If there’s one name that appears in almost every Facebook group around the world when it comes to straps, it’s definitely Vietnam Handcrafted Leather or Hoang Dat’s straps. You will see him posting a lot of strap pictures as he’s a very active in social media. Send him a message and he will reply as long as he’s awake.
Hoang’s pricing are readily available in his website: https://hdstraps.com/. I decided to try on leathers I don’t have yet and ordered the following leathers.
- No pearl stingray
After checking his prices and comparing it against the competition, it’s hard to beat Hoang’s pricing and service. Straps can mainly be done in 1-2 weeks and depending on your shipping option and location, it can arrive in less than three.
International purchase will incur shipping at $5 (Asia) and $10 (others). Shipping times is around 2-4 weeks as well depending on your location. There is also a free buckle option or you can choose from more design options at an additional charge.
My package arrived in a very small paper box which is not a surprise. I’ve only seen a handful of watch maker who actually spends time outside of plastic and paper packaging. Inside the box are the straps just put inside a plastic. Nothing spectacular with the packaging, but that’s not the important aspect here.
In all my strap collecting thus far, this must be the bang for the buck. Top and constant stitching, a very high quality, fast speed and service. Everything you can ask for and what you want, Hoang can do it. Engraving / embossing can be added in the strap at no extra cost so you get that extra personalisation on top.
I provided all my requirements to Hoang prior to paying like the stitching colour, measurements and requirements. One of the requirements I have is to make sure that the lug hole is thick enough to fit 1.8mm spring bars. If you’ve been following my previous strap purchases, this is because I’ve been using Omega springs bars as much as I can. Lately however I find that if there’s no real choice, I use a made in Switzerland spring bars that I purchase from Ofrei. Prior to the job being started, Hoang re-verified some of the it to be sure as well. Last minute changes are not possible, but I had to make one a day or two after which Hoang also got to do so that’s a plus!
The snake is a 17mm lug width that I wanted to fit with a bronze bezel / blue dial Oris pointer date. Since the watch is small, I opted for a flat profile look with no padding and a same colour stitching. This strap did not disappoint.
The lug holes are indeed bigger to accommodate the extra thick spring bar so there might be a hump on that part for the flat profile design. However, the lug hole is just almost exactly correct that it might be too tight for the spring bar to fit in depending on the leather’s stretch.
The edges are properly painted, sanded quite evenly and comparable with the more expensive ones. The stitching is very consistent and well stitched from my inspection. The only concern I have is I am not sure how he embossed my name. Most strap makers would either laser etch or leather punch them ,but these seems to be neither so legibility long term will be interesting to find out.
The stingray is an 18mm lug width to fit my Habring. Like the snake, the strap did not disappoint. I opted for a clean look, with padding and no exposed stitching. This is often used for lighter watches as there can be a weak point in the lack of stitching. I don’t see any signs of stitching that could be covered by the stingray skin that can be hidden so it’s definitely glued strongly. To strengthen the strap, corner stitchings are done just below the lug holes and also below the buckle.
One thing I am new to was the material used on the base / inside for the stingray. It looks like leather, but it feels rubbery. Most of the time, some sort of off-leather or filler is sandwiched between to strengthen the strap and provide robustness. In effect, the area touching your skin will be a different material or it will be the filler leather itself. This is more evident for thinner exotic leathers as well, however I am unsure what material is this.
Both straps show similarities in terms of quality and consistency as well in other aspects. Holes are punched fairly straight and embossing almost perfectly centered. Actual lug measurements are as accurate as you can be for a handmade product. I am very happy with this purchase.
The verdict on this one is very easy. I would highly recommend him to anybody looking for a highly customisable strap with a very fast turnaround. I would rank him 10/10.
Word of caution : if you follow him on facebook, prepare to buy some more in the future as he always posts a lot of straps and you’ll get to see interesting combinations everytime.