Learn about crocodile skin in 20 minutes, and you will never be deceived again!

Can you tell real alligator or fake alligator? How do you know the quality difference?

Crocodile vs alligator leather vs calf leatherReal alligator vs fake alligator difference

Why is crocodile skin precious?

We all know that the crocodile is an ancient reptile. It began in the Mesozoic era about 200 million years ago. Crocodile is a collective term. There are about 23 species of crocodile, such as Siamese crocodile, Chinese crocodile, alligator, and Nile crocodile. , Crocodile. (Of course, there are more extinct monster-level crocodiles, such as split-head alligators, pig alligators, Dein alligators, emperor alligators, etc.)


The growth cycle of crocodiles is relatively slow, the environment is harsher, and the tanning process is relatively complicated, which determines that its breeding scale is smaller than that of cattle, sheep, and pigs. The number of mature tanning factories is small, which makes the unit price of crocodile skin higher. Let’s talk about crocodile vs alligator leather

Like many commodities, crocodile leather has high and low distinctions, so what will determine the value of crocodile leather?

I personally think it is 

1: part

2: tanning technology

3: dyeing technology

4: crocodile type

5: grade


What is the best leather for watch straps?

Crocodile vs alligator leather, Let’s start with the scale part.

Nowadays, many people love to use crocodile leather, but some people don’t know what they are using. They just think it’s crocodile leather. As a result, it was the back of the skin, and it looks cheap to professionals.

Why do you say that?

The part of the crocodile skin is very important. It should be known that crocodiles are very aggressive. The skin on the stomach is the softest and most vulnerable to scratches. Some manufacturers choose the back armor part for the output and shorten the processing time. This kind of skin is called “back skin” or “belly cut skin”



Because it was opened from the belly, this kind of crocodile skin is extremely cheap although it is real crocodile skin. Of course, if there is a good design, the style is also very flavorful, but it definitely does not belong to the category of luxury goods and high-end handicraft materials (although some people still think that this is real crocodile leather… It’s not) .


In fact, the only thing that can be included in the luxury category is the crocodile belly skin (except for the caiman belly skin, which we will talk about later), or “back cut skin”


crocodile vs alligator leather


Because the crocodile belly skin is very flat, soft, and strong, it is suitable for making all kinds of leather goods.



Next, we talk about tanning technology.

All skins must be tanned from raw leather if they are to be used to make leather goods. The tanning process is very important. If tanning is not good, there will be problems such as cracking, unevenness, insufficient durability, bad feel, and so on.


If anyone who knows some crocodile skins will ask the origin of tanning, this is actually very important, because tanning technology is a very high level of knowledge. There are very few international manufacturers that can tan crocodile skins of stable quality, mostly in France, Italy, and Singapore. Among the few factories in Japan and the United States, the few factories are also suppliers of luxury brands.



Like tanning technology, dyeing technology is also one of the criteria for judging the quality of crocodile skin.

Even in a good factory, there will be a certain probability of defective products. The most common dyeing defects are uneven dyeing, watermarks, and uneven gloss.

Many people who don’t understand leather will ask me a more common question. They point to a certain crocodile skin and ask me if the leather has been dyed. The answer is of course, otherwise… Have you ever seen pink, blue, and purple crocodiles?


But there is one that has not been dyed, which is what we commonly call Himalayan crocodile skin.


Himalayan crocodile


Crocodile vs alligator leather

This is to retain the color of the crocodile itself. If you pick the skin, you will find that almost every Himalayan color is different. Just like our human skin, it is difficult for two people’s skin to be the same color, so for every Himalayan, it is difficult to pick the same depth of gray. Of course, there are artificially dyed crocodile skins in imitation Himalayan style. It is not that it is bad, but that it is a special style of finishing.

The finishing of crocodile leather is roughly divided into two types: matte and shiny. If subdivided, there are hard-touch shiny leather, soft-touch shiny leather, medium-gloss, matte, nubuck, and other special textures.

Each has advantages and disadvantages, such as shiny crocodile leather.

Shiny alligator


Although the surface is shiny, it is very afraid of water (in fact, crocodile skin should be kept away from water and oil, but the high-gloss leather is even worse because it is very easy to have watermarks), and it is really afraid of scratching, even if you are careful, scratches will appear after a period of time. Even in the process of making leather goods, the high-gloss leather should be covered with a soft protective film, otherwise, scratches and fingerprints will appear…

If you want to avoid scratches during use? Build an inert gas container at home and put it in the bag. (It is not recommended to use hard shiny crocodile leather for watch straps, because it is not comfortable and not very durable). Some people say that shiny leather is slightly cheaper than matte leather. I personally think it depends on the situation.


△suede nubuck

The suede nubuck is a suede effect that is directly polished on the leather surface. The texture is very soft and durable, and it is scratch-resistant, but…very easy to get dirty, a little sweat on your hands will destroy the suede effect, and it will be dirty after a period of time wearing… even the corners will be greasy.


△matte alligator

I personally think that the most suitable is medium gloss or matte, especially the unpainted water-dyeing effect directly expresses the true touch of crocodile leather. The gloss will become more and more natural with the use of time, and a few drops of water will be applied immediately. It’s fine to drop.

In addition, people who don’t know about crocodile skin will think that crocodile skin is very hard, but due to different processes, crocodile skin can be very soft.

Some can even be used as clothes, a little bit stiffer can be used as a bag, and moderate hardness can be used as a watch strap. Of course, there are no regulations on the use. The crocodile leather used for clothes can also be used as a bag, but it depends on what style the designer wants.


The crocodile species is an important topic. The common types of crocodile skins in the market are Caiman, Siamese crocodile (Thai crocodile), alligator, American crocodile and Nile crocodile

Caiman and Siamese crocodiles are very common in the domestic market. The caiman crocodile is the cheapest crocodile skin. because it is easy to raise, but the cuticle of armor is very thick (many people call the hard part of crocodile skin bone, the crocodile is not Exoskeleton creatures, the hard part is horny scales, not bones). In particular, the texture of the Caiman is rough and hard, and it cannot be made into a high-end product. The dishonest business of a certain brand of bags in the market likes to use cheap Caiman and sold at high prices.

Siamese crocodile is a crocodile breed widely raised in Southeast Asian countries and China. Because of its relatively fast growth rate, the texture is not neatly arranged, and there are cuticles on the flanks, so it is not the first choice for luxury production. By the way, most of the commercial crocodile skins we generally see are artificially bred, because artificially bred crocodile will not destroy the wild population, and because of artificial management, the quality of crocodile skin will be better than that of wild (less damage). There are only some oversized crocodile skins. Most of the crocodile skins that are big enough to be used as carpets are wild. Because the cost of wild is low, people don’t need to spend huge amounts of money to breed them. Correspondingly, the wild growth environment is relatively bad, such as fighting, parasites and the like that cause a lot of injuries, and can’t make high-end leather goods. They can only be used as decorations. Therefore, Dishonest sellers usually say that this bag is made of wild crocodile skin. Then you can leave with a smile.



Another key point for evaluating the quality of crocodile skin is the grade. The number of scars and the arrangement of textures are the elements for judging the grade of crocodile skin.



It is generally divided by I, II, III, and IV grades. Grade I skin is the highest grade, which means that the abdominal scars are the least, the texture arrangement is the most uniform, but the price is the highest. Level II skin has subtle flaws, sometimes it is not obvious if you don’t look carefully, and III and IV have obvious scars or uneven texture.

The whole crocodile skin we buy is generally divided into three parts.


△ Chin






The square scales in the center of the stomach are called bamboo patterns, and the slightly finer texture on both sides of the square pattern is called the flank pattern.

When you look at the high-end luxury alligator watch strap, you will find that the selected materials are all crocodile belly, because the crocodile belly scale is the most beautiful and most valuable part. About 85% of the value of a crocodile is on the belly. Of course, it cannot be said that the chin and tail are scraps. , It is also possible to make small pieces such as wallets, cardholders, and watch straps.



The biggest difficulty encountered by newbies when making crocodile skins is that it is difficult to identify the various types of crocodile skins because the price of each type of crocodile skin is very different and the things that are suitable for making are different. Below I will send some lines that I hand-painted. The pictures and actual photos show you the texture of different varieties of crocodile skin.

Caiman crocodile


The Caiman is a small and medium-sized crocodile distributed in Central and South America. Caiman is one of the most common crocodile skins on the market. Because the cuticle is thick and the texture is messy, the skin has a texture similar to craters, the cortex is hard, and sometimes the side belly has a thicker sponge texture.



The flanks are soft, and the texture is scattered, with horny scales

The cuticle is obvious on a large area of ​​the stomach, the epidermis has potholes, and the texture is hard


Siamese Crocodile

Crocodile vs alligator leather

Siamese crocodile (Thai crocodile) is a medium-sized crocodile, which is raised on a large scale in Southeast Asia and China. Almost all crocodile skins tanned in China are Siamese crocodiles. However, some hybrid crocodiles have appeared in recent years. The advantage of most hybrid crocodiles is that they have a milder personality. Pure Siamese crocodiles have an unsightly texture arrangement (sometimes high-quality) hybrid crocodiles will improve. The problem of flank lines, but due to hybridization, individual texture differences will be more obvious, so sometimes the identification of hybrid Siamese crocodiles confuses the species. Siamese crocodile has a large number and relatively low price. It is the preferred material of crocodile leather for civilians.


The slub pattern square has stomata

Flank lines are arranged in a mess

There is a row of distinct horny scales

American Alligator

(Most of the leather watch bands we sell are American Alligator – The high-end best quality watch bands)

The American alligator is a large crocodile native to North America, and what we call the alligator from Mississippi is also of this type. Some people have subdivided the American alligator and it is said that it can be seen from the texture whether it is produced in Mississippi, I personally don’t think it is necessary to do so. The reason why the alligators of Mississippi are more famous is just because of their huge numbers. The American alligator is the only crocodile skin that has no pores that we can usually come into contact with. The surface of the skin is very flat and soft. The slub pattern and the lateral belly pattern are very obvious, and the excessive dividing lines are arranged in parallel. The texture gives a person. This kind of very upright feeling, suitable for making men’s leather goods, is also the first choice for business-style leather goods. Most of our leather straps are made of American Alligator skin. Another advantage of American crocodile skin is that the tail is very wide, and the sides of the tail are not as obvious as the horny scales of other types of crocodiles, so the utilization rate is very large.

Crocodile vs alligator leather

The slub pattern is square, smooth, and without pores

The unilateral slub pattern is generally 5-6 rows

Flank lines are oval and inclined at a 45° angle

The wide tail and less horny

The dividing line is clear, distributed in parallel straight lines

Chin skin is generally small

PS: most of the custom leather watch straps from Drwatchstrap sell are made of American Alligator skin with belly scale. Only max 6-7 leather straps can be made out of 1 pcs of leather

Nile Crocodile


The Nile crocodile, as the name suggests, is mainly distributed in the Nile River basin in Africa. This crocodile skin is very easy to identify because it has the iconic huge flank lines that are arranged neatly. Like the Siamese crocodile, there is a row of nasty hard horny scales beside the flank lines. (It’s just annoying, especially annoying…Because the stitches are not good and the strength is low, everyone should try to avoid such positions when making leather goods).

Crocodile vs alligator leather, This kind of crocodile skin’s slub pattern and side belly pattern are very inconspicuous. It can be compared with a gradient so that the texture sequence makes people look very soft and full, so Nile crocodile skin is the first choice for making ladies bags. Personally, I feel that using Nile crocodile skin as a briefcase always has a sense of contradiction.


The slub pattern is relatively long and has pores

Flank lines are oval or even rectangular, generally in 4 rows, and the arrangement is more orderly

Have obvious horny scales

New Guinea Crocodile


Crocodile vs alligator leather

New Guinea crocodile, a saltwater crocodile produced around New Guinea, we will not explain this crocodile too much, because the place of origin is very close to Australia, and it is also a saltwater crocodile. Some businesses will use the name New Guinea crocodile. To raise the price, the real price is actually a relatively low variety. This kind of crocodile skin is not very common, but it is easier to identify, mainly because of the huge bamboo knot pattern and the distribution of almost oval bamboo knot patterns. I personally feel that this kind of crocodile skin texture is not very beautiful.


Huge bamboo pattern

Have pores

Flank lines are sometimes arranged at an angle

Have horny scales


Crocodile vs alligator leather

Note: Sometimes due to individual crocodile differences, the texture will be slightly different.

In addition, many people bought the chin and tail leather separately because of demand, and then came to ask me what crocodile was.

Crocodile vs alligator leather, In fact, apart from the obvious features of the big wide tail and small chin of the American crocodile, the texture of the tail and chin of most crocodiles is not obvious, without the iconic texture on the belly, plus some individual differences in the crocodile, these The question is really difficult to answer.


Difference between real crocodile leather vs calf leather crocodile embossed?

Apart from the real crocodile skins above, I think there are still some people who want to know how to distinguish cowhide embossed crocodile leather.

Because the craftsmanship of embossing and dyeing cowhide is becoming more and more exquisite, some embossed cowhide looks very much like real crocodile skin at first glance. I seldom come into contact with cowhide embossed imitation crocodile leather, until one time when I went to a friend’s shop, he took a large embossed cowhide to show me, I was confused at first sight, excessive height, detailed texture, The dyeing is quite real, he said that many people and even brands use this to make watch straps.

Cowhide embossing


Why make a watch strap? Because the texture of this leather is perfectly pressed, the coating layer covers most of the pores, but a large area of ​​use will expose the seams of the pressing mold, which will wear out, so “some people” will use this to make small pieces.

(When ordering leather watch straps, be sure to read the description carefully. Make sure it is Genuine alligator leather or Alligator embossed calf leather. These 2 material makes a huge difference).

Let me tell you a few ways to distinguish the embossed crocodile skin.

First look at the pores, crocodile skin does not have pores like cows and sheepskins, imitation crocodile skins pressed with cows and sheepskins will show pores if they are not heavily painted.

Secondly, the texture is raised. The slub pattern of real crocodile leather is high on one side and low on the other side, but some crocodile leather is pressed into a small steamed bun-like texture, which is more distorted.

❾ How to take care of alligator leather?

Finally, let’s talk about the maintenance of crocodile skinCrocodile skin should avoid oil and water. We know that in daily life, we will wipe some maintenance ointment on cow and sheepskin to extend the service life. Some people naively think that the same ointment can also be used for the maintenance of crocodile skin, which results to completely damage crocodile skin, especially water-stained crocodile skin, which will change color immediately after oiling. Actually, crocodile skin does not need extra maintenance. Usually, avoid exposure to the sun. If it is dirty, wipe it with a cloth. There are special rare skincare creams abroad and you can also try them.

Horse hip hide leather watch strap
Horse hip hide

Having said so much, there may be some details that have not been thought of, but the main things have been presented to everyone.  I hope it will be helpful to everyone. Of course, if this article Please point out that the article is not comprehensive enough. Thank you.

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