Hands On: Hard Graft Atelier Mighty Phone Fold Wallet

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I received a Hard Graft gift certificate last Christmas and realized that, to my surprise, that gift certificate was going to expire in a few weeks. I toyed with the idea of using the gift card to purchase another gift card (which would buy me time), but after a good 11 months of looking at Hard Graft’s website, I decided to stop kidding myself. I know their current catalogue inside and out.

I decided to try something different and pick up one of Hard Graft’s Mighty Phone Fold Wallets from their Atelier line, which comes in at $232. This let me try out a wallet design that had always caught my eye while also giving me some hands-on time with Hard Graft’s new Atelier collection, which is marketed as a higher tier version of their regular products.

Mighty Phone Fold Design

As it turns out, I only spent two days with the Atelier Phone Fold wallet. I had wanted a wallet that would contain my iPhone 5S with cards and still fit in my front pocket…but the Mighty Phone Fold always felt too large. One thing that would actually have helped me avoid this purchase would have been a bit of extra product text from Hard Graft about where to place a wallet of this size. It’s great if you keep your wallet in your blazer or in your bag, but I don’t tend to do either of those things.

Sitting at home with the wallet in my front-left pocket felt uncomfortable, even without the iPhone 5S. Storing it in my back pocket was much more comfortable, but didn’t feel nearly as secure. The Mighty Phone Fold is tall enough that it sticks out of the back pocket of all my jeans and dress pants, and I just didn’t feel right about having my wallet that exposed.

HDM Hard Graft Mighty Phone Fold

However, for those of you who might still consider this wallet, here are a few details from my brief hands-on experience:

  • the closing snaps are really solid and satisfying to use
  • placing six cards into the individual card slots will quickly bulk the wallet up; I preferred placing three on one side and then tucking the rest into the felt pocket
  • there are two large felt pockets behind the card slots, each one large enough to fit an iPhone or cards
  • the felt pockets are not great for loose change, since it will explode out of the wallet when you un-snap it
  • the felt pockets are good for cash, and Canadian bills can be folded in half and fit nicely

HDM Hard Graft Mighty Phone Fold 2

Atelier Quality

Hard Graft already makes some really premium products, so I was quite curious when they announced their Atelier line, which promises a premium plus feel. Not only are all of the Atelier items dyed a gorgeous black, but they’re also touted to have extra styling and “triple-painted” edges.

The thing is that I don’t really see the difference. I compared the Ateler Mighty Phone Fold to the similar versions available in Heritage (brown) and Ocean (blue) and didn’t really notice any obvious differences. The stitching looks just as good in the other product shots, the leather seems similar in quality, and so the only difference I can spot is the signature vertical lines across the front of the wallet. By contrast, I’ve compared my Hard Graft 2Unfold to other leather bags and really do feel the difference in quality, but from my weekend with the Mighty Phone Fold, I didn’t feel like the Atelier line was truly a cut above everything else Hard Graft makes. It just feels like a different, more expensive black version, which feels strange because they don’t charge different prices for any other colour.

Going with a Flat Pack

After the first day with the wallet I contacted Hard Graft about a return, sent them pictures to confirm the wallet was still in pristine condition, and sent the wallet back. It made it from Canada to the UK in a week via Air Mail, and so they awarded me with store credit for my purchase. I’ve just used that store credit to purchase myself an Ocean Travel Pack, which is basically the regular Flat Pack, but in a gorgeous blue.

I certainly don’t need the Flat Pack at this point. I’m actually behind on the bag reviews I intend to publish, but since I have this gift card, I’d like to take the opportunity to purchase something from Hard Graft that I’ll really love. I’ve talked a lot about the Flat Pack before, and the fact that I haven’t forgotten about it after all these months tells me that it’s something special.

As it turns out, the Travel Pack is actually out of stock at this point, so I’ve decided to just pay up front and wait for one to ship to me in late January. That should give me some time to catch up on reviews.