Maintaining your Leather Watch Strap

We love a leather watch strap here at TWG Watches. Nothing looks quite as classy or feels quite as good. That said, maintaining your leather strap requires a little bit of care and attention in order to keep it in top condition.

I’m sure most of us have been guilty of not bothering at some point, telling ourselves that it’s probably got another couple of years left in it even as it falls to bits but if you truly want your leather watch strap to last read on for some tips on how to maintain and care for your leather, keeping it looking better for longer.

Patek Philippe Calatrava with Leather Strap


Moisture is the enemy of leather

Moisture can wear out a leather watch strap pretty quickly if regularly exposed, even so-called water resistant straps will wear out quicker if submerged in water often.

It is a good idea, therefore, to take your watch off if going for a bath, shower or a swim, particularly if swimming in the sea as the salt water tends to corrode leather faster.

Naturally it pays to keep your leather watch strap out of the sauna or steam room as well. Not only does the moisture wear out the strap, leather has a tendency to absorb some of the nastier odours such as sweat, which leads us to…


Regular cleaning

A leather watch strap, more than most other leather items, is in constant close contact with your body. This inevitably means that it absorbs perspiration from your skin which can leave it with an unpleasant odour after a while. The leather also picks up the dust, dirt and stains that come your way during the hectic business of day to day life meaning that every once in a while it pays to give your watch strap a clean. Ideally this should be done no less than 4 times a year.

As mentioned immersing leather in water for any length of time is generally a bad idea so the best method of cleaning is to dab a small amount of leather cleaner on a sponge or cloth and gently wipe it down.

Alternatively you can use a dab of moisturising hand soap instead of leather cleaner if none is available, again gently wiping down the strap followed by going over it with a damp cloth. The watch should be left to air dry thoroughly before wearing it on your wrist.


Treat it gently

Leather is tough but prone to wear and damage if not treated carefully so before you go yanking the strap as tight as it will go and wearing your watch out to a mountain climbing expedition consider the right way to treat your leather.

Tugging your watch strap against the metal buckle and strapping it on tightly will wear it out quickly. When putting on your watch try and slide the strap through the buckle by grabbing it by both sides and pushing it rather than pulling it.

Regularly wearing the strap too tight also creates points of stress which will quickly begin to show so you should wear your watch as loose as is comfortable.

Lastly consider the situation you’re going to be wearing it. Leather can be damaged more easily by scratches and tears than other types of watch band. The leather strap is probably most appropriate for wearing to a formal occasion or to a subdued evening dinner, less so for an adventure holiday or performing DIY around the house.

Signalman DLC GMT PR with Shark Skin Leather Strap

Take it off every now and then

While it can be tempting to leave your stylish leather strap watch on to admire whenever you have a spare moment if you’re honest with yourself you probably don’t quite have to wear it 24 hours a day.

To preserve your leather it’s best to take it off when you’re going to sleep to give it a chance to breathe.

It’s also a good idea to remove it if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in a dry climate as this can result in the leather becoming cracked and rigid. If you have to wear a leather strap in a dry climate on a regular basis it can be beneficial to apply a small amount of conditioner to the watch strap though some conditioners can discolour the leather so always make sure to test a new conditioner on a less noticeable part of your watch strap.

If you would like any more advice on caring for your leather watch strap, would like a new strap for your watch, or would like a bespoke leather strap made for you contact TWG Watches on 0333 939 0020, email us at or fill out our servicing form to request a strap replacement.