I am a wimp when it comes to wallets. Perhaps it’s the curse of the 21st century metropolitan male: trim-fit pants leave little room for bulky wallets in the pockets, front or back. So my wallets have always been paper thin (I’m serious, my last wallet was literally made of a folded piece of Tyvek). So naturally, I was leary about getting attached to a leather wallet. I was afraid that it’d just end up riding in my coat pockets or my briefcase.
As always on my first pass over such objects, my eye fell on the immaculate stitching on this wallet from Ashland Leather. It is consistent and beautiful, on both sides. The soft interior leather left the imprint of the sewing machine’s footprint, but it is not to bad effect.
Only after holding it in my hands for a few moments did I remember the near-mystic feature of the famed Chromexcel: the color that changes like oiled latigo on each crease. I eagerly bent the body of wallet in my hand and watched the lighter colors leap from the creases I was making. I admit that I may have gone slightly weak-kneed.
It strikes me that the interior leather does not do the exterior justice, except to remind one of the exquisite nature of the exterior. The interior feels and looks more waxy, less natural and buttery than the metamorphous chromexcel.
The lines of the wallet, however, are perfect. The die cut, creases and panel alignment is without fault. It is instantly apparent that one’s hand is holding an object of value.
LIVING WITH IT…
This wallet disappears with use. I don’t mean that it was stolen, I just mean that I forgot about it. I used it, and it disappeared in it’s function. That is the mark of superb product. My old wallet never disappeared. It was always there, shuffling my cards up to make it impossible to find things. This wallet just disappeared. When I needed something, it was always in the same place. That’s the beauty of it’s simplicity.
Today, though, as I prepared to write this, I rolled it around in my hands and reexamined the exterior for a while. It has acquired a patina, especially in the corners where no cards support it’s structure. A few scratches accent both faces. A very pleasing element of Chromexcel’s character is that with a few seconds of rubbing with bare skin, large scratches transform from annoying, gaudy displays of carelessness to subtle storytelling variations that seem to glow.
The exterior leather has become very supple, and the color variations native to Chromexcel can be elucidated by running my finger along the inside of the wallet. Like magic, the color variations disappear again with a quick rub of my thumb. The only way to describe it is that it appears to be alive.
It’s worth noting that I never felt as if I should cradle this wallet. Maybe it’s the ability to rapidly repair minor scratches with nothing but your thumb, maybe it’s the robust quality of the build. Either way, it does not feel like a product that needs to be protected from the elements. I throw it around, let my 2 year old play with it, and toss it into my satchel with my textbooks, stethoscope and reflex hammer without a second thought. To that point, my suspicions were correct: this wallet does end up spending more time in my satchel or jacket pocket than in my pant pocket. But what of it?
I will end with this: the Johnny the Fox Chromexcel wallet from Ashland Leather melds into your life, disappearing into it’s function as soon as the leather becomes supple enough. And as something of a minimalist, that is really the highest honor I can bestow upon it. At $125, I don’t know that I would call it a bargain, per se. But as a Buy-It-For-Life product, it is a reasonable price of entry.
Check out the Johnny the Fox Wallet from Ashland Leather here.