They claim it is the best sailcloth strap in the world. Is the Artem strap really as good as they, and is it worth paying £60 to get one?
Artem Straps Review
I don’t often review watch straps at WRUK – mainly because I wear most of my watches on bracelets. A good strap can really make the difference between a good watch and a great one – so I snapped up Artem’s offer of a free strap in exchange for this review. By convention, although watches are usually returned by reviewers afterwards, straps are usually kept – for hygiene reasons as much as anything else.
The first thing that impressed me was the ordering process. You can pick a width between 20mm and 22mm – including the very rare 21mm lug width – and a stitching colour from red, white, grey, black or blue. The straps themselves are, in the words of Henry Ford, any colour you like as long as it’s black. So far, so good – but you also get some more unusual choices: three lengths (XS, Standard and XL) and even a choice of springbar! I elected for quick release for the strap I am keeping but you can also have standard spring bars if you prefer, or “fat” bars for ultra-expensive watches.
The straps arrived by courier from Adelaide in just a few days. I liked the cardboard packaging (too many straps come in unrecyclable plastic bags) although it was hard to get the straps out without damaging the box. I was immediately impressed when handling the straps. There I just the right amount of flex to keep the watch stable on the wrist but without being too stiff.
I haven’t tried every sailcloth strap in the world, so can’t vouch for these being the best, but they are certainly of a much higher quality than the sailcloth strap on my Christopher Ward C65 Bronze, which I replaced very quickly due to fraying and the watch slipping around my wrist. The Artem straps solve this with a high-quality backing that has just enough friction. By way of comparison, Christopher Ward asks for £60 for their OEM sailcloth, and these are clearly a step above.
Artem says that no break-in period is required for their strap and I concur – I put the strap onto my Arpiem Tribute and it immediately felt comfortable – far better than the original leather option. I did swap the provided tang buckle for a deployant – the Artem buckles are fine, but I like to use the originals and prefer a foldover clasp as I think it protects the strap better.
What else would I like to see? First, I wish there was an 18mm option and more choice of colours, as I’d love to put one onto my Seagull 1963. Second, because Artem is based in Australia, big orders will have customs fees to pay, making them a little less competitively priced. Other than that, I cannot complain. These are not cheap eBay straps being sold with a markup – the quality is comparable to the straps you would find fitted to big brand Swiss watches costing upwards of £1,000.
What I Liked
- Excellent range of choices when ordering for different lengths and types of spring bars
- Super-high quality straps with no break-in period required
- Price is competitive with OEM alternatives of lesser quality
What I Didn’t Like
- Only black straps are available
- No 18mm option
- Customs fees make the price a little less attractive for UK buyers
Artem Sailcloth Strapss – the WRUK Verdict
I usually buy my straps from Watch Gecko, but I have not had one of their sailcloths to compare with the Artem straps. I base my opinion, therefore, on my experience with Christopher Ward’s sailcloth strap which costs the same. The Artem straps are better on every count. The padding is better, they feel less stiff whilst still being supple enough to hug the wrist. The stitching is great and they seem less prone to fraying. Add to this the excellent choice of lengths and widths and I think they are worth every penny.
Win an Artem Strap
Artem sent three straps, so I am giving away the two I have not worn to viewers of the WRUK Youtube channel. Simply head over there before the end of July, subscribe, and add a comment to the Artem video at the top of this review and I’ll use Gleam.io to draw two random winners and let them know by replying to their comments on the Video.