About a week ago I was informed by Michael that I had won a Piel Frama case for my Bold 9900. The color I picked was red, as that is one of the prominent colors in my companies logo. Watching the video on how the cases were made showed old style workmanship that you won’t find in any other case I have seen on store shelves, and there was a sense of exclusivity at being picked as one of the winners.

This wasn’t just software, or a theme, this was something that someone had taken time to cut, hammer, glue, and stitch, to fit my phone. There are not many things handmade anymore so I won’t be taking this for granted. The package arrived from Spain this afternoon and was boxed and bubble wrapped securely.

After tearing off the wrap, I slid the box open to immediately be hit with the smell of leather, and then to see the beautiful red case along with a small bag with a belt clip and metal tool. As you can see from the pictures, there is a small metal cap on the back of the case. The tool is keyed to fit this cap, and allows you to unscrew it. In its place you put a protruding knob that screws in to the vacant spot and that knob then snaps in and out of the belt clip. That shows the type of detail that comes with the Piel Frama line of products.  Because I am not a fan of belt clips and prefer to keep my phone in my pocket, I left things the way they arrived.

The feel of the leather was smooth in my hand. Evenly stained a bright red and I noticed no imperfections that you would get with cheaper leather. Everything was stitched tightly, and from watching the video, I could see the attention made when gluing the layers together. There was no excess glue or sloppy work noticeable anywhere.

I snapped open the front of the case and then took my Bold out of the pouch case for the last time. I then slid my phone into the case and felt it lock in place securely. The fit was perfect. Tight enough to prevent any slipping yet loose enough for me to take it out when I want to put the phone in the charging dock.

One thing I noticed with the cover was up, was the engraved “Piel Frama” pattern in the leather. Very classy without being garish. There is also a small rectangular shape under the leather that is the magnet that turns your phone off when close and on when opened. A nice touch.

All side buttons and connection areas are open so that adjusting volume, accessing your convenience key, or plugging in your charger, are easy to do, and don’t compromise the cases ability to protect your phone. On the back there are openings for the speaker, camera, and flash.

Using the phone will require you to double the cover around to the back, folding it over. This posed no issue and though it is a little stiff right now, that will loosen up with use over time.

I have a house that has 3 generations of very fussy people. My wife, mother, and children, are all within arm’s reach so they are the first ones that I show product to. Being the color it was,  there was no delay in everyone wanting to see what I was flipping around in my hand. I have three teenagers, a boy that is 18, and two girls, 16 and 14.  They loved it. Even the color which is not normally one they would choose for a case cover.  My wife was on the same page as my kids. She looked at her pink plastic case out of the corner of her eye and I am sure was weighing up the chance for a swap. The true test was my mother. She is the type of mother that knows all about style, fashion, and she comes from a time where everything was handmade.  She was impressed with the feel and look.  Three for three.

Was there anything I would change?  I wouldn’t change anything, more I would add something.  One more small opening in the upper right part of the cover. You see, I am a fan of BeBuzz and like to be aware of messages and information that comes in to my phone when I am in meetings or situations where I don’t like to check my phone. Three red lights tell me I have work email, blue white blinking lights tell me I have a BBM message.  Certain customers on managed service contracts have specific colors assigned for emergency situations. Because of that, I would have liked an opening in the cover that allowed me to see the light on my bold without opening it up. I can always flip the cover open so it isn’t a game changer, just a minor detail that would make it more useful to me.

Outside of that minor change, I am in love with my new case. The quality is obvious before you even open up the box.  The surest way I know whether I like something that I win, is to ask myself “If you saw this in a store would you buy it?”

Without any hesitation the answer is YES. This is a unique and well-made accessory that you won’t see on a lot of phones. They aren’t cheap, but quality never is. It is well worth the asking price and I can see myself pulling the phone out of my pocket just to show off, even when I don’t have a call.

I want to thank BlackBerry Empire and Piel Frama for allowing me to have something that is handmade, unique, and attention getting. When you find yourself reaching in your pocket to take out your phone just to flip it around in your hand unconsciously, you know that the workmanship has everything to do with it.

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