Broke and Bespoke

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Chester Mox: Leather Wallets Handmade in the U.S.A.

I recently received a wallet to review from the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team that runs Chester Mox. Chester Mox offers a wide-ranging assortment of handmade leather wallets that run the gamut from eminently affordable (even by my standards) sleeve-style wallets like this $39 “dogleg” number made from Horween Chromexcel leather, cleverly designed simple multi-pocket slim wallets like this $60 Horween horsehide one, all the way up to more limited run pieces like this $240 dark green Horween shell cordovan slim bifold wallet, or this $360 American alligator bifold.

I first heard about Chester Mox about a year ago when they were written up on PutThisOn!, at which point I immediately placed an order for this $44 dogleg wallet made out of Horween Front Quarter Horsehide. I’ve been carrying it every day since I received it (until the review wallet arrived) and it is breaking in beautifully. The simple and robust construction has had no problems despite the wallet having been slipped in an out of overly-tight jeans and pants pockets thousands of times. The thick nylon stitching remains tight in the same places where it was originally stiched on by hand, and the handpainted edges of the thick leather look as good as new, though with a bit more character now. And the smooth horsehide has been tastefully darkened by the oils from my hands. 

The wallet I received from Chester Mox for review is this more refined compact bifold made out of an exceptionally fine high-grade Italian calf which Chester Mox calls “Antiqued.” It is the same leather that John Lobb and Hermes uses for their “Museum Calf” products. This wallet is absolutely stunning, and is probably the nicest leather accessory I’ve ever handled, and I’m not being hyperbolic. It has been beautifully hand burnished, and has subtle color gradations that give it a deeply luxurious look. It reminds me of what a finely bound and covered renaissance incunabula must have looked like, and I’ve no doubt it could weather the passage of centuries and only get finer with age. The wallet has been elegantly and simply designed, and has slots to hold 4 cards (you could of course stack cards if you want, and the leather would no doubt stretch to accomodate that) and two additional ‘hidden’ pockets where you can stash your cash and more cards if necessary.

The wallet is very compact, but it is not dainty, and it feels quite solid in the hand. And it slips easily into the interior chest pocket of a suit jacket without creating any kind of unsightly protuberance. Chester Mox offers a laser etching service for an additional $10, and there are numerous fonts you can choose from. The laser etching on both my Chester Mox wallets is precise, and was perfectly executed. 

What I really appreciate about Chester Mox is their wide range of products and the very reasonable pricing structure they have in place. There are some other companies around that sell very similar wallets to Chester Mox’s simpler offerings, and they charge about twice as much, and have a narrower selection of leathers to choose from and no personalization options. That makes Chester Mox a no-brainer for me. And with the holidays fast-approaching, a Chester Mox wallet would make an amazing gift for a friend, loved one, or family member.

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