Our Russian Calf Strap is the most hard-wearing strap in the world. It is characterized by a robust antiquing surface with a prominent hatch grain makes it perfect for vintage watches. It has the most distinctive woody aroma, some people fell for its smoky smell and, of course, the mysterious story behind it. The Russian Calf leather is a homage to the ancient Russian reindeer hide retrieved over 230 years ago from a shipwreck in the English Channel. Naturally, after the batch of these precious hides were brought to light, specialists/tanneries could inspect and learn how to recreate it.
Russian Calf by J & FJ Baker is most renowned for the oak bark tanning process which is slow, gentle, and sustainable. This process requires 12 months to preserve the natural strength and beauty of the hide. Results in a mellow, dense, vintage style leather strap that is weather resistant. The Russian Calf Strap certainly is not for every palate, but for those who love it, there's no other leather that will be as satisfying to own.
The Russian Calf Leather comes from J & FJ Baker & Co Ltd, which has been doing Oak Bark tanning since 1862 at a tannery that dates to Roman times. They have undergone the development of replicating this historic leather. Pit tanned for 14 months in three types of tree bark (Oak, Willow, and Birch) and a minuscule amount of fish oil. The birch oil used in the finishing process produced leather with excellent weather resistance and resistance to attack from mold, insects, and other enemies of leather, leading a hard life.
The story of the Sunken Leather
Once an important export product in times of the Russian empire, reindeer hides were a beloved material for boots and bags used by the military. After the Revolution in 1917, the production of Russian reindeer leather was shut down. It was not before discovering the wreck of the Metta Catharina in 1973 that original Russian reindeer leather was brought to light after having been covered in mud for almost 200 years from the seabed of Plymouth Sound. The investigation has shown that Metta Catharina ended its final journey in the autumn of 1786. Having received permission from the Duchy of Cornwall, these hides have been raised in small quantities ever since. Nowadays, the situation is too dangerous, diving and recovering the skins have now ceased.
100% Handcrafted by Strap Masters
Flat Strap (we call it 'Lagoon')
Skin-friendly lining in Zermatt Leather, water-resistant & hypoallergenic
Hand-stitched with Meisi Superfine Linen thread M30
Customized Quick Release Spring bar
Hidden Branded buckle in Stainless Steel - Polished on Top & Brushed on Sides
Green Packaging - 100% composable plant-based zip bag inside a branded envelope