As the oldest and one of the most beautiful materials – not just for watch straps, but furniture, bags, footwear, belts, and other accessories – there is a significant amount of time dedicated to the care and maintenance of leather. But while it is known for its durability, leather is an organic-based material that can and will fall apart faster than metal and other inorganic alternatives without proper maintenance. VARIO has created a leather band care and cleaning guide that could be the difference between your strap lasting ten months versus ten years. Keep reading to get the most of your leather watch.
PART 1: CARE
One of the most exceptional features of leather is that it gets better with age. Patina, the natural shine that leather exhibits after extended use, is so highly valued that persons will try to fake it or pay more for older leather than has achieved this look. But while prolonged use can result in beautiful patina, it also puts you at risk of cracking and over-stretching your leather, especially if it’s subject to frequent bending and pulling. Therefore, as it relates to everyday use:
- When putting on or taking off your watch, ensure that no area of the strap is being bent or pulled back more than necessary.
- When securing your watch to your wrist, do not pull or stretch the strap with excess force to get the buckle tang through the buckle hole.
- When changing the strap, ensure that the watch straps are both flat. If you are storing your leather bands in a case, the case should allow them to lay flat.
These three simple steps will allow you to get the most use out of your leather strap without ugly cracks and tears.
PART 2: CLEANING
While leather can become dirty, it is also sensitive to elements like water, heat, and sunlight. Therefore, special care must be taken when cleaning your leather watch band.
Step 1: Remove the straps. This will make it easier to clean the leather as well as protect the watch case and internal components from damage.
Step 2: Clean the straps with a dry cloth. Using a microfiber or any other type of soft, dry cloth, remove dirt, debris, and grainy buildup from the surface of the watch.
Step 3: Wash the straps with a gentle soap. Because the harsh chemicals in some cleaners can damage your leather, it is best to use soap meant for washing hands. Some dishwashing liquids can also be used, but when in doubt, hand soap is best. Do not wash the leather directly under a spray. Add a bit of the soap to a damp, soft cloth and gently clean the strap from one end to the other. Once you’ve finished, wash the strap with running water for no longer than a minute, then dry it as much as you can with the dampened soft cloth, which should also have been washed and wrung out.
Step 4: Air-dry your straps. Allow your leather bands to air-dry in a cool area. Do not use sunlight, an air dryer, or any sort of heat to speed up the process.
Step 5: Add a few drops of leather conditioner. Conditioner made for cleaning leather furniture and accessories differs from the industrial-strength leather conditioner, so ensure you have the correct kind. Add a small amount to your straps and rub it in to help maintain flexibility and luster over time. You won’t condition your straps every time you wash them, as the frequency may be affected by things such as the climate and how much you sweat. Check the conditioner package instructions for guidance.
We hope you found this article helpful. Have questions or comments? Send an email to email@example.com.
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