The last bag in my collection is the Bleu de Chauffe Eclair M in a “navy blue/pain brûlé” colorway. I’ve seen a handful of these Bleu de Chauffe bags from my fellow friends on Instagram, and they look absolutely gorgeous! Bleu de Chauffe uses full vegetable tanned leather instead of chrome tanned. Some of the primary differences between the two types of leather is that veg tan will acquire a distinct patina, is not water resistant, and may crack to prolonged exposure to heat or dryness. Chrome tanned leather remains fairly uniform in color, is softer and suppler, and do not show as much fiber variation due to the tannage. Bleu de Chauffe takes its inspiration from late 19th and early 20th century design.
Besides the plastic wrap, the bag included the previous mentioned cards and also a cotton material Dust Bag that was folded in the interior of the bag.
Here are the specs taken from the offical website:
-Shoulder strap bag made of vegetable tanned leather.
-Very convenient thanks to its quick openning system, the Eclair bag can be either hand or shoulder carried.
-The leather strap can be removed if needed.
-Three outside pockets including. Integrated felt sleeve for 13 inches laptops.
-The Bleu de Chauffe label, signed and dated by the artisan, is sewn on an inside zipped pocket.
-Handmade in France.
Today, more than 90% of leathers in the world are tanned by chrome tanning and heavy chemical components. Bleu de Chauffe’s approach is different. Our leathers are vegetable tanned which ensure a better quality and sustainability of the leather, a soft natural touch, and a patina which gets nicer years over years.
– Full grained leather. Vegetable tanned and water resistant.
– Natural and soft touch finish. Handmade patina.
– Backside leather with ‘velvet’ finishing.
– Removable leather strap and comfortable leather shoulder pad lined with natural felt.
– Leather handle for comfortable hand carriage.
– Inside removable zipped cotton pockegnature.
– Size: 38 cm x 28 cm x 10 cm (15 in x 11 in x 4 in)
– Suitable for 13 inches laptop.
When I received the shipping notification, the bag took 10 business days via USPS from France to arrive. Upon opening the box, the bag was fit almost perfectly into the dimensions of the box and was wrapped with a clear plastic. There was a small flip booklet attached to the handle by string. The booklet described the history of the company, its values, and the construction details.
Upon opening the bag, the leather didn’t smell like Chromexcel or other leather I’ve handled before. It took me a couple days to figure out that the smell reminded me of a rubber handball or rubber kitchen gloves. It’s neither a repulsive nor attractive smell, but is quite interesting.
The bag’s construction is stitched so essentially all the seams are on the inside of the bag, providing a clean look.
I haven’t had a full leather bag since I sold my Saddleback Leather Dark Coffee Brown Large Briefcase because it was too heavy. The Eclair’s material is completely vegetable tanned leather except for two places – the removable zippered canvas-like pouch and the center compartment’s felt sleeve. I suppose then it isn’t truly a full leather bag!
This bag is flawless in construction. I searched everywhere on the bag to find any missed stitches or extra thread dangling, but found none! It’s a remarkably constructed bag, and I’m amazed at how reasonably priced the bag is. The pain brule leather used on the straps and closure is very thick and exhibits pull-up leather properties. The navy blue leather has a scotch grain appearance and the other side of the leather exhibits a smooth navy suede.
My 15 inch Dell laptop does not fit in any of the compartments including the felted laptop sleeve. The laptop felt is so soft and is slightly thicker than the laptop sleeve in my Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack. On the top of the laptop sleeve is a snap leather closure to secure your laptop. This leather piece has two punched holes which is like the front closures but only is cosmetic to the design.
The bag has a total of 3 separate compartments (not including the laptop compartment), 1 laptop compartment in the middle, and one removable zippered pouch that is located in the innermost compartment to store smaller items. Although the description mentions 3 outer pockets, the only two outer pockets are the two quite narrow water bottle pockets. On one of these water bottle pockets is a brass cap that has the company’s logo – a small, neat addition! The last pocket is actually the outermost underneath the flap. Therefore, the bag’s flap essentially must be opened to access any interior items.
I like the bag’s closure because I can close and open the flaps with one hand. The leather closure has three potential lengths to cinch or loosen up the closure as needed. This design reminds me of Billingham camera bags which also have a one stud closure with an adjustable length closure. One issue that I have is that the flap leather closures hide behind the buckle straps so I have to make sure I’m grabbing the leather closure below to close the bag.
The Postman Eclair bag falls within the “Messenger bag” category of the brand’s website. The colorway I selected is called “navy blue/pain brûlé” in a size Medium. The other 4 colorways available were Indigo, Pain Brûlé (Tan leather with Brown closures), Peat (Dark Brown), and Black. All of these other colorways have a monochrome leather for the whole bag. The colorway I chose was the only one that provided a significant color contrast between the bag’s leather and the closure leather.
I initially wanted the Postman Eclair bag in a size Large because that bag additionally can be worn as a backpack with the additional straps. However, I was told that the Large design was soon changing. Additionally, the larger bag design compromises a traditional messenger bag because it most similarly resembles a square bag (34cm H x 36cm L). However, the size L bag description mentions it can store a 15 in laptop.
On each side of the bag, there is an adjustable leather strap that has two holes. One is to tighten the width for a smaller load and the other hole is for a larger load. Personally, even with the bag stuffed full, the “width” typically isn’t the limiting factor, but just the volume space.
The shoulder strap is removable and comes with some sort of wool felted shoulder pad. The maximum strap length is fairly short compared to a Filson bag. The length likely suggests that the bag is to be carried primarily on one shoulder side rather than cross body.
There is also a removable zippered cotton pouch in the innermost compartment that is held to the bag by two button snaps. The pouch can be removed and snapped to the front compartment where there are also snaps. The pouch is quite small at about 9 inches x 6 inches. Looks like a great spot for your keys. Also sewn to this pouch is the company’s only written logo (besides the logo cap snap on the exterior). The tag also has a handwritten date manufactured and also the artisan’s name. My bag was manufactured on 02-08-2018 and by “Charazad” (?).
The Postman Eclair bag design is a combination of minimalism and authenticity. The quality of this bag is second to none, and as much as I would love to describe it, I think pictures do the bag more justice. I’m looking forward to how the bag will age and soften with time. The leather straps are already softening! While I wish the bag could fit my 15 inch laptop, I prefer the proportions of the Medium size to the Large. This is a bag that is timeless and exudes a refined look in contrast to my rugged Filson and Vermilyea Pelle bags!