Sailcloth straps are starting to get more traction, and every strap shop will have one in their shop. However, some would either be embossed or designed to look like one. The rest would be “genuine” sailcloth, but very abrasive or doesn’t instil quality. OEM sailcloth straps, on the other hand, are costly and can set you hundreds of dollars. There might also be fitting issues as only selected brands will sell this. This gap is where Artem Straps come in.
Artem is not new to me. I’ve seen them get mentioned in the Watchuseek strap thread. I’ve just never had the watch that I want to try them on until recently.
Artem only breaths one thing, and that is sailcloth straps. Born in the heart of Adelaide by two friends, they have filled that gap in the sailcloth strap market – a high quality, highly durable and highly flexible sailcloth strap.
Their pricing varies depending on the length and spring bar type. The Standard length with standard spring bar costs USD$85. Any change in length or spring bar type incurs an additional USD$11. Free international shipping on all orders above USD$100.
Artem’s packaging is simple well made. Just a slim package with their logo on the front and tagline behind the opening.
The selling point of Artem Straps is suppleness. The strap can easily be enjoyed out of the box as there’s almost no break-in period required. We say almost as mileage will vary on people’s tolerance. It won’t be a worn-out leather strap feeling if that’s what you’re expecting. However, relative to other sailcloth straps I’ve tried, they’re more supple and flexible.
I have a slim/feminine wrist and find that there can be a bit of side pressure due to the padded region. However, I find that with more use, that slight stiffness disappeared. This feeling is reminiscent of a new croc leather strap. For those who have a bigger wrist, this will be less of an issue.
The difference is day and night. The strap has a very smooth texture similar to how seatbelt weaves are with NATO. Other sailcloth straps I’ve tried before are rough and have a more plastic surface. I also noticed how Artem’s weave appears denser than other sailcloth straps I’ve used.
What makes Artem different as well is that Artem has a rubber underlining on its strap. Though the sailcloth is smooth, it will still not be the ideal material touching the skin. Other sailcloth straps are rougher as they use the same material on the underside.
Wearing it throughout the day, I didn’t feel any irritation on my skin, thanks to the rubber lining. I also noticed the more I wear it, the more the strap shapes my wrist.
Being a sailcloth strap as well means it’s very water-resistant. However, I would still avoid submerging the strap in water for long periods as there are still threads.
One thing to note is that some lateral stiffness is to be expected of the strap to ensure OEM style fit. This stiffness will not be a concern unless one tries fitting the strap in smaller lug widths. The best solution is to purchase the correct size.
One of the things I like about Artem Straps is how they chose a thicker thread for stitching. The thread is a tad wider on the front side compared to the other sailcloth straps I have seen. This choice is more critical if straps are machine stitched.
The keepers are solid and thick with a twist: the floating keeper is wider than the fixed one. I haven’t seen a strap that uses this approach. It has always been both keepers are of equal sizes. After trying it out, I finally understood why Artem opted for this design and why I think it’s better. For one, when tucking the strap in, the excess strap can be covered more by the keeper, making it cleaner. Two, there’s an added sense of security as it’s covering more area—less chance of the keeper breaking.
Quick-release spring bar
I opted for the quick-release spring bar over the standard due to the ease of installation. I was surprised by how well built the quick-release bars are. The bars are thicker compared to the ones I have used before from other brands. I have always been sceptical about using aftermarket quick-release spring bars long term as I don’t believe in their quality. However, Artem changed that view.I also noticed how clean the opening is for easier access to the pull knob. Some of the ones I have used before have tiny spaces that I can’t even grab nor pull the knob. You won’t have any of these problems with Artem. These characteristics are perfect examples of attention to detail that Artem put into their straps.
Customers will also appreciate that there’s no chance that the bars will go through the lug holes due to the bar’s extra thickness.
Artem uses a custom-designed tang buckle for its straps. The build quality is second to none, and there’s a lot of thought that went even in just finishing the buckle. From the way the edges curve to the combined brushed and polished buckle, there’s a lot to appreciate.
I left some feedback to Artem on how the buckle contours and Artem is more than happy to hear them. There’s just a gap that I prefer to be lessened just a bit more. Having spoiled by Vacheron Constantin’s near-perfect buckle on their Traditionnelle and Historiques lineup, I pointed them in that direction for some food for thoughts for future iterations.
Final thoughts and recommendations
Do I recommend this strap? Highly. I have never seen a sailcloth strap that is well priced with this quality.
Who do I recommend this strap to? It’s easy to recommend this to anybody looking for a middle ground between a bracelet and a leather strap. You get the flexibility of a leather strap and the casualty of a bracelet. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a sailcloth strap, there’s no additional strap to consider than Artem.
You learn more and purchase the strap from the Artem website.