Metta Leather Straps

Today, premier watch site HODINKEE announced their newest addition to their shop, the GJ Cleverley for HODINKEE Limited Edition Strap, available now for $495. For that price, you would expect they were crafted from unicorn hides, and you would not be far off. They are Russian reindeer hides that left St. Petersburg aboard the Metta Catharina in 1786 and ended up shipwrecked off the coast of England, buried in the mud of the sea bed for over 200 years. Once recovered, they were tanned in the traditional Russian way, creating a water resistant leather with a distinctive reddish brown color and cross hatch pattern. This rare leather is then hand crafted by GJ Cleverley & Co., the renowned London shoemaker whose clients have included dapper Englishmen from Sir Winston Churchill and Prince Charles, to Sir Elton John and Charlie Watts. Only 35 pieces will be made. 


GJ Cleverley for HODINKEE, photo via Hodinkee.com
GJ Cleverley for HODINKEE, photo via Hodinkee.com
You may wonder how this news fits The Time Bum's mission to explore the world of wristwatches on a budget. Well wonder no more. I would not be The Bum if I could not offer a less expensive option or two. If you desire a watch strap made of hides snatched from the depths of Davy Jones locker, but would like to spend a bit less, have a look at Aegir Watches. They had a very limited number of Metta leather straps made for one of their watches, but after a design change, they offered them for individual sale instead. They are 24/24mm and available for $224. 


Aegir Metta Strap, photo via Aegirinstruments.com
Aegir Metta Strap, photo via Aegirinstruments.com
Even though it is half the price of the GJ Cleverley, $224 is still a healthy bit of cash. There were but so many hides on the ship, and what is left is getting harder to find and more dangerous to recover. The Metta Caterina may have already given up he last of her cargo, so once the remaining hides are gone, there may never be another. Todd Caldwell of Aegir has confirmed that he has a few left in stock, but cannot get any more. Micah of Vintager once offered Metta leather straps, but he too has exhausted his supply. If you were fortunate enough to purchase one of these straps, consider it money well spent.

Toshi "Metta", photo via Toshi-straps.co.uk
Toshi "Metta", photo via Toshi-straps.co.uk
Finally, if you can't snag the last of the Metta straps, or if you just want the look of antique, undersea, pre-Bolshevik reindeer without the cost, check out Toshi Straps. They offer a quality watch strap made from modern leather with a color and pattern that emulates real Metta, for the Bum-friendly price of about $125.
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