Mill Handmade Japanese Wallet Review

As much as I love my card wallet from The Flat Head, there were two aspects that bothered me about it. Firstly, it did not have enough space. Over the past year, I have noticed that I needed a lot more space for cash and coins and the Flat Head wallet did not have this. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, I really wanted a wallet rope.
This left me looking for a new wallet to use casually while still keeping the Flat Head wallet for work and formal settings, where it always looks very slick and impressive and is nice and sleek to fit into suit jacket pockets.

DSCF2246

DSCF2233

DSCF2234

As for my new wallet, I had a specific checklist that included high quality leather, enough card space for at least 6 cards, suitable bill space, a coin pocket, a chain/rope attachment, not being the size of a pickup truck, and of course, high quality hand stitch work. The Japanese wallet by Mill Handmade ticked all of these boxes except for the wallet rope, but a quick message to Rocky fixed that and I placed my order.

DSCF2268

DSCF2269

At 4.3″ tall by 3.5″ wide, this is actually kind of small considering how much it fits. Technically, it is roughly the size of the average bifold and fits at least 8 cards and a plethora of bills and coins. There are only two card slots, but they are quite capacious compared to most card slots, making it a great solution for people like me who have no problem stacking cards. Personally, I find it easier to stack cards because I find it difficult to remove cards from the rear slots of bifold wallets with multiple card slots.

DSCF2261

DSCF2263

DSCF2265

Another advantage of this wallet is that because the card slots are so large, the cards remain hidden until you remove them when you only have two in each slot. This is also something I very much like, not only because it keeps my information just a little but more private, but it makes the wallet look much better on a day to day basis. I find that wallets look best without the cards in them and this one looks like it doesn’t have any inside of it even when it does. While the card slot arrangement is a matter of preference, the most objective advantage to this wallet over a traditional bifold is the fact that it has a coin compartment. This was one of my main attractions to this wallet and makes it just that much more versatile.

DSCF2255

What really attracted me to Mill Handmade was the selection of leathers available. There may be some wallet makers with more options available, but Rocky has the most that I have ever personally seen and he is still searching for more. This is the type of passion that I search for in the people who make my goods. This is a man obsessed with high quality leather and he is constantly on the prowl for more of the best materials he can find. For my wallet, I chose glazed natural Shonan saddle leather for the exterior, purple Buttero for the inner, and custard Badalassi Minerva box for the card slot with wine Minerva for the bill slot lining all with a very light contrast stitching color.

DSCF2248

DSCF2256

Not to pat myself on the back, but I have to say that this color combination came out very well. The light tan of the natural Shonan and custard Badalassi compliment the dark burgundy/purple color of the other leathers very well. As for the leathers themselves, they are all individually beautiful. The shrunken grain on the Badalssi leathers adds a nice texture, but is not overdone or artificial and the leather has a beautiful color in both shades. The Buttero leather is more even, but is still absolutely gorgeous. It is smooth, but with a gorgeous depth of color and slight sheen. It has also aged very nicely in points of high contact and abrasion.

DSCF2278

DSCF2279

The real showstealer is the glazed natural Shonan leather. This is a relatively unknown tannery, but for those in the know, it has the reputation of being some of, if not the best vegetable tanned saddle leather in the world and given my experience, this reputation is well deserved. Compared to other saddle leathers that I have seen and handled, this is the most subtle and characterful. It has a beautiful sheen thanks to the glazing and it ages quicker than any other leather that I have encountered.

DSCF2660

It has darkened considerably since I received it and picked up quite a lot of indigo from my jeans, which serves to only increase its beauty. The best part about it is that unlike most leathers, that sheen and depth is still present even as it is aging. Most leathers that age quickly loose their initial character and develop a completely different character while aging, but this is one of the few that ages with speed and grace while retaining its original characteristics. This truly sets it apart from just about every wallet leather around.

DSCF2661

The beauty of the leather is thankfully matched by the construction of the wallet itself. Longtime readers will be aware of my love of dense, neat stitchwork and I love to select contrast stitching colors to highlight this. Rocky’s stitch work does not disappoint. He hand stitched this wallet at a fairly dense 8 stitches per inch throughout and did so extremely neatly. There are not wonky stitches at all and the stitch work is very nice and clean overall. The only wallet maker that I know of that has better stitching is Niwa who is more expensive and far less accessible.

DSCF2254

I am sure there are others that are at least equal, but I am not aware of them personally. Compared to most of the wallets that I see denim heads carry, this is better stitched and finished with the edges all being beautifully burnished. The sandwich effect with all of the edges is truly stunning. With the stitching and finishing being this good, the wallet is made to a dress wallet standard, but could satisfy the needs of most denim heads. With that said, I did suggest that he start making a mid/trucker style wallet for denim guys. He did a great job making the wallet rope as well, so I think he has a future in making this style.

DSCF2671

DSCF2670

This specific model starts at $340 AUD and for the leather I chose, it was $405 which is only $300US. Given the brilliant design and quality, I personally think this price is more than fair. Rocky was also kind enough to include a tray made with the two interior leathers that I chose and monogram my name in the tray and the wallet. This was a very nice gift and I have used it every day since. Like the wallet, it is beautifully made. Rocky’s hand stitching skill is definitely some of the best I have experienced.

DSCF2667

DSCF2666

DSCF2665

Overall, I am extremely happy with this wallet. The design is quite clever and making it is quite complicated, but in terms of layout it is nice and simple. The craftsmanship is very strong and the leather choices are incredible in terms of quality and quantity. What’s more, Rocky’s customer service and commitment to making the best product possible is very evident. He informed me that the interior leather was thinner than usual so he lined the bill compartment at no extra charge. This speaks to his desire to make sure everything is perfect for his customers. Wallets are not my area of expertise so this review may not be as thorough as my other reviews. Indigoshrimp is much more of an expert on this subject, but I can say that I am extremely happy with this purchase.

DSCF2235

DSCF2236

DSCF2237

If you are into leather goods at all, I highly suggest checking out the Mill Handmade website here: https://www.millhandmade.com/

Follow Rocky on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/millnrocky/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s