A watch strap is an easy thing to take for granted, until it breaks on you. Only then do you realize that a well-made strap, while not as technically complex as the watch movement themselves, is a feat of manufacturing in its own right. There’s fitting, splitting, pressing, stitching—and that’s just a fraction of what it takes to ensure the pretty face of your watch remains fixed to your wrist. In total there are more than 30 procedures required to make a watch strap.
It’s a craft, and it’s clear that if you can master a watch strap, you can probably make any number of other leather products, too. At least that’s the bet Shinola is making with its newly-opened leather factory. The watch brand recently opened a 12,000 square-foot factory dedicated to making leather watch straps. In a couple of months it will begin cranking out small leather goods like wallets, iPad covers and keychains, as well. This factory is the newest addition to the watchmaker’s 60,000 square-foot complex in Detroit, and it’s a testament to Shinola’s well-publicized conquest to revitalize craft in America and its homebase city.
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