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Jan 30, 2013 05:05 PM

Falk Review


I received 2 new Falk pieces today so I thought I'd do a quick review. First I'll start with a word of caution. Falk openly says they do not like returns...and they mean it! Even if the volume and weight listed on their web site is incorrect...they are not easy to work with.
I ordered the 2.5 quart sauce pot. It's actually 2 quarts.
Falk appears to be trying to deny responsibility on that by stating that their web site says they round up to the nearest half quart. I can understand rounding up from 2.3 to 2.5 quarts but this is a real stretch since it's about 20% smaller than the listed size by volume or a full half quart. For comparison the 1.9 quart 2.5mm Mauviel sells for $210. Even with the 15% discount I received on the Falk it was over $66 more than the Mauviel that's finished far better! Ouch. (I thought I was paying for a larger pot!)
The pot is also a half pound lighter than Falk lists on their web site.

There are some notable differences between Falk and Mauviel that rarely get mentioned.
One is the handle. Falk says it's cast iron but it looks more like pot metal. I'd not be surprised if the handles are made in China. The handle is literally full of fissures and is a silverish color. There is no lacquer finish on it nor is the handle sealed in any way like the Mauviel Cast iron handles. The interior of the Falk is an unpolished satin SS. If any one thinks Mauviel is harder to keep clean then they have never tried to clean satin SS. Even a smudge is hard to get out.
Falk rivets are tiny. Maybe 1/3 the size of Mauviel.
I also received a 8 quart stock pot from Falk which I like but at this juncture I have very little faith in their product. Any company is only as good as their customer service. From now on I won't be ordering copper from any one other than Mauviel. Falk is way over priced (IMO) for the quality. It really disappoints me to say that as they are the only copper company to support the ACF.

In the photos I'll be using a 2.25 Quart 2mm Mauviel pot which is several years old for comparison against the "2.5 Quart" Falk.
I also received a 3.6 Quart 2.5mm Mauviel this week so I'll get a review of that up soon. ( The Mauviel is awesome! )

First image is to show the height. 2.5 Quart Falk on the Left, 2.25 Quart Mauviel on the right. (both pots are the same diameter)

  1. Here's a bottom view. 2.5 quart Falk on Left. 2.25 Mauviel on the right.

    10 Replies
    1. re: TraderJoe

      Since you're in the mood, can you give us a comparison shot or two of the handles, showing angles, width, length, etc.?

      FWIW, I like the curves of the Falk a little better. What's the weight comparison?

      1. re: kaleokahu

        "can you give us a comparison shot or two of the handles, showing angles, width, length, etc.?"

        Did the photos I posted show what you wanted to see? If not just ask and I'll post more images.

        1. re: TraderJoe

          I was somewhat unclear, sorry. I was asking to see the handle angles (e.g., away from horizontal) , overall handle length and width, escutcheon position (i.e., height of placement on the pan wall). I thought since you have both pans together, a photo of them together might highlight the differences.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Kaleo I'll try to get that shot later today. Did you want to see the 3.6 Quart Mauviel with the cast iron handle or the 2.25 Quart Mauviel with the brass handle compare to the Falk?

            1. re: TraderJoe

              Either way, TJ. I just wanted to compare the handles' angles from a user's perspective. Do the angles vary between the 3.6 and the 2.25 Mauviels?

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Kaleo, I'll post soon with a comparison. All of this has side tracked my other duties but I will get to this soon.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Here's some handle comparisons. This was pretty quick so please forgive the snapshots as I didn't have time to set up a tri-pod or process the images as I normally would.
                    Some quick observations.
                    The Cast iron handle on the 3.6 Quart Mauviel on the far left has a lacquer finish (my descriptive) and is slightly longer than the other two. Angles are very close on all three although the 2.25 Quart Mauviel with the bronze handle has a bit more drop.
                    My favorite handle is the bronze. I like the aesthetic and the bronze is flat on the bottom. The Falk handle is slightly more rounded than the the Mauviel cast iron.
                    One other thing I hadn't noticed is that Falk lids fit a heckuva lot better than Maviel lids which all seem slightly over size.
                    Time to go cook something! :)

      2. re: TraderJoe

        The Falk Handle. You can see the fissures and in the second image the tiny rivets.

        1. re: TraderJoe

          Hi, TJ:

          I'm with you on and about the rivets. If you watch Falk's videos, their whole riveting process is one press with a tool that simultaneously melts and compresses the rivet--takes about one second. I think to do it that way they have to use those minuscule rivets. That's one reason I like the large-headed, hand-peened rivets you find on old marks like Duparquet and Gaillard.

          I kinda like a rougher texture on the handles, though. My Rocky Mountain set is almost "pigskin" texture, which I think improves the grip, whereas my Mauviel is so smooth and finished I find it a bit turny in my hand.


      3. Here's a front on shot. The handle on the Mauviel in this case is wider but this one is bronze. The Mauviel cast iron handle is vastly better than the falk in the finish department.
        The weight of the 2mm 2.25 Quart Mauviel with out lid is 3# 14 oz.
        The weight of the 2.5mm 2.5 Quart Falk with out lid is just a titch over 4 pounds.

        1. Just out of curiosity, are you talking about Falk itself, or their North American distributor?

          I don't own any Falk pans, and don't have any opinion one way or another, but my understanding is that US / Canada sales are handled by an independent distributor.

          2 Replies
          1. re: will47

            My order and the info I'm posting is from the web site as they are the sole representative for Falk in North America.

            1. re: TraderJoe

              Hi, TJ:

              "[T]hey" is Michael Harp, who occasionally posts here.

              Are your issues with your order serious enough that you wish to return the pans? In Jeremy's case (and a few other cases), there have been issues bigger than slightly different capacities and sand-casting irregularities. Certainly a wobbly pan or one of the mysterious "Mauviel staples" would qualify.

              I have come to the belief that Falk is... er... a little idiosyncratic in most things (e.g., offering only a brushed finish). My bet is that your issues are things emanating from Belgium, not from its US rep. But I'm sorry if you're getting any guff from them--their wares are $$$.


          2. "First I'll start with a word of caution. Falk openly says they do not like returns...and they mean it! Even if the volume and weight listed on their web site is incorrect...they are not easy to work with."

            My experience as well. I perceived QC issues on 2 items I received from them, and I found the process to be difficult. I lost a substantial restocking fee on a wobbly saute pan. It's really a shame. I'd love to buy a large au gratin from them, but believing that I am likely to suffer for a mistake on their end means that I probably won't buy from them again.

            12 Replies
            1. re: jljohn

              Go ahead and call me Gobsmacked. Here's an email I received from Michael Harp;

              "Have you used the pan? Also, the price is not "per ounce". And the volume is accurate given how volumes are calculated for pans in the industry. Also, has your scale been calibrated recently? And, in case you don't know, the site says ≈ 4.5 LBS. That " ≈ " means approximately… Not every pan made weighs exactly the same for various reasons and that's why it says approximately...

              Now, I've asked you to measure the pan you have. It could be that it is off-spec. If so, we'll deal with it. If not, we'll still deal with it. Just humor me and measure it, please. (in red) Think you can do that?

              Also, there IS a legal disclaimer on the site about prices and specifications. I don't intend to mislead anyone and haven't in the 17 years that I've been distributing Falk in the US and Canada... YOU are the first person in that time to have an issue. So, there may be a problem with that pan… please measure it. Measure the circumference of the vessel and height, then solve for volume. If you need the formula, I'll be happy to send it to you.

              Also, please read our FAQ's. We do round to the nearest half quart by gross volume, just like everyone else in the business. If you don't want the pan, send it back and a refund will be issued per our refund policy. Just that simple… If you've used it, it is yours..."

              All I can say is I'll never deal with this company ever again. I notified them with in ten minutes of receipt that the sauce pot was off in both volume and weight.
              Clearly Mr. Harp has never heard of Mauviel as the volumes they list are reasonably precise like the 3.6 quart sauce pot I received earlier this week. In another message Mr. Harp suggested that the Falk volumes are off because in Belgium they use liters.....(no I'm not joking)
              He did ask for measurements at 2am and the message above was received at 3am. Oiye.

              I do have to accept responsibility for the following; I totally over looked the legal ease else where on the site that states they round up to the nearest half Quart. However I never would have imagined receiving a 2.01 Quart sauce pot in place of one advertised as 2.5 quarts. On a pot this size that's a massive difference. The exterior dimensions of the pot on their web site is fairly accurate.
              I also missed the "approximate weights". However a 2 quart pan should NOT vary by seven ounces unless it's not 2.5mm thick as advertised but rather 2mm like some of their other pieces. No doubt they have a disclaimer for that as well.
              As I noted I did see that they do not want returns. I can understand and even appreciate their position in the sense of buyers remorse etc. However I always operate under the premise that I will be dealing with some one reasonable that will do their best to make things right if their is a problem. It appears Mr. Harps version of satisfying his clients doesn't extend beyond sarcasm and excessive restocking fees when an item doesn't live up to expectations. It was clear in Mr. Harps email exchange with me that he was insinuating the pot was used right from the start so he could deny the return and if I do return it I have to eat the freight and pay a 20% re-stocking fee...... that's **IF** he doesn't try to deny a refund altogether and claim the item is used.
              I'll be adding this one to the live and learn file.

              On edit; I've just received an email from Mr. Harp refusing to accept the return of the pot in question even though Falk/ clearly has a 5 day return policy on their web site.
              Buyer Beware indeed!

              1. re: TraderJoe

                ...and that is one of the reasons I chose not to buy Falk....but I am not a Mauviel fan either....

                1. re: TraderJoe

                  Wow, I am really glad that I went with the Mauviel now! Thank you for this review as I am trying to amass (over time of course) a beautiful copper batterie de cuisine and Falk was a contender. Was being the key word there...

                  I agree that Mauviel is wonderful and I have had no problems with their products so far. I did have to exchange a Mauviel stock pot that I ordered from WS as it had obviously been damaged in transport. It wouldn't sit flat and the lid would not fit (large hole in the box led me to believe it had been dropped). WS sent out a new pot immediately and scheduled a UPS pick up for the next day on the damaged one. I received the new stock pot last night and it is gorgeous, hammered and tin lined :) Good luck with this Falk fiasco.

                  1. re: mandymoo

                    Thank you mandymoo. I did update my post above. Mr. Harp has denied my return altogether violating his own return policy. Thank goodness for AMX!

                    People often put down stores like WS and SLT but in a case like this or in a damaged shipment their customer service is a Godsend. I love the Mauviel as well. which stock pot did you get?

                    1. re: TraderJoe

                      This is the one I got and it is gorgeous! I love the hammered copper and I plan to put it to good use this weekend as we may (or may not) be getting more snow. Winter weather puts me in a soup and baked goods mood :)

                      As an aside, when I called WS to ask about an exchange the custoer service rep said they would send UPS to my home to pick up the damaged pot, at no charge to me of course, and would then send out a replacement. I asked if that meant I'd be charged for the new pot and then get a refund for the damaged one and she said "No ma'am, we will send the new pot out today regardless and you have 30 days to return the damaged pot. We will take care of this for you by sending out UPS whenever is convenient." UPS picked up the package from my front door when I was at work the next day. Now that is customer service! I am sorry that Falk is so lacking in that department but as you said, thank God for credit cards that will back you up on purchases like this one.


                  2. re: TraderJoe

                    That's a shocking customer service response.

                    I once had an interchange with the small company that sold me a $2K Italian espresso machine that was in the same vein. Nasty email interchanges re a small $20 accessory I ordered that was misrepresented on their website.

                    People can complain about WS all they want, but every time I've ordered something from their website and there has been a problem, it's been immediately rectified with no nastiness by their customer service department (though I have had a bad in-store experience).

                    1. re: TraderJoe

                      " I totally over looked the legal ease else where on the site that states they round up to the nearest half Quart. However I never would have imagined receiving a 2.01 Quart sauce pot in place of one advertised as 2.5 quarts."

                      I hope he didn't actually tell you they round "up." The website actually says: "Falk Copper Cookware pieces use approximate volumes that are generally rounded to the nearest .5 qt." That means that a nominal 2.5 quart pan should actually hold between 2.25 and 2.74 quarts, based solely on their disclaimer.

                      Every pan I've ever purchased, regardless of the mfg, actually held the same or more liquid volume than advertised. If you run a volume calculation on the advertised specs (Diameter of 7" and Height of 3.7") you get a volume of 2.47 quarts, but that only matters if the stated specs are internal and account for the inset of the lid. If those are external specs, then their volumes are not "accurate given how volumes are calculated for pans in the industry," especially if that measurement includes the width at the lip! If the measurements given on the site are simply the exterior of the cylinder, and the bimetal is 2.5mm thick, the calculated internal volume drops to 2.26 quarts If you take out the lid inset volume, you are down to approximately a 2.1 quart internal volume. At best, you are operating with a pan that can be used with 2 quarts of liquid, given their stated specs.

                      Have you decided what to do with it?

                      1. re: jljohn

                        " I hope he didn't actually tell you they round "up." The website actually says: "Falk Copper Cookware pieces use approximate volumes that are generally rounded to the nearest .5 qt."

                        He sure did. Here's Mr. Harps exact words;

                        " As our site states we normally round up to the nearest .5 qt."

                        Right now I've put the entire charge in dispute with American Express. Mr. Harp is refusing to take the item back even though their web site clearly states they have a five day return policy.

                        1. re: TraderJoe

                          Re: AmEx.... As long as you're not charged, why worry about whether Harp will accept the return?

                          Whatever else it may be, his treatment of you sounds cranky and patronizing.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            I've already been charged in full. Mr. Harp is refusing to accept the return in violation of his own policy so that's the reason for the charge-back.

                            1. re: TraderJoe

                              Odd return policy, which isn't really much of a policy at all:
                              "If you do want to return an unused item within 5 days of receipt, call us at 888-575-3255 or send us an email and we'll try our best to ensure your complete satisfaction."

                              What does "try our best" mean exactly?

                              The rounding up policy, as others have noted, is utter crap when talking about .5 quarts.

                      2. re: TraderJoe

                        Wow - now that's a crazy email. I personally think if you pay a premium for a 2.5 qt pot that you have a reasonable, good-faith, expectation to receive one without having to hire an attorney to pore over the legal disclaimers. The tone of that email seemed harsh, adversarial, and a little conflicted to me.

                    2. The Falk handles are exactly why I won't be buying anymore pieces from them. Every time I use the pot and wash it, I need to oil the handle to prevent rusting (even if I finish drying it on the rangetop) because of the reasons you describe - fissures and lack of sealing. If you're using the pot several times a week, that quickly adds up to a major PIA. On the other hand, my Mauviel pot handle has never needed oiling and has never rusted.

                      I do like the look of Falk's brushed copper, though.