Eagle-eyed Bond followers spotted something in the second trailer for No Time to Die in September. The super spy is presented with his Tom Ford dinner suit in an olive green canvas carrier, which online sleuths clocked was by British luggage makers Bennett Winch. The firm has been inundated with enquiries ever since.
The Bennett Winch Suit Carrier Holdall is a design worthy of Q Branch, a fiendishly clever combo in which the carrier folds around a central bag and is attached to the same with straps and magnets. It keeps your tailoring in excellent condition and also has room for everything else you might need for a few nights’ away; it’s good-looking and practical – you can carry belongings and suit in one hand.
This piece (or, technically, two pieces) is typical of Bennett Winch, a company started only five years ago by three friends. Their story sounds like the result of one of those conversations we all have about “a gap in the market”. But while for most of us these tend to go nowhere, the trio quit their day jobs and made it happen.
Essentially, all three were constantly travelling and figured there had to be something that they could use to transport their stuff for weekend trips that had the appeal of a luxury product and the functionality of something designed for hard use.
The result was the Weekender, a canvas bag that became the template for everything the firm has done since. Elegant and simple, it is designed enough to offer an internal waterproof pocket and some useful compartments without being over-engineered. A handsome accessory that is also tough and fit for purpose.
The founders say that they make items that streamline your life, and the three of them still test products for around six months before they go into production. Between them, they are pretty active – cycling and surfing, with one a proud owner of a 1970s Triumph Daytona motorcycle. All love road trips, and, in normal times, spend many hours navigating airports and hotels. In recent years, more often than not the trio has been to Italy where they visit two of Tuscany’s finest artisanal tanneries to hand-select the hides they use. Notably the choice is for softer full-grain leather, and not stiffer bridle leather, for a more relaxed look and feel.
Leather has been the step-change in the business. For two years, Bennett Winch only made one product in canvas – the Weekender – but because of customer demand, now every bag comes in both canvas and leather. The hides are one of the few elements that are not sourced from UK suppliers (as well as the zips – apparently the Swiss make the best).
The range has expanded to include a commuter bag, backpack, briefcase, tote, folio, wallet, card holder, luggage tag, wash bag and watch roll. There are no seasonal releases, everything once created stays on sale, and each item comes with a lifetime guarantee. On the rare occasion something breaks, they will collect it, fix it in a fortnight, and get it back to you. Even if they have to pick up from Australia. Really.
From £650; bennettwinch.com