It’s the start of the new calendar year, and no doubt many of you have made resolutions that things are going to be different – you’re going to be different. But what about your watches? Are they going to be different? Sure, you could go ahead and buy a new watch, but why not change up the look of your existing watch? That’s where a strap change can make a magnificent difference, and today we’ve got three options to show you from Milano Straps.
First off, let’s start with the Milano Straps Cognac Barenia which runs $95 and is available in three different lug widths. Why start with this one? Well, in my book, it’s the most basic style that I think people would be looking for. You’ve got a clean, straight line (no padding) with a mild contrast stitch. Where this particular strap shines is in the leather that’s uses. It comes from a tannery in France that has been making leather for almost 180 years – so they know a thing or two. Here, the leather has a supple, rich feel.
It’s also worth noting the buckle here on the strap. This is a style that is present on all three of the straps we got in for review, and it’s different than the norm. Sure, it’s a basic tang-buckle style, but the shape is unlike anything I’ve seen. With the flares out to the sides, and the additional “nose” at the tip, it’s a unique look. Say, a stylized (and much slimmed-down, thankfully) Pre-V sort of a buckle. It’s a signature for the brand, in my eyes, and I’m glad to see a new buckle shape coming on these straps.
Next, let’s talk about the Milano Straps Gaucho ($58) which calls to mind the boots that are finished in a leather called “rough out” (you can see more about that here). While rough-out leather looks like suede, it’s actually a much tougher version and can take some abuse. Now, there’s no word as to whether or not this strap is actually made in that manner, but that’s ok – watch straps don’t take quite the level of abuse that a pair of boots will.
As with boots made in leather of this style, the Milano Straps Gaucho can walk the line between casual and dressy. The rougher suede texture has it leaning towards casual, but then you’ve got the light-toned contrast stitching and the polished buckle that say it can be a bit more upscale. Frankly, I think it will depend a lot on the watch you’re putting it with. And, if it’s being matched to a pair of boots, how you’re styling that overall look I suppose.
Last – but definitely not least, as it was my favorite of the trio – we’ve got a “true” suede strap with the Milano Straps Military Green Suede ($95). While the listing shows this strap as having red stitching on it, when I got it in, it looked more of an orange tone to me – and in fact, I paired it quite nicely against orange socks and some boots that I’ve got in for review at Knapsack. Frankly, this combination of an olive green and a reddish orange just works well together – very well – and it went oh-so-nicely onto my Michelsen AE. With this style of stitching, it’s definitely a more casual watch strap style, but it’s one that injects quite a different look to your wrist, without being garishly over the top.
I should note that, while the Milano Straps did not come with spring bars (I suggest picking up a variety pack from Amazon, as they’re good to have), you do get a double-sided spring bar tool in the packaging (which is a nice pressed metal box, handy for storing straps). One end is a forked bit (to get between the lug and strap to press the spring bar back) and the other is the pin style for pressing through a drilled lug to release a spring bar. Both have screwed-on caps, so the tool is protected when not in use.
These are just three of the many, many options that Milano Straps have in store for you. While we focused on leather and suede, they do have alligator and crocodile available, as well as NATO-style straps, in quiet the plethora of colors. Check ‘em out, and tell them we sent you. milanostraps.com