Written by Martin Green
A strap can make or break a watch in terms of look, feel, and even wearing comfort. You can upgrade the least expensive watches quite easily by matching them with a high-end strap (although you do run the risk that the strap costs more than the watch), but the other way around is done just as easily. The best straps are hand-made with the best materials. This artisanal approach is essential to ensure that the strap’s fit is superb and seamlessly integrates with the watch. The aim is two-fold; to ensure that in terms of design, there is a synergy established between the strap and the watch and that the wearing comfort is second to none.
For Vault, no concessions are made to either. For the V2+ RCT, this means that they selected two types of leathers that are both common and exotic at the same time. The top of the strap is made from salmon skin from Iceland. This seems like a bit of a strange choice as this is a fairly common fish and on the menu in many restaurants and households. However, when fully tanned, salmon skin gets a very exotic look. The shape of the scales almost gives the impression that the strap is made out of dragon leather. Most people don’t even guess that it comes, in fact, from a relatively common animal. An added advantage is that this is a sustainable choice, as the salmon’s skins are a side-product of the food industry. The same can be said of the leather that was chosen for the lining of the strap. Here ostrich leg leather was used in a beautiful stone-washed color, which also comes from a sustainable source, as ostriches are bred for their eggs and meat. This leather also doesn’t look like you would expect it to. Where ostrich leather is often very recognizable, with the round marks where the feathers where attached, the leg’s skin is completely different. It has more the texture of an exotic reptile, rather than that of a large bird. When tanned, it is surprisingly supple, which increases ever more when worn a few times. This makes it a perfect leather to be worn directly on the skin.
Crafting a strap for the V2+ RCT, or any other Vault for that matter, is not as simple as it seems. The strap – hand crafted by master strap maker Mirea Marian – is made on one end with an insert in between. This part is needed to achieve a seamless and secure atta chment to the case. It is made out of titanium and 3D-printed to ensure a perfect fit. The strap is constructed by hand around it so that it becomes an almost inseparable part. Between the lining and the top leather, a filling is placed to ensure that the strap gets the desired thickness. Glue keeps all the pieces together, aided in this task by stitching. Here Vault also takes a road less traveled, opting for red gold 5N stitching. This is a superb finishing touch, especially given the color of the leather. When it comes to the sides of a strap, there are two most popular options on how to finish them. With remborde, the craftsperson takes the top leather over the sides and tucks them in just above the lining. This gives a round shape and allows the top leather also to be visible from the side. For the Vault V2+ RCT, round sides don’t work too well, as they introduce a shape largely absent in the watch’s design. That is why they opted to give the strap cut edges. This term is taken quite literally, as they cut the sides of the strap and finish them off with a flexible lacquer. This way, the strap will look much better with the watch and achieve the aforementioned synergy, which is highly regarded.