So you have bought your first Panerai, congratulations! You will soon figure out that your watch obsession is going to turn into a strap obsession very quickly. A strap that is a must have in any Panerisi’s collection is a Vintage Strap. You will find pages and pages of vintage straps which will leave you dazed and confused on which one to get. In a previous review, I gave high praise to a great vintage strap created by Cavalcanti Straps and in this review I am going to give my opinions on another vintage style strap created by the legend Rob Montana of “The Strap Smith”. Even though this strap is not truly vintage leather, Rob has taken supple Italian leather and created this vintage look. This is the second review of 4 different straps for Rob Montana here at Panerai Central.
You pick up this strap and you will immediately fall in love. The color on this particular vintage strap is a beautiful medium to light brown with an amazing natural patina. You can see in the pictures below that the color and texture bring this strap to life. Even though this strap is only created to look vintage, it’s as if you can see the hard days this leather has seen that created the different shades of patina throughout.
The gorgeous leather is accented with a perfect white-yellowish stitching done meticulously around the edge of the strap. You will be hard pressed to find a better hand stitched strap on the market today. These little details that Rob emphasizes on his straps help him stand out in todays inundated strap market.
When turning the strap on its side, I was completely blow away at the seam between the layers of leather that are used to create this vintage strap. You can see clearly in the fifth picture where the edges are painstakingly done. You can try long and hard but you won’t find a split anywhere down the edges. It truly looks like one piece of leather is used to create this strap, when in fact it is two. It is this type of attention to detail that makes me fall in love with a Rob Montana made strap. I know on some straps it’s great to have a rough unfinished edge, but on others you want the pristine polished look. On this particular strap the edges just bring another degree of finesse to the finished product.
Moving on to one of the signature pieces of a Rob Montana strap, the buckle, you will notice that he uses one of his thicker OP logo brushed buckles. It might be hard to tell in the pictures, but the actual buckle is much thicker than an OEM and most after market strap makers. It just gives your Panerai the meaty look you are looking for when you wear a strap like this. Keep in mind that “The Strap Smith” does offer a slew of custom laser cut buckles for your strap for a slight up-charge. I would highly recommend spending a bit more money on the thicker buckles. You can thank me later!
[slickr-flickr tag=”strapsmithvintage” type=”galleria”]
I know what you are thinking, the strap will be stiff as a rock and will be a pain to break in. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was far from the truth when it comes to this vintage strap. It wasn’t the softest strap on the market, but it wasn’t rigid either. It felt as if the strap had already been broken in and sent to me.
The buckle might be a concern to some because it is much thicker, but the truth of the matter is that you won’t even notice the size difference. You will definitely enjoy the looks of it without the pains of an uncomfortable buckle.
What can you say when it comes to the build quality of Rob Montana’s straps other than they are as close to perfect as you can get. One can try really hard to find something on this strap to make them believe it won’t be durable, but at the end of the day, you will be unsuccessful. The build quality from the buckle down to the stitching is hands down one of the best, and it will definitely hold up to anything you throw at it. Furthermore, if anything goes wrong with the strap Rob will repair it or replace it for free.
I could go on and on about the quality and finish of this strap but I would start to sound redundant. The truth is there isn’t much not to like about a Rob Montana strap. He takes his work very seriously and it shows in the end product. I would definitely recommend this strap to any Panerai enthusiast out there. To me, this strap encompasses everything that a vintage strap should have; beautiful colored leather with patina, immaculate precise stitching, and a buckle that puts the icing on the cake.
- Soft Leather
- Laser Cut Custom Buckle
- Included tubes
- May be fully customized
- Accent Colors on Strap
- Beautiful patina and color
- Amazing contrasted stitching
- On the higher side of the spectrum when it comes to price
Even though this strap was a one of a kind, this same strap can be made again by just contacting Rob at The Strap Smith. If you can dream it up, he can make it for you including custom cut buckles with your own logo if you want. Rob also has pre made versions of the racing strap on his site for you to choose from if any catch your eye. They also come in Alcantara if you want to have a different material. One of the best things about Rob is he is very easy to talk to and will do his best to get you exactly what you want. His customer service is top-notch!
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