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press release: Horween Shell Cordovan, the best leather you can find

Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan, one of the finest leathers in the world, is used to make the exclusive watchstraps from NOMOS Glashütte. And this leather has a secret: It is made from very specific, dense parts of the hide that protect the horse from flies.

GLASHÜTTE, SEPTEMBER 2022. This leather is like the watch it fastens: Made patiently following old traditions—by people who love their craft. The resulting products belong to those rare items which, as they change in time, only get better: The colors deepen; sun and wear alter the material—a beautiful metamorphosis. This leather is made by a tannery in Chicago: The Horween Leather Company.

Straps made from Genuine Shell Cordovan, as this leather is called, are only found on watches from NOMOS Glashütte. It is true that other manufacturers use equine leather as well, but only NOMOS Glashütte uses the finest, most supple, and durable part of the hide; two small ovals, the existence and distinctive quality of which only few people are aware. Two thick, smooth, shell-shaped parts located to the right and left on the rump above the tail. The leather shells are small—some just the size of a palm or two, others slightly larger, and they are thick because the parts are located in the horse’s “blind spot”: An area the horse can’t reach with its tail or teeth to get rid of pesky flies. The hide is thicker there to prevent the flies from being a nuisance.

Horsehide is rare, because horses themselves are becoming rare as machines have largely replaced workhorses. The animals are not raised for their hide—no horse dies for this purpose. This makes the Horween tannery in Chicago the last of its kind. A world-famous family-owned company, established in 1905. They also make the leather used in the footballs of the National Football League (NFL) and basketballs of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Artisans scrape and cut the hides by hand at the workshop in Chicago. The leather is then vegetable tanned, air-dried on glass frames, curried with bark dyes and oils and burnished with heavy rollers. Afterward it is stored to allow the oils to penetrate and darken the hide. The process is elaborate, requiring over a hundred individual steps and at least six months to complete. Today, things are done much as they were 120 years ago. But patience pays off: This smooth, yet robust leather yields straps for watches which bring joy to their wearers for years and years.

NOMOS luxury, artisanal from start to finish: The watch model Lambda. Prominent: The sophisticated fine movement with its rubies and hand-engraved balance cock. And the beautiful brown strap made from Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan: Remborde and cushioned, fitted with the specially designed gold NOMOS clasp.
The more they age and the longer you wear them, the more beautiful they become: NOMOS straps made from Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan. Once tanned, the Cordovan is cut, keeping only the best part of the equine leather to serve as straps for NOMOS watches: Small, shell-shaped patches taken from the horse’s rump, above the tail. The hide there is especially supple, durable and water-resistant. 
The shells: These oval patches consist of leather that is thick enough to prevent pesky flies from annoying the animal. This is made necessary because the horse is unable to brush them away from this area above its tail.
Quality assurance: Done in person, with each detail subject to scrutiny—such as the stitching on the NOMOS straps made from Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan. However, the NOMOS straps are not stitched in the USA, but in Bavaria. Photo: Fluco.
It’s the overall impression that counts—and for watches, that includes the strap. Watch model Metro neomatik midnight blue by NOMOS Glashütte with a strap made from Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan, dyed, oiled and burnished by hand.
A remborde strap made from Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan with a steel clasp: perfect for a NOMOS watch. This leather is made in Chicago with oils, bark and plant extracts using time-honored techniques. An effort on par with the work involved to make a NOMOS Glashütte watch.
In brown and black with a gold NOMOS clasp: Cushioned and remborde straps made from Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan, arguably the finest equine leather in the world. The remborde technique closes the strap edges seamlessly, protecting against water, oil and perfume. Straps like these are exclusive to NOMOS Glashütte watches.
At the Horween Leather Company in Chicago: The shells are ready to be processed. A few other manufacturers use equine leather as well. But NOMOS Glashütte is the only one to reserve the best part of the hide, that small area above the tail, for its straps. The hide there is especially dense and of high quality—making the straps particularly durable. By the way: No animal is deprived of its life for its hide.