47 Ronin Straps


I must admit that part of the reason I got into watches was for the straps. Really, there was a point where I figured with the right collection of straps, I could be perfectly happy with just three or four different watches. I know, I was adorably naive. That said, I still scour the Internet for cool straps to enhance my watch experience. The latest to cross my path is 47 Ronin, a boutique strap maker that specializes in Japanese fabrics. For this review, they gave me a lovely blue dragonfly and calf leather sample as well as a couple of origami frogs that my kids and cats both stole within minutes. 

47 Ronin strap

Tong Cheuk Fung, the artisan behind 47 Ronin, is a Singaporean businessman whose work frequently takes him to Japan.  In his travels, he collects fabric from kimonos, uniform buttons, and other uniquely Japanese materials. He most often incorporates them into leather sandwiches with windows cut away to reveal the patterned fabric within. Between the found object nature of the materials and Tong’s handcrafting, you can rest assured that your 47 Ronin strap will be like no other.

47 Ronin strap

My review strap is #077, 20mm wide and made from navy blue dragonfly print cloth and bronze calf leather with blue stitching. It measures a standard 125/75mm and 3mm thick. This was a completed piece that was already in stock, but 47 Ronin can make custom orders as well. A brushed stainless Pre-V style buckle and quick release springbars are standard. 

47 Ronin strap back

The “window” designs vary on these straps, some are portholes that just offer a glimpse and others, like the dragonfly, are long rectangles that showcase larger swatches of the material beneath. 

Aesthetically, 47 Ronin straps are casual pieces that occupy a peculiar space between the rustic quality of the hand-cut and stitched leather, and the more refined fabrics, which often feature bright colors and floral patterns. I find the juxtaposition extremely compelling, although it does make it interesting to find the right watch for it. Another challenge is the amount of material at the lugs. The strap is not thick, but it does have some extra leather in front of the spring bar hole. It will compress, but it rules out watches with a tight gap between the perches and the barrel. 

47 Ronin strap Rossling Automatic

By virtue of its origin and design, this strap is fairly crying out for a vintage Seiko or Citizen. Sadly, all of mine have 19mm lugs. Instead, I first put it on my very neutral white Rossling Automatic. This watch is my go-to strap model as it a fairly blank canvas blessed. The blue and white on both dial and strap were quite complementary and the strap’s handcrafted feel let this dress watch relax a bit. 

This pairing was nice enough, but I was not satisfied. There was clearly a better match in my drawer; perhaps a watch that possessed some of the same contradictions as the strap. A watch like the Zelos Mako Bronze.

47 Ronin strap Zelos Mako

Like 47 Ronin, Zelos is a Singaporean export. It is a fully equipped 500m diver in a now nicely patinated bronze case. Yet despite its seafaring swagger, its modest size (40mm), guilloche dial, and detailed markers give it a tidy, tailored look. It is prettier than the usual tool watch, yet not quite fancy enough to be labeled a dress diver. The Mako had exactly the right qualities to make it the perfect watch for the 47 Ronin dragonfly — and that swath of blue on the bezel didn’t hurt either. 

47 Ronin strap Zelos Mako

47 Ronin straps like this one start around $260 USD. Off the shelf pieces like this one ship right away and will typically arrive in about two weeks. Bespoke straps can take up to seven weeks. For production and delivery. This is more than a Bum like me would usually invest in a strap, but you will likely not see another one like it at your next watch gathering. They are truly one-of-a-kind. 

To browse the collection and order your own, check out 47ronin.co. ⬩



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