Essential galuchat leather guide for fashion lovers

galuchat leather

Galuchat leather watch straps, pearly and shiny, are not only a fashionable style statement, but also a durable product, incredibly luxurious and very resistant, one of the most precious on the market.

What is galuchat leather?

The term « galuchat » comes from the family name of a French artisan, Jean-Claude Galuchat. He was the master sheath craftsman of King Louis XV, first in Europe to develop the process to obtain this type of leather ( 18th century ).
In Asia such a technique was well known since the 8th century: shark skin were used as an abrasive, like fine sandpaper for polishing wood.

It is also called shagreen (from the French « chagrin ») or sharkskin, because the hide is obtained from the skin of sharks, catsharks, stingrays or rays (though sharks are now endangered animals, and their fishing is prohibited). They are naturally covered with round and small dots in a hard substance similar to ivory, which protects them against predators’ attacks.


The preparation of galuchat leather

The high value on the market of shagreen leather is due to the fact that this leather is very difficult to process and that the procedures are strictly kept secret by manufacturers.

The ivory-like rough surface with its rounded pale scales need to be grinded, sanded and polished as if it were stone or metal. The complexity of that work make galuchat leather very expensive.

Getting the right colors is also difficult. The dye must be applied inside only. This will allow the outside scales to be delicately tinted, while the leather between the scales will show a shade of the dying color.

Galuchat leather accessories

At first, Galuchat was developed for the hilts and scabbards of swords and daggers, to make them less slippery as possible. Later, it has been used as a fancy leather for book bindings, pocketbooks and small cases. Since it was considered waterproof, it has been used for a long time for many toiletry items such as shaving kits, snuff boxes and other items of a personal nature, or travel goods such as suitcases, purses or safe boxes.

After the French Revolution its popularity increased again during the Arts and Crafts and Art Déco era, from the late Nineteenth century to the 1930s.
It was used for sophisticated objects such as vases, candle sticks, frames and even furniture.

The raw hard finish and traditional pale green tone lent itself very well to the prevailing Art Déco style, whereas today the tanned galuchat leather is most requested because of the delicate play between new brilliant colors applied to the leather and the brilliance given by the opalescent scales.

Today it is very appreciated in fashion and design and used for luxury details such as buttons, handles, sunglasses cases, jewelry boxes, headphone holders and watch bands.

Galuchat watch bands

Watch straps are one of the most appreciated products in galuchat leather. They are incredibly luxurious and very resistant, among the most precious on the market.

The super precious stingray leather, pearly and shiny (sometimes combined with pearls or gemstones), is perfect for those who want an incredibly durable product. And it is no coincidence that it is being used for Apple Watch bands, the most stylish and fashionable high-tech smartwatch of the year.

While furniture galuchat items are still proposed in the old-style green or neutral colors of the Art Déco traditions, stingray watch bands are often made in strong colors. This emphasizes the combination of light and shadow, mostly in tropical colors such as Royal blue, Maldives red, Purple and Cashmire Rose.

On the other side, Dark Secret model, a black galuchat leather watch band is the perfect high-end alternative to a classic black alligator or crocodile band. A distinguished timeless touch on your wrist!

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