Lo Esencial continues to make leather bifold no stitch, no sewing wallets with the new Assembly No1 and No2. All handmade, this review looks at both and at the end, I take them apart!
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Lo Esencial produces unique product offerings. Their Assembly No1 and No2 wallets are their latest no stitch offerings in that product line, and are the wallets we are going to take a look at in this review.
If you are interested in seeing how clever they are in their design please watch the video, as I have disassembled both of these wallets.
Starting with the Lo Esencial Assembly No1, this wallet comes in an incredibly clever packaging. It has a little tab on the back that unhooks to open the box and reveal the wallet. After unsnapping, it slides through and frees the wallet. I love it when companies put some thought into their packaging. It really adds a lot of value to the unboxing, and the impressions of the company and the product. It comes with a business card and great instructions, which, of course, are in Spanish. The Assembly No1 wallet is a no stitch, as has been mentioned. It has got a little snap that, not only is hidden, but it is unobtrusive. Therefore, it is not going to damage the cards at all. From a closer look, we can see that this no stitch is all folded and secure via the snap, and has quite a few features in it.
Assembly No2 comes, as well, in the same clever packaging. Being that this wallet is a little bit different, it does not have any snaps in it, but it has another tab that connects into one of the slots. The interior has another tab that holds into that leather, which frees from that tab by pulling it through. Whereas the other wallet was a vertical, this is a horizontal bifold, and has a full billfold pocket area.
No stitch wallets are very clever and these two are no different. If you look at the features of the No1, it does have a quick access card slot on the exterior, and the interior has three card slots. So it has a pocket back and a slot, and there is no divider between cards and cash. This wallet has a capacity of one to four cards plus notes folded once, which works on one side or the other. This provides quicker access because we do not have the leather going all the way up. Thus facilitating access to cash, which is a great way to do it. But of course, selecting the side that promotes a smoother path for the cards might be preferable. The wallet secures itself through the snap, at which point then, unless it is unsnapped, nothing is going to fall out except potentially the quick access card slot, however, this latter inserts into the interior.
The No2 Assembly wallet, even though it is more of a traditional billfold, has a quick access card slot on the exterior. The interior has four slots which act as one each. However, I think you can put separate cards. The billfold pocket can get all kinds of cash in, but since it is not that tall, the tall currencies might face an issue.
The Assembly No1 product measures 4 x 3 x 0.4 and weighs 39 grams or 1.4 ounces, while Assembly No2 measures 4 x 3.2 x 0.3 and weighs 33 grams or 1.2 ounces.
The bifold in the No2 is quite interesting. They have demonstrated on their site the method of how to thread it through, which is a great way to keep things from falling out. But then again, as you insert the cards, the fold protects them. Therefore, they are not going to fall out anyway. Moreover, anything in there, cash or other cards, is not coming out very easily. So I do not have any concern about things falling out. And kind of to my surprise, the taller currencies, the Yen and the Euro, fit just fine whether in the back or the front. They peek out just a little bit at the top, but you know what? It is very doable.
Cash is a different problem with the No1. The tall currencies interfere with the spine a bit, making it not very ideal although it works, but it is not terribly ideal.
Both wallets are designed and made in Mexico from one piece of unlined full-grain vegetable-tanned leather. The lining tends to pop on all the time. I have been constantly sweeping it off. It is dyed leather that feels good to the touch and is supple, but of course, once you put some rigidity in with the cards, it is a great wallet and still very, very thin. You have the option to request initials to be stamped on if you prefer. I really like how the No1 has this brass snap clasp on the inside instead of being on the outside. It keeps a nice clean look on the outside and remains unseen while it continues to be very functional. Both of these wallets are priced at $33, which is relatively inexpensive
The final scores of the Assembly No1 and No2, being that they are very similar, come out with the same score; four for quality, four for the price, as they are very well priced; features scores a three; usability scores a three as well; and perception scores a four. This gives a good score of 37 out of 50.