For this instalment of Let’s Talk Straps, we have the Napoli and Torino straps from the Italian manufacture, Colareb. It’s no secret that I am already a fan of Colareb’s products, with the Venezia tobacco strap (for which you can read the review here) being my favourite strap on the market for under $100AUD. Colareb has recently released 5 new product lines and when given the opportunity to experience the new range for myself, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. Colareb has always provided excellent value, with their hand crafted leather products rivalled by very few in this segment, will these straps compete at a slightly higher price point? Let’s dig in!
Further, the hand stitch pattern is noticeably more symmetrical than previous offerings, another vote of confidence to the customer that this is a strap crafted with just a bit more care and expertise. The Torino strap has a new lining and presents itself in a lighter beige tone. While it is not soft to the touch compared to previous Colareb products, it retains the comfort synonymous with the brand with significantly improved durability. With consistent wear over a few weeks in all types of weather the lining is without blemish or discolouration. For those in a warmer climate leather straps can come and go relatively quickly, but I have confidence that the lining found in the new range is longer-lasting and more life-proof than before.Coming in at a thickness of 2.8mm, the Torino’s slim profile helps the strap conform to the wrist, reducing the break-in period from a number of days to a number of hours. Achieving a minimal break in period while increasing the longevity of a strap is no easy feat and I commend Colareb for it. The slim profile also complies with a wide spectrum of timepieces, avoiding any mismatches between case and strap thickness. The final touch and a key indicator of a high quality strap, are the painted edges of the Torino. Many manufacturers sand the edges of their straps and apply a coat of paint over the rough surface area leaving a sufficient yet gauche finish. When investigating the flanks of the Torino strap, they are detailed with aplomb. Matching black paint is superbly applied to the smooth border without a suggestion of blemish, exhibiting the refined improvements made by Colareb on their latest products. The Torino thoroughly impressed and was everything I hoped it would be in terms of a dress inclined, black leather strap with its sincere colour, refined features and improved longevity ticking all the right boxes.
I opted for the dark brown colouration of the Napoli for its versatility and what I thought would best highlight the tan of the leather. The Napoli possesses the same improvements as the Torino, with its new interior lining, hand painted edges and refined stitch completed to the high standard mentioned earlier.
I put the Napoli through quite a lot and I am pleased to say that the exterior of the strap has managed to avoid any spoils from water, sweat or other liquids. This may be due to the way Colareb has treated the leather or applied a wax coating, but the way the strap has held up is such an improvement on previous product lines. Often comfort and longevity are trade offs when it comes to straps, but I am glad to say that the new releases have improved vastly without sacrificing wearability. The width of the Napoli is 20mm all the way from spring bar to tang buckle. This provides a more sturdy feel to the strap and would be suitable for sportier/everyday watches or those looking to maintain a certain footprint of the watch on your wrist. I wouldn’t recommend this strap for a thin dressy number, that’s the Torino’s playground. The Napoli is supported by supple padding which speaks for its integrity yet remains malleable and takes to the the wrist well after a short break in period. For an everyday, do it all strap that will take to any number of watches a collection, the Colareb Napoli is a fantastic contender.
While so much has improved in Colareb’s latest offerings, the tang buckle hardware has remained unchanged. A signed, high polish buckle and pin are used to fasten the strap to the wrist. I had no complaints with the design and execution of the hardware used on Colareb straps previously and still don’t. It is a reliable mechanism with reasonable tolerances and one I have not had issues with. However, if Colareb were to push any further with their price points, I would expect the buckle to improve. Potentially a milled pin instead of the current folded design just to provide a better sense of solidity when putting your watch on your wrist or taking it off.
Having seen the price of the manufacturer’s latest releases creep up from the original offerings, I was concerned that the new range would not live up to the billing. Colareb has built its brand on providing incredible value for Italian made leather straps with excellent craftsmanship. I am glad to report that Colareb has kept to this ethos in its new line. The new lining, improved stitch tolerances and general longevity surpassed my expectations and cemented Colareb as my go to for leather straps. If you have not spent such an amount on a leather strap, try out the original product lines which are more value oriented before undertaking a larger investment. Alternatively, get hands on with what is out there, so you can appreciate just how much of an improvement the new line is.Thanks to Colareb for providing these straps for review, you can check out their entire range at https://www.colareb.it/en/