chestermox

Review: Chester Mox Saddle-Stitched Bifold Wallet

“Courtesy Of” is a series on This Fits in which I write about products that have been gifted to me for review. While I strive to be objective, I think it’s fairer to you, the readers, if I disclose when I’ve received merchandise for free.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Chester Mox: I’m a repeat customer twice over, and recommend them to anyone looking for a quality wallet. You can see my review of a wallet I had made for my wife here.

A lot’s happened with the brand over the past year: they opened a physical store in Los Angeles, and co-owner Bellanie completed an apprenticeship with a well-regarded leather goods master. All of Chester Mox’s leather goods are now hand saddle-stitched, a labor-intensive but more durable technique typically reserved for high-end leather goods (here’s a video by Hermes on saddle-stitching).

None of this is new to you if run in the same online menswear circles as I do. However, since I already own a Chester Mox wallet and the company sent me a new one for review, I have the opportunity to do something I haven’t seen elsewhere: a side-by-side comparison of Chester Mox’s old and new work.

In order to get a better sense of the breadth of Chester Mox’s offerings, I requested a #88 bifold wallet in dark brown Ilcea museum calf (as always, you can request any model in any available leather). While the slim profile of my current Chester Mox dual-side wallet is great for pant pockets, that compact shape is sometimes annoying when trying to fish it out of the deeper interior breast pocket on tailored jackets. I figure the larger bifold wallet is better suited to, well, suits.

Up close the newer wallet showcases impressively superior craftsmanship. Notice how much finer the stitching is, how close it is to the edge, and the much higher stitch-per-inch count. Also note the slight angle to the stitches, a bit of artistry that underscores the handmade production technique. Finally–somewhat less obvious from pictures but quite evident with both wallets in hand–the finishing has improved considerably, resulting in a slim, smooth, and seamless join between leather edges.

Make no mistake, I’m very happy with my current wallet. Bellanie noted to me that prior to hand saddle-stitching, the company used hand-stitching with pre-cut holes. After three years of daily use, my wallet’s held up just fine, with no signs of wear at the edges or along the seams.

But its clear the new saddle-stitched wallets are at another level of craftsmanship.

To see all Chester Mox wallets and leather goods, visit www.chestermox.com.

My work is launching our new website shortly, and for the “About Us” section, we were asked to bring a selection of objects for a photograph representing our personalities. Not a true EDC shot since, well, I don’t carry wooden toy blocks around with me, but a fun opportunity to include some of my favorite #menswear things.

For those of you who’ve been asking how the shell cordovan on my Meermin longwings has been holding up, here you go—this is what they look like after an application of Saphir Renovateur and a few minutes of brushing.

Shoes: Meermin
Shoe Horn: Abbeyhorn, courtesy of Gentlemen’s Footwear
Belt Buckle: Tiffany & Co., eBay (cool details here)
Wallet: Chester Mox
iPhone Skin: Valentine Goods
Sunglasses: American Optical

Review: Chester Mox Compact Bi-fold Wallet in Plum Museum Calf

“Courtesy Of” is a series on This Fits in which I write about products that have been gifted to me for review. While I strive to be objective, I think it’s fairer to you, the readers, if I disclose when I’ve received merchandise for free.

When I was approached about reviewing a wallet for Chester Mox a couple months ago, I happily took up the offer as I’m already a satisfied customer. In fact, I’m a satisfied customer three times over.

I first purchased from Chester Mox two years ago after reading Derek’s positive reviews of the company. I’ve been so happy with wallet, over the course of the past year and a half I’ve bought two more as gifts for my brother and my mother.

Chester Mox was started three years ago as a small leather goods maker by the Salcedos, a husband-and-wife team based here in California. They source their leather from some of the finest tanneries in the world, including Ilcea, Horween, Wickett & Craig, and Tanneries Roux, and also offer custom orders in exotic skins like American alligator. Every wallet is made entirely by hand, including stitching, painting, burnishing, and buffing. Everything is made-to-order, and they welcome special requests beyond what’s offered through their site. For example, you can request any wallet model to be made up in any leather on their site—you’re not limited to the options on any given product page.

While each model has a prescribed spot to place a laser-etched personalization for an additional fee, you can also request a second personalization in place of the Chester Mox logo. This allows for a wallet that’s completely unbranded and doubly unique to the owner. That said, every time I order from Chester Mox I hesitate to exercise the option, since someone may want to know the origin and maker of the wallet long after the packaging’s gone. You also figure a smaller operation like Chester Mox could use all the publicity they can get. That said, I’ve always gone with the double personalization for all four wallets that I’ve ordered from Chester Mox.

My experience with Chester Mox over the past two years is uniformly positive. For my first purchase, the internets had convinced me of the merits of switching to a slim wallet, so I went with their dual side wallet in a burgundy calfskin. I typically carry nine cards in it—probably more than it was intended to hold, and kind of going against the “carry less” principle that slim wallets force you into. Nonetheless, the wallet is still holding up splendidly after two years of daily use. The stitching is still strong and unfrayed, and there’s no sign of imminent splits along the hand-painted edges. Furthermore, it somehow still maintains a slim profile, and the supple leather means I can even slip in a note or a few bills when needed.

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