(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
Today we’re reviewing the Houbei slim wallet, by Das Offene Meer. Michael Bluth, the maker, has a great design style all his own and we have reviewed his wallets before. All of Michael’s products from Das Offene Meer come in a rough cotton bag. This is the Houbei, which means “back” in Chinese. I am not sure if that’s the interpretation, but it does kind of relate to the back with the quick access slot being the main feature on the back. However, the owner, Michael Bluth, is also active duty in the United States Navy, and Houbei is the name of the People’s Republic of China Type 22, fast attack missile boat. Coincidence? Well, either meaning works for me. This is a slim wallet with whiskey and green color leather. It also has white thread for the stitching. You can choose your primary and secondary colors, as well as the thread. It is very rugged for a slim wallet. As we open this up, we can see it is a leather wrap in construction, but also a cash wrap wallet in function.
On the front there is a slot where the flap folds into to hold it in place. On the back there is a quick access card slot. This is really great, and I think every wallet should have something like this. As we open it up, we can see that immediately behind the flap holder there is another card slot. Immediately behind that, we have yet another card slot. And if all you do is carry cards, then you have yet another card slot even behind that, but it’s primary usage is for cash. The cash slips inside and it folds over once as the flap is closed and finally tucked into the first slot.
As for the card and cash insertion test, I was able to get six slips of cash and six cards inside. A minimalist carry would probably be four cards. They say you can get up to seven or eight cards in this and twenty pieces of cash. I think around ten pieces of cash would be fine. Also, as we look at this again when we open it up, you have immediate access to the cash you want. The footprint on this is just amazing. And the patina that develops on the Das Offene Meer wallets over time is incredible, and it molds to your body. It also smells amazing. The Yen or Euro didn’t fit in here very well, but US, Canadian and Australian would fit fine.
This is made in the USA, or wherever Michael is stationed at the time of full grain veg tanned Italian buttero leather which comes from the Conceria Walpier tannery in Italy.
The wallet is priced at $79, which I think is good for this unique design. I think it is a joy to use, because it’s thin and very easy to use. And because this is made from full grain leather, it will conform to your body very easily. And of course the smell, I keep coming back to the smell. A full grain veg tan leather is like nothing else.
The wallet measures 3.8 x 3.2 x 0.3”, and weighs 40 grams.
I love Michael’s products and the unique designs and styles he has carved out for himself in the leather maker world. These are fine products, loved by customers and built expertly by the owner. And once you purchased one of these wallets, you’ll be back for more, I guarantee it.
Now to the final score. For quality, a 5, price a 3, features a 4, usability a 4, and perception a 4. That gives us a final score of 41 out of 50.