Aftermarket Panerai Strap Review
Combat Straps Review #2
Combat Straps/Aaron Bespoke Panerai Straps
Materials: New, Vintage and Exotic Leathers and Hides
Buckles & Tubes: Tubes and Buckles
Price Range: $125+
Website: Combat Straps Aaron Bespoke
Date of Review: August 25th, 2015
As you may have read in my first Combat Straps review, they are based out of Montreal, Canada, and operated by strapmaker Aaron Pimentel. You'll notice that the custom leather pouch as well as the back of the strap in the photos says "Aaron Bespoke", which is Mr. Pimentel's other brand. He is expanding his business to cover more than just "Combat Straps", and has developed a new brand and logo shown here, but he tells me he will continue to market his straps under the Combat Straps moniker at least for the time being since it is more well-known.
The strap I'm reviewing today is a nubuck alligator in a beautiful terracotta brown that has a bit of reddish hue to it, executed expertly by Aaron of Combat Straps.
The alligator hide is an American Alligator that is tanned in France, and looks superb as you can see from the photos. It is a very beautiful hide - Aaron picked a very nice piece here for me with very nice large square scales for the main part of the strap. Its a nubuck Alligator so it is 'fuzzy' to the touch. I've always like the nubuck gator straps because they soften the look of alligator, which can sometimes look a bit strong or aggressive making the strap a nice alternative when you want something more casual.
As corny as it sounds, Aaron uses traditional French techniques in the construction of his straps, spending often up to 4 hours to make one. This is quite a substantial amount of time for a single strap, and considering his reasonable pricing, I'm very impressed, and the care and attention to details shows.
The back shows the fantastic stitching and the laser-etched logo as well as customization on it! Very cool. Combat Straps continues to provide added value and exceeds my expectations every time I get a strap from them. The back of the alligator is lined with what appears to be a thin and soft calf leather that matches the alligator on the front. As you can really tell from the back, the stitch work is impeccable.
The strap is very comfortable and flexible. It conforms to my wrist easily and doesn't require much break-in time to sit right on my wrist. Its always nice when a strap is Good-to-Go right off the bat.
Just want to quickly focus on Mr. Pimentel's superb execution of the edges on this alligator strap. Usually with alligator and crocodile straps, the edge finish is particularly important since you cannot just burnish it and call it a day or even just leave it rough and call it an ammo strap. The edge has a thick rubbery finish on it that feels very durable and is very nice looking. His method is a top-secret French traditional technique that takes nearly an hour to complete for a single strap, but the results are superb and worth every minute (and dollar).
Overall, a superb Alligator strap at a pricepoint that is not much higher than Premium Leather. I can easily see paying $180+ or so for a premium leather from a premium strapmaker, and Combat Straps does this premium alligator for only $60 more. Not too shabby. I'd like to see Aaron get some custom buckles eventually with his logo on them since that would be really cool to see, but the custom laser etching on the back is definitely a nice touch and step in the right direction. All things are done deliberately and with precision, which I think is one of the things that Combat Straps prides themselves on. As with my first strap, I am thoroughly impressed. I would count Combat Straps amongst the highest quality makers out there, and their prices, while not bargain basement, are extremely reasonable especially given that I think their straps compare with strapmakers selling at 50-100% more.
Strap As Shown:
Model: Nubuck Terracotta Alligator
Lug Width: 24mm
Thickness: 4.5mm tapering to 2.8mm
Keeper Type: 1 Fixed, 1 Floating
Stitch Color: Patina Light Brown
Edge Finish: Painted