Standing out in classic menswear is difficult, and I’d argue that it’s even more difficult with men’s leather goods. With shoes you can use chiseled lasts and thin waists. With tailoring you even have more options with colorful checked fabrics and dramatic lapels. With watches — anything goes really, so long as it can fit on top of a wrist.
With men’s leather goods it’s more difficult. Unless you play with exotic leathers, there’s not much you can play with. Colors are usually limited to your blacks, browns, and sometimes tans. Designs are also limited.
What’s left to stand out with is really the materials, details, and functionality. Cravar caught our attention mainly because of these points. Here’s our review of their watch roll with these three points in mind.
At the end, we also present you with a giveaway, courtesy of Cravar. Be sure to read through the post to find the answer to the question for the giveaway.
I. The Brand
Cravar was established by Yoki in 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. They primarily focus on leather bags and recently they’ve developed small leather goods, such as note books, belts, and watch rolls.
The leather goods market in Indonesia is actually very saturated. However, most seem to lean on the rugged end of the spectrum (which perhaps goes hand in hand with Indonesia’s booming denim market). On the other end of the spectrum, you have your sleek, formal briefcases, which is rare in Indonesia. Cravar, I would say, falls somewhere in the middle.
Our readers and followers know how much emphasis we put on versatility, and it seems that Cravar struck the right balance in their design. If you look at their catalog, their bags look like they can be worn with rugged workwear (given the matte, veg-tanned leather – more on this below) and sleek tailoring (given the simple design and conservative colors).
Even though the leather goods market is quite saturated, Cravar manages to stand out with its products. While I haven’t used their bags (which is their main focus), their watch rolls are a good indication of the quality of their products.
Cravar exclusively uses full-grain, veg-tanned leathers. The leathers are locally-sourced from Yogyakarta and are developed together by Cravar and the tannery. I dislike generalizations of “veg-tanned: good/chrome-tanned: bad,” but it makes perfect sense for Cravar to use veg-tanned leather, given their design language. And the veg-tanned leather used by Cravar is of high quality.
I was initially not convinced that veg-tanned leather would be ideal for watch rolls. In my experience veg-tanned leathers tend to be dryer, thicker, and less flexible than chrome-tanned leather. These are not qualities I look for in watch rolls. Having said this, the leather used by Cravar, though veg-tanned, is very soft and flexible. This results in a watch roll that is quite compact (more on this below).
The interior of the watch roll is made of soft suede. This is imperative to ensure that the watch roll does not scratch the watches (especially acrylic glasses on vintage pieces, which are very susceptible to scratches).
The watch roll features some details that don’t necessarily make it more durable or functional, but make the watch roll nicer. The first detail worth pointing out is the rolled edges. All edges, both on this inside and outside, are covered by a piece of leather, which provides a neater look.
Cravar gives an option to stamp your initials. They can also stamp logos (at a cost, to produce the brass stamp). In our case, we went for a simple PL for the Patina Log.
The closing mechanism is quite simple yet effective. It’s a simple leather string with a ball at the end, and it does its job by keeping the watch roll closed. No need for fiddly buckles.
The watch roll can accommodate four watches and an extra strap or spring bar remover, and it can accommodate them well. As discussed above, the materials are quite soft and flexible, which means that the watch roll is quite compact. It has no issues fitting chunkier watches like the SKX (42.5mm in diameter and 13.25mm in thickness) with its bracelet.
I find that the watch roll can be used either rolled up or folded. I find myself folding the watch roll more often than I roll it; I find that it’s easier to pack it this way as it is similar in length and width as a folded-up t-shirt.
Recently, Cravar has developed a simple, yet effective way of preventing bracelets from scratching casebacks in the watch roll. Each slot comes with a thin piece of leather that can be put between the bracelet and caseback. It will add some thickness and stiffness to the watch roll, although I have not tried it with four braceleted watches at the same time.
Yoki informed me that this was suggested to him by his customers. I’ve not seen any other maker include this in their watch rolls and I am quite impressed by the sheer simplicity of this solution as well as Cravar’s willingness to listen to customer feedback and never-ending desire to improve their products.
V. Closing and Giveaway
If it is not already clear enough from the above analysis, I am fully satisfied with the watch roll. Though I have not had a chance to use it a lot for traveling, I do find myself storing my watches at home in it. The watch roll is priced at IDR 850,000, which is a good price for such a well-functioning and well-made product (not to mention it’s probably a fraction of the cost of the watches that will most likely be stored and protected in it).
We are giving away one watch roll as reviewed here to you. The rules are as follows:
1. Have a recipient address in Indonesia (local shipping is on us).
2. Follow @thepatinalog and @cravar on Instagram.
3. Comment on Instagram where you want to bring the watch roll to (once safe) and what watches you want to bring.
4. Tag three active accounts (private or public) in the comment section on Instagram.
5. Read the review so we can quiz you on something we mention in the review (hint: it has something to do with the whisky glass).
The winner will be announced one week after the date of posting.
Written by: Nikki Krisadtyo