Tag Archives: Cufflinks

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Peanuts! Crackerjack! Tokens & Icons Baseball Cufflinks!

There’s something in the air today. Smells like spring. Fresh cut grass, white ash, and worn leather. Baseball season is here.

And we have the authentic, accessories for all spectators and man cave denizens. Tokens & Icons is our go-to source for nostalgic fan favorites, like Baseball bat bottle openers, MLB game-used baseball cufflinks, SF Giants World Series game-used cufflinks (pictured at left), and cufflinks made from seats of stadiums of yesteryear–coliseums where the greats used to swing redwood trunks and smash 1000-mph fastballs into the next county–places like Seals Stadium (pictured above), the Polo Grounds, and the original Yankees Stadium.

See all of Tokens & Icons’ MLB accessories here.

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College Basketball Cufflinks from the Sweet 16 Top Dog (and an Underdog)

University Of Kentucky Memorial Coliseum College Basketball CufflinksTokens & Icons College Basketball Cufflinks are now available with arena flooring designs from number-one ranked U Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum and 11th ranked UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The authentic flooring pieces were recovered during renovations, and were set in sterling silver by Tokens & Icons. These are the perfect dressed-up accessory for those that wear their fandom on their sleeve.

University Of Kentucky Memorial Coliseum

University Of Kentucky’s college basketball cufflinks are available in a bluegrass blue taken directly from the classic floor of Memorial Coliseum. The Kentucky Wildcats have racked up the most wins in college basketball history, and this year’s team, which may be the best in school history, has added at least 38 W’s to that total.
UCLA Pauley Pavilion College Basketball Cufflinks

UCLA Pauley Pavilion

The true blue paint of UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion was the early stomping ground of luminaries like Kareem Abdul-Jabar, as well as young stars like Russell Westbrook. The Los Angeles location has also hosted glitzy media events, like the Who’s induction into the Rock-and-Roll hall of fame. At press time, UCLA was an 8.5-point underdog in their Sweet 16 match-up with Gonzaga.

Additional College Basketball Cufflinks

If you’re not a Wildcat or a Bruin, you may be interested to know we also carry college basketball cufflinks from Kansas, U Penn, and Syracuse. All Tokens & Icons College Basketball Cufflinks are $160. Click for more details. (Tokens & Icons also carries cufflinks, bottle openers, and other memorabilia for NCAA football, NBA, MLB, and the NHL.)

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Happy Life Day

Next year at this time, I’ll be in a movie theater watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for the 15th time (as long as it’s not some Phantom Menace fiasco, in which case I will have seen it only 12 times, max). But this year, with the theaters all-but-shuttered, it’s time to stay home and celebrate Life Day in the spirit of the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Tis’ the season to sit around Malla’s music box and watch San Francisco’s interstellar musical children Jefferson Starship sing their forgotten classic, “Light The Sky On Fire”. Or if you want to get really freaky, pop on a holoprojector to watch some see-through miniature trapeze artists, or fire up the mind evaporator and listen to the soothing sounds of one our favorite outer space entertainers, Mermeia (known on Earth as Diahann Carroll).

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you haven’t treated yourself to the Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s been widely critiqued. It has been called the “Dumbest Event In Television History.” The special’s producer, Dwight Hemion, called it “the worst piece of crap I’ve ever done.” And George Lucas called it “one of those things…I have to live with” (Maxim, May 2002). Some revisionist critics, in reappraising the film, have been kinder, loftily claiming that it “wasn’t the worst thing to come from 1978.” But don’t let that stop you from slipping on a pair of Chewbacca cufflinks (We’ve got a bunch more options online and in-store if you need a last-minute gift for the Geek Who Has It All), and enjoying the maligned masterpiece.

By the way, you won’t be able to watch this on TV. The master tapes were surely destroyed years ago, like the Jedi order in Operation: Knightfall. Even if some irony-laden station like FXX wanted to show it, they would have to search for a bootlegged version, with shoddy quality and straight from ’78 commercials. You would have better luck at beating Han Solo at sabaac than finding a decent copy of this film. This special is so embarrassing it would make Jar Jar Binks blush; I’m starting a rumor that it’s the underlying reason that George Lucas is opening his museum in Chicago, a galaxy far, far, away from here, where he won’t be recognized as often.

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Show Your SF Giants Pride

That was ugly last night. But Bochy’s Boys still have a chance to take it all at home. Welcome them back to the Bay with your Giants finest. A few ideas below:

SF Giants World Series Cufflinks are created from game-used World Series balls. Both 2010 and 2012 editions are still available (Although the Royals are slight favorites, We’re guessing there will be a 2014 set soon!), but highly limited. Built by Tokens & Icons. $350
SF Giants Baseball Bracelets are created from authentic balls recovered Giants home games. They are certified by the MLB. Built by Tokens & Icons. $95
For a little more color try the SF Giants Logo Cufflinks, enamel-based cufflinks licensed by the MLB. $60
Another way to show your loyalty is by swapping out your dress laces for a week with these “Happiest Orange” laces. Not only do they undeniably smack of Giants Orange, they’re a solid sartorial pick for either black or brown oxfords. By Stolen Riches. $17.50
So they’re not orange, they’re deep forest green; but for the type of fan who would never wear a band’s t-shirt to that band’s concert, SF Seals Stadium Cufflinks are the right kind of obscure loyalty. They are created from authentic seats recovered from SF’s Seals Stadium. Sure, the Giants never actually played there, but the name lives on via mascot Lou Seal. Built by Tokens & Icons. $170
To toast the Giants, there’s no better way to crack open a bottle than with an SF Giants Bat End Opener. These are created from the victims of breaking fastballs: splintered bats. What makes the knob-end bottle openers special is that there’s only one knob per bat, making these rarer than other bat openers (which are cool, too, but are currently on backorder). Built by Tokens & Icons. $150
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For the Gentleman Who Knows Jedi Mind Tricks

If you are salivating over the rumors swirling around the new Star Wars sequels, then you may also be interested to know that we recently rolled out a selection of Star Wars cufflinks and socks. That’s right, just because you’re wearing a starched French-cuffed dress shirt doesn’t mean you can’t pledge your allegiance to the Rebel Alliance (or the Galactic Empire, if you’re weird like that). And don’t let a pair of dress shoes dissuade you from wearing these Light Saber socks (pictured left)!

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Authentic Arena Cufflinks for March Madness

Whether your bracket is broken or you’re still in the hunt for that cool billion dollar payout, Tokens & Icons basketball arena cufflinks are a novel way to show off your school pride. Each cufflink is made from an authentic piece of stadium flooring that was salvaged during these arenas’ respective renovations. The specific pieces of flooring contain the actual floor paint, so your school colors shine through.

Although we couldn’t have guessed Kansas and Syracuse would be edged out of the hunt before we published this article, we are happy to report that both UCLA and Kentucky are still in the hunt. As for the Penn Quakers, there’s always next year.

Each set of sterling silver basketball arena cufflinks is available at Wingtip for $160.

More about Tokens & Icons basketball arena cufflinks

The James Naismith court at Kansas’s “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse, which lays claim as the loudest place to see college basketball in the country, available in blue.

Also in blue, the Rupp Arena of the Kentucky Wildcats, the winningest program in college basketball, and the largest basketball-specific college arena in the country.

Available in True Blue, from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, which launched the careers of luminaries like Kareem Abdul-Jabar and young stars like Russell Westbrook. The pavilion has also hosted glitzy media events, like the Who’s induction into the Rock-and-Roll hall of fame.

The Carrier Dome of the Syracuse Orange boasts their distinct orange floor, and bears the title of the largest on-campus basketball arena, and the largest domed college stadium.

The Palestra in Philadelphia, known as “The Cathedral Of College Basketball,” has been hosting the Penn Quakers basketball since 1927. The 10k person capacity was a marvel at the time, but today provides some of the most close-up, in-your-face basketball anywhere.

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The New Blue Monster

This past weekend, the new 15th hole at the Blue Monster of the Doral Golf Resort in Miami made a splash at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. The distinct water feature of the peninsula hole is part of an ongoing 200-million dollar renovation by Donald Trump, who acquired the resort in 2011. Here’s a round-up of coverage:

Golf Digest: “The Donald wanted to make this an island green and Gil Hanse mercifully talked Trump out of building a longer, less interesting hole. Far more multidimensional than most island greens, Doral’s new-look 15th is a hybrid of TPC Sawgrass’s 17th [pictured at left, and available in cufflink form] and Augusta National’s 16th.”

ESPN: “The new 15th hole underwent maybe the largest transformation on the course, now shorter and featuring a peninsula-style green. Water surrounds the left side and back of the hole, and should players miss from the tee and hit the bunker on the right, they will have to hit a sand shot with the water lurking in the view of their recovery effort. The green also will present several different looks dependent on the hole location.”

Wall Street Journal: “Short pitch shots were blowing off the firm, new greens into greenside ponds, more of which are in play with the new design. The elite 68-player field hit more than 100 balls into the water in the second round.”

Varsity Jacket for Wingtip

Quick Market Recap

After London, it was off to New York for the big menswear show called MRket (MR is a trade magazine for the menswear industry, and this is their show). Between the MRket show and showrooms in Manhattan, probably 80% of what will appear in the store this fall was ordered last week. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

  • Fox UmbrellasPeter Millar: there’s always too much to talk about with Peter Millar. We have great sweaters, pants, shirts, shoes, and outerwear coming, as always, but if I had to pick a piece that I think will be the runaway hit this fall, it’s a well-priced, soft-construction Travel Blazer. We’ll also be bringing in their #1 seller, the Merino Wool V-Neck sweater, in something close to two dozen colors.
  • Bills Khakis: the GTH pants for fall are bold as always, and we’ll have all of them coming in, but for the most part, we want long on their two best selling fabrics — Original Twill and Vintage Twill — in a lot of different colors. The outerwear from Bills’ was also too good to pass up, so expect a number of great coats, all made in the USA.
  • Sport coats: long on tweed. Some Harris Tweeds, some Robert Noble. Donegals. Club checks. Buffalo checks. Also called an audible on spring, and added a Cashmere/Linen story in five colors just for fun.
  • W. Kleinberg: we’ll be bringing in more casual belts but the reversible concept we’ll be introducing is the game-changer as far as the belt game can be changed.
  • Golden Bear Sportswear: in addition to bringing in some classic leather jackets (think Motorcycle, Bomber), we’ll also be introducing a made-in-San-Francisco Wingtip Varsity Jacket.
  • Pantherella: if you haven’t yet tried the Escorial socks, they really are noticeably more elegant than Pantherella’s already elegant socks. We’ll have more Escorial, cashmere, argyle, and Vintage Collection socks coming.
  • Fox Umbrellas: we’ll be stocking four styles: a golf umbrella, travel umbrella, the classic John Steed umbrella from the Avengers (black canopy, whanghee handle), and an exclusive-to-Wingtip umbrella (we’ll keep its details a surprise).
  • Cufflinks: we have a steady supply of beautiful new cufflinks coming from Robin Rotenier, Jan Leslie, and Codis Maya among others.
  • Miscellaneous: we will likely be bringing in another high-end leather goods line, a great new dress shirt program, a new (but old) British grooming brand, some new formalwear looks, and an ultra-high end shoe brand from Europe.

In other words, lots of great stuff to come.

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How to Build a Better Cufflink

At last week’s Grand Opening Party, we spoke with HollenWolff co-founders Kyle Stoehr and James Lohmiller and found out that they are planning a lighter-caliber take on their robust cufflinks (.55 versus the current .68). Just another sign that the duo won’t stop tweaking the French cuff fastener until every aspect has been explored.

Here are the five issues they initially set out to improve with their designs, in their words:

1. Strength — through the use of precision-turned surgical grade stainless steel components (versus pressed softer steel components), which in turn allowed us to use a more robust type of assembly.

2. Security From Loss — through the development of the “gravity-lock”, which requires the cufflink to be in a north/south orientation with the pushbutton upside down in order to unlock and separate.

3. Comfort — through the development of an adjustable-length mechanism that can lock in at two different settings, for example to accommodate a larger watch on one cuff while remaining tighter on the other.

4. Ease of Installation — meaning that on our self-retaining designs you can install the cufflinks prior to putting on your shirt, and on the adjustable-length versions through the geometry of the male cufflink half which greatly aids in one-handed installation.

5. Reintroduce the Other Half — Prior to World War II, all cufflinks were double-sided. The advent of flip-closure, which made cufflinks cheaper and easier to install at the time changed that. We wanted to bring them back.

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HollenWolff Cufflinks: An Interview with the Founders

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If you’ve seen the pics, you’re probably intrigued; and if you’ve had a chance to hold one of these sleeve-mounted machines, you know exactly why we’ve been so excited to share the new HollenWolff cufflinks with you. A legacy. A good story. American ingenuity. And a skilled take on one of our favorite ‘accoutrements.’ Read through our interview with HollenWolff founders Kyle Stoehr and James Lohmiller to find out why you’re not supposed to call these ‘accessories.’

Set the scene for us with some background on Milwaukee and its reputation as “The Machine Shop to the World.”

Milwaukee was a natural epicenter for immigration of skilled tradesmen during the 1800s. In the early 20th century, more residents in Milwaukee spoke German than English. In addition to German immigrants, Irish, Polish, Hungarian, and other central Europeans brought their skill and work ethic to the area. And it never left.

Wisconsin ranks first in the United States in percentage of industrial employment with 18% of our residents employed in manufacturing. It’s an honest heritage we’re proud of–we like to think of it as ‘blue-collar romanticism.’ We want people to understand the heritage of Milwaukee. Maybe fashion doesn’t originate here, but machinery does. We always felt like, “Where else could a product like [these cufflinks] possibly come from?”

Where did you, James, sell custom clothes?

I met Kyle when he was a client of mine when I was with Tom James. As part of the Individualized Apparel Group, along with Gitman Bros., Individualized Shirts, Corbin, H. Freeman, English American, Holland & Sherry, and Oxxford, it’s there where I truly learned to appreciate craftsmanship–particularly American craftsmanship, as it relates to a tailored experience. We continue to work closely with the company, including work on our forthcoming line of shirting, which will be produced by Individualized Shirts in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

Where did you, Kyle, work in the ball bearing industry?

I’m a second generation owner of Oconomowoc Mfg. Corp., which takes its name from the city just west of Milwaukee where my family’s 50-year-old business is located. Our niche is domestic production of custom ball bearings. Although the markets couldn’t be much further apart, HollenWolff’s manufacturing operations mesh seamlessly with that of OMC–custom bearing design, precision machining, and intricate assembly. I was reluctant to return to the family business 15 years ago, as I thought the technical nature would be at the sacrifice of creativity. However, HollenWolff is evidence that there are many outlets.

Hollenwolff_pull_quote4Was HollenWolff really formed over the course of a single party?

It was–at a Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation benefit. Although the paths that led there for James and me both started some time earlier. In 2009, in what was the darkest hour of the recession for us (and with construction and automotive as its two largest markets), OMC was reeling from a 45% decrease in revenue from two years prior. With a lot of equipment sitting idle and many livelihoods at stake, virtually all my thoughts at the time were consumed with generating opportunities for survival. While for James, he’d always had a desire to blaze an unconventional path within a fashion context. Over cocktails, and after a flippant complaint about the difficulty of installing the flip-closure cufflinks I was wearing, and, further, that there must be a better way, James revealed on his phone that he’d just been researching “snap-together” cufflinks that were popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s. We immediately recognized that that an opportunity to combine our skill sets had just come to a fortuitous light.

Where were you researching old cufflink patents?

It was online to begin with in order to get a rough idea of what else was out there, and later through our patent attorney during the application process. It was amazing to learn of dozens of patents that were granted for mechanical means of simplifying or improving cufflink locking technology prior to World War II, and then to see how this all these efforts ceased with the advent and emerging popularity of the button-down dress shirt, as well as the automation of the cufflink t-bar or flip closure near the same time. Due to our bearing expertise, we wanted to incorporate a bearing-lock from early on. It was even more amazing to find that this idea had already been patented in 1924–humbling from the standpoint of learning you weren’t the first to think of something, however also beneficial to know the idea had previously been accepted as a men’s furnishing and perhaps was just ready to resurrect.

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Milwaukee Journal advertisement, April 11, 1920

Tell us about the HollenWolff namesakes, and the legacy you are fulfilling with your enterprise.

Dr. Stanley Hollenbeck, James’s grandfather, became a well respected physician in Milwaukee after serving his country in World War II. James credits his grandfather’s impeccable sense of style with fostering his sartorial passion at an early age.

My grandfather, Paul Wolff, immigrated to the US from Germany when he was seven. In a classic tale of American opportunity, and starting with very little, he became a successful tool and die manufacturer through hard work and ingenuity. Although he passed away when I was young, I feel a special connection to him through a heritage of manufacturing. He made things that lasted.

The resulting name combination, HollenWolff, therefore represents the intersection of mechanical ingenuity and style, and a tribute to men of substance.

Where do you source your materials, especially the inlay materials?

We’re proud to be able to say that HollenWolff products are made in the United States. From the stones we use for inlay, to the cattle used in the production of our Hermann Oak natural leather packaging, we’ve made every effort to ensure that all composition possible is domestic. The inlay technique was developed for HollenWolff by Wisconsin-based jewelry artist Karen Locher, using a selection of stones that provide not only beauty, but also have long been believed to imbue the wearer with certain powers. For example, black tourmaline is a powerful psychic shield–a useful attribute if your daily regimen involves swimming with sharks.

The surgical grade stainless steel we use is manufactured in Chicago; our machining, assembly and packaging extrusion operations are performed in Wisconsin; our coatings are applied in Rhode Island; even the fasteners in our packaging are manufactured by a father-and-son machine shop in Los Angeles.

Tell us about the natural “as turned” look of the bronze, and the patina you expect from it.

We knew we wanted to use a metal that patinas from the start. At first we prototyped copper, and we also considered brass. Two years later we learned of the highly-coveted Panerai “Bronzo” that utilizes a special alloy of bronze that patinas to a very warm and attractive finish. As the material color falls right in between copper and brass, it was an excellent material for us to use as well.

To accelerate the patinating process (which can take months to a year to get significantly started and depending on how much you handle them), we use sulfur to age the bronze quickly, and then hand-polish the parts to reveal the bronze while leaving low spots of darker patina. The result is a very warm and rich finish that you don’t see every day, outside of the marina.

Hollenwolff_pull_quote3 Any special reason behind the octagonal shape?

It’s important to first understand that every set of cufflinks has up to fourteen components that each start as a solid bar of steel and then are machined to finished tolerances as low as .0002” (two ten thousandths of an inch). Typically bar stock for machining comes in either rounds or hexes, so a six sided would be easier to produce from the standpoint that no milling would be required. The Swiss CNC lathes used to produce these parts are extremely advanced in terms of capability, including being able to mill flats from a round bar in the same machining cycle as turning just seconds prior. So to those who appreciate the craft of metal turning, eight sides subtly demonstrates a higher level of machining sophistication.

What are the personalization options?

On our .68 caliber cufflinks, we can laser inscribe text (i.e. names, initials, dates, messages, etc.) up to approximately 40 characters on each of four cufflink faces–typically one message for each male half, and one message for each female half. In addition to that, a personalized message can also be inscribed on the top of the anodized aluminum housing/packaging.

Of course, we also offer two shapes, two sizes, two metals, five PVD or DLC coatings, as well as the stone inlay. The buttons can be ordered in a different finish than the bodies, as well. Soon, we’ll also be introducing a second, more discrete, .55 caliber size.

We don’t really like the term, ‘accessory,’ because it implies the superficial–the degree of personalization we offer is actually quite the opposite. You can tell a story with these cufflinks.

Why or when should a guy opt for French cuffs and cufflinks instead of a normal barrel cuff?

The “why” part of the question can be answered with another question: Does anyone really prefer the look of plastic buttons? As far as “when,” the proper time to wear cufflinks is when you want to look your best. Which begs the question: Well, when don’t you? Cufflinks are not just for the tuxedo days. The fact is, with the ease, comfort and style of our products, it’s now possible for a man to look his best while still rolling up his sleeves and working for a living.

 

To see a HollenWolff featurette as well as mechanical cufflink demonstrations, check out their impressive videos at Vimeo. If you’re ready to get your own HollenWolff cufflinks, check out our selection.