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How To Soften A Leather Watch Strap

how to soften a leather watch strap

Real leather is a natural, porous material that will soften on its own over time. Some leather straps are supple from the get go, such as JPM Leather, Morellato Tintoretto and RIOS1931 Weilheimand won’t need much breaking in.

If you want a longer lasting strap then you need to look for hardier leather. Some tougher leather straps include Hirsch Ascot, RIOS1931 Chicago and Hirsch Heavy Calf

how to soften a leather watch strap

Below are some of our top tips for softening up the tougher leather straps which will naturally take longer to break in than softer leather. 

Methods To Soften A Leather Watch Strap:

  1. Using A Leather Conditioner
  2. Using Natural Oils  
  3. Regular Use Of The Watch Strap

1. Using Leather Conditioner

Buying a leather conditioner product is one tried and tested way to help soften your leather watch strap and can in fact add years of life to any leather product. In addition to making your watch strap nice and supple, conditioner will also help protect the surface from stains and prevent cracking in the leather, so is an all-round great purchase for your leather watch strap.

It is important to note that the conditioner must only be applied in very small amounts and not to any suede or nubuck finish.

How To Condition Your Watch Strap

You can condition your watch strap whilst it is still attached to your watch, but for a really thorough condition we recommend removing your strap from your watch.

  1. Firstly, you will need to remove any sweat or dirt on the strap. To do this, dampen a microfibre cloth and wipe both sides of the watch strap with a mild and gentle soap. Remember to only use a pea-sized amount of soap and ensure you are not using any harsh soaps, as these can strip away the natural moisture in the leather. 

  2. Next, using a different microfibre cloth, rub a small amount of your chosen conditioner into the leather with gentle circular movements.

  3. When you’re done, let it sit and absorb for a few minutes. 

Please note: we recommend that you always patch test a new leather care product on an inconspicuous area of the leather first, before applying it to the rest of the product.


2. Using Natural Oils

The use of natural oils, such as coconut oil, is another recommended method to soften your watch strap. Avoid using chemically hydrogenated oils, such as vegetable oils.

Neatsfoot oil and lanolin oil have also been used to soften leather for centuries, so it’s a good idea to have a search around to find the best oil for you. 

To apply, follow the same process as if you were using a leather conditioner and always do a patch test prior to applying the oil to the rest of the product.


3. Regular Use Of The Watch Strap

Wear The Watch As Often As You Can

Regular use of your watch strap is the easiest way to soften the strap and break it in. The natural body oils along with heat from the body assist with the softening process. With time, the leather band will become soft and more comfortable.


how to easily soften a leather watch strap

Massage The Strap

Another good option is to remove the strap and take time massaging it in your spare time. Bending the watch strap as often as you can will loosen its fibres and you will begin to see results much faster than if you were just wearing the watch alone.

step by step how to soften a leather watch strap

Use Watch Storage

Finally, you may want to consider tying the strap around an object, such as a watch roll when you’re not using it. Again, this will stretch the leather fibres, making it more flexible and softer. 

softening a leather watch strap


Shop our luxury watcheswatch straps and watch tools and accessories on our website. 

Written by Kate Jones for WatchObsession