submitted by Bernard Capulong
Ever since the minimalist wallet trend gained traction, leather wallets have sort of fallen out of style in favor of metal or technical fabrics. But Wingback has proven time and time again that you can enjoy the portability and efficiency of a minimalist wallet without sacrificing the comfort and timelessness of quality leather. One downside of leather wallets is stretch: once you stretch out a wallet by carrying a large number of cards, it’s almost impossible to ever downsize your carry. The Wingback Winston Card Holder solves this problem with hidden stainless steel leaf springs that apply the right amount of tension to keep cards in place, whether you’re carrying 10 cards or one. The result is a super compact, timeless, and stylish wallet that keeps your cards slim and secure, no matter how many you’re carrying at the time.
Disclaimer: Wingback sent me a sample of their Winston Card Holder as a surprise without me asking, free of charge, but that doesn’t impact my opinions about the wallet here. With that out of the way, let me share my impressions.
Materials and Construction
When discussing leather goods like this, we have to consider the materials and construction, and Wingback doesn’t disappoint with the Winston Card Holder. They use high quality, full-grain Tuscan Italian leather. Even the unboxing experience is premium—as soon as you remove the wallet from its thick canvas storage pouch, you’re struck by the leather’s aroma. Upon closer inspection, it’s clear this wallet is hand crafted with care and skill in equal measures.
The stitching is tight, clean, and consistent. The folds are satisfying and even. Cutouts for each card pocket come at an angle that’s razor sharp and consistent throughout. The edges are burnished for a cohesive look with no raw edges. The angularity in the design even extends to the corners of the wallet, where they’re rounded off ever so slightly, parallel to the main pocket angle. Not only is it visually satisfying, but it improves comfort in the hand by removing sharp corners. This attention to detail is something I appreciate immensely and it’s all very well executed.
Capacity and Operation
The Winston Card Holder is elegant yet simple in its design. As the name implies it’s trim and lean to accommodate a few cards and some folded bills if needed. If you carry a smaller set of cards, between 1 to 10 total, the Winston Card Holder would accommodate just fine. I loaded my sample with 3 cards on one side and 4 cards on the other.
The Winston stores cards in two dedicated pockets in a symmetrical vertical configuration. The pockets are oriented facing away from each other, such that if one pocket is facing up towards you on the front, the one on the back would be facing down. This lets you flip the wallet in your hand vertically to access the other pocket with one hand for added convenience.
It’s fortunate that you can access both pockets of the cards with just one hand, because with no organization or cascading of cards, you’ll need to pinch and pull the entire stack of cards in a pocket to go through them. I recommend keeping your most used cards at the front of the pocket, so you can use your thumb to slide it out for easier one hand retrieval. Retrieving and removing cards is difficult at first, but should become easier as leather breaks in over time.
Killer App: Hidden Steel Springs
Even as the leather breaks in and loosens up, the Winston Card Holder will keep a secure grip on your cards thanks to a hidden 0.3mm stainless steel leaf spring in each card pocket. This applies the right amount of tension to grip your cards, rather than relying on bulk and friction of having more cards occupying a wallet. It solves the all-too-common problem of leather wallets stretching out after storing lots of cards such that downsizing to fewer cards is impossible without them falling out. The best part is these springs are completely out of sight and function in an experiential way, giving you peace of mind that your cards are secure and the wallet works without you even seeing them. That’s a hallmark of great design in my book.
And just as the stainless steel leaf springs disappear within the wallet, the Winston Card Holder is so compact it’ll disappear in your pocket. Its overall footprint is barely larger than the credit cards it holds, adding as little bulk as possible to your essential cards. Few other wallets compare in this regard, and it’s enough to make me seriously consider making the Winston Card Holder my personal EDC as it satisfies many of my wallet needs.
The full grain leather and hidden 0.3mm stainless steel springs might add some thickness, so it’s not the thinnest wallet ever, but given the improved hand feel, ergonomics, comfort and organic durability of leather, I think it’s ounce for ounce worth the pocket space.
Other Details and Final Thoughts
In spite of quality materials and thoughtful design, the Winston Card Holder will gain some wear and tear from regular use, as is fitting from an EDC wallet. Luckily Wingback stands by the quality of their products, backing the Winston for life with free repairs if you somehow manage to need any. They’re also proponents of individual needs and preferences, which is why the Winston is customizable with different thread colors and laser engraving on the front and along the card slot of the wallet.
At the end of the day the Winston Card Holder is a lean and efficient minimalist wallet with timeless styling, lifelong durability, and sophisticated functionality that doesn’t need to steal the spotlight to do an effective job. Materials and clean, efficient industrial design take center stage here.
If you happen to be in the market for your next EDC wallet and are looking for a compact solution for carrying cards and the occasional cash, the Wingback Winston Card Holder can be your companion through the thick and thin of everyday carry. Pledge one in your choice of color at the fully funded Kickstarter link below.
Source: Everyday Carry