So your saying to yourself, “Another Swiss Army Strap”, yup but this one is a bit of a flair that can’t be ignored and has to be reviewed. I just received an awesome custom strap from Ingomar of Maddog Straps. I know everyone out there makes some type of Swiss Army strap, but one thing that makes this one stand out from the rest is a custom buckle the make in house that is not like any other buckle I have seen on the market today. I will even go into detail in regards to the buckle because the creation process intrigued me from the get go.
This strap is more on par with the rest of the Swiss Army straps in terms of the color. It is a nice rich dark brown, with a bit of texture showing through if you hold it up to the light. The strap is 100% hand made with material from World War II. This piece of leather happens to be from an Original Swiss Army leather bag that held the tools of a MP43 machine gun. You will notice on this site that some of the straps have the MP43 stamped on the actual strap which is an awesome touch and conversation starter for anyone that sees it. Who could resist talking about a strap that has been through such a great history and is almost 70 years old.
This particular strap has a couple of stamps on it that give it a nice character. They are not quickly visible but when taking a closer look you will notice the Swiss Army logo on the end of the tail and on the buckle end under the keeper there is the Swiss cross as well as what appears to be a serial number or designation reading “4JJ4”. This one is covered up when you wear the watch unfortunately due to the location. I wish there were a few more stamping but since you can custom order any type of army strap you can pick and choose what markings you would like to see if they are available in his inventory.
Ingomar uses a 3 layer process for the creation of the strap which gives the custom strap a nice thick feel measuring in at about 5mm thick. You can see in the pictures that there is a nice contrast of the black inner and bottom layers as compared to the darker brown top layer. He has also used a method to create a very smooth edge on the strap without burning it or painting it as we have seen on other straps. It’s almost as if he sanded down the edges in a very meticulous fashion in stages to create a completely smooth to the touch edge.
The inside of the strap is lined with a thin black leather that is a bit softer than the outside leather to give it a more comfortable feel on the skin.
The strap is utilizes a full stitch on the tail end and stitch that stops around the stamped part and continues to the edge of the buckle. The thread is a light brown that gives the strap a nice contrast of brown tones. As with the rest of the strap the stitching is done completely by hand but you would not think that with the quality and spacing of the actual stitches. If you hold the strap up on it’s side you will notice that the stitching is a bit above the actual strap. You can run your fingers across it and feel the grooves all along the edge. This is also the case on the bottom of the strap.
Now comes the part that really makes this strap stand out from afar, the buckle. Or should I call this “Monster Buckle”. This buckle truly dwarfs any other buckle I have seen on the market. It is about 5mm thick with a 3mm screw pin. This buckle is completely made by hand and custom to Maddog straps. Each buckle takes up to 3 hours because of their 20+ steps and attention to detail. Since these buckles are made in house they can be made with a number of different materials such as Damascus steel, wooden, and even copper. These straps are made in limited quantities so you have to act fast if you want one. If you want to pick up the buckle alone it will run you pretty penny as well. They run for $109 USD but they do work on the pricing with you if you are buying a strap along with it. You can check out some of the creation process above. For more detailed information on the creation process check out this link. Buckle Making Process
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This strap falls right in the middle for me in terms of stiffness. It’s definitely not a rock and it’s not soft as butter either. I definitely needs a few wears to get it to mold around your wrist. Having said that after wearing it for a day, I didn’t notice any discomfort as I have had with stiffer straps in the past. It started forming to my wrist after a single session. As with any leather strap the more you wear it the more comfortable and shaped it will become so I am sure it will only get better with time. Keep in mind that there are many different types of leather that David uses to create his custom straps. Some French leather is very soft, with a heavy patina, cuts, scrapes and stains, which can all be requested. Other custom straps can be firm and new similar to the one I received. The great thing about getting any type of military leather made into a strap is there is a great variance from one strap to another.
Just feeling the strap and the build quality you can tell this strap is built to last. Everything on the strap is done nice and tight so I don’t see any problem in the foreseeable future and should last a good amount of time.
After a few days with this strap I do think it’s a great quality strap overall. I do like the custom buckler on the strap which took a little bit of getting used to since it is a bit heavier than the rest on the market. Maddog straps has a ton of different materials they use for straps so you are not locked into just a swiss army style strap. he works with exotic skins and new leather as well. You can see a materials list HERE as well as some examples to get ideas if you want a completely custom strap since there is so much to choose from. Everything of course is customizable with these hand made straps down to sizing and length so you will get an exact order each time. The current setup I received would run you about $199 with the custom buckle which is right on par with the rest of the higher quality strap makers.
- Great quality build
- Ton of selections on what type of material and stamping you want on the strap.
- Custom hand made buckle that you won’t find anywhere else
- Complete customization available for the strap
- The stitching does rise a bit off the strap on the underside which you can feel a bit when you wear the strap but you will get used to it.
- Does not come with tubes
All Maddog straps are custom made to order.