No, it is still plenty strong. This bag does time as a camera bag and I often hang it on fences and trees using a carabiner that is passed through the handle, such that all the weight is held by a relatively small area of the handle.All leather has been treated with Obenaufs HDLP and oil throughout the years.
This piling on the reverse of some of the leather is not new. I have a 4+ year old 232 medium field bag that shows this piling on the back of the handle, which in my case has seen a lot of stress and flexing as I use it almost as much as the shoulder strap.
Image of label has had brighness & contrast adjusted to make it easier to read, but is far closer to actual colour than the handle shot
Found this on the Nordstrom blog - https://blogs.nordstrom.com/men/take-a-tour-of-filsons-factories-pop-innordstrom-new-classics/#more-35189.Some info of interest (or not):Two factories in Seattle and one in Idaho.Approximately 600 leather hides are delivered weeklythe current Seattle storefront will scoot a few blocks west, right beneath corporate headquarters (which also houses one of their three stateside factories).
@bluechalkstripe - I see leather conditioner and shoe polish in your future
I used Lexol cleaner and conditioner on mine, followed by neutral saphir to give it a nice sheen.
The buckles appear to be silver coloured, but the removable strap are brass coloured, Is that a trick of the light ? Mine has all silver hardware except for the lock