Aftermarket Panerai Strap Review
Wotancraft Straps Review
Wotancraft Panerai Straps
Materials: New Leathers, Stingray, Python, Alligator, Ostrich
Buckles & Tubes: Both Included
Price Range: $159+
Website: Click Here
Date of Review: May 31st, 2010
Possibly the most impressive of the Asian strap companies I have owned in recent years is Wotancraft, at least in my opinion. Since this point, I have reviewed several Asian-based strap companies, and they have all impressed me at their price points. Wotancraft is decidedly more upscale than others such as Strap Culture and Heroic18, but the prices reflect a definate improvement in the uniqueness and exclusive quality of the straps. In other words, you get what you pay for.
This is the packaging that comes with every Wotancraft strap - hands down the most interesting and complete packaging I have received with a strap. While the boxes are not the hard cardboard type that are often seen, these are soft cardboard with a slide cover in this steel-look with rivets printed on the slide cover. Inside the package is a nice felt drawstring storage bag and the strap itself, which is sealed in an anti-static bag and divided into three compartments: Strap, Tubes, and a cool Pig Lanyard!
One thing I noticed about all the Wotancraft straps is the smell, or lack of. Once I cracked open the anti-static sealed packaging, the straps did not smell like the usual tanned leather. Not a big deal, but I do love the smell of leather.
This first strap here is the X M.A.S. Flottiglia, which is extremely soft, and claimed by Wotancraft to be exact replicas in shape of original vintage straps. You can see the Pig Submarine Lanyard gift that acompanies every strap, as well as the tubes, which are not installed, just in case you are putting the strap on a Radiomir or a non-Panerai. This particular strap is 26x26mm, and the extra long version at 100/165.
Shown above is the attractive stamping that comes on the X M.A.S. straps, which gives it a feel of authenticity. As you can see, the edge and tang-hole edge finishes are all frayed, which gives the straps a wonderful distressed look. Wotancraft even went to the trouble of distressing the GPF style buckle on this model, which I give them full props for.
As you can see, this strap is the true definition of long-tail. The tail comes almost all the way up to the other lug on my 6.75" wrist! Actually, the strap holes were punched for too big of a wrist and I had to punch a hole closer to the end, which I will show you a photograph of later. One fixed and one floating keeper.
Here you can see the backside of the strap mounted and on my wrist. One other interesting thing I noticed about this strap, but not any of the others from Wotancraft is that the buckle half of the strap has more overlapping leather, creating a slightly thicker strap at the top, giving it a bit of a thickness taper which is not present on the tail strap. In my mind its not a good or a bad thing, just an observation.
This is a shot of the extra hole I punched closer to the lugs to fit my wrists. As you can see the holes are actually spaced out quite a bit on this strap, which I think makes the strap look better, but will mean that there is a good chance a buyer will end up between holes. If you have the means to punch your own holes, this is no big deal, but I've seen lots of guys punch holes in their straps with knives and all sorts of things that looks terrible - please don't do that to your straps! Get a proper punch!
Overall, a deadly strap, and priced under $200, which in my books, is a great value.
Next one up is a Hornback Alligator strap, which Wotancraft calls the Light Brown MonsterGator. These are one-off straps that are from their "The ONE" collection, which are all straps that are made unique to one another. This particular one has a Black DLC-coated buckle. Notice the Pig Lanyard in the picture as well!
The MonsterGator has only one floating keeper, and it is a wider one. This configuration tends to be the norm with larger hornback-style straps. The stitching on the MonsterGator is very straight, and very close to the edge, which is nice to see.
Closer inspection of the strap reveals that the Alligator hide was likely carefully burnished to achieve the darkened and somewhat worn, rustic appearance. This gives the strap a very unique look, but possibly even more severe than typical hornback straps. This strap would be amazing with a DLC coated Panerai (or other 24mm lug-width watch) especially.
The third and final strap is another X M.A.S. strap, but this one is 24/24mm and is the Egiziano style, which is based on the old Egyptian Navy Panerai of the 50's. This strap has a beautiful sandy brown color to it that I have not seen before in a strap, with many darker distress lines in the color of the strap. The strap is also extremely soft, making this one of my favourite straps I have ever owned, bar none! Wotancraft tells me that the look is achieve by careful hand-distressing techniques.
The gold colored stitch is fantastic with this strap color, and really brings out the character of the strap. Like the first X M.A.S. strap, this one also has a sewn-in GPF style flat buckle. This one, however, is not roughed up like the first strap. Also, since this is a normal length strap, I did not need to punch an extra hole in order to accomodate my wrist size. This one also has the holes spaced closer together, so you are less likely to be in-between holes.
And now I'll leave you with a shot of the great stamping on the back of these straps, along with the GPF - Mod Dep (Model Depose) stamping on the buckle. I give Wotancraft two enthusiastic thumbs up, and highly recommend their straps - especially X M.A.S. line of straps. The quality is great, the packaging is fantastic, and the customer service is top-notch.