What is luxury and what is a brand? We have a great example with the Monbue One wallet from Austria. A slim, metal, box -wallet similar to Ekster and SECRID, it handles cash, coin and cards via a spring loaded pop up mechanism.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
In this review, we will talk about what makes luxury. We will be exploring the concept with a Monbue One Nautical sailor box wallet. This nice big box presents itself very well, it is made from premium materials and even has a very expensive price tag to go along with it. But does that make it luxury?
The Monbue comes in a very impressive box that was shipped halfway across the world. Inside the box, we have a two-year warranty card. It includes also the serialized number for this particular wallet, as well as a fairly extensive user manual, which gives us the instructions on how to use it. This is the Monbue One Nautical Sailor, thus, obviously, we have a blue and white tone, which emphasizes that. It has a nice logo, and it is all metal except for the leather piece in the front that holds some quite clever coins slots.
Austrians Timon Miklin and Michael Krammel founded Monbue to solve their problem of combining coins, cash, and cards into a compact, but luxurious wallet. The families of both men have background in detailed craftsmanship, which provided them the ability to not only design but also build the Monbue wallets in Austria.
The cash slot on the front of this wallet has a thumb push. Cash goes into the top, folded in thirds or quarters. There are two coin slots and their capacity depends on the kind of coins you put in there. They recommend up to six coins, three in each slot. The exposure there makes it so that you would push the coins out via your thumb. The wallet has the card slot at the top with a capacity of up to seven cards, which will be dependent on embossed or non-embossed cards. It has a trigger mechanism, that protects the cards from falling out, and when you need to extract your cards, a spring-loaded mechanism located at the bottom will do the work. And of course, due to the materials nature, being all metal, it provides RFID protection. It measures 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.6″ and weighs 137 grams when empty.
So what creates a brand and the associated value? The answer is perception. This latter creates the single largest intangible growth value for a particular brand. The main dimension of perception is the narrative or the company’s story. If you think about the top two brands from Austria Red Bull and Swarovski, the instant you hear their names, you know what they do and their story. So what perception value do you place on their brands and are willing to spend on their products due to that value association? Fashion companies show and tell their story in everything they do, whether in the runway shows, floor displays, commercials, endorsement, or sponsorships. The narrative includes the value that the brand communicates and supports via its messaging. The narrative forges the emotional connection, which is what is important to the brand’s need to sustain the loyalty and growth of their customers. So does Monbue do that for you as a wallet? Well, what if it was a Gucci or Versace wallet?
The company recommends up to seven cards and I think seven is reasonable in addition to six coins, various coins can be put and they come out pretty easy. Reasonable minimal carry is probably five. This wallet fits best in the front pocket, it is not a rear pocket wallet due to it being a metal box, that would not be recommended for your back.
This wallet is designed and made in Austria. Body and part are made from aluminum. This leather component is an Italian leather. It also utilizes a Desserto cactus leather made in Mexico, for those that are looking for more of a vegan plant-based option. The cash slot is glued to the back, as a result, with just three slips of cash in there, it begins to bulge out a bit. Moreover, both the coin and card mechanism are patented. The two-year warranty is against manufacturing defects. They have a repair service for a fee, which guarantees to return your wallet within seven days if something goes wrong. The price of this wallet is $226, or 198 euros.
So far, do you see the luxury value in the Monbue wallet narrative?
That cash and coins are only secondary on this wallet. Wallets like SECRID, who also glue their secondary wallet piece onto their wallet, provide this storage mechanism. The Monbue requires folding your currency in either thirds or fourths depending on your preference, and this would be for emergency cash rather than everyday cash due to its limitations. With only three notes, the wallet begins to expand quite a bit. Furthermore, coin storage is not plentiful but if you want to reduce your pocket change down to six coins, that would be perfect for you. The way it functions is quite clever. There are tension bars on both sides, when the coin is pushed out, it kind of pops out. This happens because there are bows that aid the movements. The coin may move freely, but once I move it into the middle portion, there is tension that holds it in place. In fact, there are three different tension bar spaces that hold the coins in. When you want the coins, you just push them, and it pops into the next, quite clever to keep these coins in play. The only concern is that it cannot hold larger coins. You can put a half dollar in there, but the one pound, for example, may fit by way of its circumference, but it does not because of its thickness, and the two pound is too wide but also too thick. Another concern is with small coins, they are a little more difficult to pull down with your thumb once you drop them in. Still, you are able to move them around with your thumb, which is great and works in either direction based on your preference.
Card storage is secure at the top with the trigger that prevents everything from coming out, even though you may want to handle it brusquely. When you flip the trigger open, the lifter mechanism at the bottom pushes the cards up. There are two lifters, one on each side, when you push the cards in, they lock into place, and when you open the trigger, these lifters and the spring underneath push the cards upwards but not very high. If you have it down a little bit more, cards will come out further. The issue is that the spring is a little bit weak. From the interior mechanism, we can see that the lifters are also made from metal and that it is spring loaded underneath.
Finally, what makes luxury? Well, you do. You being sold on the elements that make something worthwhile to you is what elevates it to luxury or makes it a luxurious item, which practically just means greater comfort. When you are tempted to purchase something that costs many times more than the actual value of the materials and labor, you are paying for a brand and the associated luxury. It is not a bad thing as long as you do not get fooled. We all justify our own luxuries.
The final score of the Monbue One Nautical sailor box wallet is five for quality, this is made with great material and great care; one for the price, compared to similar items and materials used, its price is very high, and similar type wallets would cost half the price. But is there a benefit? Or are you paying for luxury? Features score a four, the coin holding feature is quite unique and so is the way to handle coins without adding too much bulk to your pocket. Usability scores a three, the finger trigger works albeit the spring is a little weak. Finally, the perception scores a three. It is no Hermes, yet, this wallet gets the final score of 30 out of 50.