Pros: Excellent build quality. Extremely comfortable and built to last.
Cons: It's a bit Pricey but worth every penney!
Note: Chattam and Wells is now a division of Spring Air and although autonomous is considered Spring Airs "Ultra Luxury" line.
I'M FINALLY HAPPY! I just woke up for the first time in over a month without a back ache. I guess the 3rd times the charm. The new Chattam and Wells arrived yesterday and it is amazing. It has a luxurious feel without being soft or "hammocky". In other words, it's firm without being like a "plank". As many of you know who read this board I had pretty much decided that I was "cursed" to roam the earth with a back ache and a mattess that I hated. Thankfully, I didn't give up and begged for "one more chance" and got the Chattam and Wells' Maison Royale "Emilie". I am now in heaven. Versus the other place.
I would again like to start off with my standard disclaimer: I am not an expert. Just an obsessed consumer with a good memory. Having said that, I will, as always tell you EVERY thing...
Initial Impressions: Well we knew we were in whole new level of mattress the minute our new Chattam and Wells arrived on the truck. You could tell just by looking at the packaging that it's shipped in. They come in a cardboard box! No thin plastic liners here. Heavy duty cardboard. The delivery guys said they appreciate this because it keeps the mattresses clean and from "bending in half during transit.
Fit & Finish: The real story of course begins AFTER it's in the house. The fit and finish is the best I have seen. No loose threads, no liners falling off the box springs. Metal corner gaurds and brass vents. It's nice. It's called a Eurotop, so it is much more padded than a regular mattress and at the same time it doesn't look like it simply had a pad sewn on top of it. The extra padding goes all the way to the edge, so it doesn't look funny with a sheet on. Nice idea. One caveat. If your prone to nosebleeds this set may not be for you! This mattress set is TALL. If your not very tall yourself, or have bedspreads that are supposed to reach the floor, you may want to look into a "low profile" bedframe. These are available for about fifty bucks and may be able to be obtained in lieu of the "free" frame that you usually get when you buy a mattress these days.
Comfort Layers: This mattress consists of approximately 2 3/4 inches of latex over two layers of High Density (1.8 and 2.0) Convoluted Foam "double wrapped" over the upholstery. So although it is thickly padded, it doesn't feel "hammocky" at all and the materials used are some of the best in the business in terms of resisting "compression set" and "body impressions". At least from what I have read. I will cross my fingers twice on that one. Just below that (among other things) is what is called the "innertufted cotton" layers. This is an old world style whereby thick cotton is layered over the springs and is held in place by tying it off and holding it in place with buttons on either side. This also allows some "pre-compression" of the inner spring unit allowing for more consistent pressures across the springs. This is also reported to help prevent sagging and body impressions down the line.
Spring Unit: Chattam and Wells uses 12 3/4 gauge, double offset, double tempered steel springs in all their mattresses. I have seen many other companies offer this thicker gauge spring in their Ultra Premium mattresses. What makes the Chattam spring unique is the fact that their springs use 6 turns per coil rather than only 5 or 4. More turns per coil mean a more supple feel. In other words, a 6 turn 12 3/4 gauge spring is not only going to be stronger but it will actually be a bit "springier" than the same gauge 5 turn coil. This is a good thing why? Because quite frankly I found other 12 3/4 gauge springs to be too stiff. But then again, I like a slightly springier more "conforming" feel. Ostensibly, this would allow the use of the more durable, higher density foams since they are not as dependent on super soft foams to do the "comforming". It's a very nice combination in my opinion and Chattam and Wells, at least in this particular mattress has struck a good balance between Luxury and firmness. After all, if I am going to spend almost three grand on a mattress I don't want it to feel like a plank!
Box Spring: 8 way hand tied. Once again C & W is relying on an Industry Standard that was set many years ago and is still considered by many in the know to be the best. As I have said in other reviews, there seems to be a trend towards marketing "new tech" boxsprings based on strength. Driving cars on them and such. From the research I have done I see little advantage to many of these over simply putting the Mattress on the floor. They are that hard and have little or no "give". A good inner coil box spring will offer additional cushioning and will add to the life of your mattress set. 8 way hand tied boxes are also more expensive and time consuming to make. These take approximately four times longer to produce than a standard "foundation" box. This is probably at least one reason you usually only see these used in the top of the line (translation: most expensive) mattress sets.
Comfort & Support: Well, as many of you know, I have had one heck of time finding something that would work for me! I am missing four discs in my back and the bed I sleep in has alot to do with "what side of the bed I get out of in the morning" if you know what I mean... A day without orange juice may be like a day without sunshine, but I can tell you for sure that a day started with a back ache is far worse than that! I have tried most of the recommended routes for people with bad backs. I have tried the 100 percent, "All Latex" mattress. I have tried the extra firm "plank" mattress. I have even tried the extra firm plank with the memory foam "mattress topper". All to no avail. What seems, at least for now to have been the answer for me is a good combination of Innerspring Mattress with Latex. It is probably not a coincidence that a couple of the more respected mattress manufacturers that frequent this site also use the same combination for their own personal beds. I found that to be pretty credible and I have to admit, the combination is pretty hard to beat.
I especially like that I can feel the springs conforming to my body without having that overly springy "crunchy" feel. The heavy gauge 6 turn coil has somewhat spoiled me now. Our perfectly nice guest bed with the lighter gauge "continuous coil" system now seems... Well. Cheesy in comparison. It also cost one third as much and was perfectly acceptable until I got all "snobby" with my 6 turns and hand tying and such! But seriously, there IS a reason why a certain standard gets set. Because it works. And this system does seem to be a very nice balance between cushiness,support and durability. At least in my opinion.
Conclusion: To sum up, I have to say that I am extremely happy with this combination. Time will tell as to durability, but it certainly seems to be quite well made and with excellent materials. One manufacturer I have become friendly with said that although he had no direct experience with C & W he could tell me that the parts they use are the "A List" in the industry. Therefore I am hoping it will serve us for many years. It better, because I don't think I would be up to shopping for a mattress again for a very long time! I am however, glad I hung in there until I was happy. I can now "rest assured" that I have done the best I can do and my Wife and I both very happy with our choice. My Wife is particularly glad to not have to hear me talk about it any more... I suppose I had to try them all to be sure what would work for me. It's terribly difficult to REALLY know until you have actually slept on a mattress, if that mattress will work for you. I know the first one we got was extremely comfortable. In fact, it may have been the MOST comfortable. Unfortunately, I woke up every single morning sweating and in pain, unable to roll over. So comfort alone is not the only consideration. At least for me with my missing discs and past back surgeries.
I also found it was a God send to get to know the Sales people at the store and to contact the manufacturer (there is usually an "Area Rep" who will talk to you) before buying the mattress. I am sure this had alot to do with them going ahead and letting me switch mattresses for the THIRD time, even though they really were only obligated to exchange for me once. Therefore Kudos to both Mattress City in Sunnyvale, Sam Masody in particular (there's a nice letter going to corporate for you Sam) and Chattam and Wells and in particular David Simpson (your the best David. Thank you for not making me feel stupid) for believing in their product enough to do a "no questions asked" comfort exchange for me, even though technically they could have gotten out of it.
Lastly, thanks to Doze and Steve H. and all the folks on the www.whatsthebest-mattress.com board who have helped me learn so much about mattresses and have offered their own experiences good and bad. I put alot more stock in what regular folks say than in any marketing hype. This has certainly been an experience to say the least but it all seems worth it now that I am sitting here typing away feeling refreshed and pain free. I promise to post a follow up in a few months to let everyone know how well this bed holds up in the long term!