Shell Cordovan leather: Beautiful history and Why you will love it

Shell Cordovan leather: Beautiful history and Why you will love it - finwatchstraps

I just knew about Shell cordovan (or cordovan) a few days ago and I’m totally into it. There are a plenty of leather types out there, so if you don’t know cordovan yet, keep reading this. If you already know it, there can be something that interests you. Shell cordovan is the common material used for making high-end shoes, along with wallets and watch straps. A person I know claimed that cordovan is the best leather that goes perfectly on your wrist (as he’s having one Seiko). It’s undoubted that this man is a serious cordovan devotee, but there are reasons why people fall in love with this type of leather. 

Origin and history

Shell cordovan leather is made from the fibrous flat muscle (or shell) beneath the hide on the rump of a horse. This is the only part of the horse’s posterior that is utilized for shell cordovan, other parts don’t make it a true cordovan. This leather comes only from horses, and other kinds of leather from cows or deer will not be counted.

A cordovan was first produced by the Visigoths in the 7th century in the city of Cordoba (Spain) where it took the name (with a bit modification) from. The leather was then made by the Moors during the Middle Age. Cordovan was mainly used as the razor stops in the barber shops in the 19th and 20th century rather than the material for shoes because it was expensive. Due to the outstanding durability and unique design, cordovan has been more widely used for leather fashion accessories. However, the increase in demand leads to the lack of supply power as this leather is difficult to produce.

Image source: Horween

IImage source: Shoegazing

The process

There are not many tanneries in the world supplying Shell Cordovan due to the labor-intensive process. Shinki in Japan and Horween in Chicago are the biggest ones to produce this type of leather. Horween, “Cordovan capital of the world” (the Chicago Tribune) keeps the exact stages and formula that were developed in 1905 for today process. Shell cordovan is reputed to go through a 6-month tanning process, which counts up to 12 months for the total procedure. Therefore, the material itself has a history.  

Image source: Hodinkee

The quality

Shell cordovan leather has stunning quality with exceptional durability. Although the leather is firm and tough, it also has room for elasticity and comfort. After going through the tanning process, the material itself is gleaming without the need to polish. Cordovan leather is known to be non-creasing and capable of maintaining its characteristic over time. This material is water-resistant, but it also requires care. The variety of Shell cordovan colors is quite limited as there are mostly the basic colors. These colors, though being simple, are elegant and delicate with a classic and genuine look.

FinWatchStraps will start the production of the Cordovan leather bands pretty soon. The new Shell Cordovan collection is planned for the fall 2018. Please, stay updated and check our new models coming this autumn-winter season. 

As you are one of a kind in this universe, you deserve a leather band that is perfectly fit and personalized for you. At FinWatchStraps, our watch straps are crafted with love and care from selecting the material to the finished product. We tailor your experience and elevate your beloved watches.

You can find our customized wrist band here:

And you can easily find your personal watch band here in FinWatchStraps. So please, don’t hesitate to contact us, we would love to help you. 

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