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Mays|Berlin Zaffiro strap

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Zaffiro strap




Strap Review


Mays-Berlin Straps from Germany


Mays & Anna are a couple from Berlin, Germany who started their strap boutique shop and since 2013 go by the name "Mays | Berlin"

Mays | Berlin only offers hand-made straps, something more and more customers are looking for.

I have been in contact with Mays for quite a while and know several Paneristi who have their straps from Mays | Berlin and are very happy about it.

Mays & Anna have a passion for mechanical watches themselves and especially Panerai, so understanding what a Paneristi is looking for in a strap is not hard at all for them.

I was asked for my opinion and Mays and Anna offered me a strap of my choice to review, something they have not done before, I feel privileged!

I was able to choose a strap of my liking available on their website, so I could look and experience the strap like I would have chosen it myself.

Zaffiro strap

Mays is known for their classic straps that are an excellent alternative for the OEM straps. So my first thought was to find out how good they are, but when going to their website I found a lot of vintage style straps that look just a bit different than others make them, I shortlisted the Zaffiro strap, a vintage strap made of NOS leather, triple-fold and with a DLC coated GPD Mod Dep style buckle.

Delivery & package

As I ordered the strap just like a customer would do, you can see the progress of your strap on their website when logging in and checking your order number, a cool feature. When it arrived, the strap was packed in a cotton pouch with the Mays | Berlin logo printed, a nice touch and big enough to store multiple straps.
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The strap

When opening the pouch I found a strap that was a lot more refined finished than most of my other straps, The leather on both sides is the same, on the inside the leather looks very clean and the Mays | Berlin is embossed right in the middle of the short part of the strap. The buckle looks really cool and has the same color as the ceramic bezel of my PAM00389. The leather feels soft and yet firm as it is a thick strap.
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The finish of the strap

The finish of the strap is done with absolute care and comes with tubes already installed. The top layer of the strap had a "vintage treatment" but very even and has a nubuck finish, I do hope the strap will get more vintage character over time as it is somewhat clean for the moment. The sides of the strap are extremely burnished, one of the things you do not see often at vintage strap and it is a nice touch, it makes the layer very obvious, very easy to tell the short side has a triple-folding. The stitching is straight and sharp, the keepers are having an extra embossed line that gives a refined touch to it. As mentioned the GPF Mod Dep style buckle has a DLC finish and looks cool on the strap, when the wear and tear starts, the look of this buckle will only get better. I did notice that the thickness of the two strap parts are very different and the short side is obviously a lot thicker than the long side.

The difference of a better strap maker

I tried the strap on my watch and to my experience the short side of the strap was to my opinion too extreme triple-folded and too thick compared to the long strap side. It bothered me, I wore the strap for a few days and it just did not feel right. This is my personal thing and does not mean other people would feel the same about the way the strap looked. After contacting Mays, I got the best offer possible, return the strap and the strap will be altered. Not every strap maker is able to alter a strap after it has been made. Knowing that Mays | Berlin does the job gave me a very good feeling about this and a confirmation these are professionals.

Perfect Service

When I received the strap back after a few weeks, I could not make out that the strap was taken apart, the stitching is again very sharp, the burnishing extreme, the three little stains were still on the short part of the strap I left on the first time when trying it on and at the same time the triple folding thickness was considerably reduced.

Of course it is always better when you get a strap that is right the first time when receiving it. Mays | Berlin mention on their website that they create their vintage straps according to the original way like they did in the 1950's and indeed there are old straps that have a thicker triple folding on the short side than on other old straps.

For me esthetics should still be part of a strap like this and I was glad they offered to alter the strap more to my liking and using the same upper leather, that also means that whenever something happens to your straps by wear and tear, they are able to restore it. It also means for me that it is important when you order a strap it is very important to understand the DNA of the strap maker and get as much information possible to understand what is offered and what is possible, at the same time it is equally important that you as a customer make clear to the strap maker what you are looking for in a strap. It is called communication.
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GPF Mod Dep Style buckle

The strap has a flat GPF Mod Dep style buckle and as mentioned earlier looks super-cool as it has a DLC coating. This for sure will have wear and tear marks overtime that makes it even more a combat style strap!
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On the watch

Once the strap was put back on my PAM00389 after it returned to me, the strap looks to my opinion much better and fits very nice. The strap is thick and sits close to the watch case. The brown color looks fantastic. The strap still looks very refined for a vintage style strap and is for sure different from any of my other vintage straps.
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The strap fits close on my PAM00389

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On the wrist

When putting the strap on my wrist as it is thick it will take a few days to mold to the shape of my wrist, the leather feels soft yet firm. Most of the time with a new strap that needs time to get adjusted I wear the first day one hole loser than my wrist would fit. The strap looks for now a mix of classic and vintage strap and having worn the strap for a few weeks I see that the leather ages nicely and darkens, it will get more vintage character over time for sure!
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The buckle

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My conclusion

The Zaffiro strap is an interesting strap for a vintage strap as it combines classic with vintage elements. The leather has a "cleaner" look than I am used to from other vintage treated straps and the buckle looks really cool on the strap and is in sync with my PAM00389 ceramic bezel.

What I like about Mays | Berlin is their approach, the images on their website resembles the real product you get, the tracking of your order online keeps you excited about the strap that is about to come and most important they are very serious about their customer as when something is not to your liking they are very supportive, this is a great comfort and a confirmation that they are really passionate about what they do. Being able to alter a new strap and return it to me in an complete new condition shows their true craftsmanship and again my personal taste for a vintage strap does not necessarily represent a general preference, still they were open for my comments, understood I am equally passionate about straps and offered a fantastic solution, it's definitely worth the money.

If you are looking for more info about Mays | Berlin Straps, you can find the strap maker at
www.mays-berlin.com/en/

I hope you like the review, feel free to post your comments here
If you interested in more details about the strapmaker of Mays | Berlin Straps, click 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.
Leather type: Veg. tan cow leather with the same lining.
Special treatment: vintage treatment
Width: 26 mm
Length: 140/85 mm
Thickness strap: 4-6 mm
Type of buckle: Flat GPF Mod Dep Style buckle, DLC coated
Type of stitching: hand-stitch
Price range: 289 Euro (plus shipping)

A few additional images of the strap. Enjoy!

GPF Mod Dep on the buckle
Tubes included
single sewn loop
The triple folding of the short side
The even vintage finish
Fits nicely on the case
The triple folding original
The triple fold thickness reduced
on the wrist
The grey-black in sync with the ceramic bezel
How the strap fits on the watch