Ever since 2012, Jean Paul Menicucci is the go-to guy for our watch straps, pouches, boxes, trays and more exclusive leather products. In his manufacture near the Tuscan city of Lucca, each strap requires up to 45 minutes and many steps to complete. JP’s dedication to handcraft and passion for watches and style has made him our ally and our friend. Time to shine a light on JPM!
All products we present together with Jean Paul Menicucci are exclusively made for us – in a process that combines our lust for innovation with Jean Paul’s passion for materials and craftsmanship. A connection that felt right from the start, as Bernhard remembers: „Back then, I was searching for straps that really add something to the watches we love. I disliked what was available in the market at the time, it was all too mainstream, too bourgeois. My idea of a leather watch strap was – and is – more about character and emotions, about a certain mojo that adds a „lived-in“ touch even when paired with a brand new watch.“
A Bit More Exclusive
At the time, Jean Paul had only been in the watch strap business for about two years himself – before that, he had already seen success in the fashion world by producing leather belts: „When Bernhard and I began working seven years ago, we started with a standard production. But by the second or third order, we had already proceeded to give things a little more edge, more patina, make it a bit more exclusive. At my workshop, I have fifty or sixty kinds of leather available at any given time, and I always try to make it different with Bernhard, using something I generally don’t use for other clients.“
The Bulang and Sons straps from the JPM manufacture are special because of their materials and the way these are handled. Super soft and comfortable to wear, the leathers leaving the Lucca workshop are naturally tanned and treated. JPM is a family business, with the straps being hand-made by Jean Paul’s mother, father and other family members who know all there is to know about this traditional way of working. Many steps are necessary to create genuine pieces – one vintage style watch strap can take up to an hour to finish. This passion for detail is the main aspect that separates JPM straps from those offered by other producers.
See and discover how our straps are made…
The leathers are key in this process. Mostly made from finest calf hide sourced in France or Germany and refined in one of the few remaining original tanneries of Tuscany, the materials carry a depth and character that is hard to find these days. Many of these leathers are used for the bags and other products of the most treasured luxury brands. Others are just right for our collections. Jean Paul: „If I have some special leather which I think is right for Bulang and Sons, there’s a 99.9% chance that Bernhard will like it. And it’s the same with things we don’t like. It’s great to work together when you understand each other so well.“
Win-Win (and Win)
Bulang and Sons are regularly developing collections in close collaboration with Jean Paul Menicucci. Bernhard and his team devise concepts, styles and details. Jean Paul then adds his knowledge, craftsmanship and gusto, resulting in successful Bulang and Sons exclusivities like the M65, HeyDay, Joie de Vivre and Maverick Collections or the Tudor Bronze straps. At times, it works the other way round and Jean Paul comes to us with a new leather, an innovative colour or product idea that springs from his deep passion for watches and style – a real win-win situation that keeps on winning.
Heart and Soul
By now, Bernhard and the team regularly visit Jean Paul for business and leisure. Together, we go to the tanneries, explore new ideas, take time for pasta or coffee – all this makes the products more personal, says Bernhard: „Jean Paul is definitely a watch man, just like us at Bulang and Sons. And just like we do, he wants to create straps that pay a compliment to a beautiful watch. That is the motivation which brought us together in the first place, and that is why the bond has grown so strong over the years – as iconoclasts in the watch game, we have brought some fresh heart and soul into this often too conservative scene. And we’re not done yet!“
Deeper Than Usual
Asked about the highlight of the work he’s done with Bulang and Sons so far, Jean Paul does not have to think for long: „When we did the video, two years ago, for the Lucca Collection. We spent three days together here making the film and photos, we visited the tannery, talked so much about this work, the materials … that was closer, deeper than usual in this business. Bernhard has an understanding and appreciation for this traditional work, and that’s why we wanted to show it, to honour the craft with a film.“ He laughs: „I often think that Bernhard and me, we are lucky to work together!“
View and discover our video for the Lucca Collection…
Lucky indeed, for over the years this work has made Bulang and Sons the company with the most diverse – and at the same time the most exclusive – range of watch straps from the Tuscan manufacture of Jean Paul Menicucci in the whole world.