Made In USA

No. 1943 Navigator Briefcase

Stand out with this timeless WWII-inspired full-grain leather briefcase. Meticulously handcrafted in America.

(54 customer reviews)


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  • Full-grain, polished American Steerhide leather
  • Interior dimensions: 15 1/2” W x 10 1/2” H x 4” D (expanded), 4.3 lbs
  • Solid brass custom closure, hardware and personalizable plate 
  • Serial-numbered brass pommel shield* on back
  • Adjustable shoulder strap: 39” - 57”
  • Convenient interior dividers and pockets fit all necessities
  • Made in America

FREE U.S. Ground Shipping

*Orders received by 12:00pm CST will ship the same Business Day. This includes orders requesting personalized engraving or embossing. (“Business days” means Monday – Friday, excluding holidays.)

All orders of $1,000 or more will be shipped Signature Required.

We will email your tracking number when your package leaves our facility. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your order at

Leather Navigator Briefcase

This leather executive briefcase exudes confidence. With unmatched construction, materials, and functionality, you’ll never need another bag. Roomy, expandable, WWII-inspired, and sleek enough for everyday carry. There’s no missing this bag – watch heads turn as you carry the Navigator to and from the office, meetings, airport, and everywhere your travels takes you.

Personalize the brass oval plate on the lower front, adding to the exclusivity of the bag.

My office is inundated with relics from the past, and I’m probably chief among them. Military artifacts especially seem to find a home with me. I’ve been looking at an old, official Army-issue World War II Navigator’s Bag (circa 1943) in my office for years. The design seemed timeless; and with all the compartments inside, I thought it would be a perfect fit for today’s busy executive. 

– Colonel Littleton

Construction & Features

Handmade and individually inspected at the Col. Littleton Workshop in Lynnville TN, USA with full-grain, polished American steerhide. This leather has been vegetable-tanned and hand-tanned to a smooth finish. Minimal processing allows the bag’s natural leather to develop its own character and patina. This executive leather briefcase will only look better with regular use.

This bag anticipates your every need. The body of the briefcase expands with adjustable side gussets to accommodate necessities. Straps with workable buckles securely wrap around the bag and also have snap closures for easy access. Two interior dividers give you a total of three deep pockets. A leather pocket on the front of the first divider holds your iPad®, pen, stylus, business cards, etc. The adjustable, detachable shoulder strap is an upgrade to this bag’s ancestors – WWII navigators would surely have appreciated this convenience in addition to the handle for longer treks.

Perhaps the most exclusive feature of this incredible leather briefcase is the custom designed, solid brass closure – designed and manufactured by Colonel Littleton himself on a kick press from the 1800’s.

  • Briefcase weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Interior dimensions: 15.5” W x 10.5” H x 4” D (expanded)
  • Adjustable shoulder strap length: 39″ – 57″
  • Unique solid brass closure, designed for the No. 1943 Navigator Briefcase 
  • Serial numbered brass pommel shield on the back
  • Personalizable solid brass oval plate on the lower front
  • Product packaging includes a protective cotton canvas dust bag with Colonel Cameo logo
  • Warranted

*Pommel Shield is seen in image #5. Historically, the pommel shield was used on U.S. Cavalry saddles to identify the seat size and, many times, the arsenal that supplied them.

Also available in Tobacco Brown American Buffalo.

iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

**The Black/Brown version of this bag shown at the end of video is no longer available.


54 reviews for No. 1943 Navigator Briefcase

1-5 of 54 reviews
  1. One life and only two briefcases for an old aviator. My family has always inspired me that if you were going to do something, do it right and do it with passion – lean into it. You have to use the right tools for the right job. After a few years of working on and flying aircraft, working for a large aviation manufacturer, I was promoted into my first executive role. Enter the first briefcase. As a gift, my wife purchased me this beautiful leather briefcase, that was very nice and very classic looking, the right tool for the job! As a young executive, I carried that briefcase all around the world. In fact, that briefcase made several around the world trips and carried me into meetings with some very amazing people in so many fabulous places. I carried that briefcase for over 35 years. every place I went, people often commented that that briefcase has seen some miles, can I buy it. Of course, my answer was always no. Unfortunately, a criminal did not ask, and the briefcase was stolen earlier this year. I could care less about the stuff in it, it was all that time we spent together that the briefcase was the heartbreaking loss after traveling with me for over 35 years. Enter briefcase two. My family friends, family and coworkers all felt the loss and not just any bag was going to replace the old briefcase. The search was on and then my daughter sent me a picture of this Navigator Briefcase and we all said that this was it. It would be the briefcase that would finish out this amazing journey of my career. We showed the team, and everyone agreed. Then I researched you guys and love your culture of service at your company. It aligns itself with our company. It has the customer care of each of you in the building of this briefcase. It is going to take some long trips and I am going to put some miles on this briefcase. I am looking forward to having this Navigator at my side for a long time. Thank you for building your companies culture in the fashion that you have and thank you for my navigator. Sincerely – Gary

  2. I thought this bag looked gorgeous online but It looks even better in person and that’s a rare thing. I’ve lusted after this bag the first moment I saw it. It’s not just for men. If you’re thinking about it ladies, buy it. You will not regret it. It’s actually prettier than the bags for women on this site or on any other site that specializes in leather goods. So happy I made the purchase.

  3. I started my journey with the Col. Littleton when I bought the No. 37 Satchel. Served me well and still have it but the Navigator has been called me for a few years. I finally pulled trigger and didn’t know if I should do the Steerhide of Buffalo. Went with the steerhide leather and so happy with my purchase. This is a very smart looking briefcase and more refined than the satchel. Looking forward to many years with this and how time will only add to the look. Thank you for an amazing product, and an amazing customer experience.

  4. I knew that my husband likes excellent quality leather briefcases. He had been talking about the products handcrafted by Colonel Littleton’s, so I measured his old briefcase and ordered this product. It came in and was beautiful! The leather was so soft; the craftsmanship was impeccable. Everyone from the beginning of my order to the ladies at the store in Lynnville, TN were so kind and made sure I had exactly what I wanted.

  5. I remember exactly where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing the moment I first thought about becoming a lawyer. There was some movie on TV, Lorne Greene was a criminal defense attorney cross-examining a young lady on the witness stand. I didn’t see the entire movie, but I remember Lorne Greene’s character drawing an objection from opposing counsel, he was “badgering the witness.” When the court asked, Green’s character said something along the lines of, “well your honor, first it was a [something], then it became a ‘slap,’ perhaps a slap will become something else…” (or something like that, it was 40 years ago after all. Today I could probably find the movie and the exact quote on the internet, but that’d be cheating). That was the only part of the movie I saw, but in that moment, I thought out loud, “I could do that…,” and that was my first thought ever about becoming a lawyer.
    That was well over forty years ago. I began law school in the Fall of ’85, back when we still had books to carry around. I carried a briefcase that belonged to my grandfather; old as the hills, but new to me. It opened at the top with three divided “pockets” inside, and closed with a zipper across the top. I carried it all through law school and for my first five years as a prosecutor. By the time I’d entered private practice in ’92, it was well worn; the stitching was coming out of the corners on the bottom edges, and the handle was literally hanging by a thread on one side. I carried it until the seams came apart; It was leather and made here in the USA, but back when my grandfather bought it, everything was made here in the USA. And like all my briefcases, I never threw it away; somewhere in the back corner of a closet it still sits, with all the others, gathering dust.
    My second brief case was cheap and inexpensive; it was of the same design, but made of vinyl with cheap plastic dividers between the inner pockets. The handle pulled through the vinyl after several years, and the dividers began to crack and break into pieces. I bought it because of the design, and not wanting to spend too much as I’d just given up that sweet government paycheck and had entered private practice. In the early 2000’s my wife bought me a sleek, Italian-made hard-shell briefcase; thin and black with the latches on the side of the case rather than the top. I still have it, practically new, sitting in that same closet of my office right now. It was never quite big enough though; I could never carry more than a few files at one time. I used if for years, but only to carry my legal pad and closing argument to the last day of jury trials.
    For the last fifteen years my day-to-day briefcase has been a black, soft-shell case, made of a tightly woven nylon. It’s served me well, and by far my longest lasting briefcase; but now, 35 years into my career, it too has become old and falling apart. “Old and falling apart,” ironic that I should be saying that; people living in glass houses and all… 35 years in, and that’s not counting the eighteen months I took between undergrad and law school. In theory I could still carry it, though no lawyer’s done much carrying of any briefcase for the last couple years of COVID (but that’s a whole other story, a whole other can of worms). The bottom edges have become worn and frayed, and while it may still function, it’s not the look I want the courtroom seeing; it’s not the look I want a potential client seeing.
    In all honesty, I can’t even recall how Col. Littleton came to my attention; I just seem to remember the website popping up on the computer one day. But that was many years, and countless dollars ago. Like so many I’m sure, I went back to the website over and over again; looking at the product, watching the videos, etc. I think what hit me the most however, was the Col.’s own saying, “I don’t sell anything anyone needs, I sell what people want.” (Again, maybe not an exact quote, but you get the idea.)
    35 years in and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, as the saying goes, sometimes the “light at the end of the tunnel” is really a train coming toward you (but once again, another story for another time). My practice evolved slowly over the years; prosecutor, defense attorney, and now, an “I can see light at the end of the tunnel” attorney. I’ve got nine years left; nine years until I slow down. I mentioned that to a colleague a few months ago, and he began telling me how he tried to retire, went back to work, etc. Started telling me all the things I need to think about before retiring, how to structure my time, how to stay busy. I finally smiled and cut him off; “I didn’t say I was going to retire, I said I hope to ‘slow down’, big difference…” So now, after all this time, I can stand to have one more briefcase.
    Money is hard for me to spend, at least on myself. I’ll spare no expense for my wife and kids, but when it comes to my “needs” versus “wants,” I’m tighter than bark on a tree. But as time went on, and a big birthday crept closer and closer, I found myself wandering back to Col. Littleton’s website and looking at the 1943 Navigator Briefcase. I even printed out pictures of the regular briefcase and the American Buffalo version, just to show everyone and ask which one they liked best. You can ask all you want I’ve found, but in the end, you need to go with your own heart, with the one that jumps off the page at you.
    Finally one night, at the end of an “Old Mountain” *, I bust out my credit card and hit the “add to cart” button. A few days later my 1943 Navigator Briefcase arrived at my office. Across the hall my youngest partner Gene could literally smell the fresh leather and came into my office; “oh man, is that your new briefcase?” he asked. Young Gene, 19 years my junior, and easily the smartest, hardest working criminal defense lawyer in all of Austin, Texas. He admired it, fondled it, and told me how “cool” it was.
    With COVID beginning to subside our courts have begun to “open up” again, and now towards the end of August, I’ve actually carried my 1943 Navigator to court a number of times. It’s hard though; in the past I’d set my briefcase down along the bar in the courtroom as I spoke to a prosecutor, approached the bench, etc., but now, I don’t let it leave my side. It’s already gotten a few scuffs, but I just massage them into the leather and appreciate the “character” for what it is. The grip fills the hand, and the weight of the empty case alone catches your attention. I still carry “hard files” to court; great big manila folders that will soon be replaced by a laptop, but for now two or three files still fit nicely. Each night I slip my laptop into my briefcase and carry it home; I don’t do any work most nights, I just want to carry the case.
    More so than any other profession, except maybe that of an actor, lawyers have huge egos. We always want to get the last word in, we always want to hear ourselves talk. I have no criticism of the 1943 Navigator, but only an observation. While the case expands to 4”, it really only does so at the bottom. The top of course expands to 4”, but when fully expanded the side straps won’t completely buckle, even at the farthest-most notch. A slightly longer strap, with maybe one more notch for the prong, would probably do the trick, and with the cover flap down the slightly longer strap is easily out of sight. By the same token, a fully-packed case with the top expanded to the full four inches, doesn’t allow the top flap to completely reach the innovative closure snap. But then again, in today’s world the case will be used for carrying a computer pad, and not the files an old-timer like me might still be carrying. And I’ve got Number 964, so apparently the first 963 before me didn’t have an issue with how far the case expands. And soon enough my youngest partner Gene will have me carrying a laptop to court instead of paper files, and then 1943 Navigator has plenty of room to spare.
    “Light at the end of the tunnel,” or for me, nine more years. This case will last me till then; in fact, it’ll last me until I step into the final “light at the end of the tunnel.” Gene stood there in my office, handling my new briefcase like a kid with a present on Christmas morning, turning it over and over again, too excited to know which end to open first. “So, this is your new briefcase?” he asks again. I think for a minute, and then smile, “no, it’s my last briefcase.”

    *An “Old Mountain” is my own take on an “Old Fashioned.” Two shots of bitters, a single large ice cube, 1.5 oz’s of some of Kentucky’s finest, a maraschino cherry, and topped off with Mountain Dew. This recipe however, has now given way to a “Sunny Mountain,” after Joyce, a most-helpful customer-service rep at Col. Littleton’s, introduced me to Sun Drop, a popular but regional soft drink. – AB

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Our Story

Colonel sitting on steps, holding Tobacco Brown American Buffalo No. 3 Grip Bag, looking directly at viewer

Our Warranty

We are committed to producing quality, handcrafted products that showcase our time-honored standards of excellence and deep respect for the Americana tradition. Col. Littleton products go through rigorous testing and numerous quality inspections before being shipped to our customers. Should you receive a Col. Littleton product that is defective in materials or workmanship, you can count on us to make it right. Our guarantee is limited to the cost of the product itself. It also does not cover normal wear and tear. We feel if you just plain “wore it out,” you got your money’s worth. Also, we cannot be responsible for an item which has suffered through alteration, damage due to improper cleaning, improper use, mishandling or accident. If we made a mistake in personalizing your product or if the product is defective in materials or workmanship, of course we’ll replace it. Otherwise, personalized products are not returnable.

Our Leather

Leather is a passion for me. There are more kinds of leather and leather processing out there than you can shake a stick at. You can mold leather into just about any shape or form. You can make every hide look just alike. You can dye it green, blue or even pink. You can apply a finish, coat it, spray it or make it look slick and shiny. That’s not what we’re about at Col. Littleton. To me the beauty is in the naturalness of the leather. People always comment to me about the special “feel” of our leather and how it becomes even more beautiful after it has some wear on it. It’s all about our leather process. When you buy Col. Littleton leather goods, you’re buying, for the most part, full-grain American vegetable-tanned steer hide that has received a minimum of alteration. We don’t apply a finish to hide character markings. The way I see it, every marking tells a story and covering them robs the piece of its life and character.

Three kinds of full-grain leather hides overlapping. In order left to right: Vintage Brown American Steerhide, Brown American Alligator, and Tobacco Brown American Buffalo
Man working with hand leather tools on an antique wood stump work station

Our Craftsmanship

I see a real resurgence in the country today for products made in America. Our focus is to design and create products that speak to the time-honored traditions that have made this country great such as handmade craftsmanship, authentic rich leathers and quality workmanship. There’s a nostalgic feel about the products we make . . . most of them could have been made 100 years ago and many are made using turn-of-the-20th-century methodology and machinery. Our products are true Americana; forged as our forefathers intended by people who care and take pride in making a beautiful product.