Rob Montana the man behind The Strap Smith comes from a lineage of leather makers and son to a 4-H leather instructor. Rob is one of six children that grew up surrounded by the world of leather in a small town in northwest Montana and a man that enjoys the outdoors, racing motorcycles, sailing, traveling, backpacking, rock climbing and skiing and someone that became a full time strap maker in 2007 after quitting his day job.
Since he was a little kid he had been fascinated with watches but never thought he would be able to afford a really nice watch. Through his appreciation for high quality hand made items with great attention to detail he runs one of the most successful vintage strap businesses in the watch world and a name that is synonym for some of the best vintage aftermarket straps for Panerai, Bell & Ross, Rolex, IWC, U-BOAT, Breitling, Tudor and many others. Rob had even outfitted Jay Leno's watches with his straps.
Few leather straps come with so much passion as those from The Strap Smith handmade by Rob in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish is a small town with a population of 6,357 and home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort right next to Glacier National Park. Rob Montana's name is not only very well known in the Paneristi community but also at the headquarters of Detroit based Shinola, whom he's been working with on everything leather related. Rob is an adventure seeker and watch collector that started his collection with a Fortis Chronograph and quickly grew into Panerai with a PAM 88. Today, the Panerai PAM 243 is his favorite and daily wearer.
Rob's vintage straps are made out of World War I vintage ammo pouches from Sweden. Even though, Rob offers a wide selection of custom straps through his website, nothing compares to the rugged and vintage nature of these straps with their particular musty smell that you can even notice when your watch is sitting next to your bed on your night stand.
All Rob Montana straps are hand cut, hand stitched and marked by Rob out of his workshop in Montana. What makes these straps even more unique —other than the interesting provenance of the leather— is that Rob is one of the few true full-time custom strap makers in the U.S.; therefore, every order is personal, from the first email a customer receives to the postage label that was placed with Rob's hands. All straps are custom made to order and you can choose everything from the the type of leather to be used for your strap to the length, the width, type of buckle, strap perforations and even the stitching. You could also just choose no buckle and use your own OEM buckle. In this case we wanted to add a little bit more character to the strap and decided to go with the PIG/SLC in negative relief.
If you are looking to enhance even more the vintage look of your your PAM 372 Luminor 1950 3 Days or any other Panerai from the historical collection, make sure you get one of these vintage straps fitted with a PIG buckle. As you can see, the color on the strap we fitted to the 372 is a perfect match to the luminova on the dial and with this change the watch became even more appealing and way more vintage looking.
On the wrist, the strap feels very solid, comfortable and the desired vintage look is just unparalleled. The strap is very thick but very supple at the same time and the contrast stitching is the cherry on top of the cake.