£ Skip to content

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

Leather watch straps are one of the most popular watch straps on the market, but not all of them are created equal, and more and more types of leather seem to crop up every day. So, how do you possibly choose which leather strap is best for you and your watch? We’re here to help! 

Here are 4 of the best leathers for watch straps in terms of style, durability and longevity, as well as a handful of the top brand leaders in the use of quality leathers. 

The 4 Best Leathers For Watch Straps Are:

  1. Calfskin leather
  2. Shell cordovan leather 
  3. Alligator leather
  4. Suede leather

1.Calfskin Leather

Calfskin leather is one of the most commonly used leathers and a safe go to for day time or night time wear. Most of the premium leather straps you’ll find on the market are calfskin because it is super comfortable and classic.

When a watch strap is marked as ‘Genuine Leather’ it is usually made up of cow hide inner and the outer being calf leather as it has a softer feel on the wrist than cowhide.

Calf leather, apart from being soft, has a tighter grain which tends to hold together better than cow skin and therefore is more durable.

Hirsch JAMES Calf Leather Performance Watch Strap

Combining the flexibility and dependability of Hirsch's tried and tested natural Caoutchouc rubber core with a high-quality calfskin upper layer, the James performance strap truly is the best of both worlds, offering up high performance during intense activity with classy, traditional stitched leather style.

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

2. Shell Cordovan Leather 

Shell cordovan is a type of leather commonly used in high-end shoemaking, wallets and watch straps, and known for its aesthetic qualities and exceptional durability. Cordovan is an equine leather made from the fibrous flat connective tissue (or shell) beneath the hide on the rump of the horse.

Shell cordovan has 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.

If you’re looking for a luxury watch strap that can guarantee longevity and durability, Shell cordovan straps are the ones to choose. View our full range here. 

RIOS1931 CHICAGO Shell Cordovan Leather Watch Strap 

The RIOS1931 Chicago is a classy watch strap crafted from refined shell cordovan leather for a glossy, uniform look and exceptional durability. The shape and texture are accentuated with a hand-stitched saddler's seam in a matching, complementary tone.

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

3. Alligator Leather

Alligator leather is known as an exotic leather that can be used for a wide variety of luxury products including high end watch straps. Alligator leather is soft, smooth, and quite flexible; therefore, watch straps crafted from alligator leather will be highly elastic.

The belly of the Alligator forms the inner part of the watch strap. The outer being ‘Hornback’ and Umbilical scars in the form of a webbed pattern with rectangular tiles which differs from Crocodile as croc leather is less uniform.

Hirsch LONDON Alligator Leather Watch Strap

The Hirsch London strap is crafted from genuine Louisiana Alligator skin, with samples specially-selected for their large, uniform scales. The strap is also edge-lacquered and remborded for a refined, more durable finish. It is also available in a wide variety of colours, to suit every taste. 

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

4. Suede Leather 

Suede tends to offer a more casual, yet still considerate look and can be worn in a very similar way to suede boots or shoes. Due to its soft touch, many people say  it's the comfiest watch strap material by far. So, If you're aiming for comfort as well as style, suede might be the perfect strap material for you.

JPM Italian Distressed Tasso Leather Watch Strap

Hand-crafted and hand-finished in Italy by Jean Paul Menicucci himself, the Distressed Tasso strap is wrought from soft, supple suede leather and carefully given a worn, coarse appearance that has an appealingly rustic look upon the wrist. Available in a selection of earthen tones, this is a comfortable, natural-looking band that fits in well with a wide variety of men's and women's watches. 

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

Who Are The Top Brand Leaders In The Use Of Quality Leathers?

To put it simply, the better the quality of leather, the longer the strap will last, therefore investing in a higher quality, luxurious strap (like these below) will save you hassle down the line and allow you to enjoy your strap for longer. 

Hirsch - SIENA

The SIENA ladies' watch strap from Hirsch has a subtle, understated allure, with a smooth and refined calfskin leather surface that's soft and pleasing to the touch.

The strap also has discreet, rounded padding that gives it a distinct silhouette upon the wrist, and a soft 'Silk Glove' leather underside that makes it comfortable to wear for long periods. 

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?


The CHICAGO watch strap is crafted from high-quality shell cordovan leather, lending it a luxurious sheen alongside hard-wearing characteristics. Generously padded with a complementary tone-on-tone backstitch, they have a distinctive silhouette and are pleasingly substantial.

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?


The DISTRESSED TASSO range of watch straps from JPM are crafted from fine suede leather with a carefully-applied distressed finish, for a rustic and natural look.

Soft and supple, these straps are supremely comfortable and pleasing to the touch, with a look and charm that are all their own.

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?

Morellato - LEVY

The Levy is a stunning, traditionally-styled strap wrought from high-quality vintage calfskin leather. The Levy from Italian manufacturer Morellato is a stunning, traditionally-styled strap wrought from high-quality vintage calfskin leather. Featuring muted, understated colour, a matching tonal edge stitch and moderate, rounded padding encased in a semi-remborded construction that adds to its durability and practicality. 

What Is The Best Leather For Watch Straps?


If real leather isn’t your thing, there are lots of alternative vegan leather options available that are environmentally friendly, comfortable and highly durable all rolled into one. For example, the Morellato LAURO Vegan Leather Watch Strap or the Hirsch LEAF Vegan Rubber Watch Strap. View our full vegan leather collection here. 

To learn more about about watch straps, such as “how to soften a leather strap”, “are leather watch straps waterproof?”, and everything in between, check out our blog page

We are WatchObsession, your favourite watch strap store since 2010. Shop our luxury watches, watch straps and watch tools and accessories on our website and become #WObsessed

Written by Kate, for Watch Obsession.