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by Leo Jakobson | February 07, 2014
The Hartmann brand is back, and new owner Samsonite wants to make sure it retains its place high-end luggage space.

Famous for its tweed-and-belting-leather bags and cases, Hartmann's brand had somewhat deteriorated over the years, and Samsonite has begun the process of restoring the quality of materials and manufacturing for which is was once known.

"This is the first time in decades Hartmann has been owned by a luggage company," notes Pete Mitchell, director of B2B sales for Samsonite. "We intend to honor the past but make Hartmann a 21st-century brand."

Hartmann will also give Samsonite a product in the top-tier luggage category.

The Tweed Belting Legacy Duffel (above) is an update of a classic design from the 1950s, and retails for $795. The Hudson Belting 21-inch spinner is another update of an archival piece. It is from Hartmann's opening price-point collection, and retails for $325.

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Samsonite has overhauled the materials and workmanship on Hartmann's four existing lines — Tweed Belting, Wings Belting, Intensity Belting and Hudson Belting — and has also come out with a line of personal belting leather goods including organizers, portfolios, and wallets for the incentive market.

Aside from restoring the existing lines — the quality of the leather was instantly obvious to the touch when Mitchell displayed the new Hartmann bags at the recent PPAI Expo's "brand." pavilion — Samsonite's goal is to also make Hartmann more relevant to a younger generation that doesn't remember the brand.

By the third quarter of 2014, Hartmann will release two lines of hard-side luggage, one made from Curve, a very tough and very lightweight material, and another made of Vigor Polycarbonate, which is slightly heavier, but still quite light.