Full-grain leather comes from the most durable part of the animal and has the most grain of the animal’s hide intact.
All of the natural characteristics of the leather are visible in full-grain leather—imperfections and all. A watch strap made with full-grain weather will last long and withstand wear better than any other grade of leather.
Top-grain leather is the second-highest grade of leather. As the name implies, like full-grain leather, this grade of leather also comes from the top cut of the animal hide.
But unlike full-grain leather, top-grain leather undergoes processing to rid it of blemishes, scarring, and other imperfections. Top-grain leather watch straps will last a while but, because of the processing process, won’t age as well as full-grain leather watch straps will.
You might know split-grain leather by its other name: suede. Split-grain comes from the top part of the hide but four to five levels deeper, which means it’s not as tough as higher grades of leather.
If you prefer comfort over quality or just plain love suede, split-grain leather watch straps will serve you well. Watch straps that are made from split-grain leather are soft, smooth and flexible.
Genuine leather sounds enticing, but that’s just because it’s a clever choice of name used to describe leather of a low quality.
Where does genuine leather come from? Simple! Genuine leather comes from the leftovers of leather used to make higher-end products. Genuine leather watch straps won’t last as long as watch straps that are made with the higher grades of leather as listed above.
Bonded leather is the worst of the worst in terms of quality. Seriously, if you own anything that’s made from bonded leather you should throw it in the bin. Funny enough, that’s where its materials would’ve ended up if they didn’t find its way into your bonded leather product.
Want to know what’s in bonded leather? We’ll tell you, but you aren’t going to like it. Plastic, vinyl, glue that have been bonded with a handful of leather scraps and a dusting of leather dust make up bonded leather products.