Montecristi Havana 24x24 WPSI: My experience with Panamahatcollection.com

Discussion in 'Hats' started by FedoraRedHat, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. FedoraRedHat

    FedoraRedHat New in Town

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    I am writing this review about my experience with panamahatcollection.com, also known as PanamaHutDirekt, or PanamaHatCo. Most of the other reviews regarding this seller on this forum are negative, citing bad experiences, quality control, and upsell techniques. I would just like to convey my experiences to add another datapoint to the forum. If this thread needs to be moved, I don't mind.

    I ordered a Montecristi Havana from PanamaHatCollection's main website. The listing specified a 24x24 WPSI "Superfino" grade hat. The website stated a 1-3 business day shipping time, although it shipped in 6 business days. During this time, I received a confirmation from the owner, Dorit Hesse (also listed as Thomas Hesse in various other places). I did not receive an upsell offer (however, there wasn't any other higher-quality hat being sold, so your mileage may vary). Within one week, the hat arrived. I have pictures (shown below) of the hat I received.

    [​IMG]

    I am not a hat expert. In my opinion, if it looks right, and fits right, then it is all right. I am not concerned with vertical or horizontal weave differences in a measure of quality. However, I can say that the horizontal weave count was approximately 21.

    [​IMG]

    Other reviews mentioned the rear snap brim being flat-on-arrival. Mine is semi-flat, and can be fixed (at least in my opinion).

    [​IMG]

    Those interested in crown taper may find these pictures helpful:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is a close-up of the ribbon work. The ribbon color is mahogany, which is a dark brown, but not as dark as the chocolate color offered by the seller (I ordered an extra chocolate ribbon, just in case mahogany had a red tint).

    [​IMG]

    And finally, the inside of the hat. This panama is not lined (but neither are my other two panamas, so I guess it's fine). I may consider reinforcing the crown.

    [​IMG]

    The panama hat came with a translucent "Certificate of Authenticity." I don't know if this has any real value to authenticity, since this is not a vintage hat. But, here you go:

    [​IMG]

    A few other things to mention: The hat cost $319.00 plus $8.00 extra for the hat band. The total cost of my order was $337.00. I specified in the comment section of the order that I would have liked the brim of the hat to be trimmed to 2.5 inches. The brim is actually 2 3/8 inches. The hat has a cloth sweatband.

    In conclusion, it seems that Panamahatcollection has improved their quality control. However, I am not undervaluing your experience. If you have had a bad experience with this seller, I believe you. The reviews on this seller have been sparse on this site. I am just sharing my opinions with you. Overall, I am pleased with the hat I received.

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
    deadlyhandsome likes this.
  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    In my view ordering a hat brim to be 2.5" and receiving it at only 2.25" is not acceptable. At $337 it is not a cheap hat. I have my summer hat on order from a US custom hatter for about 1/2 that amount and I have confidence that I will receive it exactly as specified.
     
  3. FedoraRedHat

    FedoraRedHat New in Town

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    Upon closer measurement, it is actually 2 3/8, but I understand your concern.
     
    Just Daniel likes this.
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I think good customer service would have been to contact you to advise we can only ship a 2 3/8"....is that acceptable. It puts you back in control and back in choice.
     
    FedoraRedHat and deadlyhandsome like this.
  5. Tukwila

    Tukwila Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,848
    A lot of us put a lot of importance on brim width, myself included. I would ask for a brim width of 3" - 3.25" of I was ordering. But I also would be miffed if I was told the hat counted 24 x 24 WPSI and - as your picture shows - it was actually 20-21 WPSI. If the weave alters from spot to spot, however, that is fairly normal unless you have a top tier weaver like Simon Espinal.

    But that's an entire grade lower than what you were told.

    However, I think ~$300 is a decent price for even a 20x20 WPSI Montecristi.

    @belfastboy , what grade or WPSI are looking at for $150? Cuenca or Montecristi?

    In Ecuador, I can pick up a large brim hat for $50, maybe less. But if the WPSI count is high, even, etc, then the price goes up exponentially.
     
  6. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Not sure, I have it on order from Mike at Northwest Hats. It would be a Cuenca but I am not a picky Panama guy. They are hot weather knockabout hats, to be used and abused. But for the money I do get a leather sweat, great ribbon work on a decent quality Panama and I can count on the brim width being as advertised.
     
  7. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
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    Location:
    miami, fl
    This seems to me the most sensible route to obtaining a Panama these days. While the reports on Panama Hats Direct seem to have improved recently, and I give them credit for making a go of it, getting what you want in a Panama has been for some time a tricky business. The uncertainty of the process was one of the reasons I demurred on Panamas for many years, until recently when Brent (of this parish) pointed me toward an astonishingly great deal on the bay that turned out, for once, to be even better than it looked. Buying anything online is always risky, but dealing with someone with a reputation as good as Mike's would seem to me the most prudent way to go.
     
    Rmccamey likes this.
  8. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Yes, and the premium seems to be negligible . He brings in the raw bodies and does the finishing in his shop.
     
    tropicalbob likes this.
  9. Tukwila

    Tukwila Call Me a Cab

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    Well, I think if you check with Mike you will see his hat bodies are Grade 8 and are probably more like 12-16 WPSI, which is still a nice hat but does explain at least part of the price difference.

    When I came back from an Ecuador trip in 2017 and sent a Grade 12 Cuenca body to Mike to have him make me a hat he wrote back after he opened my box in his shop and asked where I got it because it had a tighter weave than his own Montecristi. That so-called Grade 12 was 20x20 WPSI and is one of my favorite Panama hats, partly because Mike does an outstanding job blocking and making the hat, like you said, with leather sweat and great ribbon work.

    I wish it had a wider brim, but that's what I could find on that trip... NW Hats Cuenca_02.JPG
     
  10. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    He is holding a body for me that can get me a 3" brim … it is in white....but I can live with that. I think I will steal your ribbon idea and go with a blue...perhaps a bit lighter blue. I have an optimo style in a nice light weight, I think it is about 15WPSI and it is the perfect grade for me. Not too expensive that I get precious about it but much nicer than the base grade almost disposable ones.
     
  11. Tukwila

    Tukwila Call Me a Cab

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    There's a lot to be said for having the right hat for you. I have an $800 hat that I don't wear... I wear the $25 - $300 hats a whole lot more.
     
    Rmccamey likes this.
  12. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    I am so guilty of that....my other addiction is mountain bikes (some vintage, some modern). I had some beautiful vintage bikes that were pristine....so pristine I could not bring myself to ride them for fear of damaging them......I vowed not to be the guy with 'garage queen' bikes hanging on the wall. I sold them all and am now down to just the ones I am willing to ride.
     
    Tukwila likes this.
  13. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    Nice review. I’m also of the opinion that you should get exactly what you order when spending $300. If the seller explained what they had available and you approve that’s fine, but otherwise I’d expect to get exactly what I paid for.

    In my limited experience, the blocking and finishing is what I find lacking on most Panama hats finished on Ecuador. I think having the bodies finished by a reputable “local” hatter is the way to go.
     
    FedoraRedHat, hatsRme and Rmccamey like this.
  14. FedoraRedHat

    FedoraRedHat New in Town

    Messages:
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    The weave does go up to 24 WPI in various places.

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll be sure to keep this in mind next time. Nevertheless, through the art of reshaping, here's the hat now:

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I very much like the dark brown ribbon work
     
    Tukwila likes this.

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