Crown & Buckle is a staple in the watch community. Whether you’re looking to breathe new life into an old watch with a change of strap or you’re stocking up on NATOs for the summer, this Florida-headquartered purveyor of quality and affordable straps is a first resort for so many collectors. I’m personally a customer of theirs, and I’ve written about their incredibly rugged HD NATO before (which, by the way, is still on my Seiko SKX007). When I was considering the Rallye, I searched around and didn’t find much at the time in the way of reviews, so I wanted to share my experience with the strap.
As I expected, it looks great on a range of watches. Rally straps are most at home when they’re on something with a chronograph and a tachymeter, like a Speedmaster, but as soon as I bought my Seiko Solar Chrono Diver, I imagined it would look great on a sporty, racing-inspired strap. I occasionally swap the strap between the Seiko and the Speedy, but the Rallye spends 80% of its time on the Seiko where it enables the watch to be a good grab-and-go piece for me. It’s matte finished, so it works well as a low-key borderline beater, but I do appreciate how the worn look built over time complements the Speedmaster.
It’s fairly padded (5.5mm at its thickest), so my biggest worry about a strap as thick as the Rallye is stiffness and break-in. Surprisingly, it’s ultra comfortable from the first wear. Contrast this to an alternative like the Hirsh Rally. Although the Hirsh is a nice strap, the leather is a bit tougher and takes a few wears to mold to your wrist. Softness like this is a big plus when it comes to padded straps.
You can pick up the Rallye on crownandbuckle.com for $34 in various widths (18-24mm), and there’s an alternative tan color begging for a Speedmaster or a Pogue. At some point in the future, I’d love to see a darker brown–I have one or two watches in my collection I’d love to see on a brown Rallye.