Aftermarket Panerai Strap Review
Zeppelin Craft Straps Review
Zeppelin Craft Panerai Straps
Materials: New Leathers
Buckles & Tubes: Tubes and Buckles
Price Range: $40+
Website: Zeppelin Craft Straps
Date of Review: March 3rd, 2016
Zeppelin Craft is a strapmaker named Stevie that is based out of Romania. He is relatively new to the game, but brings a lot of enthusiasm for watches and straps to the table when crafting his handmade leather military-inspired Panerai Straps. He's got some very original ideas and definitely applies some interesting and unique touches to the craftsmanship of this straps. The price range for Zeppelin straps is very affordable, and squarely puts them in the range of many of the factory-made competition while still being handmade.
Zeppelin straps often feature 'etched' logos or images on the straps, and in this case its the Canada maple leaf. Given the wide range of printing on the straps, I suspect its some sort of laser engraver. In any case, it is a feature that I don't see too many strapmakers doing. It gives his straps a more personalized touch to them.
This next strap highlights one of the other interesting things that Zeppelin strap does, which is he paints the thread hole black! I can't tell for sure, but it appears the holes are made using a round awl instead of a diamond awl which most strapmakers use, and then the hole is painted black before the stitching is done. This gives the stitching a very different look than what I am used to - I do like it.
One thing I am not 100% sure about is the way the lining leather is wrapped over the top of the strap. This made me think that the front of the strap was the back of the strap when I first saw it, but its of course a matter of taste. Stevie makes lots of straps that aren't constructed this way so this isn't a matter of quality but rather a personal preference. The stitching is straight and generally done well so no real complaints there though the back side isn't totally straight.
The leather in this strap is not quite as dense as most strap leathers that I own, and feels lighter than most similar thickness straps. The construction of this strap is different than most. It features a single thick leather and the thin leather liner just goes around and wraps around the top forming the hole for the spring bar. This is the first time I have seen this type of construction, and I think I prefer a traditional foldover style. This is necessary to get the effect that he was looking for, however.
Its a very soft and pliable leather so wears very comfortably. The lining is a reptile printed black leather that I wish was slightly softer, but is acceptable.
Here's the back shot, which at first I thought was the front of the strap! It features one single floating keeper only which is really all that's necessary. Most strapmakers have one fixed and one floating but it all comes down to preference so it is worth noting. Zeppelin does not appear to stamp all their straps with a maker's mark, though since they are backing the straps with this black leather it may not show up.
Overall this is a solid strap, especially for the $40 that Zeppelin is charging for them. They have several styles, many which are more conventional in look than this one if you're not sure about the black wrapping over the top of the lug area. Stevie offers some interesting laser etching on the straps which is kind of where the straps stand out I think. You get a bit of customization that you wouldn't get elsewhere and the cost is very minimal.
Straps As Shown:
Model: 24mm Canada Maple Leaf Strap
Lug Width: 24mm
Keeper Type: 1 Floating
Stitch Color: Golden
Edge Finish: Burnished