It’s been awhile since we’ve taken a look at a custom strap, and I know we’ve never featured one from South America. Today, however, we’ll check off both of those boxes.
The company in question is ACH Straps, and is run by one Mr. Andres Charria. When I first realized where he was based (Colombia), I was curious about what the watch aftermarket was like there. He stated that, with straps, there are hundreds of vendors, ranging from poor quality stuff, to some higher end creations.
For himself, he views straps as a way of turning a watch into something practically brand new, just with the simple act of changing out a strap. Combine that with the economics of getting a strap from overseas, and you have the story of how Mr. Charria got started:
To me was very hard to send hundreds of dollars for a strap overseas, and with the leather industry here, I learned the basics on internet and gave it a try. It was a hard learning process, but at the end, I was able to do really great/different things for me, and people like it.
That was three years ago, and it seems to me like he’s been making from very interesting stuff (you can see a gallery of creations here). And that brings us to our review sample, which has it’s own sort of interesting story. It’s a copy of another one that he made, but it actually has two different keepers on it – one with a skull, and one with a heart.
This was due to an order coming in for a watch that a couple was sharing – so, to make things a bit more personalized, he came up with the idea of the two different keepers (just swap it out for whomever is wearing it that day). Our review sample came in on a 24mm width at the lug end, with a taper to 22mm at the buckle.
This was a welcome surprise, as this takes away the need to try and put a massive Pre-V buckle onto the strap – you can use the much more comfortable thumbnail style, and not detract from the visuals of the strap. And our sample, for being primarily black, has plenty of interest.
This is primarily due to the bold orange stitching used, of course. You also have some circular cutouts featuring a carbon-fiber pattern recessed within in them, so you get layers catching the light, all while keeping a single color (black) in use. I paired this up with the Magrette Regattare 2011, and it worked nicely.
This is a thicker strap, but not quite as thick as some others I’ve seen. And even for that, this is a fairly soft and pliable leather, so you don’t feel like you’re breaking in a new pair of boots while you wear your watch. Frankly, I was rather glad I came across ACHStraps, and had a chance to check out the product.
With prices starting at $75, this is rather a reasonable entry point for what arguably feels like a very high-quality strap – not to mention the ability to customize this as you see fit. And with that price, there’s no fluff included – the strap is sent by itself (no buckle, so you can reuse your own as I did here) in a simple ziplock, to keep S&H costs to a minimum.
Definitely keep ACH in mind if you’re looking for a new strap. If you’re going global with your watch components, why not get some high-quality South American leather in the mix? Oh, and if you order in the next 30 days? You can get yourself 15% off (dropping things to a nice $64 on the low end) by using the code wristwatchreview. Just email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) the code when you place the order, and you’re good to go.
And if you liked this specific one? Keep your eyes peeled, because it will be the next giveaway that we start running!