In June 2013, Florida strap retailer Crown & Buckle joined forces with New York leather crafter Logan Zane to create an exclusive line of pass-through straps, hand crafted from American or Italian leather, for $60. To a cheapskate like me, that sounded like a pretty good deal, but only if the straps were really unique. The C&B x LZ line did not disappoint. They kicked it off with camouflage leather and have taken the designs in bold directions ever since. For this review, I sampled one of the more conservative looks from the line, the Chocolate Walrus, which along with the other collaboration straps, may be purchased at both Crown & Buckle and Logan Zane (Logan Zane lists it as “Brown Walrus Nubuck”). It is available in 20, 22, or 24mm widths, with brushed or black stainless steel hardware. Only 100 pieces will be produced.
For starters, please note that “Chocolate Walrus” is neither a rich dessert nor urban slang for an obscure sex act. It is actually a literal description of the color and pattern of the strap. The strap is constructed of a single layer of velvety brown nubuck calfskin with a suede underside. Please note that no walruses were harmed in the production of this strap. The leather is embossed in-house in a pattern that emulates walrus skin. I’ve never been that close to a real walrus hide, so I have to take that on faith, but the strap has a deep and widely spaced grain that is quite distinctive.
I chose a 24mm with brushed hardware and paired it with a PAM homage. At 2mm thick and 292mm (11.5″) long, this is one big strap. It is unlikely that you will be able to slip it between the spring bars and case of most watches, and you are not advised to try. I removed the screw bars of my generally accommodating Luminor clone in order to fit the strap without damaging it. Experience with other long straps led me to position the watch head in the middle of the strap, down towards the adjustment holes. My 6.5″ wrist just can’t handle the excess tail any other way. With the watch low on the strap, I could tuck the excess back through the keepers, provided I gave it some encouragement. The Zulu-style keepers are fairly large, but 4mm of doubled back leather is a tight squeeze. Of course, I could always trim the end. Crown & Buckle even offers a how-to, but it seems a shame. I’d rather alter the way I wear the strap than slice up something so nice.
The strap is soft and extremely comfortable. While it is undeniably burly with its chunky hardware and raw edges, there is still something decadent about such a luscious piece of leather. The mass of the strap allows it to carry off large watches without making them appear top-heavy on the wrist, as is often the case with thinner NATOs. While the arctic association makes it a natural choice for winter, it is not so obvious that you could not enjoy it all year.
Pro: Comfortable and attractive.
Con: A bit long for smaller wrists.
Sum: I am the walrus. Goo goo g’joob!