Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design

When I received an e-mail from David Lane - asking if I wanted to take pictures and review a few straps of his - the first thing I did was checking out his website. To be honest, I had never heard about David Lane Design before. And I do check out the accessories corner on regularly. Let me tell you, visiting the website was a very pleasant surprise. Especially the page with "Military leather watch straps".

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap
Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design (Rochester NY)

There are many great looking straps made from vintage military leather on that page, but there was a Yugoslavian ammo strap that immediately caught my eye. The leather looked perfectly distressed and stained. A great match for a Fiddy. And so I replied David that I would love to take a few photos of his straps, but if he could please include that Yugoslavian ammo strap in his package. I wanted to see if it was as nice in person as it looked in the photo. David has a photography background and he certainly has some excellent photos on his website, but when I received the strap in the mail I was stunned by how amazing it actually is in person.

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap on Panerai PAM127
Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap
Click the photos for a larger version

The texture of this strap is just fantastic and you can even smell the gun powder just a little bit. Seriously, you can. All of David's ammo straps are truly one of a kind because he uses real vintage military leather. Such leather is generally richly stained and distressed. That makes the straps unique and in many cases impossible to duplicate. That is of course not unique to David's ammo straps as there are quite a few strap makers that use vintage leathers. But not all types of vintage ammo leathers are equally nice. And not all ammo straps are built as well as this one. In my experience the Swiss ammo leather is a bit too stiff. The French and Swedish ammo leathers generally seem to be the softest and most comfortable to wear. But the downside of the softer leathers seems to be that the leather will stretch after some wear. That may cause you to end up with a strap that is too loose after a while, although it fitted just fine at first. You can always punch an extra hole of course - but no one I know wants to have to punch a hole between two existing holes. That just ruins the strap. I don't think I've ever seen a strap made from this type of Yugoslavian ammunition pouch leather before, but in terms of suppleness the leather appears to be somewhere in the middle between French and Swiss ammo - which is just perfect.

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap on Panerai PAM127
The vintage leather is beautifully distressed and stained which makes it a unique strap

David (Rochester NY) tells me that he specializes in custom watch straps. All of his straps are completely hand made and many of his straps are truly one of a kind. The stitching is a waxed nylon thread from a manufacturer in New Jersey. Each hole for the stitching is hand punched with a diamond awl (the shape) which results in an even overlap from one stitch to the next. David uses no machines whatsoever for this process, just two needles and one piece of thread.

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap
The top part of the leather is folded inside the bottom part

The Yugoslavian ammo strap (as are his other ammo straps) is assembled from two different leathers, vintage military leather for the top half and a vegetable tanned leather for the inside half. The inside leather is soft and free of dyes and solvents that might cause the skin to irritate. The top half of the leather doesn't touch the skin anywhere because the top leather loops around the lugs and beneath the bottom side (see above photo). This also makes the strap parts that are closest to the lugs stiffer than the rest of the strap. It fits perfectly on the wrist that way.

GPF-Mod Dep buckle by David Lane Design
GPF-Mod Dep buckle

The buckles that David uses come from a manufacturer in New York and are sewn into the strap by hand. The buckles can be hand finished upon request and there are currently three standard buckle designs that David has created himself. This particular strap came with a sewn-in buckle with GPF-Mod Dep engraved on the inside.

GPF-Mod Dep buckle by David Lane Design
GPF-Mod Dep buckle

Because it is a straight buckle, you can still see the engraving when you wear the watch. I love that. Each strap is shipped in a custom mahogany box which is also a very nice touch. I'm very happy that David contacted me, this might easily be a new favorite combo for my Fiddy. The specs of this strap are 90/160/26mm. It has a nice "tail" that is just perfect for my wrist.

Panerai PAM127 aka Fiddy
A perfect combo for a PAM127

David's website is You can also find David on Facebook. I'll be reviewing another strap from David soon.

There are more photos of this strap and combo on

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not use without permission

Related posts

An overview of entries about straps
Brushed bridle strap by David Lane Design
Lau & Van Leijden Sienna strap
Swedish "Gustav" ammo strap by Kevin Rogers
Six different straps for a PAM127 / Fiddy
Simona di Stefano vintage green crocodile strap

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