The Cambridge Satchel Company 15″ Sapphire Batchel Review

Everyone has seen that The Web Is What You Make Of It TV advertising campaign from Google, showing you what is possible with Google Chrome, the one with Julie Deane and her story of starting a business at her kitchen table six years ago with only £600 to start with, how Rupert the dog didn’t seem to approve of the satchels taking over the kitchen, and then the boom as more and more people began to buy her satchels. The Cambridge Satchel Company, ran by Julie Deane and started as a way to pay her daughter’s school fees.

Luckily, I received a 15″ Sapphire blue Batchel (satchel with the addition of a top handle) from the Sapphire & Emerald limited edition range only a few days ago. This bag is so amazing, I took it to a family get together a few days ago and kept it on the window sill (so that it didn’t get kicked or knocked on the floor) and everyone was talking about it and complimenting me on my pretty Batchel.

Made from 100% natural cow leather, this bag really is amazing. Mine is the 15” Batchel, which is a regular satchel but with the addition of a convenient top handle. The Batchel has a 15” top flap, a height of 10” and a depth of 3.8”. These satchels are also acceptably worn by either gender without an eyelid batted.

The Batchel looks expensive and amazing quality and feels very luxurious to hold and touch, the subtle scent of leather is pleasant and adds to the overall feel of the bag, along with the natural pattern of the hide that is visible on the inside of the bag.

You can expect a centimetre or two to be taken off of the depth on the inside due to the way the bag is constructed. The maximum recommended weight of contents for this particular Batchel is 2.5kg. The content weight recommendation is simply to stop any damage happening from strain on the straps; I’ve had many bags break from having too much weight in the bag as the bag lacked a recommendation of how much weight to carry and the straps eventually being pulled off.

The Cambridge Satchel Company 15" Sapphire Batchel Open

This bag doesn’t have little zip pockets or elasticated pen holders or phone pouches, as it is 100% leather and doesn’t have an inner fabric lining, there is only one big main compartment and one outer smaller compartment. The main big compartment is great, I fit my purse, toiletries bag, moisturiser, hair brush, keys, and occasionally my camera in there, and in the smaller outer compartment I fit my iPhone, lip balm, mirror, pens, A5 notebook and an Apple 30-pin dock connector to USB cable. As the bag is made from 100% natural leather, it won’t soften after extensive use like other bags might, this Batchel will stay stiff and structured.

Interior of The Cambridge Satchel Company 15" Sapphire Batchel

What you need to remember with this bag is that it is 100% natural cow leather, so it needs some looking after. Try your best not to get it wet and don’t take it out with you if it is raining heavily, but if it does get a little wet then wipe the water off the surface and then let it dry naturally. Once it is dry you will want to apply some leather protection cream but remember to test the leather protection cream on an unobtrusive part of the bag first to make sure it doesn’t ruin it. It goes without saying that the bag will age over time, but Vaseline works well to buff out any scuffs or marks that you have on your bag.

I’m still in awe of the jaw-dropping level of detail on the Batchel after 2 months. The crossbody strap is two pieces of leather that fasten together and are adjusted with a buckle, but the top handle is two pieces back to back so that it is more reinforced and comfier in the hand. The stitching is all great and the little rivets on the corners to reinforce it further is a great touch. I really appreciate how the buckles are real working buckles as opposed to the fake buckles with magnets; this makes me feel a lot safer that pickpockets will struggle to get into my bag. However, if you are impatient and don’t want to have to be careful fastening the buckles, then you may not want this bag, as the leather is stiff so it takes approximately ten uses of fastening and unfastening the buckles for the leather to soften enough to fasten the buckles a little easier.

Buckle of The Cambridge Satchel Company 15" Sapphire Batchel

The fastener on the cross-body strap is very easy to use, not like any other bags where the fastener is really stiff the first time you try to use it. It is like a lobster clasp you get on a necklace, but instead of having the little lever you catch with your nail, you push the opening itself, like a carabiner. It is very smooth and easy to open; it won’t make you break a nail trying to apply enough force to get it to move!

Side of The Cambridge Satchel Company 15" Sapphire Batchel

The embossed lines around the edges of the crossbody strap and the top flap are a character-adding touch to an already svelte and refined design, as is the embossed logo on the bottom of the back panel on the bag. You can also have your name or initials embossed onto the centre of the top flap, between the buckle straps and you can have the embossing in blind, black, gold or silver. There is a maximum price of embossing which is £20 and full-stops are free, but this was misleading as it also stated that embossing was £5 per letter, leading me to believe that I could only have 4 letters embossed. I ended up not having my bag embossed because of this and only realised how I had misread the site after I received the bag. There is a little frame on the front that is stitched up three sides leaving one side empty to allow you to add a name card or something along those lines to the front of your bag, so I may add my name to this to make up for not having it embossed.

Embossed Logo of The Cambridge Satchel Company 15" Sapphire BatchelYour satchel will arrive to you in a cute canvas dust bag with the logo printed on the front of it, I found this a really lovely touch, but this is to be expected with the majority of designer bags, I store my satchel in the canvas bag when I’m not using it to keep it safe. The label inside the canvas bag tells me that it is environmentally friendly which makes it even better, knowing that it was manufactured in a Fairtrade Accredited, Ethically Audited and Carbon Neutral Factory. If you would like more information about the dust bag then you can go over to bagsofethics.org.

Dust Bag for The Cambridge Satchel Company 15" Sapphire Batchel

With a price tag of £135, it’s not cheap, but by no means is it the most expensive bag of this kind on the market, it is most definitely worth it. The first time I took my bag out with me, I got so many compliments that I lost count, and even grocery shopping the cashier was admiring my shiny new handbag and asking where I got it from. The Batchel looks expensive and amazing quality and feels very luxurious to hold and touch, the subtle scent of leather is pleasant and adds to the overall feel of the bag, along with the natural pattern on the inside that varies from bag to bag due to it being 100% natural leather.

I definitely would buy more of these Batchels in the other colours available and would consider some of the other satchels from The Cambridge Satchel Company, they are very well made and very sturdy, I already have a list of the next one I would like!

You can find the Emerald & Sapphire Collection here, and the limited edition Chelsea Collection with special embossing colours to match the satchels here.

Helen Duff

Helen Duff ()

Can often be found drinking coffee, watching anime, complaining and writing about cosmetics and candy.

  • Peter Myers

    Excellent review great bag to buy no need for gucci lol

  • Amber Morris

    Ralphey say this and said he wanted one. XD

    • Helen says that it is socially acceptable for both men and women to wear this satchel, that was one of my first questions when I saw it in person!

  • Jodie

    Very, very disappointed with this bag, I was so excited to have received this as a Christmas present. I have the 13inch classic in pink embossed with my initials. After only 2 weeks I started to notice cracks appearing on the top of the bag now 4 weeks the bag is completely cracking at the top. I made a complaint to Cambridge satchel online ( where it was purchased ) there reply is that it happens to all of their bags!! Not on !! For the amount it cost my partner I am very disappointed. I have posted the picture below, would love to know if anyone else has had this problem?

    • Hey Jodie,
      Thanks for the comment, I’ve just given Helen an iMessage that she needs to make a comment on this, I agree that it is unacceptable, I would love to know about the condition that her bag is in now.

      Before this review was published, there was a disagreement between Helen and I regarding the quality of the leather itself, as a connoisseur of all things leather (I imported two stunning green leather Scandinavian executive chairs several years ago), I did have my concerns that the marketing information for The Cambridge Satchel Company was inaccurate. Whilst The Cambridge Satchel Company claim it is 100% natural cow leather, I personally have my doubts about these claims, yet Helen insists that it is of the finest quality. To me the bags look like “bonded grade” leather, if you don’t know what that is then it is essentially the leather equivalent of MDF; unusable leather and offcuts minced up with glue and has a vinyl layer applied to it, though Helen disagrees. You will get an email notification when she responds!

      • Helen-Ann Duff

        Hi Jodie,

        Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Here’s a photo of my bag, it’s the same one from this article and I use it every day.

        I personally don’t think that the 13″ classic is that well made, especially when compared to the 15″ Batchel, and I also don’t think that The Cambridge Satchel Company make a 13″ Batchel, which is what this article was written about. The top section is all one piece on the 13″ classic and that means that a lot of stress is exerted across the leather, whereas the 15″ Batchel has a top section that is made up of multiple parts.

        As is often the case with fashion, it’s hit and miss with build quality and that’s a real pity as this seemed to be quite a promising company. In terms of leather quality, I think that it is amazing and disagree strongly with Hammy, I think I’d know best given that I use it every day and has outlasted any other bag I’ve used.

        Let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see us review and we’ll try and make it happen!