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Art Strap Review

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Art Strap

Personal Strap Review

M75 Straps by artist Kok Peng Lim from Malaysia

Kok Peng Lim who is an artist from Malaysia for more than 20 years and nowadays focussed on creating abstract paintings, has been collecting Panerai watches for about 12 years.

In 2005 when he travelled to Bangkok together with Mr. Eng Tay, another very famous artist of Malaysian origin and a well known Paneristi with an impressive collection of vintage Panerai watches. In one of the malls where for a complete stranger squad down to have a look at Eng Tay his vintage Panerai watch. It turned out that they knew each through the Paneristi community and the watch did the magic. This was a complete new experience for him that a watch can bring people that close together.

Kok Peng Lim's art

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At a certain point in time Eng Tay was looking for a handmade strap for one of his vintage Panerai watches and Kok Peng Lim offered him to try to make one for him. With limited tools he created his first strap that looked acceptable. A few months later Eng Tay brought leather ammunition pouches from New York for him to create more straps. This was a turning point for Kok Peng Lim as he fell in love with the straps he created and needed his own watch to fit a strap like that.

He looked for a watch that would suit an ammo strap best in watch magazines and came to the conclusion that Panerai watches are the best match for these kind of straps.

When he asked Eng Tay to help him find the right Panerai model, he got a shocking reply that a Seiko watch would do and is practical enough. But he insisted on getting his own first Panerai and it had to be a special one, a limited edition.

His first Panerai is a PAM00232 Radiomir. This is in the meantime added with a PAM00249, PAM00382, PAM00360 and a PAM00634. All these models are Panerai Limited Editions and the reason for the start of his journey into strap making.

Until now, he is continuously making straps for himself and some of his friends. All these years he got his satisfaction from making a strap that will impress himself, and not for making money.

As an true artist he keeps improving himself , just like the way he is practicing on his painting art works, that also means that any work that does not make him happy or he is not satisfied with, he will not hesitate to destroy it.

As a passionate Panerista he has been meeting a lot of fellow Paneristi around the world making new friends.

New project of Kok Peng Lim, Art on a strap!

Kok Peng Lim has recently started creating his art on straps, a new concept. This sounded very interesting. Most of the straps he started creating were paintings of animals, from pets to tigers and dragons.

I asked him to create a strap for me with is original art on it, that brings the strap closer to the creator. During my last trip to Malaysia I was fortunate enough to meet Kok Peng Lim over dinner and he handed over the strap to me.

By coincidence Jose Pereztroika was also in town, a great opportunity to meet up with him as well, Jose is known for his in-dept analysis of various vintage Panerai watches and other brands. Here he wears a rare Eterna Super Kontiki from the 1964-1965 also used by the Marina Militare. If you like to know more about his work, go to perezcope.com

Me, Kok Peng Lim & Jose Pereztroika
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The Box

The strap is stored in a wooden box with a painted panel on top, like getting one of his beloved canvas paintings.
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When opening the box, the art on the box was replicated on the strap, never seen anything like this before. The straps looks glossy and at the same time very mild painted. The colors are not screaming. The rooster on top of the long part is of course jumping out.

Out of the box

The strap as it is hand-painted looks on both the short and long side color-wise very much in sync. When you look from a distance it has a bit of a blended brown green color as base color. The moment you look closer you realize that the strap is painted in multiple layers just like a canvas painting that gives all kinds of different color effects only a true artist can create. The details are extreme, the small elements added like the leaves are full with detail, the moon on the short side means gentleness and brightness in Chinese, is made and looks like a wearing-off effect, also when you look closer you clearly see it is not.

The art shown on the box and the strap has an old Malayasian Chinese tradition, a rice bowl and a rooster. The rice bowl stands for "earning a living" where the rooster stands for "vitality & energy".
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The rooster from up-close

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The buckle

The 22mm buckle that came with this strap is a spring-bar buckle that is bend and looks like a vintage buckle. It is thicker than a usual Pre-V buckle and feels solid and has more volume than the OEM version. It for sure does not look like a 22mm buckle.
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The painted sides and thickness

The thickness of the strap is around 3.5-4mm thick and has small holes that just can be fitted with the Panerai tubes like it is one with the strap. The sides are painted in dark brown.
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On the watch

Once the strap is on the watch you can see the different shades come out even more. It is a very elegant strap and the colors blend very well with the faux-patina dial of the PAM00372.
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On the wrist

The strap is very soft and bends easy from the start, there is no need to break in the leather. Although this is a tapered 26-22mm strap it doesn't look thin at all and fits nice around the wrist.
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The buckle

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My conclusion

It has been an honor to have a strap from Kok Peng Lim from his art strap collection and feel this is one of the most special straps in my collection so far. First of all he makes handmade hands-sewn straps only and using the best leather hides available and his eye for detail and finish is recommendable.

Giving a strap an extra dimension by creating art on the strap in the way he does is unique. He assured me that the paint will stay on the strap and will for sure wear this one for special occasions. Having a strap that has parts of his canvas painting on it made it for me extra special, art recreated of art by the artist himself.

As mentioned Kok Peng Lim is open for any kind of painting you like to have made on your strap, you just have to share what you like.

Although I can for sure recommend this M75 strap, the problem is he only makes a very limited number of straps and only within a very small known circle to him and at the moment only on single requests he gets on Facebook. That makes ordering a strap from Kok Peng Lim a bit complicated.

For those who appreciate his work, try to reach him on Facebook.

I hope you like the review, feel free to post your comments here

The strap specifications:

Below you find summarized the specifications of the strap, the prices mentioned are only indicative just to give you an idea what you could expect if you order one.
Leather type: vegetable tanned leather
Special treatment: hand-painted art
Width: 26-22 mm
Length: 130/80 mm
Thickness strap: 3.5-4 mm
Type of buckle: M75 spring-bar vintage style buckle
Buckle material: Brushed steel
Type of stitching: hand-stitch
Price range: 150-300 EURO (depending on the customization)

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A few additional images of the strap. Enjoy!

M75 Signature & Stamp
The strap
On the PAM00372
On the PAM00372
Looks firm!
On the box
The lining with art as well!
Details of the paint layers
Details of the Moon

More art strap designs by Kok Peng Lim

The drawing
painting of the strap
The strap and the design
The final product
Tiger on a strap
Birds on the strap
Dragon strap
Asian art
Kama Sutra strap!
Super-special strap with a loved dog as a dear memory
Horse on a strap
Monkey on a strap
Bright strap with birds
Dragon straps and a special blue strap for the Ginza Edition PAM00958