There are a handful of ways to go about making a superlative product. The Saturn V rocket — arguably mankind’s crowning mechanical achievement — had about three million parts and weighed five million pounds. The Böle (buh-leh) Double Minister Briefcase ($6,765) — arguably mankind’s crowning briefcase achievement — has five parts and weighs five pounds. And even though this small Swedish tannery on the northern banks of the Baltic Sea is producing what may be the best leather goods on the planet, you still haven’t heard of them. That might a bit intentional on their part, though.
Now in their fourth generation of family ownership, Böle’s been in the leather business since 1899 and racked up quite a few accolades in the interim. They’ve supplied the Swedish royal court, made rucksacks for His Majesty the King of Sweden and supplied seemingly every local politician in the country with a briefcase. So why haven’t you seen King Gustaf posted up on a billboard in Times Square showing off his rucksack? Böle says they’re more committed to making quality products than marketing them and any budget spent on 50-foot-tall royal portraits would inherently — if unintentionally — take away from the quality of their product.
Westbound and Down
Böle is finally making landfall in the states by way of Crest & Co. — a brand new hyper-curated ecommerce site that assembled some of the best (and often underappreciated) royal purveyors from across the globe. And since it’s all web-based you can shop on the convenience of your couch or office. Drink in hand.
It’s likely that we’ve reached the point where you’ve earnestly clicked through to Böle’s web store, found their wares, and come back here to have a word with us about the virtue of a seven thousand dollar briefcase. Yes Böle’s products are expensive and no, nobody is going be able to tell from 10 feet away that your briefcase is expensive. If this is off-putting to you, then there are plenty of other logo-ridden luxury brands for you to throw your cash at. But the proof is in the pudding. And in this case, the pudding is a briefcase.
Yes Böle’s products are expensive and no, nobody is going be able to tell from 10 feet away that your briefcase is expensive.
The Böle’s Double Minister Briefcase, to be exact. It begins life as a thoroughly happy Swedish cow roaming the countryside. This type of animal husbandry leads to a more ethical product, sure, but this also brings Sweden’s cold climate into play, which removes the danger of hide-damaging insects. After one final (admittedly not so happy) day, the result is an immaculate hide that is then tanned in a wholly unique way by masters of the craft. The phrase unique isn’t some marketing hype here; Böle is the last surviving spruce bark tannery in the world. Spruce bark tanning is a deceptively complicated process that involves hand submerging the raw hide into a mixture of spruce bark and cold river water for 12 months. What emerges is a perfect hide, unblemished by machines, chemicals or insects, that has a beautiful amber color with no need for further dying or painting before it’s passed on to the saddlery.
The single hide is cut, sewn, and lined with reindeer leather; then it’s fortified with birch wood bottom rails, brass hardware from Italy, and all-leather handles, before it’s hand finished, shipped to eagerly awaiting customers, returned for free annual servicing, used for decades and, eventually, passed down to someone who’s been admiring it for quite some time.
So there’s your justification. You can memorize it and practice reciting it in front of the mirror, but you’ll never need it. Everyone who sees your bag will just think you’ve got a beautiful briefcase and go back to ogling some celebrity-endorsed junk. You, meanwhile, will be content knowing you’ve got the absolute best of something, even if it’s not a Saturn V.