Keepiece handmade leather watch straps – revisit / review

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I have been complentating whether to do this review as I had this strap for almost a year now. However, the amount of usage it got was less than a week’s worth that it might be worth revisiting why.

I thought that my options for a handmade leather straps are easy. Other than just standard measurements and stitching, it just needs to have a monogram of my surname. However, what I didn’t know back then that lug holes can vary in size for custom straps and depending who makes the strap, it can really be small.

I saw in my local facebook group that a group of enthusiasts is promoting a new venture.Originally based in Los Angeles, they recently opened another headquarters in Melbourne. This company is called Keepiece – handmade leather watch straps.

Keepiece Grand Seiko
The Keepiece strap is better than the OEM Grand Seiko strap, but why not use it more?

Pricing

I decided to purchase from them as they have a promo where if you buy two straps and get one free. Given the relatively weak AUD, I opted to try this one out compared to purchasing overseas. I ordered the following with a 105 / 70mm length, 20 x 16mm taper, varying colour stitching and semi-padded configuration.

  • Black and white python with black stitching – $250 AUD
  • Black ostrich semi matte with white stitching – $250 AUD
  • Bright blue lizard with white stitching – $250 AUD (Free)

Without discount, total cost is AUD$750 (US$530) for three straps and it’s a very expensive purchase. This is on par or more expensive than buying from other strap shops like Hodinkee or bespoke leather manufacture Camille Fournet. With the discount, it’s more reasonable, but still more expensive than small asian strap makers.

Sales / Customer Support

Jarrod was my first point of contact which was made via Facebook. Very responsive with the answers to my questions. Demi was the online support person who took my order and was very prompt with the responses as well. Orders were taken and processed quickly.

After that, it’s the waiting time, but it’s not actually that long. I got an email less than a month stating that my order is ready to be shipped. They used Couriers Please (Australian Courier) which isn’t too bad, but some would disagree depending on your location.

Packaging

The straps arrived in a normal mail parcel box. Inside, the straps are all individually packed into small plastics and like a small box meant to fit the strap. I do apologise if I can’t provide any pictures of the packaging as I seem to have lost the images. If do find it, I will update.

Straps

I think the best way to approach this review as to why I didn’t get to use them. There might be a few questions one might have in mind.

Q: Was the straps bad that I didn’t use them? The straps aren’t bad, but on the contrary actually quite decent. Straps were stiched alright with thick enough threads and edges were finely painted and glossy. However, the stitching is not consistent across the strap as there are cases where it skewed a bit. In addition, embossing of my initials are not centered. Given all these are purchased at the same time, attention to detail is just lacking.

The gray strap has an off centre embossing and skewed stitching.

There are also other issues that I encountered. The first issue that I will address are the lug holes. I’ve been an advocate of Omega spring bars since the beginning. A quick Google would show that there is a certain fondness for Omega / Swatch spring bars in watch forums as they are thick and tough that I decided to use it for most of my watches. I then decide to swap the flimsy spring bar that comes with it only to find out that it won’t fit.

Keepiece Lug Holes
Apologies for the blurry picture. It’s hard to take it.

The second issue is that they are still pretty long for 105 / 70mm. The picture below is comparing it with two different straps from two different manufacturers with the same provided measurement. As one can see, there’s a huge difference in the length. Both manufacturer got it correct and Keepiece didn’t. Do note that the ostrich strap costs only 1/2 of Keepiece. Either there was a miscommunication between the order and the strap makers or these are pre-cut already they just decided to use.

Keepiece Comparsion

Why didn’t I complain? That’s actually a very good question that I won’t answer in this time.

Q: Are they priced well for their quality? Price to quality ratio during the promotion is on par with most strap makers so I got no complaints about that. Price comes down to around AU$167 each and given that I got exotic leathers, it’s quite good value.

Q: Did they already break after a few uses? Definitely not. On one hand they’re quite durable as they’re quite thick by default. However, I did find that the edges close to the lugs gets scuffed easily. This is probably due to the excess skin from the leather that makes contact with your skin.

Keepiece Back Side

Now that I have accumulated spring bars in varying length and thickness, I should be able to use this more. Will this change my perception of this strap? Only time will tell.

Final verdict

Overall, Keepiece straps aren’t too shabby. You will have to watch out for promotions as the prices are very close to some very competent strap makers. For now, I will rank them as 6/10.

 

 

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