I have become accustomed to having many product reviews available when shopping online. I was considering purchasing Allbirds sneakers; Google yields seven pages of reviews. When shopping for a new flashlight, I found three different places with too much information about the minutiae of each model. But when a Facebook ad for the Capsule line of wallets caught my eye, I went looking for more information, only to find just two reviews of any substance: one from everydaycarry.com and another from design-milk.com (which is photo-heavy and light on details).
I appreciated those, but there is more to be said about each wallet, so I'm contributing my own review of the Capsule Accomplice and Capsule Diplomat. (I was not asked to write this review, nor was I compensated for writing it.) If you're reading this, I assume you've already read the other reviews and Capsule's promotional material. I'm not aiming to duplicate information you can find elsewhere, only to add what I feel is missing.
I carried the Infinity minimalist wallet for eleven months after using a standard Fossil bifold wallet for fifteen years. I liked a lot of things about the Infinity wallet: the size was excellent and the price was right. But I did not like how difficult it was to carry cash in the Infinity, and it was awkward to carry things like receipts or coupons on those occasions when I needed to keep those things out of my pocket. Eventually, the stitching began to loosen, and after pulling one of the threads out of the wallet, I knew it was time for something sturdier.
I considered purchasing a new Infinity wallet, but I knew I couldn't expect more than a year of use out of the replacement. I researched dozens of the top-selling men's wallets from Amazon, and found a few that I was interested in. All of the top contenders shared some common attributes: they were small, "minimalist" wallets, and there was somewhere to keep at least a little cash. But they were all under $20, so I knew the materials they were constructed with couldn't be all that great. I didn't see the point of buying another cheapo wallet and repeating the cycle again in less than a year.
So I checked Reddit for advice and found plenty of recommendations, although I didn't find anything about the Accomplice or Diplomat there. I gave the most serious consideration to the Bellroy Note Sleeve wallet, but it was easy to find pictures of excessive wear-and-tear damage; that obviously wouldn't do, since longevity was an important criterion. The Bellroy prices are comparable to Capsule's, but I was not enthused by the possibility of such an expensive wallet becoming damaged quickly. I decided I wouldn't be purchasing a Bellroy.
After reviewing so many wallet styles, I was growing more convinced that I wanted one with a zipper. The Infinity wallet restricted me to carrying a maximum of five cards and a Tile Slim device; the Tile really stretched the Infinity and gave it an awkward bulge. On the occasions when I needed to carry six or seven cards, things got very tight. Carrying cash in the Infinity was a non-starter even when carrying just four or five cards. Slipping the bills in and out of the center cavity was arduous. I hated carrying cash in the Infinity and only did so when absolutely necessary, even then restricting myself to one or two bills. If I had more than that, I had to wad it up in my pocket.
I also wanted to be able to carry receipts in the wallet instead of in my pocket. I don't carry papers around on a long-term basis, but when leaving for a store with a coupon or coming back from a shopping trip with a couple of receipts, I'd rather keep those in a wallet than in a pocket. Another tiny wallet wouldn't fit the bill.
I was growing more certain that I wanted the Accomplice, but the Diplomat was intriguing. I do occasionally travel for work, and when I do, I need to keep receipts for expense reports. The Diplomat was obviously designed for international travel, with several storage options for a passport. But even for domestic business trips, it's clear that the Diplomat will shine. It's significantly larger than the Accomplice, but shares all of the crucial traits that make the wallets so functional.
I couldn't decide between the two, so I opted to purchase both.
My ordering experience was so extraordinary that it deserves its own brief mention. My order was shipped just twelve minutes after I placed it. Obviously, your results may vary; I placed my order in the afternoon. I received the package just two days after I placed the order, even though it shipped across the entire country. Truly impressive!
First impressions and day-to-day usage
Both the Accomplice and the Diplomat come in very nice packaging. There are nicely-designed paper sleeves as the outer packaging; inside, each wallet is enrobed in a microfiber pouch. The wallets were both in perfect condition upon arrival.
My first thought about the Accomplice was "this looks way too thin." It was so flat that I was having trouble believing it would hold more than a couple of cards, but it expands quite nicely. A few days ago, I stuffed the Accomplice with 18 folded bills, 10 cards (more than I typically carry), a Tile Slim, and several slips of paper, and it still closed, although I think that's close to the limit. I'd be hesitant to put more than that into the Accomplice. Although the YKK zippers are of a noticeably high quality, it still seems like the part of the wallet most likely to fail, so I don't want to put extreme stress on the zipper unless absolutely necessary.
I've been carrying the Accomplice as my daily wallet since it arrived, and I have been impressed by its versatility and functionality. I wasn't sure that I would use the card pocket on the front, and indeed, I don't permanently carry anything in that pocket. But it makes a great staging area for cards I intend to use soon: my cards have rotating reward categories, so I use different cards for gasoline, groceries, and general purchases. I like being able to put the correct card into the front pocket so that I don't have to flip through the card stack at the point of sale. I have also used the pocket for coupons on grocery trips; it's hard to forget to use them when they are a slide of the thumb away.
It's nice to be able to carry cash again. I don't use cash every day, but when you need it, there's no substitute. Instead of trying to tuck a $20 bill into a tiny wallet, I can now carry as much cash as I want. I used to keep a small pile of cash on the living room table or in a cabinet. I didn't realize how much I would enjoy not having to do that anymore.
So far, I've been using the Diplomat to hold overflow cards, cash, and important papers at home. I'll use the Diplomat instead of the Accomplice whenever I'm traveling. It certainly fits more cards, cash, and papers than the Accomplice would. It's just a little too big for me to use as a daily carrier. It does indeed fit into a standard pants pocket, but not as comfortably as the smaller Accomplice. I won't mind making the trade-off while traveling, because the extra space will be so useful. Having my passport in such a secure enclosure will be terrific when compared to my old habit of keeping it loose in the exterior pocket of my laptop bag. I'll appreciate being able to have my important documents directly on my person.
One of the other reviews mentioned that the interior pockets of the Diplomat felt loose. But that's really only true if you only put one card into each slot. In that case, the card will tend to stick out a bit, instead of laying flat against the back of the wallet. If you have multiple cards in each slot, the pressure that each card exerts on the other keeps them stiffly in place until you need them.
Your individual use case will drive your selection between the Accomplice and the Diplomat. Are you constantly in an airport, or do you for some reason require the ability to carry a dozen or more cards every day? If so, the Diplomat suits you well. All others should lean toward the Accomplice for daily use. The Accomplice is really the perfect size for an everyday wallet, and I'm very impressed by how much it fits.
I considered the Capsule Minimalist wallet. I really like the form factor of the Minimalist, and it comes in many additional colors in which the Accomplice and Diplomat are not available. I think that I would really enjoy owning the Minimalist and using it when taking short trips with specific purposes, but I do not think that it would displace the Accomplice as my daily wallet. The Accomplice is the perfect size, and the zipper gives me the confidence that everything inside the wallet will stay there. While I suspect I would feel the same sense of security with the Minimalist wallet, I like that the Accomplice allows me to carry a large number of cards and bills at all times; I would only want to keep a few cards and bills in the Minimalist. Still, I'm hoping to acquire a Minimalist wallet soon and provide a review of that wallet, too.
The Diplomat comes with a Capsule-branded flat travel pen. It's just a nice extra touch that confirms that the Capsule team has taken a thoughtful approach not only to the design of the wallets, but also to the things that people will want to do with them in the real world. Having that tiny pen in my Diplomat won't seem like an afterthought when filling out a customs form on a tray table.
I suppose that a zipper is not everyone's cup of tea. If it doesn't appeal to you, then you won't like either of these wallets. But if you're on the fence about whether you might want to use a wallet with a zipper, allow me to encourage you to take a chance. It's a terrific security mechanism, and the fact that only the top and side unzip makes the act of flipping through the interior wallet contents very natural. If the zipper wrapped around the bottom, this wallet just wouldn't work.
At $90 for the Accomplice and $110 for the Diplomat, these cost more than your typical department store leather billfold. But I certainly feel that they are worth the price; these are high quality items. Capsule offers a guarantee that is very reassuring, though there is no sign of any defect in the materials or craftsmanship in either my Accomplice or Diplomat; so you can feel confident that the company will stand behind these wallets.
If the prices are just too high, stay tuned to Capsule's Instagram page; looking through past posts, they seem to run occasional promotions where you could get a discount.
These wallets come in a variety of colors, and it appears that Capsule has plans to continue adding to the available selection. I really like the Diplomat - Greenback and the Accomplice - Umberjack, both of which are pictured above, but I ended up purchasing the Blackout version of each.
All things considered, I wholeheartedly recommend both wallets. Upgrade your daily carrier to the Accomplice. If you're a traveler and it's in your budget, add a Diplomat to your cart, too.
-by Andrew Yaksic