than the competition.
The strap pin holes are sized for tubes, but the straps do NOT include tubes. I felt that at the price that tubes could be forgone, but it would still be a nice feature. The one in this photograph is the Ultrasoft Tan. The pricing of TWB straps is interesting.. they are cheaper on ebay than they are on the website, but they charge shipping on ebay but shipping is free from the website, so it works out to be cheaper from the website.
Their leather straps are of very decent quality, but there is nothing to write home about. For $30, that is not suprising. They make a very serviceable strap for the money, and would not hesitate to buy one if I needed an OEM leather replacement. Their Alligator on the other hand is another story.. very good strap. Unfortunately I do not have one of their Panerai style Alligators to take photographs of.
The back of the watch band is lined with a soft black leather, and stamped with the TWB logo/brand. This strap is made for the tang buckle, but it is available for deployant as well. It is currently mounted on a double butterfly non-Panerai style deployant. Though this is a Panerai style strap, I did not have this mounted on a Panerai watch. I did not ask Kurt where the straps were actually made, as I am not sure if they are made in Canada or overseas or in the USA, even. The company is located in Canada, however.
There you get a good shot of the color of the tan. The strap doesn't bend that gracefully as the wrinkle lines that form on the leather have a thin-ness to them. I don't know how to explain it but you may be able to tell from the photos what I mean. So in general, I feel that The Watch Boys are best used for their Alligator straps, and less so for their Leather straps. I have not yet tried their Stingray and any other straps.