The HIRSCH Brand
As a brand, HIRSCH talks to me. They stand for world-class quality, workmanship, and an attitude to straps which far exceeds just a means of attaching a watch. Afterall, how do you maintain a thriving business for over 250 years without making a timeless, quality product? You don’t. And that’s why since 1765, HIRSCH have been creating straps of supreme quality.
I often feel products are made too frequently without a thought to the future. They never get to the stage of being well worn in and supple, with subtle imperfections from years of use – simply because they don’t last that long.
As far as I can see, even with the closest of inspection, this is not the case with HIRSCH straps. Every edge is cared for, every stitch in line, and it carries a level of perfection which is rarely seen in mass-produced artificial products. To see such a level of flawlessness in a product largely made by hand and with natural materials is – without hyperbole – quite exceptional.
The HIRSCH London Strap
If it’s not yet clear, I’m a fan of this strap. Let’s go into detail about why.
Its Louisiana Alligator Leather Construction
Louisiana Alligator skin, also known as American or Alligator mississippiensis, is one of the most precious leather varieties and has become a staple in the luxury watch industry. You will most likely know it from its characteristic rectangular scales, as are present on this HIRSCH London.
On the journey to create a watch strap, a vertical cut is taken of the skin, allowing for the rectangular scales to show elegantly at a near right angle along the length of the strap. This compares to a horizontal cut, which has more character, but can be seen as less elegant.
For the London strap, select pieces are taken of this vertical cut and dyed, then hand brushed to give it the classic silky shine Alligator leather is known for. The strap then comes together, using a process including hand-sewing some details and hand-lacquering the edges.
It might sound like a painstaking process already, but that’s just the highlight reel. And what comes out the other side shows every second spent. The hand-selected natural material shows the care put into it, and the level of craftsmanship just makes my job of finding flaws even harder.
Notably, this HIRSCH London strap has a unique lining leather – HIRSCH Silkglove. This is designed to be comfortable and kind to your wrist, whilst being durable and protecting the outer Alligator leather from your sweat. So far, it seems to be performing its job as per the description.
The buckle is a fairly standard arrangement, with HIRSCH’s “H” logo embossed. There are two options here – silver or gold. I got gold because I’m a sucker for the bling, but silver would’ve matched the Omega Seamaster much better. For the concerned, this is plated stainless steel, rather than anything more exclusive.
Wearing The HIRSCH London
As soon as you pick up the Alligator strap, it becomes clear that it’s a step – or several – above a standard leather or artificial strap. Straight out of the box and before even attaching it to a watch, the London is already surprisingly supple and forgiving, perhaps due to the mobile and dynamic nature of an Alligator.
This level of comfort and flexibility is only enhanced as a watch it attached and the strap is worn more and more, only getting better with age.
A common complaint of mine is that straps can sometimes feel a bit square. That’s when they don’t actually conform to your wrist, but instead maintain a rigid square/rectangular structure around it – and is the main reason I usually prefer a metal bracelet.
But someone pass the paints & colour me a strap convert. The London caters to your wrist, not the other way around, and feels comfortable even when worn a notch loose in the warm summer weather. The weight difference takes some getting used to, but can help make heavier watches a little more forgiving.
When a lot of people talk about watches, they are really talking of the watch and strap. It’s a package deal, like a painting and its frame, or a car and its wheels. That said, it isn’t always obvious just how much of a difference a new strap can make to the entire feel and character of your watch.
For my Seamaster, the black Louisiana Alligator strap brings out its bezel like its OEM metal bracelet could only dream of doing. It adds a much more luxurious, mysterious, and dressy dimension at a fraction of the price of getting a new watch to achieve the same. A new strap could easily be the most meaningful upgrade anyone can make to their watch.
Wrap Up: Yay Or Nay?
The HIRSCH London definitely gets a yay. Whilst pricy at £175, there is no doubt about it being worth it. Through longevity and potentially saving you from buying another watch, I’d consider it perfectly possible that it’ll pay for itself over time (or at least that’s how you can justify it to your wallet).
It seems more likely that HIRSCH expect you to buy another strap because you are impressed with the first, not because it has failed and you need a replacement.