I thought it would be good to start off some watch strap reviews since I own a multitude of them and straps play an important aesthetic and can even make a bad looking watch look good. Having small wrists like myself, I’m really happy when I find a watch strap company that caters for this demographic and Jack Foster is one of them.
Having researched a bit about them, it seems that Matt Crowder is the founder of Jack Foster and he personally learnt the art from his great uncle Jack Foster who had a small leather business. Matt later took over and founded the company Jack Foster using his great uncle’s name. I contacted them and Matt responded personally to my customised request and I ordered two straps. One was the 20mm Chocolate Cavalier Horween Chromexcel leather strap and the other a 20mm black Essex leather strap. I gave the black Essex leather to someone and we will be reviewing the Horween Chromexcel one.
Now there’s many different types of leather and this particular one is the Horween Chromexcel. Chromexcel leather is a pull-up leather that takes 89 separate processes and 28 working days to perfect. It’s also only made by Horween Leather Co. in Chicago. There’s two different methods of tanning leather namely chrome tanning and vegetable tanning. Chromexcel apparently combines both processes to create something unique. Personally I feel the color looked a bit synthetic but looks highly durable to scuffs. Chromexcel is made from either cowhide or horse front hide and while not specified in the website, I believe this particular strap should be cowhide.
So for this particular one, I had requested the length to be 115/75mm with 7 holes that will fit my 6.1 inch wrist. Normally with customized request especially with leather straps, I don’t expect them to be exact to the specifications but having measured it, I’m pleased that it was very close if not exactly to what I requested. Even the curved end of the strap was cut out very symmetrically.
I have wanted a rugged brown strap and this color sort of matches what I wanted. The leather is soft and unpolished leaving it with a matte finish. The strap has dark brown color stitching which can be customized to a variety of colors to your liking. The back and side of the strap is raw to add to the ruggedness look. There’s also a few choices for the buckle where you can have steel brushed, polished, black and even gold. For this one, I got the brushed steel and in my opinion that would’ve suited this particular strap better. Also one thing to note that for most of the Chromexcel strap range it does not taper. So it starts with 20mm and ends at 20mm at the buckle.
One little gripe I have is that the floating keeper of the strap was made rather loose and the strap was constantly sliding out and I kept needing to put it back. Other than that, I’m pretty pleased with the strap. For this particular color and style, I think it’s more suited for sportier or rugged pieces and doesn’t seem to pair well with dressier watches. Below I’ve shown it being paired with a black Casio Lineage. I highly recommend the company if you’re looking to try out affordable American made leather straps. They do have a large variety of other straps. At the time of writing, this particular strap does not seem to be in their store anymore but the Natural Chromexcel looks the closest. If you’re interested, go check out Jack Foster straps over here.
Keeper: 1 Floating, 1 Fixed
Buckle: Brushed metal
Length: 115/75mm without the buckle
Thickness: Approx. 2mm