The denim loving guys at Self Edge sent out an email this morning about their recently acquired almost-new Union Special 43200G chainstich machine. The lore of these Union Specials and their coveted status among denim-nerds is the stuff of legend — which makes the below story even more remarkable. No word as to how much coin the Self Edge guys paid for this thing (or where it came from, which is a better question), but I’m guessing it’s somewhere between a Submariner and a Royal Oak.
More on Self Edge’s new/old Union Special 43200G from the company’s blog:
If there is one machine in the current world of vintage style jeans that has the mystique of a fairly tale it’s the Union Special 43200G chainstitching machine. This is the machine the Japanese first scoured the world for starting in the 1980′s, they wanted them to place in their factories which reproduced vintage styles of American jeans from the 1950′s and before. It was a good twenty years until the rest of the world realized what was happening in Japan, by that time most of the 43200G machines had been bought up by the Japanese factories, brands, and retailers to put in their stores for in-store hemming.
When we opened Self Edge San Francisco five years ago it took us a good six months to find a chainstitching machine that worked properly and wasn’t missing essential parts. Two years ago Self Edge New York went through an even harder time finding one of these machines, the story continued a year ago with Self Edge Los Angeles’ quest for a machine.
Now all three of our stores have these machines for in-house hemming services. Needless to say these machines are becoming extremely difficult to find and when found the prices they’re demanding are high for a retail store to pay, especially in the condition they’re coming in. Recently on eBay a 43200G machine sold for $5000 that looked like as if it had been dropped off a cliff, machines in this shape will never work properly for long and will need constant service to keep them hemming in the way they were intended to.
We have just acquired what we feel to be one of the rarest Union Special 43200G machines in existence, a new one. One that has never been used and still has the sample piece of denim hanging out of it’s teeth which they test the machine at the factory with before strapping it into a small crate. We went back and forth on whether or not we should be spending a small fortune on a machine that would essentially be redundant considering we already have enough chainstitching machines for our stores. We couldn’t resist and honestly bought it purely for the reason of wanting to fondle the thing in person, photos weren’t enough. We wanted to hear it’s purr as it ripped through hems faster and smoother than any other machine we’ve seen.