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Old 17 February 2015, 07:10 AM   #1
Baco Noir
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Custom watch straps from Aaron Pimentel

With the purchase of my first Panerai, I dove right into to custom strap market as well. I new I wanted two things to start with: 1) a nice black alligator for when I have business meetings and 2) something more unique and likely another exotic skin. I did a lot of searching and looked at a lot of custom strap makers - some well known and experienced in the industry for decades down to hobbyists who have been doing it a while and have good reputations. During the search, I came across Aaron Pimentel who owns Combat Straps in Montreal. I remember seeing his ads on several forums over the years and after looking at his site again, looked for online reviews about the quality of his work. It was during this search that I found this interview...

Talking watch straps with Aaron Pimentel from Combat Starps | WatchPaper

After seeing this, I really got the feeling he was an artisan and decided to contact him to discuss making some straps for me. I sent he an e-mail with a few questions about the materials I was thinking of (alligator and ostrich) and the types of stitching I was thinking about. It was late in the evening on January 25th when I sent the e-mail and I headed for bed. When I got up in the morning, I already had a reply! I was torn between two types of ostrich and which color stitching to go with on the alligator (black vs. white). So I sent him another reply and he responded quickly (< 1 hour) with some photos of different skins and completed straps with different stitching colors. A few more e-mails were exchanged with sizing information, where I was located, buckle options, type/shape/amount of padding, etc. By mid-afternoon on January 26th, the order was done and he sent me an invoice and got right to work. He said he had a shipment going out on Thursday to his importer (since they are exotic skins) and he wanted to include it with that shipment. Low and behold, on Monday February 9th, FedEx was at the door and delivering these beauties.

In the interview I posted above, he said he spends 45 minutes working on the edges of each strap alone - it shows. You know there are seams there where the pieces of leather come together, but you cannot see them. They also have a nice rounded edge rather than a sharp, abrupt square cut edge.

The hand stitching is done very evenly and with a nice thick thread (he has 80 colors to choose from BTW). The holes for the tang buckle are cleanly cut and evenly spaced. The dual keepers (one sewn in and the other floating) are nice too, since on a tapered strap (these are 26x22 mm) the floating keeper can't get loose and end up by the lugs, so it tightly holds the tail to buckle side of the strap.

He makes some beautiful straps from a wide variety of materials including leather, vintage leather, exotic skins, canvas, and Alcantara. The ostrich leg skin I selected is called a tobacco suede. It's a deep, dark brown, with a soft suede texture. The tan stitching ties in nicely with the vintage lume used on the 422.

After a week with the ostrich on the wrist, I swapped over the alligator today to break it in a bit and see how it looks on the wrist. For the alligator, I decided to go with a semi-gloss black with black stitching and a black tang buckle since it was for more formal occasions. I chose to add domed padding to both straps to make them thicker where they attach to the lugs, which looks more proportionate on bigger cases in my opinion.

I love the look of both of these and really appreciate the time, advice and additional photos that Aaron sent to help me decide on my materials. The quality of these are amazing!




















Sent from my iPhone and I blame autocorrect for any spellin' errs!
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Old 17 February 2015, 07:06 PM   #2
Cru Jones
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looking good. welcome to the strap madness!
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Old 18 February 2015, 12:43 AM   #3
Baco Noir
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looking good. welcome to the strap madness!

Thanks! I'm now looking for a 22mm damascus steel buckle for the gator strap. I think it would still be understated (not bright SS) and add an additional touch of class to strap.


Sent from my iPad (so I blame autocorrect for the spellin' errs)
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Old 18 February 2015, 05:28 AM   #4
jjnd08
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Very nice. How were these priced? I'm considering a different strap for my reverso.
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Old 18 February 2015, 06:02 AM   #5
Baco Noir
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Very nice. How were these priced? I'm considering a different strap for my reverso.
The ostrich leg was $155 +$15 for padding. The Gator was $190 + $15 for padding. That's about 1/2 the price of an OEM Panerai strap.
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Old 18 February 2015, 06:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Baco Noir View Post
The ostrich leg was $155 +$15 for padding. The Gator was $190 + $15 for padding. That's about 1/2 the price of an OEM Panerai strap.
Very reasonably priced. I'm trying to find something like the Casa Fagliano watch strap that is on the JLC Reverso rose gold 1931 tribute; I want a black one for my 1931 tribute. I tried the RG version on in the store, and that strap was so comfortable.
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Old 17 July 2015, 10:57 PM   #7
tinygears
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I also had Aaron create some straps for a new Panerai. He was extremely helpful in the selection process, and the straps arrived quickly, and as described.

Fair prices for quality straps to feed a new "need."
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Old 7 August 2015, 02:24 AM   #8
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Nice looking straps.
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Old 7 August 2015, 01:51 PM   #9
Baco Noir
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Nice looking straps.

Thanks. He makes quality straps for sure.
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Old 19 August 2015, 08:57 AM   #10
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Great looking straps!
Once your in it's hard to settle on a single strap, welcome to the club
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Old 19 August 2015, 10:10 AM   #11
Baco Noir
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Great looking straps!
Once your in it's hard to settle on a single strap, welcome to the club

Thanks! I wear the tobacco Ostrich 95% of the time and only put on the black when dressing up.
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Old 15 May 2017, 03:04 AM   #12
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Nice looking!
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Old 19 March 2018, 12:10 AM   #13
Ranger822
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I have two straps from Aaron - a cognac ostrich, and sharkskin. Both very well done and are my primary straps for the watches they are on. Aaron does a nice job on his straps and communicates well in getting the particulars before he begins. Prices are very friendly, and delivery time is quite fast for a bespoke strap. Definitely my go-to man for straps.
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Old 19 March 2018, 01:09 AM   #14
Baco Noir
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Custom watch straps from Aaron Pimentel

Since I wrote this originally, Iíve purchased 2 more for the 422 - a grey gator with antique stitching to match the hands and a honey colored leather, which gets 90% of the wrist time.

I just ordered a distressed black gator for the BLNR too and will wear that with the custom end links from Smarty Jones in Singapore.
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Old 12 May 2018, 12:38 PM   #15
THE FURY
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I have ordered three straps from Aaron over the last few weeks and have been impressed by the work. Living in Montreal, I got to visit his workshop, unbelievable staff and dedication to detail. Below are two of my watches with Aaron’s work. The third one will be completed on Monday..


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