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Types of Leather Watch Straps

types of leather watch straps

Welcome to Andar, your trusted guide in the world of luxury handcrafted full-grain leather products.

Leather watch straps are crafted from various types of leathers, including genuine, bonded, top grain, and our premier choice—full-grain leather.

Through our practical knowledge, full-grain leather is celebrated for its durability, natural texture, and ability to age gracefully, making it the superior option for both style and longevity.

In this article, we'll dive into the fascinating variety of 'types of leather watch straps', spotlighting the most coveted materials such as top grain and full-grain leather.

Join us as we delve into why full-grain leather stands out as the best choice overall for your next Apple watch strap.

What this article covers:

What Kind of Leather Is Used to Make Watch Straps?

Drawing from our experience, leather watch straps are usually made from animal skins such as cows, pigs, goats, deer, alligators, crocodiles, ostriches, lizards and shell cordovan (which comes from horses).

From here, several types of leather grains are commonly utilized for watch straps, including:

  • full
  • top
  • genuine
  • bonded

Let's take a closer look at full grain and top grain leather.

Table: Full Grain Vs. Top Grain Leather


Full Grain Leather

Top Grain Leather


  • Retains natural grain including imperfections
  • Develops a rich patina over time
  • Enhanced aesthetic appeal
  • Surface is sanded to remove imperfections
  • More uniform and smooth appearance


  • Highest durability
  • Includes the entire grain layer
  • Adds to its strength and longevity
  • Less resilient than full grain
  • Surface layer is removed, which contains the strongest fibers of the hide


  • Becomes softer and more comfortable over time
  • Maintains its structural integrity
  • Generally softer initially due to the sanding process
  • Doesn't age as well as full grain


  • Requires regular conditioning to maintain its natural beauty and prevent drying
  • Easier to maintain due to its processed surface
  • Less prone to absorb moisture and stains
  • Not as strong as full-grain leather, so it requires more replacing


  • More expensive due to its premium quality and the intricate process of leaving the hide completely natural
  • Lasts longer than top-grain leather, which is better value for money
  • Typically less expensive than full grain due to the removal of imperfections and easier processing

Ideal Use

  • Recommended for luxury watch straps where durability and a natural look are highly valued
  • Suitable for more uniform straps where consistency in appearance is more important than natural aging

Full Grain Vs. Top Grain Leather

As per our expertise, full grain leather represents the highest quality of leather available.

It includes the entire grain layer, without any removal of the surface. This not only allows it to develop a distinct patina over time but also makes it the strongest type of leather, making it ideal for watch straps.

At Andar, we particularly recommend full grain leather for its superior durability and aesthetic appeal and it shows in a 44mm Apple Watch band like The Watch Band - one of the best leather watch bands for Apple watch.

Top grain leather is another great option but involves the stripping away of the top layer of the grain to provide a more standardized look and feel. While top grain leather still offers significant trendiness, it's far less resilient than full grain leather.

That's why we craft modern leather goods and more that meet the needs of style-conscious consumers looking for longevity and sophistication in their accessories.

What Is the Best Leather for Watch Straps?

Based on our first-hand experience, we believe that full-grain leather makes the best leather watch straps.

Additionally, it's the most durable type because it includes the entire grain layer, which isn't buffed or sanded down to remove imperfections. This authentic processing allows the leather to maintain its strength and unique character.

Furthermore, full-grain leather excels not only in resilience but also in aesthetics and comfort. It does this by naturally developing unique patterns over time which enhances its beauty and comfort with each wear. 

This ability to age gracefully makes full-grain leather not just a purchase, but an investment in a piece that grows more personal and comfortable over time. This perfectly aligns with our commitment to enduring craftsmanship and fashion-forwardness at Andar.

apple watch band 42mm

What Should You Be Aware of When Buying a Leather Watch Band?

Here are some key points to keep in mind when selecting a leather watch band:

  • Leather Type: Identify the type of leather when making your purchase. We recommend full-grain leather for its resilience and ability to develop beautiful characteristics over time.
  • Tanning Process: Check the tanning process of the leather watch you choose to ensure that it's of a high quality and is environmentally-friendly.
  • Stitching Quality: Our findings show that checking for even and robust stitching can significantly affect both the aesthetics and the lifespan of the strap.
  • Comfort And Fit: Consider the thickness and flexibility of the leather, which affects comfort. Also, check that the band fits your wrist size and watch lug width. This is especially true of The Watch Band, which is designed to fit every wrist and be compatible with multiple Apple watch models.

At Andar, we emphasize these aspects to guide our customers in making informed decisions that align with our commitment to sophistication and customer satisfaction with our leather watch bands for Apple watch.

Leather Watch Strap Types FAQs

How Do You Make Another Hole In A Leather Watch Strap?

Based on our observations, adding a hole to a leather watch strap can be done at home with the right tools. With that said, we at Andar recommend seeking professional help to avoid damaging the strap.

If you choose to do it yourself, you'll need a leather hole punch that matches the size of the existing holes for consistency.

apple watch bands 44mm

Here's a quick step-by-step process:

  1. Measure And Mark: Determine the exact spot where you need the additional hole, and mark it clearly on the strap. Ensure that it's evenly spaced with the other holes to maintain an aesthetic look.
  2. Position The Punch: Place the leather strap on a hard, flat surface, then align the punch tool over your mark.
  3. Punch The Hole: Firmly press down on the punch tool to create the hole. It might help to place a piece of wood or another hard material underneath the strap for support before making the hole.

Ensuring the new hole is neatly done will maintain the strap's integrity and appearance. As always, care should be taken to preserve the structural integrity of your Andar leather Apple watch band.

What Are The Different Types Of Leather Cleaning Techniques?

At Andar, we recommend several leather care methods to show you how to break in a leather watch strap and ensure that your leather products stay in excellent condition:

  • Regular Dusting: Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth, which you can find in The Leather Care Kit, to gently wipe down the strap to remove surface dirt and dust.
  • Spot Cleaning: Use a clean microfiber cloth with The Leather Cream to dab gently at more localized stains.
  • Conditioning: After cleaning, apply our premium leather conditioner to keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out and cracking.

What's The Difference Between A Crocodile And Alligator Watch Strap?

The difference between crocodile and alligator straps lies in their distinctive textures and scale patterns, which are subtle yet significant.

Our research indicates that alligator leather is generally considered more luxurious and is characterized by its uniform, small, and square-shaped scales.

On the other hand, crocodile leather features more irregular and often larger scales, with a visible porous texture at each scale's edge.

42mm apple watch band


We hope you enjoyed exploring the different types of leather watch straps with us, especially our deep dive into top grain and full-grain leather.

It's clear why full-grain leather stands out as the premier choice for those who appreciate quality and durability in their accessories.

If you're inspired to elevate your style with a strap that truly lasts and want to know where to buy leather watch straps, consider our collection of watch bands for Apple watch.

Why settle for less when you can wear the best? Visit us at Andar today to find your perfect match! 

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