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Thread: Haveston AAF - riveted nylon aviator straps

  1. #1
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Haveston AAF - riveted nylon aviator straps

    I've watched Magirus' painstakingly document his journey with Haveston canvas straps ever since I joined the forum, and it's a compelling read. Those straps, however, are not really my thing, and I had mentally 'parked' Haveston as a maker of good but unrelentingly vintage style straps.

    I gave them no further thought until I accidentally noticed one of these AAF ('Army Air Force') straps on ebay while looking for something else altogether.
    I headed to Haveston's website to read more, and I liked what I saw. Furthermore, by great good fortune they offer a triple set of my three preferred colours:




    These being in everyday terms, army green ('OD-41' - presumably 'olive drab' ), naval blue-grey ('Sea Grey-647' ), and an earthy brown ('Earth 613') - all versatile colours I find. There is also a black version available to buy separately.

    The cost of the triple set is 63.46 (a useful saving over the individual price of 25.58 ea.), and that price includes postage anywhere in the world.

    This fact led me to my first minor (hadn't-paid-enough-attention) epiphany: postage was from the next county down, because it turns out that despite its dot-com website and default US$ prices, Haveston is based in Norfolk, UK... This meant that 24 hours after ordering, the straps arrived via tracked, recorded delivery - and packaged throughout in eco-friendly packaging. First nice touch...










    The packaging info concerns itself only with the pull-thru type straps, but since the AAFs are all quick-release springbar types, it's not exactly technically-challenging to fit them to a watch!

    I expected a nice, well-made strap - and these very definitely Deliver. The colours are great - nicely subdued, and I absolutely love the overall designs. They follow a broadly 'flieger' design with a slight waist where the width changes from 20mm at the lugs to 18mm at the buckle. They are riveted, and the buckle-holes are reinforced with what, at a guess, is the same Alcantara with which they are lined - a great material choice, as this means they should be (carefully) washable and vegan-friendly! Where they depart significantly from typical flieger design is by using woven nylon and securing it with just a single stainless-steel rivet. The overall effect is distinctly modern with well-chosen retro influences - and I think it looks great.

    These straps really are all about the details - first, that aforementioned rivet is beautifully made and finished, it has no internal protrusion to mark the back of your wrist, and externally it has the Haveston logo neatly and deeply engraved into it. It adds visual interest and looks both classy and purposeful.

    Great care is also taken with the spring-bars - indeed the most care I have ever seen: they are top quality quick-release types, easily equivalent to Hirsch, and they are placed inside stainless-steel reinforcing tubes which are sewn into the lug-end of the strap! Even the little hole through which the springbar's lever protrudes is reinforced with the tiniest button-stitching I have ever seen! This lends the whole thing a robustness that even the best German manufacturers just don't match (and to my mind, the Germans generally make the best watch straps). Haveston really do seem to take their military styling seriously - i.e. they are making a robust and thoughtful product that would stand-up well to actual use in the field rather than just 'Walt'-style posing. Impressive.

    One retaining loop is free-floating, and the other is fixed near the buckle - and you will need them. My wrists are ~7.25" dia., and with the straps secured loosely there's a further 2" of adjustment available! These are looooong straps. A detail I love is the distinctly retro roller-buckle, but this is not frail brass or rust-prone chromed steel, it's stainless steel and to further reinforce the tool-watch vibe it's finish is matt sand-blasted. Now that's just Perfect with the Damaskos, Sinns, &c that I love!





    The straps are of moderate thickness - 3mm throughout until you get to the lug-end, and are fairly stiff to handle initially - this will invariably soften and conform better to your wrist with wear. I find them comfortable from the outset.




    'Faults' are nitpicking, and really have to do with personal taste:



    • I wish you could get them in 18mm and 22mm lug-widths, but currently just 20mm and 22mm are available.
    • I would prefer that the grey was grey, not blue-grey.
    • I wish they were available in shorter versions - but that would not be commercially viable.


    Overall, these are top quality straps with the best attention-to-detail I have personally experienced, I'm very impressed. I think they represent great value-for-money, too, and it feels good to support a small UK-based company
    Last edited by earlofsodbury; 4th August 2023 at 16:44. Reason: Update now 22mm are available

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    That's a really good review! I don't want want especially as my wrists are a nadge under 7" but, having read that - I want one!

  3. #3
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Great write up EarlOS, thanks for taking the time. The quality and attention to detail are nothing less than I'd expect from Alex. I love the colours of these straps and the buckles look excellent, but that central leather strip with the tang holes just doesn't appeal I'm afraid.
    F.T.F.A.

  4. #4
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddiex View Post
    That's a really good review! I don't want want especially as my wrists are a nadge under 7" but, having read that - I want one!
    Thank-you.



    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Great write up EarlOS, thanks for taking the time. The quality and attention to detail are nothing less than I'd expect from Alex. I love the colours of these straps and the buckles look excellent, but that central leather strip with the tang holes just doesn't appeal I'm afraid.
    And again, thank-you, not least for the inspiration - I've genuinely enjoyed your painstaking write-ups, not least because I think finding the right strap can make or break a watch, and indeed help sustain enjoyment over many years of ownership.

    Personally I really like the reinforcing strip, but it's part of this design's somewhat 'maximalist' feel - I'd guess from your own choice you prefer a more pared-back look?

  5. #5
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    And again, thank-you, not least for the inspiration - I've genuinely enjoyed your painstaking write-ups, not least because I think finding the right strap can make or break a watch, and indeed help sustain enjoyment over many years of ownership.

    Personally I really like the reinforcing strip, but it's part of this design's somewhat 'maximalist' feel - I'd guess from your own choice you prefer a more pared-back look?
    I'm flattered that you've enjoyed my musings, thank you. Yes, I'm a pared back sort of chap I suppose. Re the Sinn Diapal you have, when I decided to get a German chrono both that model and the 756 in basic and UTC guises were considered, but I went down the Damasko route instead. Your picture reminded me of the excellent legibility of the Sinn subdials and I was quite dismayed to see they aren't listed on their site, discontinued I suppose. Notwithstanding the prices that Sinn are asking now!

    PS. The MWC reminded me that I initially came to the forum to check MWC out as I'd worn one watch for 20yrs (my 1984 Datejust) but decided to stop wearing it 24/7 including working as a firefighter and buy a work watch. Little did I know . . .
    Last edited by magirus; 10th June 2023 at 19:25.
    F.T.F.A.

  6. #6
    A good post, Paul - thank you!

  7. #7
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qatar-wol View Post
    A good post, Paul - thank you!
    Cheers Walter

  8. #8
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Update

    Well now it seems 22mm is available as well - well worth a look, I think these are some of the best quality 'flieger' straps out there

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