We’re no stranger to strap reviews here, and, over the years, we have gotten to sample quite a variety from brands small and large. All of those reviews have been singular affairs, in that we have had one person evaluating the straps for the article. This time around, we are trying something different. For our look at straps from Clockwork Synergy, we’ve got three people on deck – Jim, Victor, and myself. Let’s have a look at what we thought about the straps, shall we?
Ever since I got the grey suede strap in from Crown & Buckle, I have really been a fan of the material for use in straps, as it brings a softer look and feel, while still maintaining the durability of a leather strap. Add in the fact that my favorite color is blue, it was a pretty simple decision for me to request the midnight blue strap from their Dapper line ($35) with a brushed buckle. It is worth noting that these are indeed thicker straps (at 4mm) than what we saw with the Black Label stuff from C&B, and are not tapered. Not to say that one is better than the other, it is just a different style. With the Clockwork Synergy strap, it’s more of an everyday, or sportier, look, rather than dressier.
As we should all know by now, the Clockwork Synergy strap was destined to be paired on to my Michelsen Arctic Explorer, which is my favorite of my watches, as well as my favorite place to test straps. With the quick-release spring bars, it was a cinch to pop the strap into place. On the wrist, the Clockwork Synergy strap conformed easily to my wrist, despite it’s thickness. So, yeah, it’s a supple material, even with the water-resistant backing that it has. This is not so much to try and make the strap water proof, but to help keep the strap from absorbing your sweat and picking up an odor.
The suede itself is soft, but it still has a durable feel to it – this is not a strap I felt I needed to be particularly careful with. This was true for both the midnight blue, and the tan version I took a look at. When the package came in, there were a few extra surprises in the box, and the tan version ($35) of the suede strap (again, from the Dapper collection) was one of the two extras. This swapped in on to the Michelsen as well, though I was uncertain as to how it would go. This due to the fact that, with the black accents on the dial, I’ve always felt the watch went better with darker straps. As it turns out, the fears were unfounded. and the tan strap went along quite nicely. In fact, I think it’s a great option on the watch for lightening things up as warmer temps hit, while the midnight blue is a thematic fit to the cold winter months.
Then again, when things really warm up, then a strap like the suede ones may not be in order. You want something light and breathable – and that’s where the two-piece Perlon strap ($19.95) that was the last surprise in my package comes in. While I do not find myself using thinner textile straps like this, there is something to be appreciated on these Perlon straps.
You can get exactly the fit you want (due to no preset holes for the buckle), it’s pretty breathable, and if you go for a swim, the strap won’t be ruined. In many ways, it’s a perfect summertime strap. I generally still opt for a rubber strap (particularly on the Michelsen) when I’m headed out, say, camping, but Perlons have their place as well. Just bear in mind that, unlike the suede straps above, these rely on standard spring bars (no quick-release here). Oh, and if you should want a one-piece style, those run at $11.95 for the Perlon.
I hate—and I don’t use that word lightly—springbars. I’ve used several springbar tools, but regardless I scratch cases and tweak straps and fling the slender, peppy little missiles all over the room. Sometimes I can nail a strap change, and it feels good. But usually, it’s just a horror show. So when Clockwork Synergy offered to send straps for review I jumped at their extensive quick release collection. With everything from dressy to rally to neon faux croc and rubber, they have quick release straps for every occasion.
I picked the Brown Vintage Leather from the Dapper collection ($35), and they sent along a Black Suede version that I chose, along with an off-white perlon strap as well. The leather straps were easy to pop on and off thanks to the little quick release nubs and I found myself cycling between the two because they were both comfortable, stylish, and well-built—and because it was so darn easy to swap straps. The buckles and keepers on the leather were very large, but not overwhelmingly so on a dive watch.
Unlike Patrick, the perlon left me underwhelmed—and not just because it uses ordinary springbars. It disappears on your wrist because it is super thin and has a customizable fit (with no adjustment holes you just pop the pin through the fabric wherever it feels good and lock up the buckle). But it was so thin it dug into my skin at the edges and compared to the thick security of the leather straps the perlon just felt weak.
Victor’s hot take
Clockwork Synergy sent along three straps. I had requested two of the Ostrich products, because they were among the newest releases from Clockwork Synergy, and I felt a strong sense of obligation to only write to you about the very newest offerings. Also: Hannibal wore ostrich-skin boots in “the A-Team”, so clearly, ostrich is the best material.
I received the ostrich in saddle and black from the Gentleman’s collection. This was no mistake, although they’re thicker than I prefer, and will need some time to become broken in and soften up a little. This happens because they’re quite thick, being two pieces of the skin stitched together with a bit of padding in the middle. This is not usually my taste. If you seek thinner, more pliable straps, look at the Dapper collection, or the ostrich skin NATO strap. The material is top-notch, and the straps are available for $34.95. Note that if you receive a strap you don’t like, you can exercise their very generous return policy: “Anything and Everything we sell come with a hassle-free 60-day return policy. Any orders located within the US(United States) will receive a complimentary shipping label (free of charge) for returning the item(s).”
The black ostrich is a lot more subtle, and would probably work better on a dress watch. If I had paid any sort of attention to the “Gentleman’s collection” name, I might have made that match.
Also included in the box I received was a light gray Perlon strap. Perlon is the name given to this sort of woven strap that has no clear holes for the pin and buckle clasp. Instead, you poke the pin through the center of the strap anywhere that’s comfortable, and the coarse weave parts enough to allow it to pass. Gray is a classic choice, but I would have liked to have seen dark gray as well. Because they’re affordable, there’s no reason to not have both. I really like the Perlon, and given how affordable they are, it’s hard to not recommend adding one to a cart to try out. I know seatbelt strap NATO are all the rage right now, but the Perlon is a great answer to the question, ‘what strap on the watch today?’. Perlon? Yes.
When it comes to replacement straps, you have a lot of choice out there. Some choices are better than others, and from what we’ve seen of the stuff from Clockwork Synergy (with perhaps the exception of the divisive Perlon), they fall into the “good choice” category. They have a variety of styles and colors available, and the quick-change spring bars are a welcome addition. And, with prices topping out at the $35 mark, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong. clockworksynergy.com
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