Hi strap lovers. This is a great story of an adventure of a lifetime for my great customer David. We've worked together for a while now designing and building a few straps for his small, but impressive watch collection, several of which I have featured here over the past year or so. During that time we have, of course, traded many e-mails and a bunch of phone call working out what he wanted. It turns out we both share a love of motorcycling and adventure (although his adventures are on a whole different level than mine). During the course of one of our conversations, he brought up that he's been a lifelong hunter and that he'd been on Safari in Africa and was I interested in making a very special strap for him. Needless to say I was intrigued and wanted to hear what he has in the way of leather from his hunts and what he had in mind. Well, he goes on to relate this extraordinary story of his Safari in Zimbabwe, where he takes down a Cape Buffalo with a 19th century double barreled rifle (two shots then you have to re-load!!). Anyone who's ever hunted knows that to hunt an animal with as fierce a reputation as a Cape Buffalo with a double shot is some he-man stuff. African Cape Buffalo has earned it's reputation by being one of the most dangerous (and deadly) animals in Africa, by often turning on and charging the unskilled or unlucky hunter with sometimes (for the hunter) tragic results. In fact, they are know to be able to withstand many well place rifle rounds before going down. I'll let David pickup the story from here...
"The hunt was in real Africa with elephants chasing you, rhinos around and the odd lion here and there. The gun, a Holland and Holland London built in 1892, I bought from a dealer in the US specifically to go and hunt dangerous game one of the Big Five-Cape Buffalo. My wife Drue was with me the entire hunt. I practiced with the gun for 2 years and hand loaded all my ammo as you cannot buy 577 Black Powder Express ammo today. The rifle weighs 12 lbs and shoots a hand cast very hard lead bullet weighing 585 grains and will group 3 rounds into a 3 inch circle at 50 yards. I shot the Buff at 50 yards after a 2 hr stalk in the brush. I hit him with both barrels in the lungs top heart area and he turned and faced me. I reloaded and shot him again both barrels before he went down. They are very difficult to kill and sometimes take a dozen shots. He was about 10 years old and had lion scars all over his back which you can see on the full hide. I wear boots and belts now watchbands made from this old gentleman. It was the culmination of a dream I have had ever since high school to do what I did. I shot a lot of hogs in Texas for practice!!!!"
Picking up my little corner of the story, he sends me several pieces of the Cape Buffalo - his Cape Buffalo to make a strap or two for him and some extra that I can offer, (which I will as a very special Limited Edition offering soon). he sent me these leather pieces during my transition to Germany and what with lost in shipping nightmares and customs challenges (an adventure all its own), I was finally able to get my hands on his hide pieces and I work with him on several design options, finally settling in a double stitched pattern in Butterscotch and hand custom tinted Maroon, which I think turned out incredible. He finally recieved his stap in August and mounted it on his PAM. I must say I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to make his watch strap a reality and to have in some small way become a part of David's adventure.
I hope you, enjoy a few photos of his hunt, the strap I made, his watch and some photos of the very special gun. Also keep an eye here for a very special "David Boyles" Limited Edition Cape Buffalo strap coming very soon.
Here is the completed strap slide show: