Almost every Panerai enthusiast will have several straps from at least a few different third party strap makers. Some even have a strap collection of 50+ different straps. One of the most well known after market strap makers for Panerai watches must be Simona di Stefano from Florence, Italy. Being a Paneristi herself, Simona is in the business of after market straps for Panerai watches for several years already. If you're in the market for a crocodile strap, then Simona Straps is the way to go. She offers a huge selection of many different styles of straps, but in my opinion her crocodile straps are unrivaled. Generally speaking crocodile straps would "dress up" a watch, but what I like so much about Simona's croc straps is that Simona seems to have found an excellent balance between a "casual" and a "stylish" look. Panerai OEM crocodile straps are obviously high quality straps that are just perfectly made. But Simona's crocs add something different, unique and special.
Simona crocodile strap and strap pouch (click for large version)
The fact that a strap is "after market" doesn't necessarily mean that such a strap is cheap. But quality costs money and if you own a high end watch, you shouldn't have a problem spending a reasonable amount of money on a few qood quality straps. But if you do - you may expect good service, timely delivery and a quality package. Simona scores high on all counts. The straps are delivered in a nice branded pouch to store your strap when you're not wearing it.
Simona glossy finish crocodile strap
I have collected quite a few different after market straps over time - but I'm particularly a fan of crocodile straps - especially the ones that Simona sells. I like it that every strap is unique. The texture of the leather is never exactly the same and the pattern and scales are of course never the same either. The last one I bought is this vintage green croc strap for my Fiddy (PAM127). Its color seems to change with the light and I think it looks amazing on this watch. I'm always amazed by how a simple strap change can make your watch look so different.
Panerai 127 (Fiddy) with Simona vintage green crocodile strap
I ordered this particular strap with a sewn-in, bent and unfinished buckle. You can also order the straps without a buckle so that you can use the original one that came with your watch. Simona also offers knife edge buckles and you can get them with a polished or a PVD (black) finish too. I opted for the unfinished buckle because I think that looks best in combination with the brushed case of the PAM127.
Close up of the buckle
Below are two more photos to show this new combination. I took both photos with two off-camera SB900 strobes of which one was shot through a diffuser. The other strobe was bare to get enough light on the strap itself.
SB900 camera right, low and behind subject. 2nd strobe fired from above
SB900 low camera left, SB900 low camera right
Visit Simona's website www.simonastraps.com if you want to order a strap or you can contact Simona by e-mail: info @ simonastraps.com.
All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen