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8 years of natural patina - Balint bespoke

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just finished polishing these beauties.

image.jpeg 1908k .jpeg file
post #2 of 15
I have witnessed a strange e-mail exchange re Balint shoes in Vienna. First was a note from the company:

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren!
Bitte entnehmen Sie nachstehend unsere geänderten Kontaktdaten.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Béla Bálint

Béla Bálint
Wißgrillgasse 10/13A | 1140 Wien
Tel. +4367762385865
masschuhe.balint@gmail.com

This was followed by some angry, probably very Viennese responses from people who didn't like having their email addresses made public. So far, so clear.

As part of this exchange, there were allusions to "reorientation" and "doors closing."

Any idea of what is up with Balint? Are they folding?

I got one lovely pair made 6 years ago, which they are just now adjusting. Speaking selfishly, it would be a shame to have all that R&D disappear. [Especially now that the magnificent Tadeusz Januskiewicz just turned 90 over in Warsaw. The startup risks of shoe purchases in less-developed markets!]
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes, they have gone out of business. This happened in the last month or so.

I'm assuming they were able to sell their operation, but I don't have all the details.

It really is a shame.
post #4 of 15
It is really sad. I have a fond memory of my experience at their shop
in '05 trying to find RTW shoes that fit. As I have posted numerous times,
I am an extremely difficult fit. Nevertheless, a gentleman, who I believe was their
late proprietor, spent maybe 45 minutes with me trying different models to
no avail. I swore then that should time and MONEY permit, Balint would be my
first choice in bespoke.
post #5 of 15
Oh, crud. Maftei, while very nice, are not in their league, and Materna-- in addition to having a bit more of a Central European accent-- seems to make less effort to correspond with the outside.

Perhaps Mr. Balint Jr. will merge into another shop, as defunct Savile Row tailors are wont to do. He's a young man, and has some valuable lasts and tools in inventory.

In the meantime, there is Warsaw. Again, TJ is superb, albeit non-English-speaking and close to retirement. I also have an order from Kielman which is stuck in the most absurd operetta (shipping and Customs) imaginable. When those come, I may find that I have located a worthy longer-term replacement.
post #6 of 15
I hadn't heard of the closing. Did the email offer any further information?

For that matter, what are Maftei and Materna's pricing these days? Did they raise their prices last year (or in January)?
post #7 of 15
All I know is from that e-mail, and the messages of disgust from a few former clients.

And the information revealed here by Cornellian.
post #8 of 15
I have no idea what happened to Balint.

Last September, when I was in Vienna, I took a few pictures of their premises in Singerstraße.









May they bring fond memories to some.
post #9 of 15
If I read that correctly, bespoke was $1,550 before shipping and Customs, on the second pair. Sigh.

Anyway, TJ is 2,600 PLN (around $650, plus travel, shipping, customs...) and Kielman is just under $1,000, I think. Both from Pair 1.0. Not sure where Materna fits into all this.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post

All I know is from that e-mail, and the messages of disgust from a few former clients.

And the information revealed here by Cornellian.

Thanks, appreciate it. I can understand not wanting your email address publicly broadcast, but it seems like it's a small thing in the grand scheme.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post

If I read that correctly, bespoke was $1,550 before shipping and Customs, on the second pair. Sigh.

Anyway, TJ is 2,600 PLN (around $650, plus travel, shipping, customs...) and Kielman is just under $1,000, I think. Both from Pair 1.0. Not sure where Materna fits into all this.

I can't quite read the sign on my phone, but I take it you spent considerably less? I have seen a handful of bespoke work from Materna and I'm impressed. Having said that, I don't have firsthand experience and would default to those that have.
post #11 of 15
I think pair #1.0 was about $1,400-- six years ago. Even with the upcharge for making the last it was around half of what London shops would have charged. Not much more than that today. Great value, especially for anyone building a bespoke wardrobe quickly.

I see now that Materna has some internationally-versatile models on their new-ish website. Which is no guarantee what they'll do for you, etc.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post

If I read that correctly, bespoke was $1,550 before shipping and Customs, on the second pair. Sigh.

It's 'from' about $ 2,200 for the first pair and $ 1,500 for subsequent pairs. (VAT at 20% should be included in this price).

As comparison, Scheer is € 5,000 for the first pair and € 3,500 for following orders (about $ 5,400 and $ 3,800).


I'm not quite sure, but I seem to remember, Balint quoted me 10 years ago something around € 2,000, while Materna (from whom I did order a pair) was something like € 1,200.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

It's 'from' about $ 2,200 for the first pair and $ 1,500 for subsequent pairs. (VAT at 20% should be included in this price).
Even more lamentable-- around $1,200/pair after the last is done. That's Edward Green territory.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I was paying about $14-1500 on subsequent pairs. Absolute bargain. Here's part of the email Bela wrote to customers:

Since nearly seven years I have decided to continue the business started by my father. Despite my greatest passion and also the tireless work of my already retired mother, the current economic situation, but also human aspects force me to close our company with the end of the year.

With the retirements of my foreman an also of my mother, two main driving forces are missing. Despite a timely and detailed recruiting, it was not possible to find adequate succession. Thus the geographical distance between our shop in Vienna and our workshop in Transylvania makes it for me impossible to overcome the gap between the customer relations in Vienna and the operational management in Transylvania.

Additional aspects that led to this difficult decision: steadily rising costs; disappointment not getting material in an adequate quality and quantity form the dealers and tanneries; daily efforts in motivating our employees to quality and honesty; simple-minded bureaucrats. All those aspects make the fight against windmills hopeless.
post #15 of 15
Obviously, I wasn't enough of a regular customer to get that one.

Anyway, I hope my last doesn't disappear into the void-- assuming it's now perfect. I brought my pair back in early November, and they were slated to re-make them and send back a few weeks ago. Let's hope it wasn't the cost of all that which drove them under. frown.gif
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