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Engine-Turned Belt Buckles: Am I being too critical?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My wife gave me a Brooks Brothers engine-turned belt buckle probably 7 years ago. I recently ordered another from them so I could wear one with another color belt without switching. I assumed that since I was buying from Brooks Brothers again, the new buckle would be the same.

Wrong.

Instead of the very solid hinge, they've simply folded the metal on the back so it surrounds the prongs on the loop. And they've redesigned the back so it uses much less metal. Accordingly, it weighs substantially less (19 grams instead of 28 for the original--1 ounce vs. .65 ounce), and to my eye, looks much cheaper. It sounds much cheaper when you handle it; it frankly feels like a toy, not something they charge nearly $250 for.

So what do you think (aside from the fact that I need to polish my belt buckle more)? Am I right to look for something that is higher quality, or should an old man accept that this is what passes for quality in the modern world? And does anyone know of a better machine-turned buckle? They never show the back on websites.


170

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post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revelator View Post

My wife gave me a Brooks Brothers engine-turned belt buckle probably 7 years ago. I recently ordered another from them so I could wear one with another color belt without switching. I assumed that since I was buying from Brooks Brothers again, the new buckle would be the same.
Wrong.
Instead of the very solid hinge, they've simply folded the metal on the back so it surrounds the prongs on the loop. And they've redesigned the back so it uses much less metal. Accordingly, it weighs substantially less (19 grams instead of 28 for the original--1 ounce vs. .65 ounce), and to my eye, looks much cheaper. It sounds much cheaper when you handle it; it frankly feels like a toy, not something they charge nearly $250 for.
So what do you think (aside from the fact that I need to polish my belt buckle more)? Am I right to look for something that is higher quality, or should an old man accept that this is what passes for quality in the modern world? And does anyone know of a better machine-turned buckle? They never show the back on websites.
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153

I would be annoyed too. The buckles I have are from Ralph Lauren from several years, and look like the one on the left of your photo. I have noticed that the new RL models are redesigned and look like the buckle on the right of your photo

http://www.ralphlauren.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1784853&utm_medium=feeds&utm_source=RLGoogle%2BShopping&utm_campaign=Product%2BSearch

Probably much of the redesign from both companies is due to the very high cost of silver at the moment. Try BD Jeffries;

http://www.bdjeffries.com/shop/product.asp?dept%5Fid=103&name=1%2B1%252F8%2522%2B%2BEngine%2BTurn%2BBuckle&mscssid=D26TQNX28H6R9KLXEED4JSQ8WWTAE0D2&main_dept=Men&sub_dept=1+1%2F8%22+Buckles&old_id=103&old_id2=1
post #3 of 8
Tiffany.
post #4 of 8
I have one in plain silver from Ben Silver that I like. The backside is of the same type as the buckle on the left side of your photo. Understand, however, that it takes straps that are 1 1/8 inches wide. Most slide buckles are made for 1 inch straps.

It is made of sterling silver. For purposes of comparison, it weighs 31 grams.

http://www.bensilver.com/Calfskin-Straps-And-Removable-Buckles,5394.html
post #5 of 8
We've made straps for several of these buckles on the last year or so so have some experience here. Your new buckle is identical to the current Ralph Laurent buckle (as someone else also noted)- made to the same pattern by the same people I imagine. The quality is poor (its just folded from sheet) and parts of the back of the buckle are plated rather than solid silver - not the quality you'd hope for IMHO. I think you'll find the mechanism flexes alarmingly in service.

The best buckle of this type I've seen recently is the Tiffanies version also as another poster noted. I don't know the price but much better engineered and much better quality - worth a considerable premium as it'll last and be much more satisfying to own IMHO

Charlie
post #6 of 8

Thanks for the post, the photos and discussion helped me avoid purchasing the inferior buckle.

post #7 of 8
Anyone know of a less-expensive alternative to the Tiffany buckle? I require solid build/quality, but I'd be willing to live with rhodium plated steel or solid stainless. $245 is a lot of money for a belt buckle, regardless of its quality.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Louche View Post

Anyone know of a less-expensive alternative to the Tiffany buckle? I require solid build/quality, but I'd be willing to live with rhodium plated steel or solid stainless. $245 is a lot of money for a belt buckle, regardless of its quality.

You might be better of finding a brass version and getting it plated yourself - more likely to get a decent quality buckle than if its pot metal. I don't think you'll find stainless though I might be wrong.

Charlie
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