Nice written article by Thomas Van Straaten FratelloWatches about DStrap and my work as a strapmaker

A deep dive into Panerai strap culture

If, like me, you have ever found yourself going down the Panerai rabbit hole, you have undoubtedly come across Panerai strap culture. If you haven’t, trust me, it’s a thing! Paneristi are more than typically likely to get something custom made for their prized square possessions. Browsing the internet, you’ll find several aficionados who have acquired leatherworking skills just to make straps for Panerai watches. I figured I should dive in and share with you, Fratelli, what this is all about.

I decided that I would ask my compatriot Olaf Lugten of DStrap to make me a fully custom strap. Although Olaf doesn’t limit himself to straps for Panerai, he is one of the OGs of the genre. As it turns out, he was more than happy to show me how he works. Join me on the journey from a raw cowhide to the most rugged strap I have ever owned.

Speccing my custom watch strap

Of course, the entire idea behind these straps is that they are made to customer spec. Once you lose yourself in the subuniverse of Panerai straps, the possibilities seem endless and quite daunting. So before even reaching out to Olaf, I browsed hundreds of photos on Instagram. The hashtag #paneraistrap (180K posts) leads to tons of custom handmade straps from all over the world. I quickly found myself liking the ones that looked like the original straps on 1930s Radiomirs, as seen in the Panerai Museum in Florence.

There are thick, tan leather straps with box or even double-box stitching. They are essentially one piece of leather for each side, folded onto itself and stitched. The inside, then, is the same leather as the outside. Some of the straps feature numbers, which were likely applied when archiving the watches in the museum. I decided I’d prefer the classical style strap but without the numbers.

Now, I could have just ordered a strap like that from stock somewhere online. But I have a pet peeve when it comes to matching different leathers. Since I wear a pair of Red Wing Moc-toes nearly all winter, I wanted a matching strap. So I asked Olaf if he could make me a strap to match my boots. “No problem!” he answered.

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