Benjamin Clymer, Hodinkee:
The [Hermès] strap you see above is arguably the greatest watch strap in the world. It has long been a secret of fine watch collectors anywhere – the quality of the stitching, and the softness of the leather, is simply unrivaled. […]
Hermès straps are not easily available. In fact, most stores around the world will not sell them to you individually, preferring them to go to existing Hermès watch owners. The dimensions are irregular too, with 17 mm tapered ends, meaning most buckles will not fit on them. That doesn’t prevent the devoted from chasing these hand-made straps all over the world.
The Hermès version of the Apple Watch became available yesterday in select retailers around the world, and it looks really desirable. If you’re disappointed with the leather bands that Apple provides,1 the ones available with the Hermès edition come from a long line of superlative leather goods, and are available in a much wider range of styles and colours.
If I were in the market for a stainless steel Apple Watch with a leather band, I think the Hermès line would be the first I’d look at — specifically, the “Single Tour” in brown. They’re not available at my local Hermès boutique; I wonder if they’d order one in from Toronto.
But I also wonder about the long-term interplay of high technology and traditional luxury. In the short term, Apple gains fashion and luxury credibility, while an old French brand remains contemporary. Over the long term, though, it’s hard to escape the temptation of seeing a first-generation technology product strapped to a very, very nice piece of leather. And, no matter how much I love mine, it is still a first-generation product. I’m optimistic that the purchasing experience in the coming generations will, in some way, take into account the precedent of a longer lifespan set by traditional timepieces.
As the owner and everyday wearer of the original all-black classic buckle, I’m surprised anyone could be disappointed with it. The leather is of an extremely high quality, and it has softened over time without losing a sense of durability. I noticed a fair amount of negativity towards this strap in particular after the Watch was launched, and I’m not sure why: it’s a high-quality, fully-dyed traditional leather watch band.
Of all the first-party straps available for the Watch, it’s the least showy and draws the fewest questions and inquiries from others, but I see that as a positive. I’m awfully tempted to pick up the brown leather version, but I’m also waiting for a nice NATO-style strap to be released now that lugs are available to third parties. ↩︎