Category Archives: Leather Care and Patina

Choosing the Perfect Handcrafted Watch Strap

Choosing the perfect Bas and Lokes watch strap

Choosing The Perfect Watch Strap


Every day we’re asked for tips on how to choose the perfect strap to complement your watches. The right strap can absolutely transform any watch. It can compliment it by bringing the focus to the watch itself or it can be so interesting that both the watch and the strap make a bold statement. A strap can give it a whole new look and feel. It can also breathe life into a dusty old watch you fell out of love with ages ago. You can even have several straps to wear with one watch for total versatility and to match your lifestyle.


So here are a few tips to help you find one or several of the perfect strap best suited to match your watch and personality.

Choosing the perfect Bas and Lokes leather watch strap

Tip #1 – Choose a leather strap that complements the color of the watch dial, hands or markers

Take a good look at your watch. Do any colors or tones stand out? Try choosing a strap to complement your dial.
If the dial is brown, then leather in dark brown tones or tans look great for a slight contrast and warm feel. Going with black leather will give it an even more interesting contrast if you are looking for your watch combo to stand out. If your dial is black, these are probably the most versatile watches as they look great with almost any leather. Lighter leather tones stand out even more with black dials. Go with darker colors for a more stealthy look.


Bas and Lokes "Bowen" black handcrafted leather watch strap Rolex Daytona


If your dial is cream or champagne color, then perhaps consider brown or tan straps for a warm and elegant look. White or silver dials are very versatile as well and look excellent with dark and lighter straps. Brown and tan leather lend a warm feel. Grey and black leather are a starker look and provide maximum contrast. Bold leather colors can be used with these dials to make a statement.


Bas and Lokes green handcrafted leather watch strap on Rolex Daytona gold


With watches that have hands or markers in colors that stand out, it’s often best to choose leather that first looks great with the dial. Next choose a thread color for the stitching to compliment the color of the markers or hands by matching or contrasting it.


Matching a Bas and Lokes leather strap to your watch


Tip #2 – Match it to your wardrobe, shoes or accessories


Think about the clothes you wear. Is there an article of clothing or accessory that you wear often, such as wearing the same shoes and belt? This is a good starting point. Choose a strap in the same color or similar tones so it matches these accessories. If it’s a leather jacket you love, then perhaps consider matching it to that or accessories like your favorite bag or wallet.


Matching Bas and Lokes vintage inspired leather accessories

Graf Zeppelin 7640.1 and Bas and Lokes Wyatt dark brown leather watch strap

Tip #3 – Consider where you will be wearing your watch to


If you’re looking for a dressy strap to wear to work with suits or similar attire, typically straps with full stitching are just the ticket as they are a bit more formal. Choose straps in black or dark browns as they’re subtle and don’t stand out as much. If you are the kind of person that wants to make a statement in a formal environment with your suit at work, then go with suede or a bright color to stand out and make a subtle splash.


Bas and Lokes handcrafted leather watch strap on vintage Rolex Datejust


If you’re looking for an every day strap, then think about the kinds of clothes you wear and your style. If you’re more casual, then straps with a vintage look will look fantastic. And don’t forget suede, it’s very versatile and looks beautiful with both casual and elegant ensembles.


Rolex Pepsi with Bas and Lokes "Jensen" natural handmade leather watch strap


Tip #4 – Match to your personality


Forget any rules. Throw them out the window. Wear whatever the heck you think reflects your personality. If it looks crazy then it looks crazy. If its boring, who cares. You’re happy, right?! We think that’s all that matters.


Bas and Lokes suede watch straps


Tip #5 – Can’t decide?


A beautiful handcrafted watch strap can transform any watch and with so much choice, you don’t have to be stuck with any one strap. Sometimes, while most of us dream of having a large watch collection, it’s not always possible. It’s often much easier to have one or two good watches and a handful of different straps that can give you a range of looks for a multitude of occasions.
Panerai Watch Strap Transformation


Bas and Lokes handcrafted black Kingsman leather watch strap


In less than a minute, it’s super easy to swap from a smart formal black strap that you wear to work, to a beautiful vintage style brown one to wear with casual attire on weekends.


Bas and Lokes grey leather watch strap

Hope you’ve found these tips useful. So how do YOU go about choosing the perfect strap for your watch?


Bas and Lokes

The Beauty of Natural Vegetable Tanned Leather and Developing Patina

Natural vegetable tanned leather goods

“Judas” iPhone Sleeve and “Dante” notebook sleeve


Ahhh, natural vegetable tanned leather. It looks so beautiful when its brand new and just like a human traversing through life, it truly becomes more beautiful and filled with character as it evolves and ages. It’s called patina. No two veg tan pieces are alike. And no two pieces will ever age the exact same way.
Photo 2-07-2013 7 59 54 am

Natural veg tan starting to develop patina

Natural vegetable tanned leather is like a blank canvas. It’s beauty will start to materialise as soon as you move through life with it. As soon as you start to use veg tan leather products they will start to darken or caramelise in color. There is no stopping this from occurring. At all.  How it darkens depends on what you expose it to, the environment in which it lives, the amount of light it’s exposed to, whether it’s exposed to water, dirt, the oils of your skin, the indigo of your denim or the application of leather conditioner. All of which will affect your leather in a very different way. The bottom line is the more you use and handle it, the darker it will become. Some are scared of it. Don’t be. Like ageing, it all just looks more and more interesting. Natural vegetable tanned leather starts off looking a range of different tones. It can look light beige, light tan, a slight bit pink or a very very light caramel. You will notice is turning various shades until it darkens. Its a fascinating process. Some people find they absolutely love helping their veg tan along in the ageing patina process by handling the leather a lot with their hands, applying conditioner, sitting it in the sun to tan like our skin does.
"Nathan" wallet with six months of patina

“Nathan” wallet with six months of patina

The first time your leather gets an accidental splash of water or oil on it, might distress some, but we promise you it will all just blend in and you eventually end up with a beautifully patinated piece of leather that will be as unique as you. We think it really looks better with age.
Matching accessories

Veg tan accessories with about a one month patina

For most people, veg tan leather will always keep a caramel look to it if they limit the amount of light it receives and if they manage to keep it fairly clean. Not everyone is this neat. The majority of people will manage to get it a darker caramel color.

Tips for assisting your veg tan leather with the patina process

Expose it to the sun
Sitting it on a very sunny spot will darken your leather. It will tan just like skin does. It will go from its natural color and start to first develop a pink tone and gradually it will get more of a red tone
Bas and Lokes handmade leather leash wth beautiful before and after patina

Veg tan dog leash with three months patina

Apply leather conditioner
Certain conditioners and oils will darken leather in different ways. We use a range of products but our two favorites are Neatsfoot oil and Obenaufs. Neatsfoot comes in an oil form and you applying it lightly over the leather. Don’t apply too much as over application can over saturate your leather which can cause it to rot. Neatsfoot tends to give natural veg tan leather more of a golden caramel color. Obenaufs comes is solid and you rub that into the leather lightly being careful not to get any in between the stitching as this will be hard to remove and also doesnt look very good. Obenaufs tends to give help your leather darken in more of a reddish tone.
vegetable tanned leather wallets comparison

“Nathan” long wallet with 1 year patina and lots of use and “Keryn” short wallet with six months patina with minimal exposure to light.

Expose it to life
Don’t be afraid to get your product dirty. Handle it, oil it, leave it sitting in the sun, drop if a few times, put it in your denim pockets, don’t freak out when a little splash of water falls on it or when you see some dirt on it from your hands. The culmination of all these stains over time will all blend in together and start to look a beautiful dark caramel and even a dark brown in extreme situations. Have fun with it.
Vegetable tanned leather with two years of heavy use

Vegetable tanned leather with two years of heavy use

Got any of our natural vegetable tanned leather products? Send us some photos. We’d love to see how they are coming along and developing their own patina.
Bas and Lokes