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Is Shell Cordovan The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

Is Shell Cordovan The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

In short - yes, Shell Cordovan is the best type of leather, especially for watch straps. This is simply due to its exceptional quality and durability. But before we go into the reasons why it is the best leather for watch straps, it’s important to know what it actually is. 

Shell Cordovan leather is a high-end leather that is derived from the fibrous flat connective tissue (or shell) beneath the hide on the rump of the horse. The process of production is much more time consuming than other leathers, therefore this attention to detail, as well as its much-loved characteristics, is what makes it so special and unlike any other. 

Why Is Shell Cordovan The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

Originally, Shell Cordovan leather was used to make shoes, but its popularity has since moved to other accessories, such as watch straps… and for good reason.

As mentioned above, Shell Cordovan leather is famous for its consistent high-quality and near indestructibility. It is simply one of the most refined pieces of leather you can get your hands on and its impressive durability means you do not have to worry about it breaking, cracking, or losing its shine over time.

Not only is it strong, it is incredibly stylish too, boasting a luxurious rich look with a unique non-creasing characteristic. Because it is made of connective tissue, it is smooth and lacks the pebbled effect of leather derived from animal skin, making it by far the most comfortable leather to wear around your wrist.

How To Care For Your Shell Cordovan Strap

To ensure your Shell Cordovan strap lasts a lifetime, you must take proper care of it. But don’t worry, it’s relatively simple and won’t take up much of your time.

1. Brush away the surface dirt

To clean, grab a brush and gently brush along the strap to remove any surface dirt. We recommend using a horsehair brush as this will remove any dirt or grime best and invigorate the natural oils and greases in the leather, giving the watch a fresh-looking surface. Since Shell Cordovan is such a strong leather, you can brush and wipe as often as you like with peace of mind that you’re not ruining the leather. 

2. Wipe with cloth & detergent 

For areas with lots of dirt/oil build up, add some leather-safe detergent to a damp microfiber cloth and use small, circular strokes along the strap. Once completely dried, grab your brush and get brushing again for a minute or two until the strap is clean.

3. Lightly coat with cream or conditioner

Finally, if the strap is looking a little dry, finish the routine with a small drop of your chosen leather cream or conditioner. Follow the directions on the bottle. 

Everyday Measures

As well as cleaning your strap when necessary, the best type of care is preventative. Although the hide is naturally resistant to water, leather is a porous material, meaning it isn’t completely waterproof and doesn’t respond well to moisture. Therefore, to ensure the longevity of your strap, you should try to avoid it coming into contact with moisture altogether. By this we mean removing it before the shower, swimming, and any other activity which involves water. 

The Best Shell Cordovan Watch Straps


The Shell Cordovan range of watch straps from JPM are hand-crafted and hand-finished in Italy by the eponymous Jean Paul Menicucci himself. They are wrought from soft, supple leather with an applied lacquer finish on the upper side for a strikingly shiny effect and crafted from fine Italian calfskin with a lacquered finish that gives it an elegant sheen. 

View our complete collection here, available in 9 striking colours. 

Is Shell Cordovan The Best Leather For Watch Straps?



Available in 4 warm colours, the Chicago by RIOS1931 is a classy strap, crafted from high-quality shell cordovan leather for a glossy, uniform look and exceptional durability. 

Generously padded with a complementary tone-on-tone backstitch, they have a distinctive silhouette and are pleasingly substantial.

Shop our full collection here. 

Is Shell Cordovan The Best Leather For Watch Straps?



The RIOS1931 New York watch strap is crafted from high-quality shell cordovan leather, lending it a luxurious sheen alongside hard-wearing characteristics. Generously padded with a contrasting cream backstitch, they have a distinctive silhouette and are pleasingly substantial.

Browse our full collection here.

Is Shell Cordovan The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

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Written by Kate, for Watch Obsession.