A luxury leather wallet, alongside a man’s watch and shoes, is perhaps his most significant accessory. Forget designer brands – many of them mass-produce in Asia, as it’s the only way to keep up with the huge global demand. For truly top notch luxury leather wallets, instead consider the five companies below.
Although 125 years old, Smythsons languished for much of its history, including a spell as a subsidiary of John Menzies, the high street newsagent. A management buyout in 1998 was a catalyst for the launch of a truly forward looking heritage-based luxury British brand though. With its stationary lines now secondary to its leather goods, Smythson offers a range of wallets that value simplicity of design and quality of manufacture over gimmicks. They hold three Royal Warrants, and their wallets, which are manufactured in Spain, are made to last a lifetime.
2) Aspinal of London
Aspinal was founded in 2001 by former music business mogul Iain Burton, and despite a rocky first few years it has now become a household name and harbours grand plans for global domination. Aspinal has built its reputation on the quality and eye-catching designs of its handbags in particular, and by conjuring the illusion of being a long-established English heritage brand. To start with it manufactured all of its products in England, and it still does some of them, though the majority are now made in Eastern Europe. The company has a retained a high quality of manufacture at an accessible price though, and offers a sizeable collection of simple but elegant wallets.
Holders of the Prince of Wales’ Royal Warrant, Ettinger is a family business founded in the 1930’s. Since purchasing James Homer Ltd, a former saddler business, in 1999, the company has gone from strength to strength. Ettinger wallets are all handmade in England, and they are presented in collections, some of which are collaborations with other luxury brands such as Bentley and Wimbledon. Ettinger also pioneered the trend of traditional wallets having different coloured covers and interiors. Cutting edge concept and design combined with master craftsmanship comes at a price though, if not quite as much as an actual Bentley.
A relative newcomer at just five years old, Estados’ British designs are handmade in Argentina from the finest Argentine calf leather, which is some of the best in the world. This is for the same reason that Argentine beef is so good, because Argentine cattle live in a sort of bovine paradise in the clement climate of the Pampas plains around Buenos Aires. Following Ettinger’s lead in combining two leather colours, Estados wallets compare favourably with some of the most expensive on this list but at a price nearer Aspinal’s.
Tusting is a fifth generation family business that produces a range of classic leather luggage and accessories. Their wallets are handmade in their English workshop using leather from Scandinavia, America, England, and South Africa. While wallets aren’t the focus of their collection, and so their range is relatively small, the quality is excellent. A safe choice for a fine traditional wallet.
Written by – Hugo Lesser