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Leather watchbands : Alligator, crocodile, Caiman.. the 3 stars of leather watch straps.

Posted by Yann Perrin on
cuir alligator et de crocodile difference

Leather watch straps : Alligator, crocodile, Caiman, the 3 stars of leather watch bands...

In the world of genuine leather goods, caiman leather is not really important but alligator and crocodile are the most luxurious, valuable, and sought after. 

Nobody ignores that the alligator and the crocodile are the leather most widely used in the high Swiss and international watch-making. Its imaging, its small square scales, the multitude of tannings and finishes that sublimate the appearance. All these aspects participate in fact to the absolved hegemony, not only in the leather crafting in general, but also in the the watchband industry in particular. From the most classic watch to the most technical one, from the most virile to the most sensual, from the most vintage to the most modern one, nothing prevents an alligator strap (or in crocodile) to combine at the same time the shapes and the spirit of watches.

Alligator honey brown special tanning watch band on a Panerai Radiomir watch.

But how to to differentiate these two exotic leathers ?

The alligator and the crocodile are two reptiles of the same family, the “Crocodilidés” (twenty three species distributed between alligators, crocodiles, gavials and caimans). They distinguish themselves by their morphology as well as by their geographical origin … ABP gives you some indications that will allow you to distinguish them certainly! We find the alligator in North America (USA: Louisiana and Florida states), but also in Asia (China). The alligator is generally smaller size than the crocodile. Its tail, wider in report is relatively rectangular, its snout is oval and short, and its less striking dorsal scales.

Matte brown horn back alligator strap on a Patek Philippe Nautilus watch.

 For the wristwatches and the leather craft, the most used alligator is the American alligator (alligator Mississipiensis).

Alligator watchstraps on Hanhart watches.

The crocodile finds itself on almost all the continents. Africa obviously, but also South America, Central America, Asia and Australia. Crocodiles are generally more massive than alligators. Their snout is long and triangular, their tail is more arched, and their dorsal scales more striking than for the alligator. Crocodiles are raised in cattle farm, but also hunted in wild environment. For the watchstraps and the leather craft, we use mainly the crocodile of the Nile (Crocodylus Niloticus), and the sea crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus) the biggest but also the most appreciated crocodiles (up to 7 meters long).

A brown caiman skin (stomach).

Really, if it is relatively easy for the professional to discern the alligator skin from the crocodile, strength is to recognize that it becomes very laborious when we see that skin on the surface such as a strap. 

A blue alligator skin (stomach).

Here are nevertheless some expert tips that will help you to distinguish a wristwatch in alligator from a wristwatch in crocodile.

The Alligator:
- Small-sized round scales.
- Scales of stomach, tail and head very bony.

A dark brown crocodile skin (stomach).

The Crocodile:
- Large-sized round scales.
- Scales of stomach, tail and head very slightly rounded off (but really very slightly).
- On the scales of stomach, we sometimes find any small“point” no bigger than needle ear.

Grey horn back alligator (back).

Everyone knows that the leather of alligator is one of the most expensive leathers in the world, but what we do not know necessarily, it is that the (square) scales of the stomach of the animal are the ones that are expensive. The scales on side (round) are for their part cheaper.

Now, here are our color charts for the online shop (pls note we have 10 times this quantity in Our Paris store and that we can even custom made special colors):

Matte alligator and crocodile, square scales...

Glossy alligator and crocodile, square scales...

Special tannings alligator and crocodile, square scales...

Horn back alligator...

Matte alligator and crocodile, round scales...

Glossy alligator and crocodile, round scales...

Special tannings alligator and crocodile, round scales... 

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