We watch nerds owe a debt if gratitude to Panerai. You see, fans of the brand are apparently crazy about straps, so much so that they have fueled a whole cottage industry of 24mm leather works. Daniel Luzak was one of those artisans. He founded DaLuca Straps in 2009 to supply the Paneristi, and has since branched out to include a wide range of straps in various sizes and styles as well as small leather goods. For this review, he supplied a strap from DaLuca's Vintage Collection.
The company offers straps made from new material but all of DaLuca's vintage line are made from reclaimed military leather do other DaLuca pieces have been made from various and sundry leather goods, each bearing their own unique wear marks, tool marks, and even the occasional embossed pattern or painted illustration. These vintage leather straps are one-of-a-kind creations, brimming with charm and christened with imaginative names like "Maniard Magne," "A Game Odyssey," "Eye of Aztlan," and "Raug." Clearly, someone is having fun with this.
The Guberon has a French surname because it is made from French ammunition pouch leather that is over 40 years old. It is 24mm wide and 120/72mm long with a sewn-in, Pre-V style, polished and signed buckle. The strap is fitted with tubes and at 2.3mm thick, it is surprisingly slim.
The leather is a warm honey color with a slight sheen and a marvelous patina of dents, marks, and bumps. The tabs are skived and glued flat. Raw cut sides and an unlined back reveal that it is indeed a solid slab of leather without filler. Slight imperfections in stitching show its hand construction but there is nothing sloppy about it.
The long end is punched high enough for a proper fit on my skinny 6.5" wrist with one adjustment hole to spare. It is quite pliable, as one would imagine leather might be after a four-decade break-in period. (I, on the other hand, have grown increasingly stiff and creaky in that same period.) I would fully expect the Guberon to soak up another lifetime of wear and come out the other end grinning.
DaLuca straps are not cheap, and the Guberon is no exception. It sells for $215, which is significantly more than the watch I put it on, but quality craftsmanship does not always come cheap. Shop around and you will find several straps priced just over $100 as well as rubber dive straps and leather, nylon, and Perlon pass throughs selling for significantly less.
Head over to DaLucaStraps.com and see for yourself. If you go before midnight tonight (December 2, 2016) be sure to use code lotsofgifts for 15% off your order. Who knows? You might find a piece that has been waiting 40 years to find you. ◆