Each Watch Band is Unique and Tells Its Own Story

Anyone who possesses a valuable and unique watch will also want something special from the watch band that is worn with it. HIRSCH artisanal watch bands are masterpieces, each created by craftsmen in a process involving over 60 separate stages, giving each individual watch band its own elegance and beauty.

HIRSCH artisanal watch bands

In the course of development activities which have taken place over a number of decades, HIRSCH, together with the finest Swiss watchmakers, have created and implemented standards of production and quality which today are a benchmark for the entire sector.

One milestone in quality optimisation has been the development of the Oysterglove Supersoft lining leather, which guarantees softness and comfort in wear. Oysterglove is a waterproof and perspiration resistant lining leather, tanned in a way that is kind to the skin and discreetly coloured, and contributing to a significantly extended duration of life for the replacement watch band.

The elegance and durability of a watch band depend largely on the quality of the materials used. It is essential to exercise the greatest care in the choice of materials, both for the upper leather and for the lining leather, in order to provide softness and comfort in wear.

Leather is a raw material of high quality and rich tradition, and it is also a living material that requires a great deal of knowledge and experience and a certain necessary "feel" in order to be made into a fine bracelet. Working with leather presents a new challenge every day, for no two animals are alike and no single piece of leather is like any other, either in its appearance or in its consistency.

The tanning process

The process of tanning must be undertaken in order to make the animal skin durable and to transform it into a resistant and to some extent water repellent material. The chemical combination of the protein in the skin and the tanning agent turns the hide into leather. The tanning agents used are either of vegetable origin (wood, bark, fruits) or of mineral origin (metal salts containing chromium, zirconium, aluminium, titanium or iron), or a combination of the two.

Alongside the quality of the raw products, it is the type of tanning that determines the quality and characteristics of the leather end product: strength, elasticity, water tolerance and also such characteristics as resistance and flexibility are decisively influenced by the tanning process. However, the finished leather always represents a genuine piece of animal skin, a true natural product with its own unique character.

The refining process

The refining process significantly affects the aesthetic character of the leather. The leather can be dyed, or it can be given a shiny finish, or it can be patterned in various fashion "looks". A distinction is made between two types of leather, depending on the refining process used:

? Smooth leather is a general term covering all types of leather with a closed surface. It can be smooth, but also grained, patterned, structured or shrunk, e.g. calfskin leather, nappa leather, goatskin leather, patent leather...

? Rough leather is the general term covering all leathers with a ground surface, e.g. velour leather or nubuck leather

Creation of leather watch bands

In order to create its leather watch bands, HIRSCH uses top quality skins from different kinds of animals (mammals, reptiles, fish, birds). Depending on the type of animal, different leather parts can be used. With cowhide, for example, watch bands can be cut from the neck, the crop and also the flanks. Alligator leather represents a special case. The underbelly and the tail are used, but also flanks, of small complete skins taken exclusively from farmed alligators. The main factors affecting the visual appearance and the price are the proportion of round to rectangular scales and the method used for cutting out the leather.

CITES - Washington Agreement

It is a natural part of the evolution of life on earth that species should die out ? but recently it is mankind, not nature, that has been responsible for the disappearance of animals and plants. International trade in wild animals and plants and the constant reduction of natural habitats have played a major part in this. International co-operation is necessary in order to put a stop to uncontrolled cross border trade in endangered species. The responsibility lies with both producer and consumer countries in equal measure.

In a spirit of joint responsibility, the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) was signed on 3rd March 1973. This UN convention is also known as the "Washington Agreement", after the city in which the CITES was signed by 21 countries. Since the agreement came into force on 1st July 1975, the number of member states has risen to 158.

This ordinance envisages standardised import and export regulations and also governs the marketing of listed species for all member countries. The HIRSCH artisanal collection offers a selected range of watch bracelets made of alligator, crocodile and lizard skin, all of which comply with the strictest provisions of the Washington Agreement, i.e. these leathers come from controlled stocks and are purchased and sold with a certificate.

Components

A HIRSCH leather watch band essentially consist of 3 parts:

? Upper leather ? on the upper side of the watch band

? Lining leather ? on the underside of the watch band

? Inlay layer ? an intermediate layer between the upper leather and the lining, which gives the watch band its 3-dimensional form

All these three parts are made of pure natural materials. The utmost care is necessary in the selection of both the upper leather and the lining leather; only top quality materials are used.

Care of Leather Watch Bands

Watch bands are worn directly on the skin for up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are also, to a greater or lesser extent, subject to wear as a result of the actions we perform with our hands or arms. For reasons of hygiene, therefore, watch bands should be cared for and subjected to hygiene checks. Regular care of your watch band will considerably extend its life. Leather watch bands from HIRSCH can easily be cleaned with lukewarm water and left to dry.

HIRSCH watch bands are designed so that you can wear them with waterproof watches in the shower or while swimming in fresh or salt water. After spending any length of time in a swimming pool or in the sea, the watch band (like the watch, and your body) should be rinsed with clear water to remove any salt or chemical residues. A further point is that wet watch bands should not be left to dry on a warm surface, since rapid evaporation of water can impair quality. We therefore recommend that the watch band is simply allowed to dry on your hand.

Michael Kares owns and operates Watchband.biz, a watch band site for collectors and watch enthusiasts, showcasing an extensive selection of HIRSCH watch bands in leather and stainless steel.

http://www.watchband.biz/

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