Disclosure of non-disclosure: I was not compensated in any manner for this review and do not plan to accept compensation after-the-fact.
This may sound a bit weird coming from someone who reverse-nickel-and-dimes as much as possible in order to optimize savings, but I’m a bit of a luxury goods enthusiast, specifically when it comes to leather products. I love the idea of getting full grain leather products and having them age along with me, watching as the patina forms and tells a story of where it’s been and how it’s been used.
With that being said, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise then when I grabbed a white smoke hornback saltwater crocodile belt from Jacob Hill Leather Co. I have a small set of leather accessories, but none of them were of crocodile, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to induct the reptile into my collection. It took right around two weeks to get to me (including made-to-order production and standard ground shipping); it arrived in my PO box yesterday, and I picked it up today.
The belt normally comes with a standard buckle, but I specifically requested an upgraded belt buckle to a more durable one made out of cast aluminum and molded in the shape of hornback scales. The first thing I noticed about the buckle was just how large it was—it actually looks quite aggressive and is pretty wide.
The belt itself had the rough-but-smooth texture that I would expect from crocodile leather. It has all the unique wrinkles and folds that you would expect from a real leather product, and twisting it into itself back and forth gives the expected “it’s alive” visual, where it seems like each scale and each part of the skin is moving both together and independently at the same time.
(Quick tip: This twisting and folding method is a very easy way to tell whether or not crocodile and alligator leather is real; fake and engraved pattern leather will appear to always move in a single piece and will often wrinkle and crease in strange places, such as through the center of scales.)
Of course, because this is a hornback belt, it comes with horns—mine had four large, pronounced horns, followed by a row of smaller ones along the remainder of the belt. The cut of the belt made it so the placement of the horns doesn’t interfere with your pants’ belt loops and doesn’t make it difficult to thread onto your waist.
The backside of the belt is lined with standard brown leather (which is good, because I’d imagine you wouldn’t want the pattern of crocodile jutting into your waist). It comes with a wealth of natural wrinkles and imperfections that true leather enthusiasts will love, and it’s finished off with a tasteful engraving of the Jacob Hill logo, along with a reminder of what type of leather you’re wearing.
If you want to mix up your belt buckle, it’s very easy to disassemble—there are three snaps that hold the tip in place, and undoing those snaps will allow you to slide off the rings and buckle.
This is useful because I noticed that, when wearing and centering a belt buckle as large and pronounced as the upgraded cast iron hornback one, the extra rings might get in the way of your first belt loop if you don’t skip it and start threading into your second belt loop. I like the visual touch that the rings provide, so I will likely keep them on, but if you want a more secure grip, you can remove the rings and slide the belt into the first belt loop all the way up snug to the buckle.
Another very minor complaint I have about the belt is the backside of the snaps that hold the buckle and rings into place. They look and feel like they’re made out of plastic, and although they are functionally fine, it’s not really something that I expected being used for a belt of this caliber. Regardless, this is probably something that will only bother someone with the utmost attention to detail; the plastic parts of the snaps face inward towards your waist, and you most likely will forget that they’re even there.
As I said at the beginning of the review, I was not paid to write this review and this is not part of a partnership or sponsorship—I wrote this simply because I was satisfied with the belt. Unfortunately, this does mean that I don’t have a special discount code to offer you. However, I noticed that their website has a dedicated section for specials where they run substantial discounts on various different products, so I recommend checking that out.
As for me, after browsing their website, I noticed that they make wallets as well, so I plan on making another purchase—just not right now, because if I don’t pace myself, I foresee easily being down a couple thousand dollars before I know it…