The popularity of minimalist wallets is driving innovation in this field, providing the people with what they have been craving – the downsizing of the traditional men’s and women’s wallets of the past. I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who has been craving a smaller wallet. This time I’m reviewing the SZNS (pronounced “seasons”) Burnt Sienna wallet. Thus far, I’ve found that it is an attractive minimalist wallet for today’s professional, it’s a nice size for credit cards and business cards, it’s made of very thin leather to minimize thickness, and has RFID blocking in each of its three pockets. However, because it is made of very thin leather, I wonder about the longevity of the wallet.
The wallet also came with an SZNS decal and a microfiber cloth to clean the wallet.
Design & Build Quality
First Impression: One of the first things that you notice about the SZNS Burnt Sienna wallet is that it holds your cards and paper money vertically. I love that feature. The front and back of the wallet are similar. Each side has a pocket with a diagonal opening to insert cards and/or banknotes. The front of the wallet displays the “SZNS” logo located along the bottom right corner and the back of the wallet contains a very nice self-retracting pull tab used to extract the cards or banknotes in the center pocket.
When I received the SZNS wallet, I took some pictures of it while it was empty. Then after having inserted all my cards and money into the wallet, I noticed a 5 mm slit in the leather above the logo that I don’t think was there before inserting my cards. It was such a clean cut that it was difficult to see, but it was there. I’m not sure how it happened since I hadn’t even started using the wallet yet – I only inserted my cards and money. However, Mr. Amir Sigari, the co-creator of the SZNS wallets with his mother, was very courteous and very quickly sent out a new wallet. They offer free returns on wallets with defects and will exchange it or give you a full refund. They also offer a two-year warranty on this wallet
Leather: The wallet is made of semi-aniline leather. What is that? Pure or full aniline leather is a full grain leather that has been dyed throughout and “has not received any coating of pigmented finish” (By the way, you want full grain leather as opposed to top grain, genuine leather, or bonded leather). Semi-aniline leather is also a full grain leather that has been dyed throughout like aniline leather, however, semi-aniline leather additionally has a “small quantity of pigment, not so much as to conceal the natural characteristics of the hide” (from leatherusa.org) which gives it a more consistent look, protects the leather from some stains, and makes it more durable. Since this wallet has a small amount of pigment on the surface, it will not develop a patina like full aniline leather wallets.
Thread: The thread used in this wallet is a thin a cotton/nylon thread. Although, according to Mr. Sigari, they intend on increasing the size of the thread in the future.
Lining: Each of the three pockets of the wallet is lined with a satin-like lining that incorporates RFID blocking. The above photo on the right shows how the center pocket has sewn into it a black elastic strap with a leather pull tab which extends through the top of the pocket to the back side of the wallet.
According to Mr. Sigari, “both the leather and the RFID blocking inner fabric are die cut by a large stamping machine, after that everything is done by hand.”
When compared to the Benjamin Bott Chickadee leather wallet that I recently reviewed, the SZNS wallet is taller but about the same width. You can also tell the difference in the leathers and thread used, both of which are thicker in the Chickadee wallet.
I placed two plastic cards in the front pocket and six cards (two plastic cards, 4 paper cards) in the center pocket. I also placed two plastic cards in the back pocket as well as some cash (two banknotes).
Extracting the cards from the center slot was easy with the self-retracting pull tab. It was also easy to extract the cards from the front and back of the wallet because they were exposed enough to do so. The wallet was tight when filled with all these cards/bills but not too tight to make extracting the contents really difficult and yet not too loose so that you would lose your money or cards.
When full, the wallet was a little less that 0.75 inches thick (or about 1.8 cm thick). The wallet fits well in my hand and comfortably carries everything that I need. It really does minimize the bulk of traditional wallets.
The SZNS Burnt Sienna wallet is a professional looking lightweight leather wallet. It has the benefit of having three pockets, each lined with RFID blocking material and is tall enough to accommodate business cards as well as credit cards and cash. I was able to insert all of my necessary cards without having to leave anything out (six plastic cards and four paper cards). The wallet was not too tight to make extracting the cards really difficult and yet not too loose so that I would lose cards or money. However, the wallet is made with very thin leather and thin cotton/nylon thread. In addition, the wallet has only a two-year warranty and it is my impression that the wallet may not last a lifetime.
When comparing the SZNS wallet to my two favorite wallets, the Benjamin Bott Chickadee wallet and the Garzini Essenziale Finestra wallet I find that I still prefer the other two. Even though the SZNS wallet has RFID blocking and a self-retracting pull tab, the Chickadee wallet is the best made and the most minimalistic of the three but I also love the design of the Garzini wallet for the accessibility of my cards and money.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by SZNS Apparel. Please visit their site for more info.