The material for shiny Budapest shoes, elegant belts and the straps of mechanical wristwatches comes from one very particular firm: Horween Leather Company in Chicago. The company crafts the most exclusive leather in the world: "Shell Cordovan."
Shell Cordovan is obtained from horsehide, or rather from a small part of it. There is a kidney-shaped area of compressed skin on the hind quarter of all equine animals. This may possibly be for protection, because the animals cannot reach it with their teeth or their tails when trying to keep away insects.
Shell Cordovan is obtained solely from this small area, an eighth of the horsehide, while bags and jackets are made from the remaining hide. The much coveted quality is located only in this small area. The leather is taken from the inside of the hide and is particularly finely pored. It has a unique smoothness and thickness; it shines, is almost indestructible and ages beautifully.
Straps made from Shell Cordovan have a much longer lifespan than those made from ostrich, cowhide, crocodile or shark - and they are politically correct, too. The straps made of this leather never wear out, but acquire instead a chic patina.
If it was a large animal with broad hindquarters, then even two pair of shoes could be made from the noble buttocks. Alternatively, this skin can be used to produce a dozen straps for NOMOS Glashütte.
NOMOS Glashütte is basically the only manufactory that uses this leather for its straps. There are other companies which offer straps made from Cordovan. But none that uses the much sought-after Shell.
Some of the smaller NOMOS watches come with a delicate, light-brown strap made from suede velour instead, as we feel that these suit the delicate watches better than the Shell Cordovan straps. And delicate wrists, too. The velour is not quite as hard-wearing but nevertheless, it is rather durable.