8 years of natural patina - Balint bespoke

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cornellian, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Cornellian

    Cornellian Senior member

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    Just finished polishing these beauties.

    [ATTACHMENT=13341]image.jpeg (1,908k. jpeg file)[/ATTACHMENT]
     


  2. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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
    [email protected]

    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!]
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017


  3. Cornellian

    Cornellian Senior member

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    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.
     


  4. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    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.
     


  5. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017


  6. HansderHund

    HansderHund Senior member

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    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)?
     


  7. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     


  8. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    May they bring fond memories to some.
     


  9. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017


  10. HansderHund

    HansderHund Senior member

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    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.


    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.
     


  11. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017


  12. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017


  13. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Even more lamentable-- around $1,200/pair after the last is done. That's Edward Green territory.
     


  14. Cornellian

    Cornellian Senior member

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    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.
     


  15. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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. :(
     


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