If you wear your watch every day, the average life span for a leather watch strap is approximately 1 year. However, under poor conditions, a strap could last as little as 6 months. It is therefore important for you to take good care of your leather watch strap in order to prolong its life. A well-cared-for leather watch strap could last 18 months or more.
Conditions that will shorten the life of your leather strap are:
- Excessive moisture - Water, or even excessive sweating, will damage your leather strap, causing it to weaken, stain, and smell. It is best to keep leather straps away from moisture and to not wear them in areas such as the shower or swimming pool, or whilst exercising.
- Excessive heat - When leather is exposed to dry, arid conditions and direct sunlight it will lose its natural oils and dry out, which will lead to cracking. Therefore, you should keep your leather straps away from heat sources, such as radiators and fires, and minimise their exposure to direct sunlight.
- Air pollution - Polluted air, such as cigarette smoke or cooking fumes could cause your leather watch strap to discolour. The leather could also become impregnated with bad odours.
- Chemicals - Any chemical substance, whether it’s for industrial or domestic use, has the potential to damage your leather watch strap. It is therefore best to keep your strap away from such products. These might include cleaning materials, grooming products, and paints, among many others.
- Sharp and abrasive objects - Even the toughest leather can be marked or scratched by sharp and abrasive surfaces. Leather watch straps are generally made from softer, more comfortable material, and so are more vulnerable to this type of damage.
Bearing the above points in mind, here are some tips to help you care for your watch:
- Clean any dirt or grime from your leather strap using a dry microfibre cloth.
- If your leather strap becomes wet, carefully dab it dry with a cloth. Do not dry it out in the sun or using a heat source.
- A leather cleaner can be used sparingly to remove tough stains. This should be used approximately three to four times a year and in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use a leather conditioner to prevent your leather strap from drying out. Again, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.