The first watch I purchased myself was in college – a Timex Easy Reader. A simple white watch face that shows the date and also the day which was useful in college haha! I bought a couple of NATO straps to go with it.
However, a problem with watch straps is that they get smelly easily. NATO straps are usually made of nylon and I’d have to scrub them with dishwashing soap at least once a week. The nylon straps emitted a strong odor from the dead skin and body oils that smelled… raunchy? Nylon just seems to absorb these smells quickly.
The reason I chose a shell cordovan watch strap is because shell cordovan is not a skin (like regular cowhide leather) but a fibrous muscle. At the time, what was the “cheapest” shell cordovan watch strap? A hidden gem German company called Fluco.
I purchased an 18mm Fluco Medium Brown Horween Shell Cordovan from eBay for about $73 USD shipped. I remember selecting the “padded” strap option which has flattened down quite significantly. I’m familiar with Horween Shell Cordovan, as we all know and love. The strap brand new started off close to a whiskey caramel color. To this day I haven’t conditioned it with anything… other than my natural skin oils, dirt, faucet water, etc!
Love: Horween leather. Shell Cordovan. Minimal “stretch”. No residual smell. The patina. The price.
Not fond of: Excessive glue spilling out.
The smell is basically non-existant with this shell cordovan watch strap. I’d have to place the strap in front of my nose to smell something. Definitely would recommend this strap! Be sure to order the correct lug size to your watch face!