I was looking for a nice Panerai band the other day when I entered the den of iniquity and vice called eBay. There I found a few hefty straps and OEM knockoffs but, hidden away in a dark corner, I found Zeppelin Craft, a small leather-goods store. Then, when I ordered a handsome blue band, I found out it came all the way from Romania.
The bands cost about $40 and are made of thick leather. The blue one I got has just enough cornflower in it to give me that frisson of optical pleasure and the whole thing is great. They even include a cute little card.
Why am I bringing these guys to light? Because small manufacturers are massively important in the industry. Over the next few years mechanical watches will become less and less popular and it will be up to dedicated artisans to keep the fire alive. While we can delude ourselves in thinking the world will always love an automatic, we know it isn’t true. So a little shop like Zeppelin deserves our custom.
Check them out online. They even have a Apple smartwatch band just in case you want to cheat on your mechanical for a bit.