Turning vintage into Watch Straps

Ever since the introduction of Obbi Good Label's Military Watch Straps, we have gotten many good reviews from the public. I guess people love the idea of using vintage material, and turning them into something useful. 

This concept from Obbi Good Label came about when incidentally, one of the leather craftsman was jokingly trying on a vintage Army helmet that was on display in the shoppe. The olive green chin straps was hanging down both sides of his face, while the helmet was still on his head. We casually mentioned that this helmet (circa. 1970s) should have seen some actions previously, and so was the chin straps. Although looking old and battered, the aging look and the fade-away olive green cotton straps is still very strong. 

Well, we reckon that if the Army helmet is an important protective equipment for a soldier, the chin straps that is use to secure it onto our heads will have to be unbreakable to serve its purpose.

From that day onwards, we started searching for these old helmets in hope to retrieve the chin straps as the material for our new watch strap design.

Upon acquiring a good number of these old Army Helmets, we came to understand that these are from 1970s and 1990s. Because helmets issued during this period of time has got chin straps are made of heavy cotton. (Current new models are nylon strap)

First, we dismantle the chin straps from the old helmets, and then unstitch any threads from its original make. We also need to snip off unwanted frays that are coming out from the sides. 

After clearing up the straps, they are ready for transformation.

Apart from the cotton straps, the original hardwares, like the O-rings and Square Buckle, on the Army Helmet are used as in the improvising as well. We separate the parts and made them into 3 versions of watch straps.

TYPE 1 MIL STRAP (O-RING, VELCRO)

 

TYPE 2 MIL STRAP (BUCKLE)

TYPE 3 MIL STRAP (ZULU-STYLE AND HARDWARE)

 

The difficult part of the whole transformation is using what you have left with of the originals and mix them, twist them and interchange and un-twilling, to made it a watch strap. 

Original O-rings taken down from the helmets are re-inserted back into the watch strap for adjustable feature and we like the 'old-school' securing system by stitching on velcro on the TYPE 1 MIL Straps.

TYPE 2 MIL Straps comes with original metal square buckle, is plain and simple, with the buckle functions on adjusting and securing.

Our leathercrafting skills play an important part during the whole process. While we un-stitch the original arrangement of the chin straps, we have to stitch them back in the watch strap arrangement we needed. It is especially so when making the TYPE 3 MIL Straps where we choose to add Zulu-Style into these vintage straps, so as to bring out more aesthetics of the old military watches.

Due to the rare availability of the vintage helmets for us to get the material for the straps, we are often sold out. If you like vintage and want a piece to match with your favourite watch, please make your purchase early.

You can check on its availability on our website here, under 'OGL Leather Watch Strap' section, where you can also check our other leather watch straps as well.

All Obbi Good Label products are handmade in Singapore.

Videos below are taken during the one of the production of TYPE 3 Mil Straps, where we are sewing the add-on Olive leather onto the straps for adjustable holes.

Sewing add-on Olive Leather on the straps

Punching holes on the straps