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Advice concerning A-2 jacket . Bill Kelso or Eastman?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by ducatimonster, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. ducatimonster

    ducatimonster Familiar Face

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    Barcelona
    Hello

    Have been long time reading comments concerning the A-2 jacket and have learnt some interesting things here. Now I´m planning to buy a new one at a concrete price range and wanted to read your opinions

    My two main options are Eastman leather ( house or RW1401 Havana brown ) and Bill Kelso RW 23380 in Liberty HH leather. Have a HWM and a Sheene from Aero and I´m very satisfied with both but I preffer to go to another maker to feel the difference

    I see ELC house model and BK Rough Wear 23380 both have similar price, Eastman RW 1401 is more expensive taking in account is surely a much more accurate replica

    Anyway I´d like to read your opinions about the quality of the leathers used in both makers and also the quality of the manufacturing.

    I know the leather used in both ELC models are the same but wanted to know if the Liberty leather from BK offers a similar quality

    Would be very pleased to read tour prefferences and your advices


    Thanks!


    Joan
     
  2. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,199
    Location:
    Germany
    I have seen great jackets made by Bill Kelso, especially in the dark seal horsehide and I nearly ordered a jacket from then a while back, but in the end, their harassment of a member here for years, as well as a homophobic rant in more recent past stopped me from doing so. Their product is quality and I don't judge anyone buying from them and would love to see the bought jackets reviewed here, but in an industry with so many nice folks around, I prefer to give my money to one of those...

    As for Eastman, if you want one of these, act quickly, they raise their prices all few weeks these days.
     
  3. Dav

    Dav One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,219
    Location:
    Somerset, England
    Yep, BK don't get much love in these parts. That said, I own a Dubow in seal liberty that I think is awesome, the hide is beautifully grainy and feels the perfect weight to me.
    I don't have any experience of Eastman A-2s so can't really do a comparison.
     
    ducatimonster likes this.
  4. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    UK
    Hi Joan,
    I have had many Eastmans, they are top-notch jackets. My favourite is the RW1401. I actually have a BK Dubow 1755 in seal liberty on order.
    I have current leather samples from both ELC and BK (will try upload some pics later).
    I absolutely love the colour of BK's seal liberty, it has a neutral mid-brown tone. I can't wait to see this jacket in person.
    Eastman's Havana russet is also fantastic, has lots of character and grain and based on the recent jackets I tried on at the ELC tent at the recent Duxford airshow, there are slight variations in the leather from batch to batch.
    The Eastman hide is more aniline, and BK's more opaque - both authentically so. Both will wear in and age beautifully.
    Eastman's samples seem a touch thinner, and I've heard from others that BK's leather is a touch thicker... we are talking VERY slightly though! But having said that... I have yet to hold the BK in my hands.

    The quality of both these leathers is excellent. Both are authentic, and both are accurate to spec.
    It will all depend on what colour you prefer, which jacket you want to get and your budget.

    The RW1401 is an original-maker contract, every detail is carefully replicated. There are many differences between this and the house model, which is a more generic pattern.
    Bill Kelso jacket's are also original-maker (besides their own house version), and from what I've seen are also painstakingly cloned from originals. The RW27752 would be a more authentic option with the seal liberty horsehide, as the 23380s were mostly made with russet, I may be wrong. (BK's russet is also gorgeous).

    ELC has just had another price hike and will have another one in Sept/ Oct I believe.
    At the moment, financially speaking, a BK makes sense (I am sure they won't be too far behind with price increases in the near future).
    Joan, you cannot go wrong with either jacket. Both companies' jackets are right at the top of the ladder.
     
    Jeremiah, Stand By, Gutmann and 3 others like this.
  5. Carlos840

    Carlos840 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,610
    Location:
    London
    I have similar thoughts about BK, nice jackets, but i wouldn't give them my money.
    Eastman are also great jackets, and i have always gotten great service from them. Rob at ELC is a very nice guy and will answer every question you have and measure any available jacket for you.
     
  6. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    UK
    This is an 'Elite units' 23FG ELC RW1401 in the Timeworn finish. This pic was taken at the recent Duxford airshow.
    ELC RW1401 23FG Jacket.jpg
     
  7. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    UK
    Absolutely second this... Eastman have great CS and Rob is always very helpful and accommodating.
     
    ProteinNerd and ducatimonster like this.
  8. GregGale

    GregGale One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    162
    I hear both are creme de la creme. I only have experience with ELC and I can wholeheartedly recommend them. I'd choose ELC over BK, here's why: there's more info about measurements of ELC jackets, more fit pics, etc...that will help you choose the contract/ size. Also, ELC sometimes has a popup store where you can try them and see for yourself. This being said, they are about to raise their prices so better hurry.

    I would not recommend going for the house A-2 which I tried once and found quite baggy. The original contract A-2s are well worth the extra money.

    The RW 1401 is a dark havana/ russet, beautiful color. Brett's picture doesn't do justice, I was there with him and it looks way better in reality. Each contract suits different body types - the 1401 is not an overly slim fit one, but not boxy either, perfect for athletic body shapes with broader shoulders. Keep in mind that it has a collar stand, that is, the collar will reach up higher. Some like it, some don't. Good luck!
     
    ducatimonster likes this.
  9. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    UK
    Further to what Greg said above... If you go for an ELC, and depending on the jacket you want, and the size... they may have one in stock that you can order right away (they had an almost full house at the ELC tent at the airshow, so there is good stock at the mo). If you require a long or extra long size, you will need to put in an order and will likely receive Sept/ Oct... AND will only pay for the jacket then.
    Being in EU, postage should not be much of an issue if you need to return it.

    BK you have to pay up front, and the jacket may take some time to process, depending on what you go for.
    They have a 'new' WW2 mid brown knit that they are working on. Its not available yet, which is why my jacket is taking so long. Its slightly darker their current lighter mid brown knit...
    Have you seen Pilot's recent BK RW27752... Looks fantastic.
    http://www.vintageleatherjackets.or...o-hh-liberty-seal-rw-27752-a-2-arrived.21059/
     
    ducatimonster likes this.
  10. ducatimonster

    ducatimonster Familiar Face

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    Barcelona
    Hello
    Wanted to thank you all for the valuable comments!
    Thanks a lot
    I´m going to discard the house model and will go for an original maker
    Have a couple of jackets in seal so now I´d like to go for a Russet or Havana
    Best Regards
    Joan
     
  11. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    UK
    Joan, you can't go wrong with the RW1401. Its a classic! And the Havana warhorse is very, very nice.
    These anilin type leathers only get better with wear and time, so it will look better and better the more you wear it.
    If you have not already, try and find this old classic movie with Jimmy Stewart: You gotta Stay Happy.
    www.amazon.co.uk/Gotta-Stay-Happy-Viva-Spanish/
    In this movie, Jimmy Stewart wears his original RW1401 A-2.... It looks amazing.
    In fact, you can see Jimmy here, wearing the same jacket when it was new... www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJJQAVLK9gI
     
    ducatimonster likes this.
  12. seres

    seres One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Alaska
    I’ve owned the Eastman “house” in seal and presently own the RW 1401-P, as well as an A-2 from BK in the Liberty hide.

    I prefer the Eastman hides over the BK Liberty. The BK hide has a more pigment finish, and feels more “plastic” to me. The cut or pattern of the Eastman jackets seem more accurate, especially in the sleeves and shoulders. Overall, the Eastman jackets fit me better than the BK.

    I highly recommend Eastman, and will not buy another BK.
     
    ducatimonster likes this.
  13. Brettafett

    Brettafett One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    UK
    Seres, which BK do you own? And how long ago did you get it? Any fit pics?
     
  14. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

    Messages:
    323
    Location:
    North West, UK
    The wait time for my extra long A-2 was only about 10-12 days. I was under the assumption that it would take 11-12 weeks, but this wasn't the case! They also had way more stock regular sizes than I assumed...they were able to ship out a 44R to me for next day delivery to try on. Very quick service overall...Rob is a great guy, perfect customer service representative. ELC are luck to have him!
     
    bn1966 likes this.
  15. Superfluous

    Superfluous Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,987
    Location:
    Missing in action
    ^ This. If you like vinyl, or a plastic feel, BK's Liberty horsehide is great. I had two BK jackets in Liberty horsehide and I returned them both because of the plastic/vinyl feel of the leather (among other things). IMHO, Liberty horsehide is vastly inferior to other available horsehides.

    Separately, BK's marketing activities are, euphemistically speaking, repugnant.

    Based on the foregoing, I would choose Eastman over BK every day of the week.

    5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . Countdown to BK's retaliatory Facebook post disparaging me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
    bn1966 and Carlos840 like this.
  16. Flightengineer

    Flightengineer Practically Family

    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    RF
    My vote for Eastman.
     
    bn1966 likes this.
  17. CBI

    CBI One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,061
    Location:
    USA
    Eastman - Hands Down!!!!! If you purchase a stock size and it doesn't work out, you can return easily, a more secure company, etc. With the prices paid for these jackets, less risk is better. I do recognized that BK has created some excellent jackets but ELC is hard to beat.
     
    bn1966 and Flightengineer like this.
  18. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,351
    Location:
    UK
    image.jpg Loving my ELC Monarch A-2
     
  19. Jejupe

    Jejupe A-List Customer

    Messages:
    375
    Location:
    Finland
    Anyone care to explain to me why Eastman A2s are 250 - 300 £ more expensive than Aeros? Are they somehow historically more accurate, are the hides better or what is the reason?

    (This is an honest question, I am in no way putting down Eastman or promoting Aero)
     
  20. Flightengineer

    Flightengineer Practically Family

    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    RF
    Lee, very nice jacket and color.
     
    bn1966 likes this.

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