1. Selection of alligator watch strap material
The most basic material for an alligator watch strap is alligator skin, which plays a critical role in the style and quality of the watch strap.
In the nowadays market, below are some common alligator skin material:
Porosus, Alligator, Crocodylus niloticus, Crocodylus Siamese, Caiman.
There is no skin better than alligator skin for watch strap production. Nearly all the high-end watch brands choose alligator skin as watch strap material. Compared with porous skin, alligator skin can show natural grains on smaller size watch straps; compared with Crocodylus niloticus skin, alligator does not have obtrusive spiracles; compared with Crocodylus Siamese and caiman, alligator skin has more compact patterns and is softer.
For watch strap making, besides the selection of alligator skin material, the selection of alligator skin class is also important. Some people asked why the alligator watch strap is more expensive than a leather watch strap. Frankly speaking, it’s because “alligator eats meat while cow eats grass".
As a fierce predator, alligator always fights with other animals which leave scars on skin easily. So the products made by these skins may not beautiful. Therefore, alligator skin is divided into different classes based on its degree of finish and complete, etc.
2. Design and pattern of alligator watch strap
The size of the watch strap differs from the watch brands, styles, and sizes. We need to make detailed designs on the computer and make patterns before actual production.
3. The Cutting process of alligator watch strap
The cutting process is very important though this process is always be ignored.
As alligator grows naturally, all the skin patterns are natural and unique. There will never be exact same alligator skin patterns. If you find someone, that's because you buy artificial alligator skin.
To achieve the optimal visual effect on the two parts of one watch strap, great watch strap manufactures must compare the patterns before cutting and try best to avoid the scars left by alligator's growth. Sometimes one watch strap needs several pieces of alligator skin to cohere the matched patterns.
And this is the reason why a great alligator watch strap is expensive. The cutting process wastes a lot of material and has low utilization of skins. Those skins with big scars, messy patterns, and holes are all thrown away.
4. Back leather and inlay of alligator watch strap
Alligator skin is on the front side of the watch strap, which is the first layer. And the backside of the watch strap is called the back layer. There are two common back layers, leather, and waterproof leather. Leather can absorb swear while waterproof leather can not. They both have advantages and disadvantages. Leather will stink after absorbing the sweat from the wrist, but it’s more comfortable for a long time wearing. Waterproof leather can not absorb sweat in a short time, while the surface coating may be corroded by sweat and not comfortable for wearing.
New watch straps are always hard because the inlay fiber inside is still flat. The inlay will bend according to the wearer's wrist after a long time of wearing, to fit the wrist and become more comfortable. It is the same as "new shoes are always rubbing".
Besides the filled inlay material, a great alligator watch strap must have against breakage design.
As the fiber forms of alligator skins are not the same, there are few fibers between scale junctions, which will break in certain situations. At the same time, the connecting parts of the clasp and header are pulled back and forth over and over again, which will cause breakage. Therefore, great alligator watch straps will affix strong fiber imported from German to the strap inside. This fiber only has 0.15mm depth while it can resist strong horizontal and vertical pulls. The fiber ensures the beauty of the strap, also protects the strap from breaking, reducing the risk of the watch dropping down.
5. Gluing, heating, and shaping processes of alligator watch strap
After the first layer, back layer, inlay material, and strong fiber are prepared, we glue them together. In order to shape a plump and steric appearance, some watch straps need to put into a corresponding specialized mold, which is made of stainless steel and brass and has thermal conductivity.
The watch strap and the mold will be put on a constant heating metal plate for a while, thus the glue will permeate into the fiber layer and shape the strap.
6. Stitching process of alligator watch strap
Good quality watch strap needs to be stitched to improve its firmness and beauty.
7. Edge paint smearing process of alligator watch strap
Although the skin is cut by tools, rough edges are inevitable. Therefore in order to keep clean and improve the waterproof quality, the cutting edge of the watch strap needs to be coated.
Normally edge paint is used. This kind of grease will gradually coagulate into a flexible solid at room temperature, to protect the watch strap.
After smearing the edge paint, let it air-dry, and then polish it elaborately to make the edge paint surface smooth and bright. At least 3 times edge paint smearing and polishing processes are needed to achieve the optimal effect.
8. Punching and assembling process of alligator watch strap
Most alligator watch straps need a punching process to assemble and fix the clasp. Although this process seems easy, most people can not do it well as the punch position are always slanting. This is because they did not use matched tools. If punch the 7 holes separately, of course, it's easy to be slanting. If use specialized tools to fix the strap, you can punch the 7 holes together at one time.
Furthermore, punching at the clasp tongue also has specialized mold. Different width watch straps have different design molds.