A Look at Erika's Original MN Straps

I have been aware of Erika’s Original MN Straps for a while, but it is only in the last few months that I have gotten first-hand experience with them.  I am impressed with both the quality of the straps and the level of customer service.  This may be the beginning of a long (and possibly expensive) relationship.

On October 6th, after a six month wait, I got a call from my AD that a Tudor FXD was available.  After picking it up I immediately began to strategize about aftermarket bands.  In truth this was one of the things that had attracted me to the model. I love a good NATO strap and this watch, with no possibilities of a bracelet, seemed like the perfect platform to get creative.

I had initially thought about ordering a military style green and yellow strap, but after checking out the options on her webpage I decided to go with something a little more contemporary.  This was the two-tone Mirage (grey on grey) and the Trident (dark blue with grey highlights). Both were ordered with brushed hardware and the standard MN anchor engraving. 

Ordering through the webpage was easy and it was about a three week wait for the bands to arrive from Europe.  Initially I thought that the dark blue Trident would be my go-to, but when I had them both in the hand I was really taken with Mirage.  I put it on the FXD and it has literally never come off since.

This is one of the more comfortable straps that I have worn.  The material itself (high-grade nylon dyed in Switzerland) is not as soft as I have felt on some watches.  Its rigid and there is a surprising degree of dimensionality to the very tight weave.  This holds the watch head very securely and distributed its weight perfectly around the wrist. There is no flopping or twisting with this strap. Everything always looks sharp and crisp. When pulling on the band there is initially very little give and it feels almost like a solid weave.  But with just a bit more pressure it relaxes and opens, revealing its true structure.

I have no doubt that these straps are going to survive years of hard work. The FXD is my workout watch and I wear it on 5-6 mile runs most days of the week.  It gets soaked with rain and sweat and cleaned in the shower.  I am using this band hard and its only feeling better and better.  The material has softened slightly as it has “broke in,” and the edges of the strap might be a bit lighter now than when it was new.  My sense is that it will look great after 6 more months of hard daily use.  I don’t think you can understate just how tough and well made these pieces are.

These are not the cheapest MN straps you are going to find.  In fact, these are on the more expensive side at about 90 dollars for the basic models.  On the other hand, there aren’t that many places where you can get truly custom handmade works of this quality for any price.  If you are interested in Erika’s straps be sure to check out the video tour of her workshop that was done with Oris. I was genuinely surprised to discover the amount of hand work that went into every band.

I would like to close this review with a few words about Erika herself.  I had the pleasure of interacting with her briefly during the course of a follow-up order.  My mother is a dedicated amateur weaver so I decided to show her the afore mentioned video so that she could see the computerized loom that Erika’s straps are woven on. She was so impressed with what Erika was doing that I then decided to order her a strap for her Apple Watch (the Connery).

When I accidentally ordered two incompatible options Erika herself reached out to figure out what was actually needed.  We talked briefly and I mentioned that this would be a gift and even shared some photos of mother’s loom and weaving.  When the band arrived it was accompanied with a very nice hand written note and an invitation to visit the shop in Spain at some point.  Needless to say my mom was ecstatic (best Christmas present ever!) and I was truly impressed with the degree of customer service and genuine personal engagement.

There is an old expression that you get what you pay for.  That has certainly been my experience with Erica’s Original MN’s.  So what is next?  Maybe the Black Ops with an orange stripe for my Laco GMT? That would look sharp.....    

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I have four of her straps, they are worth every penny. 

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Not sure I could spend that kind of money a nylon strap