If you're going to do something, you might as well do it properly, that's what my mum always told me. Roland Iten makes belt buckles, and I suspect his mum is quite satisfied that he's given it his best effort.
Iten attacks the problem of holding trousers up with a vigor and ingenuity that has to be seen to be believed. His pieces are as much mechanical jewellery as they are clothing, made with intricate mechanisms, exotic materials and the finely detailed machining of a Swiss watch.
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Pretty much everything this guy makes will secure a trouser with tactical precision. If you see a man wearing a Roland Iten belt, and his pants are down, that's no accident. You can be damn sure those pants are down for a reason, and you'd better plan your next move accordingly.
The previous pinnacle of Iten's belt buckle design, made in conjunction with Bugatti, was hailed as the most expensive in the world. The R22 Bugatti Calibre retailed for just under a hundred thousand US dollars and only eleven were made. Enough to impress the most eagle-eyed of bucklistas, surely?
Maybe for you and I, the R22 is a good enough belt buckle. But without making too many assumptions, I think it's fair to say you and I don't secure our pants with the same burning passion that Roland Iten does. We may all put our pants on one leg at a time, but when Roland Iten tucks his shirt in and buckles up, he's heaving in his girth with a US$400,000 Calibre R822 Predator buckle, and you and I are not.
There are 167 separate components on a Calibre R822 Predator buckle. If there was 168, it could ship with its own leather belt, but no, you'll have to buy a separate piece of cow. Or several – because one of the Predator's key mechanical features is how quickly and easily it attaches to a belt strap.
"Once the wearer inserts the end of the leather strap in the buckle," Iten's website tells us, "the double ardillion tang engages effortlessly with the holes in the strap… Operating the Calibre R822 buckle is a veritable tactile pleasure, and it offers a simple, one-handed adjustment for two positions – looser, for driving or sitting, and tighter, for walking or playing sport."
Simple and effortless, eh? Your correspondent has operated a number of belt buckles in his time, always with effort. So we'd need to test drive this thing to comment further.
But this is a "quadruple complication" belt buckle, not some mere triple complicated trifle that can only be attached to a belt, done up, and then precisely loosened when you've overdone it at Christmas dinner. The fourth complication is a security mechanism that prevents any of the other three complications from occurring by accident.
The Calibre R822 Predator is studded with some 387 baguette- and round-cut diamonds, totaling 14.15 carats, and its mechanical platform is "high tech titanium" ... which is loads better than that low tech stuff you see so much of these days.
Only three will be made, which is probably enough. I'd suggest for the next one Iten looks into building in a fifth complication, and I have just the idea that might appeal to the high net worth individuals that form Iten's market. How about a mechanism which can't be opened by a third party until they've signed a legal waiver and confidentiality clause?
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