Throne Watches isn’t really a watch brand, nor are they specifically a strap brand. Rather, they are a brand that hand makes leather straps, and puts them on fun and inexpensive watches. Their straps, which they make themselves in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have a DIY quality that adds a surprising amount of character to the otherwise generic watches.
From Timex to HMT to Mickey Mouse watches with ticking hands, their collection is broad to say the least. Each watch is basically a found piece, which sort of describes their whole aesthetic, that is presented as a one-off or small series. They take the watch, determine what color leather and accent stitch would compliment it best, and then make a custom strap. Their site then updates a couple of times a week with their new creations, which seem to sell out rather fast.
The straps have a unique design to them that speaks to their handmade nature. All are made from Horween leather of varying styles, and are straight cut with out edge finishing. The leather is folded over in a very matter of fact way to create slots for spring bars, which is glued in place and tacked off with a signature “x” stitch. The rough edges, heavy stitching and coarsely cut tips create a strap that is altogether the opposite of the pristinely crafted straps we typically see. But in being so unrefined, they have a rugged quality that exudes personality.
I had the pleasure of visiting their studio in Williamsburg a few weeks ago, where I got to see how they do what they do. Their modest workspace consisted of everything they needed to get the job done, from large cutting mats to box cutters, to polish cloths, shipping boxes, etc. Around them was a smattering of posters, DVDs, and other trinkets that, like the watches themselves, speak to flea markets and an eclectic taste.
Clearly this is a big departure from the kinds of brands and watches we normally talk about on w&w, but I couldn’t help but find the idea of taking watches that are often passed over and forgotten about, dressing them up, and selling them as unique pieces to be sort of charming. Having spent some time wearing an HMT pilot fitted with a Throne strap, the appeal is clear. The strap is the focal point, and the watch accessorizes it, but together they make a subtle and stylish pair. Though unlikely to dissuade a watch-nerd from their normal wrist wear, I do think these make for an interesting purchase for average consumers, who are clearly their target market. That said, at $100 – $200, they cost much more than the watches they feature typically would, as the straps add most of the value.