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Keeping track of time
Saturday, 22 October 2011 18:34

When it comes to jewellery, men are far more limited in choices than women. For starters a lot of men just aren't into the jewellery thing. Even if they are, they often have difficulty finding something that can be worn without feeling sissy or overly bling.

At Belts and Briefcases we have a strong love of wristwatches, even though we don't sell any ourselves. It doesn't matter if it's a digital quartz Casio or the most intricate mechanical Vacheron Constantin (we're definitely partial to Omega and Panerai though.)

sports chronograph watch
Sports chronograph watches are a popular choice.

Unfortunately watches are enduring hard times these days. This is an industry which has just had its lunch eaten by the mobile phone market. Since almost everyone now carries a smartphone with an internal clock, the humble wristwatch has taken a nasty beating in the last 15 years.

It's a shame really, because watches are so much nicer than phones. A glance at your wrist is much quicker than digging a phone out of a pocket, and watches don't annoy you with telesales calls, text messages from an ex, or tinny music being played loudly on public transport. When I'm out and about I always notice what kind of watch a person is wearing. Maybe it's the practicality aspect that appeals to us guys. Not just a piece of jewellery, it tells the time too!

While there's plenty of websites out there dedicated to watches, one of the best on the net is I admit it, I waste too much time lurking around their site admiring all the photos of beautiful wristwatches.

Another great website worth checking out is – very useful for identifying watches from a film or TV show. Next time you spot a nice wristwatch on some actor's arm and want to know what it is, try their site.

Fond farewells
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 12:20

Best wishes to our friend Prash who after 12 years in London, is now returning home to Mauritius to advance his career there. Good luck buddy, we'll all miss you.

farewell party
Goodbye drinks before the flight.

Stay snug and warm this winter
Friday, 14 October 2011 21:25

All our scarves are now in the shop ready for winter. We ended up splitting them into two separate categories - one for cashmere and the other for lambs wool. Check them out.

We also have a range of newly arrived Italian flat caps which we hope will be ready to launch in the next few days. Things are busy!

men's and ladies cashmere scarves
Cashmere and wool scarves now in store for winter.

Squashing bugs
Monday, 10 October 2011 11:59
belts and briefcases UK

Whoops – a recent update to our site created a few unexpected bugs. A handful of internal links got accidentally broken, mainly between the library and the shop.

We're reasonably sure we have now caught and fixed just about all of them. If anyone happens to click a link and gets an error page, we'd be very grateful if you could send us a message in the Contact Us page so we can fix it.

From the south of Italy
Friday, 07 October 2011 18:31

Just returned to the UK from a pleasant short trip back to Naples. It's our hometown, and quite a few of the accessories in our shop are made there. If you've bought one of our belts or gloves, you're wearing genuine Neapolitan leather.

We didn't get a chance to take any new pictures, but here are a few snaps from our previous visit. You can see more photos of the city in our Facebook photo album.

S.Biagio dei Librai Street
S.Biagio dei Librai Street.

Margellina Park
Margellina Park.

Santa Lucia fountain
Santa Lucia fountain.

Umberto Gallery
Umberto Gallery.

Naples seems to get a bad reputation for crime (the movie Gomorrah didn't help) but really, it's not that much worse than any other large European city. There are definitely parts of London or Marseille where you have to keep your wits about you too.

On the plus side, the Naples coastline is lovely, there's no shortage of sunshine and plenty of historic things like Pompeii are close by. If you go for a summer break, pack plenty of sun cream – it gets boiling hot!

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 22:47

Last week a shipment of scarves and hats arrived for this winter. They're really lovely. Most of them are cashmere although a few are lambs wool. We did a photographic shoot but the lighting turned out to be difficult to capture the colours accurately. A few images will need to be redone.

scarves ready for photography
Scarves waiting to be photographed.

scarf under studio spotlights
Fiddling with studio spotlights.

scarf sitting in daylight
When all else fails, try daylight from a window.

Photoshop final scarf image
Final image with background removed.

We don't buy or use stock photography; every image in our store is a photo we've taken of the actual product.

The longest part isn't actually shooting photos; it's editing the images afterwards. Open a photo, remove colour cast, draw a path, isolate the background, downsize for web, upload it to the server. Open the next image, repeat process. The new bags we're shooting can have up to 5 different images for each product, so adding them to the store often takes longer. It can get time consuming!

Anyway, enough waffling. We'd better fire up Photoshop and get back to work. There's a large pile of hats and scarves waiting for us in the next room....

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