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Handgrade vs. benchgrade

avtar

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I have read about crockett and jones handgrade and bench grade. Can someone please explain the differences. I am assuming it is a quality thing but does it apply to materials as well.

Thanks
 

tattersall

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I have read about crockett and jones handgrade and bench grade.  Can someone please explain the differences.  I am assuming it is a quality thing but does it apply to materials as well.
I've always thought of myself as a 'student' of this board rather than a 'teacher' but here goes based on my meagre experience:

Both are machine-made shoes and are goodyear welted. The handgrades use finer calf leathers, asymmetric lasts, oak bark tanned soles and have a channeled sole. The handgrades, the brown and tan ones at least, are also antiqued (though not to the level of Edward Green).

The benchgrade C&Js are good shoes though not nearly as elegantly styled as the handgrades. I have a couple of pairs of the benchgrades and like them as I find them attractive and comfortable and feel they represent good value (much cheaper than Church's and with better quality leather). They definitely don't have the 'wow' factor of the handgrades on the 337 last.

I've never tried Loakes but have heard from other forum members that they're nothing special.
 

bengal-stripe

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First difference and easily detectable, between Crockett & Jones "handgrade" v. "benchgrade" is the use of a "channelled sole" (hidden stitching) as opposed to one that is "stitched aloft" (visible stitching).

Basically "handgrade" uses better materials and takes more care in production. Many manufacturers produce a superior range, whether they call it "special edition" or "gold range". It is up to you to decide, whether you are satisfied with the basic product or you prefer to pay the premium for the superior one.
 

ballines

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Took a look again at the Brooks Brothers Peal and Co. monkstraps which in prior discussions have been determined to be both C&J and benchgrade.

These definitely have a channeled sole, which suggests 3 possibilities.

1) they are handgrade (which seems preposterous at the price)
2) they aren't C&J
3) C&J makes some benchgrades with a channeled sole

Anyone hazard a guess?
 

TKDKid

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C&J does make some shoes with channelled soles that aren't Handgrades, as I remember seeing some they made under other names (e.g. Paul Smith) that were going for GBP 80 at the factory shop (bearing in mind that Handgrade seconds normally cost GBP 200).

I don't think any of the non-Handgrade shoes under their own name have channelled soles though.
 

jcusey

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Took a look again at the Brooks Brothers Peal and Co. monkstraps which in prior discussions have been determined to be both C&J and benchgrade.

These definitely have a channeled sole, which suggests 3 possibilities.
I don't think that the channelled-sole BB Peal shoes made by Crockett & Jones really fit into either the handgrade line or the benchmade line. The channelled soles and the patterns are virtually identical to comparable handgrade models, but they don't appear to be made from the same quality leather or have the same quality of finishing as the handgrade shoes. At the same time, I've never seen any C&J shoes from the benchmade line with channelled soles.
 

A Harris

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How about the Polo shoes with channeled soles? I've never had the chance to compare them to a handgrade shoe, side by side. Do you think they are up to handgrade standards, or are somewhere in between like the Peal shoes?
 

bengal-stripe

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I remember seeing some they made under other names (e.g. Paul Smith) that were going for GBP 80 at the factory shop (bearing in mind that Handgrade seconds normally cost GBP 200).
If you are a store or a designer and you ask C & J to make up a wholesale range of shoes for you, you can specify what you want. The difference between a channelled sole and one that is stitched aloft is a few quid (GBP) more on the wholesale price.

When you enquire in the C & J shop about repairs and re-soling, they will quote you two prices. I can't remember the exact difference, but it's maybe GBP 10.00 between the two choices.

If they have Paul Smith or other designers shoes (the name is usually embossed into the sole) to clear out, they can only do that in the factory outlet shop and not the retail store and the prices in the factory store are lower.
 

TKDKid

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If they have Paul Smith or other designers shoes (the name is usually embossed into the sole) to clear out, they can only do that in the factory outlet shop and not the retail store and the prices in the factory store are lower.
That makes sense - I was surprised at the price of the Paul Smith shoes as they weren't marked as being seconds but were at the same price.

Having said that, I tried on a pair of them with the channelled soles and I'm pretty sure they weren't made to Handgrade standards.  I asked one of the ladies at the shop but she wasn't sure either, although she did tell me it was made on last 317 (it said so inside the shoe - duh), which is one of the benchgrade lasts.
 

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