This post was brought to you by Vario.
Vario is an online store selling watches and watch accessories based in Singapore. They offer watches, straps and accessories catering for watch enthusiast around the world.
I find Vario’s pricing to be fairly priced and on par with majority of strap sellers.
- Vintage Italian Leather Strap – USD$42
- Ballistic nylon crimson divider zulu with G-Shock NATO Adapter – USD$28
They also have a running promotion where the more straps you buy, the more discount you get.
The outer packaging is very simple. Straps are put into one Vario branded zip-locked bag.
Each strap is wrapped into normal plastic. Not the fanciest I’ve seen, but it does the job.
Vintage Italian Leather Strap
I thought I will be disappointed with the straps given the cost, but I was quite surprised how well made it is.
The strap is made from full grail and sourced from Italy’s Provincia di Vicenza. The strap is soft and supple out of the box so it’s ready to wear with no breaking in required. The edges are clean, painted and sanded evenly. A surprise at this price point.
The buckle is your normal buckle, but it’s Vario engraved. Nothing special.
To keep the cost down, these leather straps are machine stitched. Machine stitching is usually less durable than hand stitching. Once a stitch breaks, it doesn’t take long to pull the whole stitch out. To prevent it from happening, what I noticed is that there are liquid marks on the stitches which could be glue to prevent the thread from just cutting. It’s very hard to see unless you’re really looking on it.
The Italian straps all come with with a quick release spring bar. If you plan on using your own spring bars, It might require playing around with it a bit to slide the pin out.
I got no complaints about the strap in my time of wearing them. Some may find the leather underneath a bit rough if you wear it a bit loose. If you’re looking for a replacement for your everyday watch, this is a consideration. I find these to be better over the mass produced straps such as Hirsch at a similar price point. However, there are more serious competition above this price point.
Zulu with G-Shock NATO Adapter
The G-shock strap adapter is an innovative replacement for the OEM strap. However, depending on the model you have, it might not be an easy replacement. I was told that this is not friendly with 5600 or 5610 models, but it is still possible with just a bit more effort.
The adapter follows the same shape as ends the original strap. It feels well built and solid in construction. It has a more plastic texture to it than the OEM which contributes to the build.
One thing that most will notice is that the spring bar is thinner than the OEM ones. This is one of the factors that can make a difference in the ease of installing. For the models mentioned above, It’s best to use the thinner spring bars.
To install it, you can follow this procedure located at the end of the article. There could be other ways, but this is how I got it to fit.
The Zulu strap is just your standard ballistic nylon. It’s not a smooth weave so expect the strap to have a rougher texture. The buckles are bit heavy and thick so it adds a bit of bulk. This is typical of Zulu straps. I got used to the weight eventually.
The buckle is also Vario engraved, but nothing special.
You can always swap out the Zulu strap. I tried a normal NATO as well, but if you’re wrist is small and would normally use the last hole of a NATO strap, this would be very loose on your wrist. A single pass would be preferred as it’s shorter (mileage will vary).
One thing I noticed after wearing it is that you can feel the rough texture of the strap depending how you wear the strap. I tend to wear mine a bit loose and the rougher texture would definitely noticeable when it slides up or down. This is more evident if you’re used to wearing seatbelt weave NATOs.
The product pricing reflects the product you get. I would rate the Italian leather strap as a 9/10. It’s well made and for the price and you get what you paid for even with the imperfections. The Zulu with a G-shock adapter would get a lower ranking for me due to the installation and the strap. I would still rank it a bit higher due to the pricing with a score of 7.5/10.
Instructions for the G-Shock Adapter
- Install one end of the bar in a hole.
- Fit / slide the whole adapter in. Only a tiny bit of other spring bar end should stick out.
- Push it with the supplied spring bar tool. Now at this point, the spring bar should be diagonal.
- Insert the spring bar tool hook side on the side of the spring bar with the smallest space.
- Rotate the tool. What this does is push the spring bar towards the hole.