Review of Hirsch ‘George’ brown leather and Hadley-Roma black Sharkskin Watch Straps

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Hirsch Model # 0925128010-2-22  (22mm standard/regular length)
Brand/Model:  Hirsch ‘George’
Country of Origin:  Austria
Material:  water-resistant brown leather with white contrast stitch, lined with black rubber caoutchouc, silver tone stainless steel buckle
Price:  MSRP $99.95 USD


Hadley-Roma Model # MS2016 BLK 20R (20mm standard/regular length)
Brand/Model:  Hadley-Roma Sharkskin
Country of Origin:  USA
Material:  water-resistant black sharkskin with matching black stitch, silver tone stainless steel buckle
Price:  MSRP $69.95 USD


Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
For this review, I am not reviewing a watch, but something that can truly improve the looks and/or wearability of a watch and that would be, a quality watch strap.  I was contacted recently by Total Watch Repair of Los Angeles and Encino, California to see if I would be interested in reviewing a couple of watch straps from the extensive selection they carry on-line.  Since I’m always up for a nice watch strap, I said ‘yes’ and the company duly complied.
Total Watch Repair is a full-service watch repair and accessory dealer, with a complete array of watch repair services, watch batteries, tools and a wide selection of watch straps from most of the major watch strap manufacturers, including some styles I have not seen elsewhere. 
In perusing their web site, I have found the watch strap descriptions they provide to be very complete and accurate, with a good amount of information about each strap they sell.  Their prices are also competitive; each strap I was sent for review retails on their site at $10 USD below the MSRP.
One other important aspect of Total Watch Repair’s web site is the ease of navigation within the site.  Some web sites that sell watch straps are very unwieldy in their search functions.  At Total Watch Repair, one can search for straps by strap brand, size, watch brand, style, material, length, etc.  It makes it easy and fun to look for a new strap. 
The company also shipped the straps to me promptly and well packaged, so if you’re looking for a great place to buy watch straps from, give Total Watch Repair a try, I think you will be pleased.  As a matter of course, I do not list outside links on my watch reviews blog, so a Google search is all that is needed to be directed to Total Watch Repair and their quality products and services.
The only thing I specified that I wanted in regards to the watch straps they sent me for review was that I preferred brown or black in 20mm or 22mm sizes.  I was excited to see what they would send me.  The two straps I received for review are extremely nice and I honestly couldn’t be more pleased.  I will review each strap separately below, starting with the Hirsch ‘George’.
For the purpose of this review, I have installed the Hirsch strap on my white-dialed Orient saturation diver, which perfectly complements the watch.  Some people don’t like leather straps on divers; I on the other hand, love leather straps on divers, so this was a great opportunity to put the Hirsch strap on a well-regarded dive watch for some glamour shots.
The Hirsch ‘George’ strap is a 22mm matte-finish dark brown calf leather with an alligator grain and white contrast stitching.   There are two keepers, one fixed and one floating.  The silver tone buckle is stainless steel and is signed with the Hirsch ‘H’.  The buckle also has a smooth point to it, which adds a bit of class.  The strap measures 22mm at the lug end and tapers to 20mm at the buckle.  The strap reviewed here is a standard/regular length, measuring just over 7-7/8” long.
The inside of the ‘George’ is black rubber and is sectioned or grooved into rectangular blocks, three across the width of the strap.  This makes the strap very flexible and comfortable and also helps hold the watch is place on the wrist. This design element also helps the strap breathe on the wrist, so a buildup or sweat or moisture is better controlled.  The strap itself is mildly padded, but with the addition of the rubber lining, the strap has a fair amount of thickness without being overly thick.
One note about the George, when I installed this strap on the Orient diver, I wanted to use the heavy duty spring bars that came with the watch from the manufacturer.  Due to the size of the spring bars and the rubber lining of the strap (which also includes the holes for the spring bars) it was very difficult to push the large spring bar through the hole in the strap.  Perhaps a bit of dish soap would have eased the job, but since it was too tight a fit for me, I relented and used standard spring bars, which worked fine.
The overall quality and workmanship on the Hirsch ‘George’ is exceptional, as it should be for a strap that retails for about $100 USD.  The ‘George’ is available in 18, 20 and 22mm sizes with either a silver or gold tone buckle.  I’ve always liked the Hirsch brand and the ‘George’ would make a worthwhile addition to a watch in any collection.
Pros:  great dark brown color, unique rubber lining makes the strap very flexible and comfortable, quality all the way through 
Cons: buckle looks a bit plasticky although it’s stainless steel, a bit pricey for some, hard to use heavy duty spring bars due to rubber lining
Verdict:  a superb quality watch strap that works well for divers, dressy watches and everything in-between, the Hirsch ‘George’ watch strap is a real looker and a fine addition to any timepiece


 
For the second strap in this two-barreled watch strap review, I installed the Hadley-Roma black sharkskin on my Tissot PRC200 automatic chronograph.  The grey dial on the Tissot plays off extremely well with the black color of the strap and the sharkskin graining adds a nice bit of interest to the overall presentation of the watch.
The Hadley-Roma strap is semi-gloss 20mm black genuine sharkskin with matching black stitching.  There are two keepers, one fixed and one floating.  The inside of the strap is lined with tan leather.  The buckle is a simple silvertone stainless steel style that is unsigned.
The Hadley-Roma measures 20mm at the lug end and tapers to 18mm at the buckle.  This strap is a standard/regular length, measuring in at 8” in overall length.
The upper half of the Hadley-Roma sharkskin is fairly heavily padded, with the lower half of the strap (where the holes are for the buckle pin) being largely unpadded.  The strap is fairly flexible overall, but it will take some breaking in to achieve the best fit.  Best to leave the strap buckled to the appropriate hole when not wearing it, so the strap can begin to take on its rounded shape.
The Hadley-Roma is handmade in the USA and one nice thing about black sharkskin is that the characteristic black flecks in the sharkskin blend into the overall black color of the strap.  This tends to highlight the graining of the sharkskin more, compared to other sharkskin straps I have owned that were not entirely black.
The overall quality of the Hadley-Roma strap is fine in all respects, and of course, since it’s sharkskin, the strap is water resistant and is also hypo-allergenic.
The Hadley-Roma black sharkskin is a stylish watch strap that would add a dash of daring to a dress watch or a subdued sinister look to a sport watch.  Whichever you prefer, you can’t go wrong with this competitively priced sharkskin strap.
Pros:  black genuine sharkskin looks great and wears well, good quality, competitive price
Cons: buckle is very plain, tan lining seems a bit thin, upper portion of strap is rather stiff when new
Verdict:  Hadley-Roma presents a stylish sharkskin watch strap in all black and the results speak for themselves.  This strap works great with a variety of watch styles while setting itself apart from the standard leather crowd.  Well done!


Thanks for reading this special dual watch strap review and enjoy the pics.
Excelsior!

-Marc

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