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Mauser Ammo strap

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Mauser Ammo strap

Strap Review

Vintager Straps from Napa, USA

Micah Dirksen, the man behind Vintagers Straps is very well-know for his Mauser ammo and canvas straps within the Paneristi community and is a full-time strapmaker since 2006. A man proud of his work and always supportive to other strapmakers on the paneristi.com forum, he is a watch fanatic, a Panerista, just like the most of us and understands the work and passion that goes into strap-making.

I have been publishing till date only my personal straps that have been well read and appreciated. Owning Panerai watches is only a small part of the experience, collecting straps is an equal addiction

When Micah contacted me with the request to review his straps I understood that this was not just an intention to increase his strap sales, but more an opportunity to introduce his work to fellow and new Paneristi who are not so familiar with strapmakers and their work.

I consider Micah to be more "one of us" and to be honest I did look quite a few times at his Mauser ammo straps before that look really nice and special, going ahead was a natural next step.

To make the review make sense as a strap fan as I am not a strap or watch journalist/reporter, no ready made straps were to be sent to me, instead I looked at straps I would be interested in and ordered them just like an ordinary customer.

You will find in total 4 strap reviews of straps made by Micah, here I review the Mauser Ammo strap.
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Mauser Ammo strap

Ammo straps are very popular within the Paneristi community as the leather that is used is from 70+ year old leather ammunition pouches. The leather has either a gunpowder smell or just an old leather smell, the leather is very durable and when used full with patina.

There are a few very well-known ammo strapmakers and Micah Dirksen with his Vintager Mauser ammo strap is definitely one of them.

Delivery took a while

The ordering of the straps was a smooth experience and were ready within two weeks time, I received an email with the message that the straps were ready and dispatched including a picture of the straps sent to me. This was the first professional follow-up action I have seen from a strapmaker til date and seeing the straps ready makes you eager to receive them as soon as possible. Unfortunately the shipment went very fine up to the point it left the USA, when almost giving up on the package to reach me at the very last moment I got a knock on my front door, the postman had a envelope for me. Of course I was very happy that it turned out fine, but as I was leaving that very same evening for a week to Europe I had to wait with making some decent pictures and give the straps the attention before starting to wearing them.

Straightforward packaging

The packaging of strap differs from strapmaker to strapmaker and Micah his approach is that you need to happy with the strap you buy from him rather than be impressed with the box or pouch a strap could come with.

The only thing you will see when receiving a Vintager strap is a paper seal that looks like a cigar band that says "Always hand made by Micah Dirksen" and "Pull Here and enjoy!" and a letter signed by Micah congratulating your with your purchase and on top of that giving you a service promise I have not seen anyone else giving this guarantee that comes to "you break it and I replace it" no matter what, wow!
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The strap

I have other ammo straps and I am very fond of them, the looks and wearing comfort is fantastic.

Micah Dirksen creates his version of the ammo strap with so-called Mauser ammunition pouches, they are from the early 1900's till 1950's. What I like about Micah his approach is that you pick out the pouch of your liking and he makes your strap out of that single ammunition pouch.

Having a bit of experience with ammo straps I ordered a pouch that is the least used, will be light in color and can thereby darken om my wrist. I also wanted to have the upper leather to be clean and without cuts stitch holes, the lining of the strap is of the same Mauser ammunition pouch and had no problem if there would be any stitch marks or cuts. The stitching is ecru, Micah calls it 1886 Tan and complements the strap color very well, a golden stitch like the Goldenrod on the Swell Shark strap would be too much. The length I ordered is 140/85 so I get bit longer tail. I ordered with the strap a sewn-in Pre-V buckle that turned out the best option of all.

Micah creates all his straps completely by himself and makes in principle only on order, that makes every strap he creates a unique strap as you can choose the color stitching, the type of holes, the buckle type, etc.
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Cut marks of the Mauser ammunition pouch on the lining

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The finish of the strap

The finish of the strap confirms the passion of the maker, the leather he selects, the way he brands his straps on both the short and long part with "Vintager Straps" and his well-known "Octopussy", the super-sharp stitching. The presentation of the strap with that "cigar band" like paper roll around the strap that invites you to rip it and indeed start using it is another eye for detail and works at least on my emotions in a very positive way!

The burnishing of the strap is here only on the edge, for the rest no burnishing is done. The stitching is done very precise, it has a different color stitch on the lining than the upper side of the strap as Micah only stitches his straps machine-stitched, it needs a high degree of accuracy and appreciation for detail & finish, this is mastered by him! Some are not soo keen on machine stitched straps, but you need to understand that there is a major difference between a strap that Micah creates and one that comes out of a factory like Hirsch, his passion and dedication on every single strap is recognizable. It is probably a bit faster than stitching a strap by hand, but it pays immediately back if you look at the price level Micah works, very reasonable priced straps!

No burnishing

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The sewn-in Pre-V Style buckle

This strap has Micah's sewn-in Pre-V buckle and this is truly a winner. It is a very well-made version and the finish is spectacular. Very smooth edges, almost satin brushed finish and fits perfect with the strap. As mentioned in my other review, if I knew this before all 4 straps should have been made with this sewn-in buckle.
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On the watch

Micah makes all his straps just a tiny bit wider than 26mm, this way the strap fits the case of the watch really nice and tight. Even with this knowledge I had no problem at all fitting the strap on the watch, Micah even added tubes in the straps he sent me, also part of the deal when ordering a strap from Vintager Straps.
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The strap fits the lugs nicely

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The strap on the wrist

This strap is because it is thick old leather it feels somewhat stiff and needs a day to break in, a bit faster than my other ammo straps, probably as this strap is 4mm thick compared to 5.5 mm of my other ammo straps.

The two keepers are interesting, as one them is made of the the little belt on the pouch with a hole that fits the button to close the pouch, a nice detail!
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The buckle

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And there was cream!

I am not sure if Micah sends with every leather strap a tin can with leather cream, I got one most probably in the package that I arrived it was obviously meant form the Mauser Ammo strap.

At first I was a bit hesitant to apply the cream on the strap as I know it will darken. On the other side the strap will be for sure better protected and will be a lot softer.

Below you find a few images that shows before, during and after the application of the leather cream. I did let the strap soak the cream in for two days and it appeared less dark than just after the application.

I am very happy with the result and makes the strap looks a lot more like the age of the leather, it got a very rich color and feels really soft now.

Before the cream was applied

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The color difference after applying

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After the treatment

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The result after 2 days

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A warmer brown tone

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Another impression

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The keepers a bit darker now

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My conclusion

The Mauser Ammo strap made by Vintager Straps is a must-have strap for watch collectors and Paneristi. The style is 1990's Panerai style and at the same time the +70 years old leather used gives it a lot more character.

As each Mauser Ammo strap Micah creates, you can decide if you go for a strap made of an heavily used ammunition pouch full with marks, cuts & damages and show that on the upper-layer of the strap or go for the other extreme like I did and choose a hardly or not-used ammunition pouch and go for a clean and undamaged upper layer. That makes the Mauser Ammo strap Micah creates so unique and yet so recognizable.

The thickness of 4mm makes the strap not too bulky and comes the thickness of the vintage-style Panerai OEM straps very near.

Especially if you are looking for a new strap or extra strap and have been looking at Panerai OEM straps, Vintager Straps is a perfect alternative for at least 4 reasons.

First of all the finish is top-notch and individually made for you, you can order your strap with the stitching color of your choice plus at your size and even if you like the exact positions of the holes again to your size

If at all something happens to your strap Micah replaces the strap with no questions asked, this all would be never offered by Officine Panerai.

Something that makes most of us happy, you can get two Vintager Straps straps for the price that you normally spend on just one Panerai OEM strap.

On the buckle part, the sewn-in Pre-V buckle would be my preferred choice!

If you are looking for more info about Vintager Straps, you can find the strap maker at www.vintagerstraps.com and if you interested in more details about the strapmaker of Vintager Straps, Micah Dirksen, 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 name: Mauser Ammo strap
Leather type: Mauser ammunition pouch leather
Color: Brown
Stitching color: 1886 Tan
Width: 26 mm
Length: 140/85 mm
Thickness strap: 4mm
Type of buckle: Sewn-in Pre-V style buckle
Type of stitching: machine-stitch
Price range: 180 Euro / 200 USD, 220 USD (195 Euro) with buckle

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A few additional images of the Mauser Ammo strap. Enjoy!
on the wrist before the cream was applied
Using everything of the ammunition pouch!
A wrist-shot with the strap as it came
Before the cream application
Before and after, here the lining side
After the cream was applied
The color of the strap get more intense brown
The sides get darker as well
On the watch again after two day of drying
Wearing it after the cream application, nice color!