At Troisanneaux, and I am not afraid to admit this, we have somewhat of a watch strap fetish. We believe that every watch deserves the perfect strap, and we go quite far in this. For us, a strap is like a tailor-made suit; it needs to perfectly match the watch, in fit and finish, color and texture, but always excel in craftsmanship. Unless fitted with a bracelet, it is the strap that can turn a good watch into a great one. It can either add character and create synergy, or take away all the design energy from the timepiece by not being the perfect match. Our passion is, fortunately, not only shared by many friends and fellow collectors but also by great craftspeople such as Vladimir Petrov, for who leather holds no secrets.
Petrov’s atelier is located in the city of Basel, Switzerland. Here he practices his craft in an old-fashioned way, guiding his hand with experience. His approach is also different. Much like a Savile Row tailor, Petrov asks you two questions: for which watch the strap should be, and if you have a preference of color. Based on these two questions, Petrov will make a selection of leathers for your approval. Based on your reaction, he will either have other suggestions or, and this is not rare, he already hit the bull’s eye. Thus, it becomes more of a curated journey, and that is a rare pleasure when it comes to watch straps, as the common approach is still to offer you a daunting selection of leathers and colors.
After selecting the leather, the real work starts, at least for Petrov. With great care and precision, he cuts the shape of the strap out of the leather. He pays particular care that the texture and drawing of the skin is pleasing and matching on both parts of the strap.
About achieving a perfect fit and finish, Petrov is rather straightforward; do it by hand or not at all. This comes with a significant challenge as a true hand made strap means not only that you need to be able execute all the steps of the process, but also that you master them. For Petrov, his work is not a profession but rather a calling. He takes pleasure and pride in his work, and that shows. Because of his dedication, he puts a lot of care in each step of making the perfect strap.
This exclusive approach doesn’t mean that you are always bound to end up with exotic leather. Even calfskin can turn into something magical, as Petrov might be traditional in how he makes the straps, with leathers, he loves to explore new shores. One that he showed that is in particular tempting is the so-called “ghost-leather.” Don’t worry, this type of leather is by no means haunted, but it does come with a stunning white-and-grey finish that looks sportive and classic at the same time.
At Troisanneaux, I dare to say that we are not spoiled when it comes to watch straps but very spoiled. Feel free to call us snobs because that is what we are in this area. Thanks to decades of collecting, and working in, and writing about the watch industry, we have been very fortunate to have been able to experience the finest straps on the planet. This also makes people like Vladimir Petrov such a hidden gem, as he combines experience and expertise with a tailor-made approach that seems to be one of the joys of years long gone. And if you like your strap, you might be tempted to indulge yourself with the leather-belts, wallets, and bags that Petrov also makes, all with the same quality as his watch straps. In case you want some inspiration, we do suggest that you check out Atelier Petrov’s website, but also his Instagram.