You are currently viewing How to Care for a Leather Watch Band

You probably just bought yourself a watch with a nice leather band. You’re now asking yourself a question we all had at one point; how do I keep it looking as good as it does now? If you love your watch as we do, you probably baby them in every way possible. To watch collectors, the band is as important as any part of the timepiece. This is why we will teach you how to keep it clean and neat all throughout its life.

Leather conditioner

What is it?

Leather conditioner is a common product that can be found in most department store, shoe store or online. It comes in different forms, such as wax, spray, gel, cream and many more applications.

Most of these conditioners can be used on any leather, so it is not worth it to buy a ‘’watch band conditioner’’, as it will be pricier for no reason.  These products can be used both on new watch straps to protect the leather from future harm, or to rejuvenate old leathers.

Why use it?

In the long term, leather tends to dry out and crack. You can probably notice this on the belt your dad has kept for the last 35 years. A good conditioner is important because it penetrates the leather’s pores to moisturize and promote flexibility.

This is particularly important for watch bands or belt, as they are constantly under tension, and undergo friction when removing and putting them on.  Additionally, a good conditioner will make your strap more resistant to water, increasing its longevity.

How to use it?

This really depends on which type of application you chose. A tip that applies to every product is to always start conservatively when spreading the conditioner. If you put too much, the leather might get darker, which will make a weird contrast with the rest of your band.

Most leather conditioner will require continual applications. Most products will last 6-12 months with some exceptions. We recommend treating your band at least every 6 months for the best results.

Our recommendations

#1 Leather Honey Conditioner

This is our favorite choice because it is a time-tested formula. This company has been selling leather conditioner since almost 50 years, with a great majority of their customers being satisfied. This product has an oily application, which is very easy to use. The manufacturer offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which means you can ask for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase.

 Leather Honey is a U.S based company, and we always encourage you to buy local. The makers of this product are really careful about what they put in it. This conditioner is non-toxic and can be considered an environmentally friendly choice. You can buy it here in various formats.

#2 Chemical Guys Cleaner and Conditioner kit

This one is a kit that includes both a conditioner, and a leather cleaner. It will be very useful for people with worn-out watch bands that needs a good refresh. The cleaner will help get out dirty stains and contaminants from the band.

The conditioner will bind with the fibers to protect against oil and grease. It is one of the most leather-friendly solution out there, so we recommend using this if you have a fragile leather. You can buy the 16fl oz kit here for 19.99$.

#3 TriNova Leather Conditioner and Restorer

The TriNova Conditioner is really cool because it is polyvalent and comes with an applicator. You won’t need an old rag to apply this product to your watch strap. Once again, it is a U.S manufactured product, non-toxic with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

We like this product for the nice shine and smell it gives to the leather. One downside is that the manufacturer recommends a monthly application, so you must be rigorous with it to have the expected results. You can buy an 8oz bottle here for 11.25$.

Preserving the strap when taking it off

Most people don’t think twice about removing their watch. They simply pull as hard as they can on the strap until the tongue is removed. This is really bad for your band, as it will bend the leather a lot, causing it to age prematurely. This guide will help you remove your watch while doing as less harm as possible to your leather.

Step 1: Remove the tail of the strap from the keepers

This is a very simple step, and one you are already used to doing. Simply remove the tail of the strap from the keepers. If both keepers are floating, we suggest pulling them all the way back to let the strap go by itself. If one of the keepers is sewn-in, then pull back the floating keeper, and gently pull on the strap to get it out. 

Step 2: Take the tail horizontally in your hand



This step is where most people go wrong and do the most harm to their straps. If you're like me, you usually just pull as hard as you can on the tail until the metal tongue gets released. (see 1st pic.) This obviously causes premature tear on your band, as you bend it a lot and rub it against the sharp buckle. What you need to do instead, is grasp the tail of the band horizontally, as seen in the second picture.

Step 3: Push the metal buckle with your thumb

Now, you simply need to push on the buckle with your thumb. This will give space for the tongue to move, without bending or causing friction to your leather band. 

Step 4: Lift the tail from the tongue using your index and thumb

You can now use your index to lift the tail, releasing the metal tongue. You can then used both your index and thumb to lift the tail, while you gently remove the tongue with your metal finger. Congratulations! You removed your watch doing as little damage as possible to your strap. This exact same technique can be done in reverse to put the watch back on. If this guide wasn't clear enough, we encourage you to watch the Youtube video below by TheStrapSmith. 

Thank you for reading, we invite you to leave a comment if something needs some clarification. Feel free to leave us some additional tips that we haven't covered so we can add them to the article.

Also, there might be a time where your leather strap can't be restored anymore. At this point, you should get a new strap. For instance, these Strapsco bands we reviewed recently might be the perfect fit for your watch!

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