Whether we are talking about food, cars, watches or clothing, there are always different qualities available on the market. Leather, is no exception with many different types and grades available. But what is the advantage of higher grades of leather and why are they more expensive. It is true, that there can be many grades of leather within the main categories however for the purpose of this article we will just stick with the main types.
The parts of the Hide:
Before we discuss the different grades of leather, it is first important to understand the different parts of the hide. Going from top to bottom, the top layer is known as the grain. This is the hard wearing surface of the hide which is exposed to the elements. Underneath the grain there is the grain/corum junction which is often used as suede. Beneath the grain/corum junction is the corum which has a fibrous quality.
PU leather (polyurethane leather) is the lowest grade of leather. It is made using the corum, the under side of the hide which is coated in polyurethane to give it the same appearance as genuine leather. Although technically sustainable, because it uses the part of the leather no one wants, PU leather tends to wear a lot quicker than other grades of leather. It can quickly show signs of age meaning that it is not ideal for use in watch straps.
As mentioned above suede is made from the corum junction of the leather. Although its considered quite a low grade leather, it is very soft to the touch and still hardwearing. Therefore it is used by many high end clothing and accessory companies to give a hard wearing product which is comfortable to wear. Our Paris collection features handcrafted watch straps made using high grade suede.
Although it may not sound it, genuine leather is quite an ambiguous term. It can mean that its real leather, as one would expect. However, it is also a grade of leather. Genuine leather is usually made from the corum of the leather up to the bottom side of the grain. Genuine leather can be hard wearing but can look tatty over time. Some cheaper watch straps will be made using genuine leather.
Top Grain Leather:
Although named 'top grain leather', this grade of leather does not actually include the whole grain. In fact most top grain leathers use the part of the hide just under the surface. This makes it slightly cheaper than full grain leather (discussed below) but still gives it certain hard wearing qualities. Top grain leather gives a very pristine look, as the leather is buffer down to get rid of any imperfections. Therefore, top grain leather is most commonly used in handbags.
Full Grain Leather:
Full grain leather is considered the most hard wearing and versatile grade of leather. As its name suggests full grain leather is made using the full hide and therefore has all the hard wearing qualities of skin. If maintained properly a full grain leather jacket, wallet or watch strap can last decades. Unless claimed differently on the listing itself, all our leather watch bands are made using full grain leather.