Bespoke Watch Straps That Must Be Seen To Be Believed: Cuddsville x Schofield Watch Company
by Simon Cudd
My love affair with straps came very early on in my infatuation with watches, in fact right along with my first automatic watch in 2007.
At that time, brands generally offered a very limited selection of straps to accessorize their wristwatches; I felt the need to find my own straps to satisfy my requirements.
I sought strap makers that could make products that I actually wanted to wear, whether simple brown calf leather, colorful suede, or an exotic hide of some sort.
When I ran my forum, br-avo.com (active from 2009-2016, it is now cuddsville.com), strap makers approached me to design straps for our members, provide free straps for competitions, and to help showcase what they did differently from their competitors.
I would often come up with a specification, and a strap maker would carry out my request. Several weeks later I would receive a package with the realized project inside.
Fast forward to 2016: I still have the desire for a fantastic strap on my wristwatch that is either better made or made with a color or a material that I want to wear.
I was recently chatting with Giles Ellis, CEO, designer, and owner of Schofield Watch Company, who I first met at SalonQP in 2012 and instantly liked. We have formed a great friendship, and as a result have worked on several ideas for Schofield’s accessories (I provided the sailcloth for the first version of the Watch Wallet, for example.)
I have purchased the Signalman DLC and Steel Beater, and I am surely one of very few to have nearly every Schofield watch strap that Ellis has designed and made!
Ellis’ attention to detail and knowledge of artisans has ensured that Schofield watch straps meet every criteria from comfort and robustness to longevity and style. These have been made from fabrics as diverse as pink or purple tweed to yellow Millerain, a red cricket ball, and even the material gymnasts and weightlifters use for hand guards, grips, and belts.
While having a chat over coffee one day, we began discussing materials and colors for future straps; Ellis will often bounce thoughts and ideas at me to gauge my reaction.
I suggested making a strap from an old pair of yellow Converse hightops that I had outgrown . . . and the idea went down well.
I removed the canvas from the sole with a Stanley knife, and on my next visit gave the material to Ellis to send to his strap maker.
I had no real requirements, just that the strap be an authentic OEM Schofield strap to wear on either of my Schofield Watch Company watches. The strap maker had artistic license!
Some time later, I got a message from Ellis asking whether I had received my post yet.
I happened to be out and about, but on my return found a shiny black padded envelope in the post box. Upon opening it I discovered two clear plastic bags, one containing the offcuts of yellow material, the other holding two stunning, beautifully individual yellow canvas straps with green leather SWC stamped backing.
For a strap nerd like myself – and a “footwearaholic,” too – this was a double whammy!
I couldn’t have been happier to have a strap made from a beloved upcycled material by one of my favorite brands and something that indeed no one else would have!
Two straps, both of which incorporate the original Converse logo, one on a short end and the other on the long end, allow me to wear either a plain yellow strap with or without logo as I desire on a given day.
This of course means that we don’t have to live within the confines of black alligator, steel bracelets, and uncomfortable rubber straps. We can express our individuality and desires to push those restrictions.
I have seldom worn an OEM strap on most watches I have ever owned. And unless brands realize the potential that offering different colors and fabrics brings with it, people like myself will seek those alternatives.
Bespoke strap making is big business right now. And why shouldn’t it be?
To see the full range of Schofield straps, go to www.schofieldwatchcompany.com/accessories.
Also published on Medium.