Hermes has few completely smooth kinds of leather and Box leather is one of them.
It’s the most famous smooth leather that Hermes offers.
Box leather is the first and oldest material that Hermes started using for making its bags back in the 1890s. The company still uses it today.
That’s why it’s so loved and is called the “original leather” of Hermes.
This leather is named after Joseph Box, a famous English luxury leather shoe craftsman.
It’s made from box calf and has a sleek and slightly glossy finish and a subtle grain.
It’s also stiff and helps the bag that is made from it hold its shape. So Hermes uses it for manufacturing the structured Birkin and Kelly bags, and wallets.
The iconic Hermes Kelly bag that Princess Grace Kelly used to wear was made from Box leather.
This leather looks, elegant, luxurious, and expensive.
It ages beautifully and develops a gorgeous shiny patina.
Many people absolutely love box leather because of that.
Box bags are very rare in Hermes boutiques. You may have to sign up for a long waiting list.
You’ll probably have a better chance of obtaining such a bag on the preloved market than buying it new.
You can even find vintage Box Hermes Kelly bags that still look amazing.
The stiff and structured Box leather is perfect for formal occasions and for wearing to work.
Hermes Box leather wear and tear
Box leather is very delicate and its smooth and glossy surface is notorious for getting scratched easily.
Another problem with wearing Box bags is that the corners get scuffed easily too.
So you may have to baby your bag.
Box leather purses are not all-weather bags.
You must avoid getting water on your bag because it may cause blisters and damage.
So you should never wear a Hermes Box bag in rainy weather or when it’s snowing.
That’s why Hermes fans prefer to use these purses as special occasion bags and often avoid using them for everyday wear.
However, with time the scratches fade and the bag develops a beautiful mirror-like glossy patina that this material is so loved for.
In addition to that, unlike Hermes Epsom, Box leather is very easy to restore.
You can send your bag off to a Hermes spa and they will fix almost any condition for you so the purse will look as new.
That’s why Box leather bags can last for decades and be handed down from generation to generation.
As for new bags, many people baby their pristine Box bags for a year or so and then start wearing them roughly after they get the first scratches on them. This helps to build patina on them quicker.
But before patina develops you’ll be wearing a scratched and worn-looking bag for a very long time (unless you get it buffed, of course). And this can be a deal-breaker for some people.
Hermes Box leather care and maintenance
Even though Box leather scratches easily, it can be repaired very easily too.
Just bring it to a leather craftsman or send it to a Hermes spa. The craftsman will simply buff the scratches out and polish the bag.
The only things that a craftsman may not be able to repair are very deeply scuffed corners and deep scratches.
Also, dark bags are usually easier to repair than light-colored ones.
You can even try to use a leather conditioner or lotion to minimize the appearance of scratches and blend them in with the rest of the bag and its patina.
Just use a special soft leather buffing cloth with a bit of uncolored and wax-free leather conditioner to wipe your bag.
The conditioner should be uncolored so that it doesn’t alter the hue of your purse or stain your hands and clothing.
You can also touch up scuffed corners or worn handles with quick leather restoring paints.
To prevent some of these scratches, avoid wearing the lock and the clochette with keys because they can damage your bag easily.
In addition to that, the bag’s hardware can leave tarnish marks. But you can gently remove these marks with a soft leather care eraser.
Wipe your bag with a soft and absorbent buffing cloth for leather goods from time to time to clean it but never use a damp cloth or baby wipes on Box leather, since it’s not water-resistant.
Always store your Hermes Box leather bag in a dust bag to prevent damage and to keep water from accidentally staining it.
You can also wrap it in acid-free tissue paper for extra protection. Plus, stuff it with this paper to help the bag keep its shape.
Use a plastic bag, a special bag protector, or a raincoat to shield your Box bag from rain or snow.
If you’ve got raindrops on your bag wipe them off immediately or the leather will develop blisters.
You can also wipe your purse. very lightly with a bit of delicate leather cream from time to time (usually, once a year).
This cream will act as a water protectant and is recommended by leather craftsmen.
You can also prevent water staining by using some other water repellents over your bag.
If water stains are noticeable you can use a bit of leather conditioner as first aid to minimize blisters on your bag.
But before you use any of these care products on your whole bag or a large area test them on a small area hidden from view.
Hermes Box leather bags
Box leather is stiff so it’s perfect for structured purses. That’s why it’s mainly used for making Birkin, Kelly, and Constance bags and wallets.
Box leather bags retain their shape very well.
A Box bag may break in and soften a bit with time but it will never become saggy or floppy like a Clemence bag.
That’s why this material is never used for slouchy and casual bags like, for example, Picotin or Lindy.
Box leather is the original Hermes leather that is still super-popular today. It’s very sought after, and hard to come by.
It’s a stiff leather that’s perfect for the structured Birkin and especially Kelly bags.
Don’t be afraid of Box leather bags, they aren’t as high maintenance as you may think.
Even though these purses are prone to getting scratched and to developing water blisters, they’re very easy to repair.
In time Box leather will develop a beautiful mirror-like patina and all the scratches will fade. That’s why it looks so good on vintage Kelly bags.
So if you don’t want to baby your Box bag for the first few years before it develops patina you can invest in a preloved or vintage bag instead of buying it new. Besides, new bags have huge waiting lists.