It’s been a long time coming. I finally got my hands on a Aaron Bespoke aka Combat Straps custom made strap for my Panerai PAM312. I have been speaking with Aaron of Combat Straps on and off for the past few years about getting my hands on one of his amazing looking straps. Well now I finally can say that I am the proud new owner of an Orange “Over the Top” Crocodile strap. Combat straps, based in Montreal, has quickly grown into one of the top strap makers in the industry. His beautiful color combinations and out of the box thinking is what grabs the buyers attention and it’s what initially drew me to his work.
There is no denying it, the first thing that stands out about the strap is the color. I have been in search for an orange strap for a while so with the recommendation of Aaron I went with what he calls his “Over the Top” crocodile line. The crocodile skin has a semi gloss bright orange finish that is very much like the OEM Panerai straps. The strap has a bit of padding like the OEM near the lug side giving it a thickness of around 4.25mm. The thickness tapers down to around 2.5mm at the tail and buckle end of the strap. The padding at the lug end of it is very stiff which gives the strap some much needed support while allowing the thinner ends to curve naturally around your wrist without any timely break in period.
I decided to go with a matching orange stitch on the strap which is done cleanly and with great precision event though it is done completely by hand. There is only one part I noticed on the stitching that one side is slightly lower than the other side. We are talking about .25mm if even that much. I only bring that up becuase I have to be transparent and give my feedback on every aspect of the strap. At the end of the day, the only reason I notice it is because I have to stare at every piece of the strap for the review. It is not something that would even be noticed when worn on the wrist. Also this minor difference is just an indication of a strap that was really done by hand and not by a machine.
The underside of the strap has been finished off with a nice orange-brown leather which contrasts beautifully withe the bright orange color. You will notice on one side of the strap he has etched in his logo “Aaron Bespoke”. If you were wondering, Aaron has branched out into all types of leather goods so it’s not only straps anymore. Hence the name Aaron Bespoke, which speaks to all his leather goods like watch rolls, wallets, etc. On the other side of the strap he has customized it with the text “Panerai Central” which is done beautifully. The text is not thick and bulky like I have seen on other straps.
The sides of the straps have been sealed and painted orange which finish off the overall look perfectly. It’s little details like this which complete a luxurious crocodile strap.
For this strap I opted to go with a PVD Black deployment buckle. I normally wear a Pre-V buckle but I thought that this strap deserved something different in true Combat Strap style. The black and orange combination works very nicely together even if some will say that it has a Halloween vibe to it.
As mentioned previously, I was pleasantly surprised by the softness of the leather strap. It has some rigidity up top towards the lugs but it’s soft in all the right places. I actually held off writing this review for a bit because I wanted to actually wear the strap for an extended period of time to really get a feel for it. Over the few weeks that I have worn this strap I have to say that I am very impressed with the comfort level of it. Sometimes a deployment strap tends to dig in on my wrist but that was not the case.
I can honestly say that the strap from Aaron Bespoke (Combat Straps) was worth the wait. This strap falls under the top tier of straps that I own. It has the look and feel of an OEM straps at a better price. Having the ability to have a fully customized strap with any material and color combination with the quality Aaron puts out is a great luxury to have. Since his straps are completely built from the ground up his pricing can vary depending on the options you select such as exotic skin, buckle, stitching, and finishing. The prices range from $190 – $330 USD and come with complimentary laser etching on the underside as you see on my strap.
All Combat Straps are custom made to order so there is a bit of a waiting period for them to be made.
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