10 Easy Ways To Tell If A Watch Strap Is Leather

how to tell if watch strap is leather

Many people use very sophisticated techniques to tell if a watch strap is leather but in this article, I’m going to show you very easy ways to tell if a watch strap is a leather.

So, how do you tell if a watch strap is leather? You can tell if a watch strap is leather by looking out for irregular patterns and tiny pores on the surface of the watch strap. If the patterns on the surface are regular shapes and size then it might not be leather.

Leather watch straps will also have a luxurious grainy feel against the smooth plastic feel of synthetic leather watch straps.

In the remaining parts of this article, I will give you a lot more different hacks for knowing if a watch strap is leather. Keep reading this article to find out more.

1. By Looking For Irregular Patterns On The Leather

One of the easiest ways to tell if a watch strap is leather or not is by looking for irregularities in patterns on the leather material.

In the era of online shopping, you will not always have access to the watch strap if you’re online shopping so the only way you may be able to tell if the watch strap is leather or not is by observing the surface patterns on the leather watch strap.

Real leather is made from animal hides. Each piece of leather has a unique pattern, just like every other animal’s skin looks different than the next.

Fake leather is usually made from a synthetic material and does not have these irregularities. This means that when you take pictures of the watch strap, it will have even, flat patterns.

If the watch strap is real leather, it will likely have flaws in these patterns because of natural irregularities such as scars, insect bites, weather, etc – all influence the look of the leather.

Although some faux leather or synthetic materials will imitate the look of leather the telling factor will always be how mechanical, regular, or consistent the patterns on the leather watch will be.

2. By Touching The Leather

If you have the opportunity to touch the leather watch strap directly, this will be another way to tell if it is real or fake leather.

Watch strap that is real leather will have a luxuriously soft and flexible feel and at the same time have a subtle grainy feel to it. Watch straps that are not leather will feel smooth and hard just like plastic.

Leather watch straps will also have a bit more elasticity to them and will be a bit more stretchy in comparison with faux or fake leather watch straps.

You can also take notice of how warm or cold the watch strap feels. With leather watch straps, its temperature will 9 out of 10 match your body temperature after you have worn it for a while. A watch strap that is not leather will usually feel colder when you touch it.

So if you’re out looking for a leather watch strap to buy or you’re just curious to know if the watch strap you already have is leather, be sure to check out how it feels. Doing this will give you a better idea of the watch strap is leather or not.

3. By Looking For A Label On The Strap

This is probably the most obvious way to tell if the watch strap is leather or not. You should find a label on the watch strap that tells you what kind of material the watch strap is made out of.

Fake leather watch straps will either not have a label saying what the material is made out of or it may say “PU Leather” which stands for polyurethane leather.

Leather watch straps will often have a real leather symbol. Watch straps that are labeled “Genuine Leather” will not always be 100% genuine leather.

It is important to bear in mind that some of these labels can be misleading so you would want to be very careful when it comes to authenticity.

In some parts of the world, most brand a very clear about how they label their products – where you would see watch straps that are labeled “100% Leather” being actual real leather while others may be labeled “vegan leather”.

4. By Smelling The Leather

Another sense of the body you can use to tell if a watch strap is leather is by smelling it. Leather has a distinctive smell that no other fake leather will be able to imitate or mimic.

Watch straps that are leather will have a natural organic smell or skin scent that cannot be manufactured. Leather watch strap will have a strong leathery that will prevail no matter how long the watch lasts.

This means whether old or new, you can expect the smell of the leather watch strap to be the same rich leathery smell.

In some instances, the leather watch strap in addition to its leathery smell will also add your smell in there.

Watch strap that is not leather on the other hand will often have a plastic or chemical smell that will be very different from the smell of leather.

If you want to know whether your watch strap is made out of real or fake leather, just take a quick whiff. If you get the strong leathery scent of leather (as described above), it is real; if not then it’s a fake or synthetic material.

5. By Checking The Price

This is often not the best way to tell if your watch strap is leather or not. But when you combine this with other factors discussed earlier it will definitely help you know more about the watch strap.

Watch straps that are real leather will often be more expensive than fake or synthetic leather. However, just because a watch strap is expensive does not mean it’s real leather.

Leather is usually sourced from the skin and hide of animals. This means it takes more time and effort to produce leather goods than fake or synthetic material. This is why real leather watch straps are usually more expensive than fake ones.

If you are looking for a watch strap that is made out of only the best quality materials, then this may be a good indicator to look at.

As mentioned earlier the price is often associated with the quality and grade of the leather like exotic leathers. So if the watch strap is very expensive, this may mean it’s made out of high quality or genuine leather.

6. By How You’re Instructed To Care For The Leather Watch Strap

Another way to tell if your watch strap is made from leather is by following the recommendations and instructions of how to care for it.

If you get a leather watch strap, there will be clear instructions on how to care for it. These instructions will tell you how often or when exactly you should use a leather conditioner on the watch strap and what kind of leather conditioner you should use.

If the instruction does not tell you that, then it’s safe to assume either there is no need for the leather conditioner or the watch strap is not made out of real leather.

Leather has to be cared for and maintained for it to remain in good condition. Without proper care and treatment, the leather will eventually start to wear out or crack which means you’d have to get a new watch strap quickly.

Watch straps that are not leather will not have any mention of treating or maintenance from time to time using leather cleaners or conditioners.

7. By Checking The Underside (Fleshside)

Another way you can tell if your watch strap is leather is by checking the underside if it is not covered with a lining. There are two main surfaces of leather; the flesh side and the grain side.

The grain surface is the one that has all the visible texture and markings on it, while the flesh side looks velvety or suede-like.

The flesh side is the one that you should be touching and feeling when wearing your watch strap if it’s made from leather and the flesh side is what touches your skin.

This could be hard to tell if the watch strap has both sides covered or lined with another material.

8. The Pores On The Strap

Because leather is made from the skin of animals, it is porous and has many tiny pores. These pores were once the part of the animal skin where fur or hair was.

After the leather is processed, and the fur is removed, these pores become more visible and particular enhance breathability.

If you look closely at the pores on your leather watch strap, they should appear more visible than fake or synthetic leather. They may also be visible on the grain side of your watch strap too.

The pores are what give leather its distinct texture and look, so if you see these pores, you can be assured you’ve got a genuine leather watch strap.

10. By Doing The Lighter Test

Another way you can tell if your watch strap is made from leather or not, by doing the lighter test.

Using a simple lighter (or a match), you can tell if your watch strap is made from leather by holding the flame over it.

If the material on top of your watch strap is made from leather, then the flame should not be able to burn or singe it. If your watch strap is plastic or synthetic, then the flame should burn right through it.

By doing this test you can be assured that you will be able to get to the root of the watch strap you have is made from genuine leather or not.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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