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Cordes Straps

Cordes Ammo Strap

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Cordes Straps from the UK

David Cordes is not into heavy advertising himself and rather prefers the word-to-mouth recognition that is unbeatable.

His work reminds me a lot of Kevin Rogers, the father of ammo straps. David is as obsessive with detailing and finish and it took me a long time to get in touch with him for a strap, EU is over and sending a strap to India is for me not an option. I recently had to go to Scotland for a meeting, time to contact David and so I did.

Cordes 27-22 mm tapered Gustav ammo strap

Currently I only have 47mm Luminors and a 45mm Radiomir. Although I am not a fan of the strap changing system of a Radiomir, it is still a great model and deserves an ammo strap. As I am appreciating tapered straps on a Radiomir, for me the odd request for a 27-22mm Gustav ammo strap that I will use with my 22mm polished steel OEM buckle.

Easy delivery

I was lucky one of my colleagues was so kind to help me out with the shipping, within 2 days after David informed me the strap was on its way it reached the office in Scotland and was excited to see the envelope laying ready for me when I reached.

The packaging is very practical, just wrapped in bubble plastic, the card with a personal note from David made it very personal and special, much appreciated!
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The strap

When unwrapping it, the first thing I did was smelling the strap, as I ordered a "virgin" ammo strap, the colour is light and still has a faint gunpowder smell to it. The embossed "Cordes" logo is a nice touch.
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The finish of the strap

David shares his work often on social media, it is obvious that he cares for detail without screaming from the roof, the eye for detail is insane. When I compare this strap to my other ammo straps I had from Kevin (ADEEOS), I notice that the finish is more refined, very precise. Both sides of the strap are triple fold, that gives a stronger hold plus at the lug side it is slightly thicker and gives the straps a better look.
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The integrated keeper

The strap has a double loop keeper, same style as most strap makers do, I prefer this version as it makes the strap wears a bit flatter at the buckle side than a single loop and the first keeper is always at the same position.
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The second keeper

The second and loose keeper is very interesting, this is not just sewn together, but two wedge parts creating a perfect fit like it is a natural complete loop with on the outside double stitched.
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Burnished sides

The sides of the strap are as important as any part of the strap. Here another confirmation in the dedication David puts in giving a strap not only function but also looks. Burnishing is a time consuming technique and precise work. There are no rough parts on this strap!
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On the watch

Putting a strap on a Radiomir is far from easy and fun to do, I just don't enjoy doing it, always put too much pressure on the screws, afraid they come loose… The lugs at least gave enough space to put to wired lugs in, otherwise it would have been simply an impossible job to do as Gustav ammo leather is tough leather. The width is perfect, I expect David took an extra mm on the lug side as it full fits the wired lugs.
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Both sides of the strap are triple folded, nice aesthetic look!
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On the wrist

The strap feels on the wrist thicker than it is, the oval holes are a perfect fit for the 22mm OEM steel buckle I use. The first time I put it on, I had to struggle a bit get the tail in the keepers, this will for sure soften over time.

The buckle

The buckle was easy to install and fits very tight on the strap, the thickness of the tail is just right to keep the buckle flat on the strap.
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My conclusion

The strap turned out nicer than I expected. To my opinion a tapered strap is nice version for a Radiomir 45mm or smaller as otherwise the straps become too overwhelming, As long are you take a strap that is thicker than the OEM straps, it gives the watch a bolder look. David is as far as I am concerned an artist, not just a strap maker. The eye for detail on the strap is insane and gave the strap the thickness there where it needs to be, the tapering is done very nice and the stitching very precise.

I will use this strap for all occasions and am very curious how the patina build-up will be.

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: Gustav ammo pouch leather
Special treatment: no special treatment
Width: 27-22 mm
Length: 140/80 mm
Thickness strap: 5 mm ( end of the tail 4 mm)
Type of buckle: my own 22mm Panerai OEM polished steel buckle
Type of stitching: hand-stitch
Price range: from 150 GBP onwards (175-> EURO)