September 11, 2018
By Noelani Piters
HOW TO SPOT A REAL HERMÈS BELTSHOP HERMÈS
A belt is the perfect finishing touch to any ensemble, a high-shine yet minimal statement for both men and women alike. Those of the Hermès variety have long been go-tos for the style elite. It’s easy to see why — the craftsmanship, history and design behind the heritage brand is hard to ignore. Unfortunately, these same luxe factors lead counterfeiters to produce fleets of fakes. So how can you be sure you’ve got a real Hermès belt around your waist? Our Chief Authenticator Graham Wetzbarger gives us all the details.
Hermès H Belt Materials
Hermès is renowned worldwide for the quality of its leathers, and this includes those used for the brand’s H belt kits. “These are the same leathers that can be found on Birkins, Evelynes and other Hermès handbags,” notes Wetzbarger. “The most common leather types are the Clemence, Box, Epsom and Swift.” You’ll be able to spot the difference between these based on texture; Clemence is a heavy, matte-grained leather, Box is a smooth, glossy calf leather, Epsom is a lightweight, stamped-grain leather and Swift is a reflective, fine-grained leather.
“The green and gold belt pictured here uses Courchevel leather, a precursor to Epsom,” says Wetzbarger. “And the dark chocolate belt (under the Brand Identifiers header below) is made of smooth Box leather. Counterfeiters will use real leather to fabricate faux belts, but are unable to capture the quality, consistency and various textures of Hermès’ leathers.
Hermès H Belt Construction
A genuine Hermès belt consists of two pieces of leather, which has been stitched down perfectly by a machine. “On the belt itself, you’ll find three holes spaced evenly on the tapered end, and one hole on the other to affix the buckle,” explains Wetzbarger. “Sometimes people will punch extra holes into their belts, but there should never be less than three. Due to wear and customization, they may not look consistent, but the spacing and shape of the holes should generally be immaculate.”
Depending on the color of the belt, it can feature either tonal or contrasting stitching. “It’s not uncommon to have tonal stitching on one side and contrast stitching on the other, as seen on the green and gold belt pictured here,” says Wetzbarger.
Hermès H Belt Hardware
Hermès H buckles come in a variety of metals, most commonly palladium and permabrass but also occasionally brushed palladium, sterling silver and ruthenium. “Palladium is in the platinum family, so the tone of the palladium should be white grey,” explains Wetzbarger. “Often counterfeits will read very blue, like chrome.” The back of the buckle should always have a sandblasted finish; if the back matches the front, it’s a red flag.
“Hermès H buckles also come in different sizes, ranging from 13mm to 42mm,” says Wetzbarger. “Many fake buckles will be oversized and flashy, so make sure your buckle is one of Hermès’ legitimate sizes. 32mm — the H featured here — is the standard size, while the Constance is 24mm.” When distinguishing the difference between an H buckle and a Constance, look to each buckle’s serifs. “The traditional H, at left, has serifs that extend both outward and inward on the legs, whereas the Constance’s serifs extend outwards.”
A real Hermès H buckle will feature the peg of a peg-and-hole closure, and a bar to slide easily onto the strap of the belt. “Pay close attention to the shape of the peg,” notes Wetzbarger. “The peg flares out, dips in at the neck and then rounds out at the head. Hermès is consistent with this shape, and other versions are a sure indicator of inauthenticity. Note the shape of the bar as well — it’s a tubular metal with a clean crimp at the angles.” The buckle itself should also feature a slight curvature to conform to the contour of the body.
Hermès H Belt Brand Identifiers
A real Hermès belt will feature a number of brand stamps to ensure its authenticity. “You should see ‘HERMÈS / PARIS / MADE IN FRANCE’ debossed on one end of the belt, and occasionally it will be foiled to match the buckle’s hardware,” says Wetzbarger. “The belt should also display the length in cm, a craftsman stamp and a year stamp.” The year stamps here indicate that the belts were made in 1996 (by a Z) and 2010 (by an N). “Often we see real Hermès belt buckles paired with generic belts, so make sure the belt is marked,” adds Wetzbarger.
An authentic Hermès H belt buckle will feature a small HERMÈS and stamp on the horizontal strut. Models created within the last five years will feature an alphanumeric code inscribed on the back of the buckle.
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