Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing a couple of leather accessories from homegrown brand, Obbi Good Label.
I’ve previously reviewed a tote bag and a military watch strap from Obbi Good Label and talked a little bit about their story – the article can be read here. This time, the brand sent me their Aviator-X bag, a handstitched leather Zulu watch strap, and a leather belt. Let’s see if they are any good!
I previously reviewed a tote bag, so this time Obbi Good Label sent me an aviator bag that’s based upon the pilot’s helmet bags of old.
Handmade in their workshop, the OGL 9981 Aviator-X Bag is primarily made out of industrial-grade canvas. The brand states that the canvas used here is water-resistant, which means that it should be able to keep your belongings dry even when it’s raining. The OGL 9981 Aviator-X Bag also comes in Green, though I personally prefer this Khaki colourway.
Although the main body of the tote bag is made out of canvas, leather accents made out of vegetable tanned leather are present. The beige shade of leather used here complements the khaki coloured canvas, giving the bag a retro feel. The leather accent is fashioned in what Obbi Good Label calls “iconic OGL 9981 original leather shape”, which refers to the wavy “V” shape of the leather accent that’s present on most of Obbi Good Label’s bags. The leather is full-grain and vegetable tanned, and thus should patina nicely over the years.
The stitching is immaculate as well, with nary a loose or fraying thread to be seen. The debossed logo is also a nice touch.
The handles of the OGL 9981 Aviator-X bag are crafted out of thick, sturdy leather, which feels absolutely solid in my hands. They are bolted onto the bag (instead of being stitched on as one might find on cheaper bags) for added reinforcement on a heavy stress point. The fact that Obbi Good Label is able to offer such thick leather handles on a bag that costs roughly S$300 is an impressive feat.
The zipping action is smooth too – I’ve been using the Aviator-X bag for about a month now, and never had a hitch with the zips. According to Obbi Good Label, the zipper is custom-made in-house by the brand.
An additional canvas sling is included with the Aviator-X bag. While pairing it with the sling diminishes its vintage aesthetic somewhat, I found myself relying back on the sling on days where I fill the bag to the brim. It’s a big bag, with a lot of storage capacity (more on that later) and it can get pretty heavy as a result.
The interior of the Aviator-X bag is spacious, and I never felt like I was running out of space when I pack the bag for a day’s out. As the design of the bag is inspired by that of a pilot’s helmet bag, the bag is actually big enough to fit an actual helmet. There are also two interior pockets for one to compartmentalize smaller items. Unfortunately, there’s no laptop compartment included in the bag, which means that the Aviator-X bag will unfortunately not work well as an everyday office bag – it’s role will likely be as a main carry bag on the weekend.
To further accentuate the retro vibes of the Aviator-X bag, Obbi Good Label has adorned it with brass accents such as brass riverts, brass loops, and a brass hook for its strap. Like the leather accents, brass will patina over time, thus giving the bag an aged appearance.
The OGL 9981 Aviator-X bag is similar to the previous tote bag that I reviewed in that it possesses both form and function. I like the inherent durability of its construction, as well as its rugged aesthetic. While it may not be a viable option as a work bag, the Aviator-X is a great bag to turn to for the weekend on those trips to town, or even to the beach – occasions where you find yourself needing to carry more items out. And at ~S$300, it remains a great value proposition.
Some of Obbi Good Label’s best-sellers are its rugged belts, and it’s easy to see why.
For one, the quality of leather used by Obbi Good Label is top-notch. The Scout125 belt uses full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather that patinas beautifully over time, just like the leather accents of the abovementioned Aviator-X bag.
Unlike the bag however, the cowhide leather used here has actually been tumbled in dryers, which gives the leather an added softness and results in highly visible grains on the surface of the leather. Obbi Good Label states that the grains will smoothen out and shine after some usage, resulting in uneven and characterized ageing.
The belt is handcrafted by the artisans of Obbi Good Label, who hand-stitches each belt near the buckle-end, as seen in the above photo. In other words, each belt is an artisanal product, and that provenance gives it extra charm.
Obbi Good Label doesn’t state it on their website (so I might be wrong), but it appears that the sides of the belts have been sanded and manually smoothened. The sides look impeccable, without the blemishes or unevenness that one might find on cheaper, off-the-rack belts like those found in departmental stores.
The buckle of the belt is apparently exclusive to Obbi Good Label, and the brand promises that unlike the buckles found on cheaper belts, their buckle will not crack. As I’ve only worn the belt for about a month, I can’t attest to the long-term durability of the buckle, though it does feel sturdier than the average buckle.
Furthermore, the belt has a rugged aesthetic that is very much in line with the raison d’etre of Obbi Good Label. Overall, it’s a well-crafted, handmade belt that will likely last you years, if not decades. It is a tad pricey at ~S$145, but if you’re someone that wears a belt on a near-daily basis (perhaps for work) this will definitely be a worthwhile investment.
Last but not least, Obbi Good Label also sent me their hand-stitched leather Zulu watch strap.
I previously reviewed the OGL FAB Military Webbing strap. While the strap – made out of the canvas strap of old SAF helmets – was inherently intriguing, leather is really what Obbi Good Label is known for, and that extends to their line of leather straps. Once again, the full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather used on the OGL WTC Handstitch leather Zulu watch strap feels premium, and will patina beautifully over time.
Like the aforementioned belt, Obbi Good Label’s leather Zulu straps are similarly handcrafted. The edges and underside of the strap are smoothened by hand, with the stitching done manually as well. Again, the strap is an artisanal product, made by the leathercrafters of Obbi Good Label.
The leather Zulu strap works best on military-inspired watches. If you have a pilot’s watch or a field watch, Obbi Good Label’s handstitched leather Zulu strap will undoubtedly elevate your timepiece – I certainly think it did the trick when paired with my UNDONE Type XX. And as far as handcrafted straps go, the OGL WTC Handstitch Leather Zulu watch strap is relatively affordable. Definitely one of the best watch straps that I’ve reviewed in recent memory!
Conclusion – so Obbi Good Label “shiok” or not?
The new products that Obbi Good Label has sent me exemplify the brand’s commitment to making rugged, durable products. While perhaps not the most eye-catching, its offerings have a retro-vintage feel and an eminently classic look. For the most part, the above-reviewed items are bang-for-buck, each featuring a level of craftsmanship and quality of material that punches above its price point. If you’re looking for leather accessories that will stand the test of time, look no further than Obbi Good Label.
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off all non-promotional items from Obbi Good Label’s web-store, valid till the end of June. After the discount, the OGL 9981 Aviator-X bag costs just US$243/~S$326, the OGL Belt Scout125 Leather Belt would be US$108/~S$145, and the OGL WTC Handstitch Leather Zulu watch strap would set you back a mere USD$54/~S$72. As I did in my previous review, I’ll end off this article by encouraging my readers to support our local leather artisans in their work. COVID-19 has not been easy on them – let’s help them tide over these challenging times.
View Obbi Good Label’s web-store (called Rugged Gentlemen Shoppe) here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.