3 essential rules when choosing leather watch straps

If you are looking for a new pair of leather watch straps, your journey may last forever because of the massive options available in the market today. The more you research, the more questions you will start to ask yourself.
Which leather type should I get? Will it fit my watch? Will it be comfortable?
There are a lot more questions that will come to your mind and that’s why today is your lucky day. Let’s dive into the 3 killer rules that I’ve been using for years to choose the perfect leather watch straps for my watches.

Watch straps with many colors


Rule #1: Fit your watch

There are several factors that come in to play in order to get perfect fit straps for your watch.

Find the correct Widths

A strap width measurement should have 2 numbers, head width, and tail width.

For standard watches, you should measure the head width between the lugs of the watch face. The tail width should be equal to the inner width of the buckle

Strap sizing position by Heritela

Measure the Width at the watch face’s lugs


For smartwatches, leather strap adapters may be required. In this case, the width should be measured between the lugs of an adapter.

Adapter for smartwatches

Smartwatches may need special adapters to use leather watch straps


Tapered or not?

“Tapered” means to have the tail width smaller than the head width.

  • Usually, 2mm tapered is recommended for the best look.
  • 4mm tapered is ideal if you the watch is way bigger than your wrist.

Taper types

Common taper types for leather watch straps


Choose your Padding

Adding padding to your leather watch straps can create a smoother transition between your watch face and wrist. At the same time, it can increase the durability of the straps. However, the tradeoff is that padding will make your straps stiffer and your wrist looks bulkier

  • No padding: More comfortable. Recommended for smartwatches and standard watches with a thickness of < 8mm.
  • Half padding: Feels more solid and looks smoother. Recommended best for standard watches with a thickness of > 8mm.

Padding styles

Half padding is suitable for thick watches


Match the color

Your leather watch straps’ color highly depends on the prominent color of the watch’s face. The prominent color of the watch face is usually defined by the color of the bezel and the dial.

Color matching

You should match the color of the strap to the prominent color of the watch face

 As a common rule, you can play along 2 strategies, complementary or contrasting

  • Complementary color matching: The color of the straps should be similar to the color of the watch’s face. Choose this if you want to be conservative, formal, casual, and safe.
  • Contrasting color matching: The color of the straps should be the opposite of the watch’s face color. Choose this if you want to be playful, active, and standing out.
Watch face color Straps color by Complementary matching Straps color by Contrasting matching
Silver Any, literally Any, literally
Black Black,dark brown Yellow, green, brown
Gold Brown, white or, beige Black, green, cyan, turqoise
Rose gold Red, pink, white or grey Green, yellow or orange
Green Green, yellow Yellow, brown, beige
Red Red, pink, orange Yellow, navy blue, black


Choose the lining (Backside)

Our advice is to NEVER choose chrome-tanned leather for the lining as it may cause irritation when staying in contact with your skin for a long period of time.

Also, you want to avoid using plastic-coated leather (PVC or PU)  for the lining because it is very stiff and will crack quickly.

Do you sweat a lot? If the answer is yes, you would have 2 options:

  • Zermatt vegetable-tanned leather: Absorbs sweat and lasts the longest among genuine leather types.
  • Silicone synthetic leather: does not absorb sweat, safe your skin, and last at least 5 years according to the manufacturer’s estimation.

lining types

Zermatt leather and silicone leather are the most popular choices for sweaty wrists

Heritela is the first one to use medical-grade Silicone leather as lining for watch straps. We have tested it thoroughly before rolling it out to the market. The durability, as well as the comfort, has been proved by actual customers. Try out today our great variety of leather watch straps collections.


Rule#2: Fit your wrist 

You don’t want the straps to be too long or too short, which can look badly on your wrist. Below is a Length Size table created by Heritela for your convenience.

Length sizing table

Leather watch straps size lengths

Heritela offers extensive customization for your straps since we also do hand-made watch straps. If your size is not listed in the table above, just drop us a message and we will help you to get the best-fit straps!


Rule #3: Fit your style – Choosing upper leather

Leather types

The type of upper leather will reflect your taste in fashion


Though it highly depends on your personal tastes, you can select the type of leather according to your style of outfit

  • Formal/Luxury: Alligator/Crocodile, smooth-grain cowhide, or shell cordovan (horse-butt). 
  • Vintage/Classic: Natural grain cowhide.
  • Standing-out: Lizard, stingray, or ostrich leg.

Some leather will have more functional advantages than others:

  • Epsom calfskin: resists stains, water (light), and scratches.
  • Lizard: highly reflects lighting.
  • Vegetable full-grain: highly develops patinas over time.


Do and don’ts

clean leather watch straps

Caring for your leather watch straps is not difficult


  • Get the softest straps possible.
  • Get the hand-stitch straps if you can. Hand-stitching is more durable and looks more attractive.
  • Clean the straps often.
  • Match the color of the watch face with the complementary color of the straps, just to be safe.


  • Do not use chrome-tanned leather for the lining. Chromium may cause skin irritation. 
  • Do not leather and dive, ever!
  • Do not clean the leather with strong detergents like gasoline, alcohol, or bleach.

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