The day I decided to buy a new AppleWatch strap - あるひアップルウオッチの新しいバンド買いたかったそれで。。。

Yes, I’m from the (happy? yeah,happy) few that bought an Apple Watch when it was released in April 2015. To tell the truth, I was super excited at the beginning and after some weeks, the queen of smart objects turned out to become… a watch, let say a watch++. No regret, no infinite joy at the end of the day it made me happy to have it, as much as any watch holder could be. But anyway, it’s not the point today.


The wrist got dirty - バンドは汚くなった

You might want to say: what on Earth this dude would like to add to the countless amount of article written about “The Watch”. Well, I would like to tell you a tragic story. Yes. It’s the story of a man who woke every day happy to grab his 2.0 Watch from its charger and to wear it with proud and humility. One day, how surprised was he to see that the white plastic strap of his precious got dirty… Fortunately, Apple does things well, a bit of water, a sponge and bam! the strap got back its majesty.
Nevertheless, as Daryl might say in Walking Dead (loving it) “No plastic ain’t immortal”, little by little the morning dirtiness began to stick to the strap. The man was desperate, what to do? what to think?


Go to Apple? - アップルストアに行く?

Yes, but not. The man was poor, or at least a bit stingy.


“I will do my own strap!” he said - 自分のバンドやろうよ!

Okay, the man is me, let’s stop the “he”. I first had the idea of buying some Apple Watch strap adapters and link them to normal watch straps.

I had a quick check on Amazon and the thing is that you can easily find some for a quite small fee: around 1200¥ or 12$. It was also possible to get a strap+adapter set from one of the many companies already selling it. Nevertheless, I wanted something more customized.

You can see here the one I bought. Just pay attention to take the right adapter size (38mm or 42mm depending on your watch).




And the Strap?

I searched for a while my dream Apple Watch strap. I found some interesting websites but nothing that suited me. One day an old friend told me “Don’t buy it, do it, or don’t it, there is no try”.

Tokyo’s leather kingdom - 東京の皮ドリームランド

In Tokyo, the leather place is Asakusa Bashi (浅草橋) from the station (浅草橋駅). From the station go along these railways arcades that make the charm of the areas near Akihabara or Ueno, one turn right and you’re there.


Don’t remember which place I went to but any in this area might be okay

In the 1F of the leather shop, you will find all the leather types you could ever dream about (if you ever did). All the colors, the strength, the touches. Personally, I went alone and I was lost. Fortunately, every single person in the shop is a leather freaky passionate: just ask and someone will help you just like Shimizu-san that helped me from the very beginning to the end!


Shimizu-san’s saying is: “魚心あれば水心” it means “if the fish is nice toward the water, the water will be kind to the fish too”. Yeah, we’re in Japan.

The 2F of the shop is filled with all the items you will need for the craft. The shop tenant, or your Shimizu-san, will lead you to the items you need even if you don’t know you need it! Just tell what you want to do.


So summary for the shop step:

① Meet your Shimizu-san
② Choose your leather: your totally free, don’t forget to take your watch adapter with you for the leather width. For the length I took 30cm. It costed me 250¥ (2.5$)
③ Got to the 2F and ask the tenant to give you the necessary tools (around 2000¥ (20$)



Here are the leather and tools I bought:

  • 4 bands of leather: 1 large, 1 thin (thinned by the leather maker) x2 because I was afraid of doing a mistake
  • 1 string and some needles: I bought a greasy one, it is easier to handle but the grease can darken when you stitch
  • glue: to stick the leather bands
  • a thonging chisel: the stuff that seems like a rake and that is used to create stitching holes, take it with 4 tips a least in order to make regular holes
  • a hole punch: it seems like a small whistle, to create the big holes for the strap lock
  • the lock of the strap: take what you want
  • your adapters
  • a cutter and a plate to cut (don’t cut your table like me…)


  • 【2枚皮のバンド】ーつは分厚いもう一つ細い
  • 【糸と針】油っこい糸を買いました。普通より使いやすいだけどスティッチすると黒くなる可能性があります。
  • 【糊】皮を貼るように
  • 皮スティッチ鏨】熊手みたいです。スティッチの穴を作るような道具です。まっすぐ穴を作るように4本熊手の方がいいです。
  • a hole punch: it seems like a small whistle, to create the big holes for the strap lock
  • the lock of the strap: take what you want
  • your adapters
  • a cutter and a plate to cut (don’t cut your table like me…)

Back home, let’s craft

First of all I checked some tutorials on internet. A lot of them were using a lot of tools and doing quite complicated moves for a beginner. I found one nice tutorial for beginners. It doesn’t give you all the clues and let you do your own way.

Step 1: stick the two leather bands

Nothing complicated in this step. Nevertheless, three points. The thin band is the one that will touch your skin. Use a bottle of wine to give the wrist shape to your bands when you stick them, if not, the strap will crinkle.

Finally, cut just one edge of the band as seen in the picture above and cut the band in to parts (the watch will be between them).

One more detail, as you can see above the leather double band can be too thick for the adapters. you can shorten the thin band and just keep the thick one in these edges.

Step2: the lock

It’s kind of complicated but you will have to define where to put the lock . Help yourself with the holes of your AppleWatch original strap or with another watch strap (even better).

Then, the idea will be to create the hole for the spike of the lock. The hole will have to be long because it will bend around the lock.

Use the hole punch for the top and bottom of the hole and finish with the cutter.

You will get something like this above. See how it bends around the lock and let the spike out?

Step3: The Stitching

First of all, this part is loooooooong and boring. Watch a good movie or any good TV show, it will take a certain time. You will create the holes all around the strap using the chisel. Be careful and think about the edges you will stitch around the strap adapters and the lock.

You will end up with something like this:

Now that you finished this boring a quite physical task, let’s go to the even more boring but easier stitching part. You know how to fix a hole in your pants? Then, you know how to stitch a watch strap. If you don’t, here is a useful tutorial to stitch your pants. The only special thing is that we will go through the holes ring path two times with the string in order to have string at each side of the strap between each hole. Almost forgot: you will have to do the job with one unique string for each strap part, begin with a long string (I took something like 70cm!).

You can see the strap stitched 1 time in the picture above, some part between holes are not filled with string yet. By the way, don’t forget to stitch the edges together around adapters and lock.

After the second stitching round, every space between holes is filled with string. I cut a bit the edges, it might be better to do it prior to the stitching.

Step4: The lock opposite holes some other final details

To finish the strap, I dug the lock opposite holes as you can see on the top right of the picture below. I personally did 2 holes (because I fucked up the first one…). If your the only one to use the watch, well I am not sure it is necessary to put more.

I also added a band as seen above. The stitching was a bit painful, I decided to do it just like shoe laces, I went through every hole with the needle and let the string quite loose, then I tightened it little by little.

Some time later, I finished the job by polishing the edges of the strap with a kind of glue (below). It quite important since the cut leather tends to crumble. It strengthen the whole strap.

My Watch

Finally, I got it, my own watch. It was kind of tough but I finished it in one evening and I definitely advise you to try the same. Don’t hesitate to send my pictures of your craft. I will do another try soon with the experience I got that time. The new design is still top-secret, the only thing I can tell is that it will be great and classy. Stay tuned!

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