Which company makes the best chess sets?

Warbler

I would have created a poll to ask this but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that.  So post which you think is the best and why.

  1.  Jaques of London
  2. House of Staunton
  3. ChessHouse
  4. Chess Bazaar
  5. DGT
  6. Official Staunton
  7. Noj
  8. Chess Empire
  9. Wholesale Chess
  10. The Chessstore
  11. Rechapados Ferrer
  12. Amritsar Ivory Works
  13. Era Retro
  14. Staunton Castle
  15. American Chess Equipment
  16. Regency Chess UK
  17. other

I should have said which is the best seller and/or maker of chess sets and/or pieces and/or boards

rcmacmillan

The only two companies on your list that actually manufacture sets are Chess Bazaar and Official Staunton. CB manufactures all of their sets and Official Staunton has its own production facility in India that produces a few of their sets, at least that is my understanding. Most of their sets are produced under contract by other manufacturers. There are many set manufacturers in India, but only a few of the very top notch ones, and several of those have recently thrown a wrench into the resale market by selling to the end user directly. The Chess Empire, which is the resale branch of the highly regarded wholesaler Amritsar Ivory Works (don’t worry, they no longer turn ivory) is probably the best known.

As far as I’m concerned, of the concerns listed, House of Staunton and Official Staunton have the highest standards of weighting and finishing for the sets they sell under their own branding. Chess House is a general full service retailer, much the same as HOS’s USCF Sales subsidiary. They don’t actually advertise sets as being made especially for them, as I recall. Jacques of London, at this point, is just about out of the Luxury market, and selling lower end tournament and travel sets, although there are a few of their good sets left around. DGT, well... their sets are pretty pedestrian, but necessary to use the DGT boards.

One that you left off your list that is undoubtedly the highest quality I know of is NOJ Cek of Slovenia, which produces both the Best Chessmen Ever (R) and a variety of sets that they have designed in house and with the input of others, including the 1950 Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik 2, The 61 Tal set, the and the GM Pavasovik, to name just a few.

 

Eyechess

Without a doubt the answer is Noj.  Of course their company is hard to duplicate.  Gregor and his brother are the only 2 actually carving and making the pieces.  Their retired father comes in to perform the finish work.

They make a limited number of Chess sets.  They also have, as their main business, the making or turning of fountain pens for the European market.

Mohan_Kumar_Chess is correct.  Most all the companies you have listed do not make the Chess sets, but sell them at retail after buying wholesale from the manufacturer.  And all the sets made for these companies are made in India.

There are a few manufacturers in India, primarily Armritsar, that make a high quality set.  The House of Staunton, Official Staunton and Jaques of London all get their sets from these manufacturers.  A couple of these high end producers have started selling their sets directly.  The Chess Empire is one of these.

Chess Bazaar and Royal Chess Mall sell lower priced and commensurately lower quality sets compared with the above mentioned sets.

My favorite sets, of the 35+ wood sets and their manufacturer/sellers are:

1. Noj Dubrovnik II set.  I own this sets in all three of the wood colors they currently offer; Walnut, Red Stain, and Brown Stain.

2. Noj GM Pavasovic set in Walnut.

3. Noj made BCE Stage 2, Eastern, Natural with Stainless Steel bases.

4. The House of Staunton, Frank Camaratta created Craftsman Series set in Blood Rosewood.

5. The House of Staunton, Frank Camaratta Signature Series  Cooke Luxury set in Mopane.

6. From Official Staunton Company, the Piatigorsky Commerative set which was made in a limited edition.

I also use and enjoy a number of lesser expansive sets, primarily sold by The House of Staunton.

 

Warbler
Mohan_Kumar_Chess wrote:

Most of them don't make sets. they just sell. 

 

oops.  I would change the thread tittle if I could, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that,   Just say which company is the best maker/seller of chess sets/pieces/boards and why.

Warbler
rcmacmillan wrote:

 Jacques of London, at this point, is just about out of the Luxury market, and selling lower end tournament and travel sets, although there are a few of their good sets left around.

 

But I think their website still has high end chess sets on it.  https://www.jaqueslondon.co.uk/collections/chess-sets

MGT88

>Chessmen/Pieces: Without a doubt, Noj Slovenia; family owned (great people), hand-made, highest quality craftsmanship in the world. I own the BCE 2, Tal 1961, and President sets from Noj; I could write a very long post explaining why they are the best, however, I think its better to simply link the detailed reviews I made of the BCE 2/Tal 1961 sets, which lay it all out nicely. I will be posting a review of the President set soon.

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/review-noj-slovenia-bce-stage-2

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/review-noj-slovenia-1961-soviet-championship-tal-black-stain

>Boards: I don't know who would be considered the best in regards to boards (Noj only make pieces), however some highly regarded manufacturers are JLP (selling through Chess House) and MTM Wood, which are sort of mid-range in price ($400-600 CAD range). House of Staunton offers boards from $100 all the way up to $5000 (which they say are made in the USA), however I don't know who actually manufactures the boards and I have not seen any reviews etc. It is also worth mentioning that there was a manufacturer by the name of Summerville-New England which produced ultra high-end boards, but they are no longer in business. I would guess the absolute highest quality board you can buy today would either be one of the top-end boards from HoS (their $2000-5000 boards) or a vintage board of some kind (e.g., a second-hand Summerville-New England, an old HoS board, a Drueke board, etc.). I own a JLP, which I reviewed here:

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/review-jlp-board-from-chess-house

MGT88
Warbler wrote:
rcmacmillan wrote:

 Jacques of London, at this point, is just about out of the Luxury market, and selling lower end tournament and travel sets, although there are a few of their good sets left around.

 

But I think their website still has high end chess sets on it.  https://www.jaqueslondon.co.uk/collections/chess-sets

I made a post about this a little while ago (regarding one of their sets going for $10,000 CAD); they are selling a set for $10,000 CAD and don't even have pictures of it on the website (or any of the other sets they are selling; very strange). I'm not sure what is happening with the Jaques brand these days but their website is extremely underwhelming, especially considering they are pricing their products higher than anything else on the market.

Warbler

CAD?

MGT88
Warbler wrote:

CAD?

Canadian

KnightsForkCafe

The question should be which Indian company makes the best set. Other than Noj they are mainly carved in India. Noj makes some good looking sets but for me the price they have is way too high for your average person to buy. So for that fact I can't give them the top spot. I base my opinion upon they quality, finish, and price. I can't enjoy a set I can't buy. So I down grade a company if they can't make a price that is affordable to the average person.

sound67

Can opened, worms ... everywhere. wink.png

 

KnightsForkCafe
sound67 wrote:

Can opened, worms ... everywhere.

 

Seems that way. tongue.png

sound67

NOJ pieces may well be the cream of the crop (price wise, too), but I wouldn't buy a set from them in a million years because of the non-stop self-promotion of the company on this board, but also the aggressiveness and sheer rudeness of the owner if anyone expresses a diverging view on their products. 

Eyechess is wrong, of course (as usual - and the "absolutism" of his statements is quite sad, actually) about Chessbazaar and other companies employing less qualified carvers than House of Staunton, etc. That's nonsense. CB and others may have a small problem in quality/final control, sometimes a flawed piece slips through that shouldn't. But due to their no-questions-asked replacement warranty, that's no big hassle. I had a few complaints about one or tow max chessmen in a few of their sets, and the matter was resolved promptly. Never had an issue with the precision of craftsmanship on the sets overall. 

RussBell
sound67 wrote:

 ....sheer rudeness....if anyone expresses a diverging view...... 

Eyechess is wrong, of course (as usual - and the "absolutism" of his statements is quite sad, actually) 

You've described yourself....unlike you, EyeChess isn't rude, nor does he engage in immature ad hominem attacks when expressing his opinion...

Eyechess

The question was about which company makes the best chess set.

The person that introduced me to Noj sets is definitely an average consumer.  He works as a crew member on a river barge.  
If you can afford $200 for a Chess set then it is only a matter of discipline to save your money until you have enough for something more expensive.

These guys arguing that CB quality is just as high as Noj, The House of Staunton, and Official Staunton do not know what they are talking about.  They are only comparing pictures and not actual pieces they can physically inspect.

This sound67 chap is negative at best.

sound67
RussBell hat geschrieben:
sound67 wrote:

 ....sheer rudeness....if anyone expresses a diverging view...... 

I was referring to the owner of NOJ. 

Gomer_Pyle

I haven't kept up with manufacturers for a few years. Does Rechapados Ferrer still make boards? At one time most boards advertised as "Made in Spain" were made by them. I have several and I'm quite happy with them.

sound67
Gomer_Pyle hat geschrieben:

Does Rechapados Ferrer still make boards? At one time most boards advertised as "Made in Spain" were made by them. I have several and I'm quite happy with them.

Oh, yes, they do: http://www.rechapadosferrer.com/en/tableros.html

I own several of their boards, and they're great value for money.

ifekali
sound67 wrote:

I was referring to the owner of NOJ. 

 

You are misinformed. I am a designer of chess sets. I designed some for Noj. I have no other business with them.

-Izmet Fekali

 

MGT88
sound67 wrote:
RussBell hat geschrieben:
sound67 wrote:

 ....sheer rudeness....if anyone expresses a diverging view...... 

I was referring to the owner of NOJ. 

You’re referring to Izmet, who does not own Noj. Izmet designed the BCE set, which is produced by Noj. Gregor Novak, his brother, and his father, own Noj; the Novak family is pure class. Anyone who owns a Noj set has dealt with Gregor directly, and many people on this forum have attested to his level of service and great personality.