Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! This Sunday, I’ll be reviewing several accessories from homegrown fashion label Gnome & Bow: wallets, a luggage tag, and even a bracelet!
All the items reviewed here belongs to Gnome & Bow’s latest collection, named “Your Story”. Unlike previous collections in which Gnome & Bow put their own spin on literary classics, the “Your Story” collection allows the customer to infuse their own stories into Gnome & Bow products through extensive monograms.
Gnome & Bow – the Brand
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best-selling items in the latest collection.
First up, we have the Jules Passport Holder – ideal for frequent travelers.
In line with the theme of the “Your Story”, Gnome & Bow allows a ‘Book Monogram’ on the cover of the Jules Passport Wallet. For example, one could inscribe “The Adventures of Sean” – if one’s name is Sean – or an inspirational quote, etc. I personally think that this is quite cool – Gnome & Bow transforms a piece of accessory and likens it to a book. Certainly staying true to their “storytelling” motto here!
Full-grain leather is used here in the construction of the Jules Passport Wallet, which is great to see! The unique aspect of full-grain leather is the patina – over time and usage, the leather will darken and age gracefully, developing a rich texture. Unlike genuine leather found in cheaper wallets, full-grain leather looks better as time passes! As a rule of thumb, always look for full-grain leather in your leather goods (wallets, shoes, briefcases, etc). It may be slightly more expensive, but it is worth it. In addition, Gnome & Bow uses YKK Excella zippers on the Jules Passport Wallet, ensuring not only smooth zipping action, but also durability. Statistically (and perhaps anecdotally), zippers are the most vulnerable part of bags and wallets. Zippers that get stuck or break off makes for a frustrating experience, so I’m glad that Gnome & Bow paid attention to the zippers here!
A unique feature of Gnome & Bow’s products has always been the use of their patterned linings. The herringbone lining here is a big step up from the tacky polyester lining seen in cheaper wallets, and adds to the sartorial vibe of the wallet. As someone with a keen appreciation for tailoring, I loved the usage of the herringbone pattern (usually seen in clothing textile) here!
All Gnome & Bow products feature a hand-stitched Oxblood threading – it’s a artisanal signature that I appreciate.
Being a passport wallet, the Jules is jam-packed with travel friendly features. One gets a passport slot, 5 card slots for flyer and credit cards, a boarding pass slot, 2 currency slots for home and foreign currencies, a SIM card and pin slots, as well as a zippered compartment for all your coins and keys. It’s a wallet designed to cater to the needs of the frequent traveler. As compared to a regular wallet, the features in the Jules Passport brings much appreciated convenience to one’s travels. Most of us are a mess when we travel – we wait till the last minute to pack, we rush to the airport and hope that we don’t miss our flight. Having a wallet with such travel-friendly features certainly helps a great deal!
Overall, I think that the Jules Passport Wallet is a great option for the frequent traveler. It’s constructed out of quality components, filled with travel-friendly features, and the ability to inscribe a “book monogram” separates it from the rest of the passport wallets in the market.
For non-frequent travelers, don’t fret – there’s the Elwyn Coin Billfold!
I used the Elwyn Coin Billfold as my daily wallet for a month, and I have to say that I like it a lot!
Similar to the Jules Passport Wallet, the Elwyn Coin Billfold utilizes full-grain leather as well. Due to extensive daily usage, one can see that the leather has already developed patina – the leather has darkened and aged beautifully, giving the wallet an added character. Scuffs on the wallet adds to its beauty as well – unlike on a cheaper, genuine leather wallet, these signs of use only adds to the appeal of the wallet. Full-grain leather products, if taken care of, can last for a very, very long time.
Like in the Jules Passport, the Gnome & Bow’s signature Oxblood hand-stitching is present here as well!
Similarly, the Herringbone cotton blend lining that was present in the Jules Passport wallet is utilized here in the bills compartments of the Elwyn Coin Billfold. As was the case in the Jules Passport wallet, I absolutely love it – it adds a touch of class, and I often find myself rubbing the fabric whilst accessing my notes.
In line with the theme of “Your Story”, Gnome & Bow allows for quote monograms on the left portion of the wallet. Given the literary inspiration behind the brand, I decided to inscribe a literary quote on this Elwyn Coin Billfold: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” – the last lines of Alfred Tennyson’s iconic magnum opus, the poem “Ulysses”. To me, it’s a reminder to constantly improve myself, reach for my goals, and not to give up.
To give further meaning to the wallet, one can also choose to monogram their name at the back! Unfortunately, the coloring of the monogram does not last long. I chose to have my name monogrammed in gold, but after a month of daily use, the gold colouring has mostly faded as seen from the picture above. In fact, the quote monogram previously mentioned has stated to fade as well (as can be seen in the previous photo). Whilst I like the concept of monograms as it personalises the product, in this instance I would recommend going for a blind deboss monogram instead of a silver or gold coloured one (which are $10 SGD add-ons).
Overall, I like the Elwyn Coin Billfold. It’s been my daily wallet for a month now, and I think it will be my daily wallet for quite some time! It’s a step up from the Picard wallet that I was using, with the quote and name monograms adding meaning and personalisation. My only knock is that the colour of the monograms do not last long, which is a shame. For those who hate coins, there is a non-coin pocket variant of the Elwyn Billfold as well.
The Gulliver Luggage Tag is certainly one of the more unique luggage tags that I’ve seen!
Like the Jules Passport, the Gulliver Luggage Tag is designed to resemble a book. One gets the chance to add a ‘Alias monogram’ on the Gulliver to make it personal, which is a great touch! Again, I love the connection to the theme of the “Your Story” collection here.
Like the above-mentioned Gnome & Bow wallets, full-grain leather is used here on the Gulliver Luggage Tag as well, meaning that it will patina beautifully over time as you take it on your worldly travels. Despite the lower pricing, Gnome & Bow’s signature Oxblood hand-stitching is present as well, which is a nice touch! In addition, the herringbone cotton lining seen in the previous wallets is utilized here as well.
Not only does the Gulliver Luggage tag resemble a book, it actually opens like one as well! Flip it open, and you will find a small card inside designed by Gnome & Bow for you to write your contact information (in the unfortunate event that your luggage gets misplaced). I love how Gnome & Bow managed to infuse literary inspiration here – storytelling goods indeed! Naming the luggage tag “Gulliver” is apt as well – smart thinking on Gnome & Bow’s part.
Overall, if you’re looking for a unique luggage tag, the Gulliver Luggage tag certainly fits the bill!
Last but not least, Gnome & Bow offers bracelets as well!
Similar to all the aforementioned accessories, the Gnome & Bow Smiths bracelet is woven out of full-grain leather, meaning that like the wallets and luggage tag, this bracelet will develop a beautiful patina over time as well. Gnome & Bow further states that the leather used has been “dyed and washed using time-honoured techniques”, with “beautiful gradual shades forming a distinctive antique finish.”
There are two variants of the Smiths bracelet – the classic, and the antique. Between the two, I much prefer the antique – it’s more unique, and filled with more character. I paired the Smiths Antique bracelet with my vintage Omega Geneve, and I have to say the combination is quite a looker!
Overall, the Smiths Antique bracelet is definitely a great option to up your wrist game.
Shootout: Gnome & Bow Wallets vs Braun Buffel Wallets
Braun Buffel is a household brand when it comes to leather goods, with its wallets especially popular. Given that their wallets are priced similarly to Gnome & Bow, Braun Buffel wallets shall be my comparison in this shootout!
In terms of build quality, there’s no denying that Gnome & Bow wallets are superior. Gnome & Bow wallets utilizes full-grain leather which will patina over time, whereas this Braun Buffel wallet is “fine-grain” leather. I’m not quite sure what “fine-grain” leather is, but it definitely is not superior to full-grain leather!
In terms of aesthetics, the Elwyn Coin Billfold nails it for me as well. The design of the Braun Buffel wallet looks a tad dated, or as we say in colloquially: “a bit uncle”. With its herringbone lining, oxblood handstitching, as well as the monogramming option, the Gnome & Bow wallet possesses much more character than its Braun Buffel counterpart.
Given that both wallets are priced similarly at S$178, I have to say that the Gnome & Bow wallet is the better buy. It uses superior materials, features a more modern design, and with the ability to monogram (monogramming not available for Braun Buffel wallets), makes for a more personal item as well. As such, the Gnome & Bow wallet is the winner of this shootout for me!
Conclusion: so Gnome & Bow wallets “shiok” or not?
For the most part, yes! As compared to similarly priced offerings from more established brands, Gnome & Bow wallets are better in build quality and possesses a more unique, sleek design. The monogramming offered by Gnome & Bow allows one to personalise the wallets, and also makes for a meaningful gift. My only knock is the fast colour deterioration of the monograms – I’ll recommend going for the monograms, but in blind deboss instead.
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will entitle you to 10% off all Gnome & Bow products! With Christmas and the gifting season right around the corner, why not get a monogrammed Gnome & Bow wallet or luggage tag for your loved ones? It will definitely be a meaningful gift, to be treasured for the years to come. Act fast though – for International orders, the cut-off date for you to receive the product in time for Christmas is 9th December (today!), whilst for Local orders, the cut-off date is 16th December.
Unfortunately, the “Your Story” collection does not feature a new bag model – can’t wait to see what new bag models will be introduced in the next Gnome & Bow collection!
View Gnome & Bow’s full collection here.
Photo Credits – Dion Toh
P.S Do check out the “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!