Allow me to present an incredibly unlikely comparison that should help me make my point. Leather and animal skins were used to carry water in prehistoric times, dating all the way up until medieval times when people would still use leather hip-flasks and kegs. In the journey to store water, we discovered terracotta, glass, and even perhaps one of the most reliably robust materials yet (after plastic, obviously)… metal. Metal is a far more superior material when it comes to bottles/flasks. It’s easy to fabricate, slim, reliable, strong, doesn’t need maintenance, and it’s waterproof… for those very same reasons, a metal wallet is much more superior to a leather wallet.
Designers: Pascal Eberle & Tim Hophan
Now that we got that history lesson out of the way, metal wallets/card-holders are most certainly the future, although if you’re looking for something with a slight old-timey charm, the PATINA Wallet offers the best of both worlds. With its steampunk-meets-minimal design, the PATINA comes with a slick, robust design that lets you easily carry up to 10 cards and 6 banknotes at a time. Made from a choice between brass and titanium, the PATINA Wallet uses a single sheet of hand-formed metal to store your cards and cash. Its cross-section looks almost like a paperclip, and the way the wallet’s formed lets you tuck your cards on the inside, and your banknotes on the outside, making them easy to access yet storing them securely in a wallet that has a classic appeal while being undeniably modern.
The wallet starts as a sheet of metal that’s formed in 18 steps with almost no material getting wasted in the process. Its bent-metal construction gives it inherent springiness, allowing outer and inner panels to grip onto your cards and cash securely. The wallet is produced entirely at a Switzerland-based metal workshop with designers Pascal Eberle and Tim Hophan overseeing every aspect of the process, from its design and prototyping, to its final production and quality-checking.
The name PATINA celebrates not just the wallet’s metal construction, but also its leather ancestor. Just the way leather ages over time, the brass PATINA Wallet ages too, gathering scratches and specks and oxidizing over time to become as unique as its user. While the titanium variant doesn’t gather a patina the way its brass counterpart does, it will show minute signs of use over time with constant handling, aging minimally yet gracefully.
Ultimately, designers Pascal Eberle and Tim Hophan hope that their wallet at least creates a conversation if not a complete transition from leather to metal. The brass and titanium wallets weigh 86 and 46 grams respectively (or 0.19 lbs and 0.1 lbs), and measure about the same as a bifold does. However, they’re designed to be much more robust and long-lasting, providing decades of use. The wallets are locally and fairly made, have a minimal carbon impact, and are entirely recyclable (including the packaging). Since they’re made from metal, they’re theoretically RFID-blocking too, giving you an extra layer of protection! The brass variant of the PATINA Wallet is priced at $85, while its titanium counterpart is priced at $97. The wallets ship in environmentally friendly packaging, and for an extra couple of bucks, you can even get your name or a message engraved onto the wallet’s metal body.