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Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

Talk about your experience, good and bad, here.
watchpalooza
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Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#1

Post by watchpalooza » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:20 am

Background

In the past few years, the market for innovative watches and watch accessories has exploded. There are hundreds of new startups and collaborations launching every month, each trying to get in on the action and find a profitable niche to occupy. Amid the rash of new players, many are in it just for money. They build their brand around genuine-sounding fictitious stories or characters and attempt to appeal to either nostalgia or rebelliousness. Their so-called “innovations” are little more than low-cost copies of existing designs or gimmicks, marketed as new and “affordable”.

Very few are truly bringing unique designs to market that attempt to challenge traditional design thinking. Fewer still are actual watch aficionados motivated by a desire to offer something elegant and practical to the watch community. And even fewer are able to actually pull it off. Yet this is precisely what MoT forum member Håkon Reine of Froskemann Straps (@Froskemann) has done.

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Introducing Froskemann

Håkon initially created Froskemann (Norwegian for “frog man”) straps for his own use and benefit. As he explains, he was “a little bothered by the traditional NATO straps. Although I love them, I get annoyed by two layers of straps under the watch, holes that multiply over time and all the steel humps in the road. In addition, I do not like all the extra straps that you usually have to fold under the steel hem when you have put on the watch. The sum of this led me to develop precisely Froskemann, which was to address these things.” The design was inspired from an early 20th century advertisement for a military watch by Simplex that showed a similar buckle system.

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Every watch strap is a balance and compromise between security and adjustability. Traditionally one is limited by the holes for band adjustment, and in the case of nato straps the length of loose strap remaining at the end. The Froskemann system does away with traditional adjustment in favor of an infinitely adjustable buckle which does not rely on holes to keep it secure nor require untucking the strap end for adjustment. It also eliminates the need for metal loops to hold the loose strap end. Instead the buckle simply hooks onto the band at any point and holds it securely in place. This design is simple yet effective, and provides for precise adjustment. Additionally, it offers many ways to wear the strap (more on this later).

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Froskemann currently offers straps in two sizes (20 and 22mm) and two styles (elastic and traditional nylon), each with a suitably sized Froskemann buckle. There are four colorways to choose from (black, green, blue and black with thin white stripe). Håkon also plans to offer the buckles for purchase without strap, though this option was not available at the time of the review.


The Review
I received eight straps to review...four traditional nylon and four elastic, half in 20mm and half 22mm. The first thing I noticed was the very high quality of the buckles. These are machined from thicker steel than most and have zero flex...very solid. The edges are smooth and corners curved, leaving no sharp points or edges. The profile is pleasantly curved and the notch for securing to the strap has a slight V shape and very fine teeth. The buckles have a brushed finish that extends to every edge and angle. The Froskemann name and logo are laser-etched on top. A lot of thought and rigor went into ensuring that these are top-notch buckles...and it shows.

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The straps are cut from the same fabric as most high-end nato and elastic straps. Håkon hand cuts and finishes the straps himself, and as a result they are not as refined as the buckles. There is great variation in strap length and how the ends and stitching are finished. Some have very rough and uneven edges, others show inconsistent or misaligned stitching. On four of the straps the stitching missed one end of the strap and protruded over the edge on the opposite side leaving a sharp nub (see photo below). These anomalies are hardly visible during wear and may not affect function...but to me the strap finishing really should be better for straps offered at this price point. Håkon took this feedback and is already looking at how to improve the quality and consistency of the strap finishing. It is not easy to elevate a hobby from side-hustle to primetime. I have little doubt that he will do so.

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Wearing the Froskemann straps is a complete joy. The strap tension is very easy to adjust and they wear quite comfortably. In fact, they are the most comfortable straps I have ever worn. Being able to wear them in a variety of configurations and to place the buckle anywhere and re-adjust easily enables extremely precise fitting. Once I set the tension just right, I found I could hardly feel that I even had a watch on. I literally faced panic moments during the day when I would check my wrist to make sure my watch was still on it! Sure enough, the buckle had not budged...it was just that comfortable. I also like that the system reduces the bulkiness of traditional natos...there is no loop of strap to tuck in and get awkwardly bent over time.

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I have worn many nato and zulu straps over the years, including several variations on buckle and clasp design. Generally I have found them to be much more comfortable than most traditional watch bands or bracelets. When I first saw the Froskemann, I had doubts about whether it would offer any gain over existing natos. I doubted that the buckle would stay in place and did not expect any gain in comfort. But this simple design really gets it done.

To put it to its test, I wore Froskemann straps daily for a few weeks. I wore one on a 5km run and then while mountain biking a 40km route....it did not loosen. It faired equally well through fulls days of playing soccer and also doing handstands and aerobics. Next I took it to the water park for swimming and down water slides. I even put one on my son and watched him skateboard, play basketball and conquer the slip ‘n slide for a few hours. The final test was an hour of rigorous applause at a theatre show. Through all the testing, the fit never changed or loosened.

For full disclosure, it took me a day of adjustment to find the optimal placement of the buckle before I found zen. Too far up the side of the wrist and the buckle and strap loop stuck out awkwardly. For me the optimal placement is dead center on the bottom of my wrist...there the buckle rests flatly against the underside of the wrist and the strap loop is held flat. This is also an optimal placement for adjustment as I can easily hook the buckle anywhere along the flat of the bottom of my wrist. Figuring this out unlocked the full potential and comfort of the Froskemann buckles.

I am quite surprised to have found such a simple and compelling innovation in watch buckles. The Froskemann buckle design is easily one of the best and most versatile I have seen, especially for securing elastic straps. It works flawlessly and allows several different configurations, from double wrap to no band under the watch. The double wrap was for me the most comfortable way to wear, but please note that for this configuration you must specify an “extra long” strap when your place your order. In each configuration the buckle held securely and was very easy to adjust. Here are three ways to configure:

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Pricing
Froskemann straps currently sell for $28-30 on Håkon’s website. To me this is a rather high price to pay for these straps, even with the cool buckle design. I have suggested to sell the buckles alone for $8-10, and perhaps $16-20 for the full straps. Pricing is not easy when you are just starting a business on the side and do not have volume to drive down production costs nor investment to keep things going. These may be the reasons for the initial higher pricing. My hope is that Håkon does not price himself out of the market and is able to find investment to industrialize his offering and bring it to market at a price that drives volume.


Bottom Line
Froskemann is a great idea, being executed by someone with passion, and can only get better from here. While pricing is a bit high, the buckles are top quality and offer a level of unparalleled comfort in wear and flexibility of configuration. The bands are of good quality fabric, but finishing is presently rough (though Håkon is working on improving). The number of colorways and patterns is limited, and I would also like to see more variety here. Personally, I will choose to wear a Froskemann over most of my other straps...especially when doing something active where I do not want to feel the presence of my watch or have the extra bulk from folding a traditional nato on the far side of my wrist.

To support Håkon and learn more about Froskemann Straps, check out his website here: https://froskemann.com. During the month of September, he is offering a sizable discount to MoT members using the following checkout codes:

35% off the elastics: “mot.elastics35”
50% off the nato straps: “mot.nato50”

Thank you to Håkon for providing the samples and responding to my questions and feedback during the review process. I applaud your entrepreneurship and courage to try something new and experiment, as well as your openness to feedback. It is great to have you as a member of ManonTime.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#2

Post by Boourns » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:26 am

Great review @watchpalooza! And thanks to Håkon for the discount code. Going to give one a try next month for sure.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#3

Post by Sporkboy » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:47 pm

Very interesting. The design looks like a much evolved version of a G-hook. There is an extra hole and the hook section is very different, but the DNA of it looks to be clear.

Image

Looking forward to seeing where he goes with this and I will probably try one out next month. Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed review.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#4

Post by TheJohnP » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:09 pm

I have never been satisfied with NATO straps either, as much as I want to like them. The "under" technique has been the only way that I've found comfortable.

I am interested to see how these may work.

Hope he is able to patent the buckle design. Otherwise these will be showing up on AliExpress in a matter of weeks, if they're not on there already.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#5

Post by borgil » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:36 pm

Thanks for the great review watchpalooza.
Did you prefer the elastic or the regular fabric strap?
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#6

Post by watchpalooza » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:11 pm

borgil wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:36 pm
Thanks for the great review watchpalooza.
Did you prefer the elastic or the regular fabric strap?
I enjoy wearing both, but IMO the elastic are where the Froskemann buckle really shines. I would also say that the double loop way of wearing (which for me is the most comfortable) is only practical with the elastic strap.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#7

Post by borgil » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:20 pm

watchpalooza wrote:
borgil wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:36 pm
Thanks for the great review watchpalooza.
Did you prefer the elastic or the regular fabric strap?
I enjoy wearing both, but IMO the elastic are where the Froskemann buckle really shines. I would also say that the double loop way of wearing (which for me is the most comfortable) is only practical with the elastic strap.
Thanks that’s good to know. I will give it a go.

When I saw your pictures with the buckle on the side of the wrist I thought that configuration might be suitable for a two watch configuration.
I have been looking at a way to have a mechanical watch at the top of my wrist and a smart watch at the bottom "smart strap style".
Do you think that could work?
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#8

Post by Froskemann » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:17 am

Thank you for such a thorough review!

I made a noob mistake on creating the coupon codes. I set the webshop to give a 35 DOLLAR discount per product, wich means all products are free.

After this facepalm, I have edited the coupon codes, so that you will get 35% discount on the elastics, and 50% on the natos as it should be.

It should work now <nervous laughter>
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#9

Post by borgil » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:53 am

Froskemann wrote:Thank you for such a thorough review!

I made a noob mistake on creating the coupon codes. I set the webshop to give a 35 DOLLAR discount per product, wich means all products are free.

After this facepalm, I have edited the coupon codes, so that you will get 35% discount on the elastics, and 50% on the natos as it should be.

It should work now <nervous laughter>
It does. :-)

Thank you for the codes and I wish you a lot of success.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#10

Post by Froskemann » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:10 am

It's a pleasure! Thank you very much 🙂
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#11

Post by borgil » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:18 am

I received my straps and buckles this week. I have not had much time to play with them yet but they look good.

Here is a little experiment I did though trying to use the strap with two watches.
There are probably other alternatives but it is fairly comfortable.

ImageImageImageImageImage
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#12

Post by TheJohnP » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:36 pm

Still waiting on mine to deliver.
Sigh.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#13

Post by TheJohnP » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:23 pm

TheJohnP wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:36 pm
Still waiting on mine to deliver.
Sigh.

Been a month since I placed my order and still no delivery.
Starting to get a little concerned.
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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#14

Post by TheJohnP » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:59 am

The straps finally arrived!!

After a month of no delivery, I reached out to Håkon, and he was as concerned as I was.
He explained that adding tracking was cost prohibitive. And if they didn't arrive in a given time, he would send out replacements. Of course they showed up a few days later.

Finally got around to trying them out.
Can't say I found the traditional NATO way of wearing them satisfactory, as the buckle wears too high against my wrist.
But their simple loop method works like a charm and fits quite comfortably after some minor adjusting to a correct size ratio.


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Either way, that buckle is not moving once everything is locked in. That buckle is worth the price of admission.

Here's my Tissot PRC 100 on the Bond elastic strap.


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Re: Review of Froskemann Watch Straps

#15

Post by Locrian » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:49 pm

Just ordered one, a black nylon. This is exactly what I was looking for.
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