Saturday, September 26, 2015


Hi John,

This is Mikel from Spain. I would like to ask you for your advice about 2 horsehide leather jackets I love.
Is the CENTINELA by Freewheelers and the BUCO J-31 by The Real McCoys . They are pretty similar and I can´t make a decision between them. Which one to buy ... Both similar price too, and both made in Japan ... Would you have any sugestions?

Thank you so much, and congrats on your BLOG !

Best regards from Spain,

Hi Mikel,

Before my decision to purchase the Freewheelers San Mateo jacket, I seriously considered either the Buco J-31 and the FreewheelersCentinela and like any reasonable consumer I spent a considerableamount of time weighing the pros and cons before spending 2k on a jacket. I saw two very similar jackets at first, but after peeling back the layers I began to favor one over the other.

I'm a big fan of the characteristics that define early Americana outwear like collar, pocket shapes and hardware - namely Talon ball, fan-shaped and the ever-appealing grommet zippers. I also favor wild yet understated pieces and these jackets fit the bill. Here are the things I noticed about the other two.

Buco J-31:
This jacket is adorned with hardware consistent throughout the jacket and is pretty much a modified J-22.

-REMOVABLE BELT: Well, The Toy's McCoy version doesn't come with a belt, but one has the option with available belt loops.
-SHOULDER LAPEL BAR: A vintage design that usually attracts collectors, but as a Marine I call it First Lieutenant bars. I sometimes put black electric tape over the bars of my J-24 style jacket.
-SLIM SLEEVES: Seem to be more proportionate to the jacket body than the longer looking Centinela.
-BI-SWING BACK: More freedom of movement, but I'm not a fan of this feature (I do own jackets with it, though)

Source: The Real McCoy's

Source: 0308net

Freewheelers Centinela:
-BALL CHAIN (under flap) chest pocket
-Talon-style fan grommet zipper
-A-2-style lapel stitching WITHOUT bar
-Understated, yet impactful studded sleeves
-Fixed Belt
-Longer Arms
-Fitted, plain back

Source: hoosierkyoto

I ultimately decided on the San Mateo, but if I were to pull the trigger back then and knowing what I know now about the fit and feel of the San Mateo, the choice was and would be for the Freewheelers jacket. I could learn to live with the fixed belt, but there's no way I could add another bi-swing back to my collection.

Source: Freewheelers

I hope this helps. It's a lot of money for a jacket, but you'll feel good having whichever jacket you decide on hanging in your closet


Hi John! Thank you for your help!
You did not mentioned , but I guess the HH is pretty much the same on both ... Japanese HH?
I´m a huge fan and collector of HH jackets and boots and I really love your BLOG. You are the master . I just ordered the CENTINELA!! Just talked to Mr. Takashi at Freewheelers. I´ll send some pics when it gets home !

It´s very hard to get those kind of HH jackets or engineer boots in Spain ... 

Best ,

Wow! Congrats on the purchase, M. I can't wait to see the photos! Yes, the jackets are constructed with Japanese Horsehide that look amazing in these homage jackets.


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