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Churchill Gator Strap

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Churchill Gator

Personal Strap Review

Di Stefano Straps from Florence, Italy

One of the best-known European strap makers within the Paneristi community is without doubt Di Stefano Straps from Florence, Italy. It's a family owned business started as a leather tannery business in 1899 in Livorno, Italy. During the second World War they produced some leather products to military specifications for the Italian army. After the war they moved forward into the business by supplying fashion houses like Gucci, Prada and Ferragamo with their finest leather hides. Now these days Simona Di Stefano, the fourth generation of the family business who earlier worked for Officine Panerai, has combined the two and created a whole range of top-notch watch straps from Panerai and other luxury watch brands.

Di Stefano Churchill Gator Strap

Di Stefano understands how to influence trends, the need to be able to swim with your watch with a leather strap become more relevant lately. From their own tanneries within the family they have a very famous leather type called "Bruno", soft, old fashioned, high quality leather, much in demand during the 1940's for its military grade robustness and waterproof character.

This strap however is of high quality alligator leather and has a Bruno leather lining that makes wearing the strap very comfortable.

Fast delivery

As long as I can receive the straps within the EU, I have no issues with receiving it. Di Stefano send their straps with DHL Express, easy to track so you know when the package is coming! They ship their straps with Express all around the globe, Simona told me she even has shipped straps to a special force military on duty in Afghanistan!

The strap

As all the straps Di Stefano supplies, this one also come in a nice high quality pouch that you could use to store your watch in as well. The strap came in light brown pouch of the standard size.
The strap has dark brown matte finish color with a beige box stitching.
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The finish of the strap

The finish of the strap is excellent. It is not padded, therefore slightly thicker than an average OEM strap. The sides of strap are painted and has a refined finish look & feel. It is not a thick strap and the combination of alligator hide and Bruno leather lining makes it a very soft and flexible strap. The holes punched are oval that prevents the strap getting damaged and fits the OEM buckle perfect. What I like most about this strap is its matt finish, most alligator straps are shiny and toom much in your face, this one looks very distinguished, probably that is why they gave it the name Churchill. The stitching is tan color and in this case box stitching instead of the open stitch like Di Stefano offers on their website. You can always share you special requests when ordering a strap, this makes your strap even more special and individual.
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The installation of the strap on a Radiomir

I knew that it will take more time and patience to change a strap on a Radiomir than a Luminor. I therefore took extra precautions to prevent any damage to the watch when doing this. It turned out I did overdo it with the tape, but better safe than sorry! When you are patient enough, don't completely take out the screws that are really tiny, you are fine. As I used a T-tip 1.4mm screwdriver I did damage the screws a bit. In the meantime I got myself a normal tip 1.4mm screwdriver that is actually recommended by Officine Panerai for Radiomir 1.4mm screws. Lesson learned, again…
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On the watch

It is important that the size of the strap is indeed 27mm, if not the wired lugs will be visible. I did have a problem taking off the OEM strap in the first place as I have to admit Officine Panerai did a fantastic job using the Assolutamente strap for the PAM00753, it is elegant and looks great on the watch. After managing to change it to the Churchill Gator strap, no regrets, it looks amazing and gives the watch more value and more body. The buckle fits tight on the strap and was easy to install.
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On the wrist

The strap as mentioned is very soft and does not need to break in at all, the holes were punched to my size and fits great. As the strap is a bit thicker than the OEM, it wears more comfortable and surprisingly the tapering 27 to 22mm is not so in your face at all, it actually looks pretty nice!
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The buckle (polished 22mm OEM)

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My conclusion

Di Stefano has some very cool vintage straps, when you look for stylish formal straps there are not many players in the market that can reach to the detailed level of Di Stefano. This Churchill Gator strap is a very good example. It is very classy, finish fantastic and will for sure last longer than any OEM strap, next that these straps are made on a much smaller scale it makes it also very exclusive. When finishing this review I have worn the strap for more than two months, it looks exactly the same as before and got a lot of very nice compliments from fellow Paneristi.

I can therefore say that for these type of classic more dressy straps made of exotic hides Di Stefano is the benchmark in this category.

If you are looking for more info about Di Stefano Straps, you can find the strap maker at www.distefanostraps.com and if you interested in more details about the strapmaker of Di Stefano Straps, Simona di Stefano, click here

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.
Strap model: Churchill Gator
Leather type: Alligator (CITES approved) with Bruno dark brown leather lining
Strap colour: Dark Brown
Stitch colour: Tan
Special treatment: no
Width: 27-22 mm
Length: 125/75 mm
Thickness strap: 4 mm
Type of buckle: not included, here Panerai 22mm Pre-V buckle
Buckle material: Panerai OEM polished 22mm steel
Price range: 160 EURO, excl buckle (depending on destination, VAT & shipping charges vary)

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