Today, there are only a small number of truly iconic products. Few branded creations can be instantly recognised by their shape. While the Rimowa suitcase is perhaps not as universally known as, say, a bottle of Chanel No 5, the luggage brand’s suitcases certainly have a unique look. Those in the know can spot a Rimowa across a crowded first-class airport lounge; it is a design that denotes quality. The history of this ever more popular suitcase manufacturer is fascinating and the brand’s future looks set to be even more so: this is a label where handmade meets high-tech. Here are six main features that make Rimowa luggage an ideal investment for all your international travels.
1. An illustrious history
Rimowa can trace its beginnings back to 1898 when its first cases were produced in Cologne under the company name Kofferfabrik Paul Morszeck. The brand became known as Rimowa in 1937, taking its name from an abbreviation of Richard Morszeck Warenzeichen, and it launched its first lightweight suitcase at this time. Rimowa’s first chests and trunks were made from wood; duraluminium (a copper and aluminium alloy discovered in 1906 by Alfred Wilm) replaced the traditional material in 1950. It was also in this year that Rimowa’s now-classic grooves were applied to the brand’s suitcase models.
2. Get into the groove
As well as adding texture and detail to the traditional suitcase shape, the initial Rimowa duraluminium design combined lightness with durability. These are two key considerations for a receptacle that must at once adhere to strict weight limits while withstanding the sometimes turbulent conditions of air travel. With a striking exterior that echoed the design considerations beneath the surface, Rimowa had produced a winning concept that won over travellers worldwide. To this day customers look for the Rimowa grooves when it comes to choosing a suitcase, and then know their belongings are well protected.
3. Functional features
In 2000, Rimowa reinvigorated the industry once again by producing suitcases using recyclable polycarbonate, a material that is both strong and lightweight like its duraluminium predecessor, but state of the art. This development was followed by the launch of the Multiwheel® system, applying the technology found on office chairs to suitcases to make them more practical for the fast-paced airport terminal environment. Certified combination locks with multiple lock cylinders, pivoting handles and a system of modular interior pockets helped the brand appeal to the high-end traveller of the new millennium. Partnerships with Porsche and German airline Lufthansa reinforced the brand’s focus on impeccable functional design and an enhanced traveller experience.
4. Something for everyone
What sets Rimowa apart from its competitors is the company’s recognition that not every traveller is a holidaymaker. To appeal to a wide customer base the brand has been diversifying its product range for decades. For example, Rimowa has been creating waterproof luggage and cases made to withstand tropical heat and arctic chill since 1976, thanks to Dieter Morszeck, grandson of the founder and joint chief executive. The Topas cases are particularly favoured by professional photographers as well as those in the film and TV business and offer the kind of luggage that protects precious equipment from extreme conditions. The brand’s attaché briefcase is popular in international business circles and its small leather goods collection includes iPad and phone cases, luggage tags and wallets with the signature Rimowa groove design. When it comes to product range, Rimowa is a luggage brand that offers one of the widest.
5. Future focused
Rimowa’s key customer remains the international traveller. Over the last 10 years the brand has focused on creating the ultimate lightweight suitcase for the modern jetsetter. The Salsa Air case was offered in a range of contemporary colours to appeal to the more style-conscious customer and an Ultralight version of the case became Rimowa’s lightest Cabin Multiwheel® suitcase ever. The brand’s latest innovation is the Electronic Tag, a technological advancement that allows customers to check in luggage via a smartphone before dropping it off at the airport. Replacing the traditional paper check-in tag, this digital solution utilises an interactive app to take the hassle out of air travel. For globetrotters on the go, it is the ideal antidote to check-in queues, giving them more time to relax in the lounge. This futuristic travel solution is currently available on Lufthansa and Eva Air, and it won’t be long before it is rolled out to a host of other global airlines.
6. A leader in luxury
If Rimowa’s standing in the luggage industry wasn’t already evident, luxury conglomerate LVMH recently acquired a controlling stake in the company. ‘We share with Dieter Morszeck the same passion for innovation and a common desire to offer very high-quality products derived from a European tradition of craftsmanship,’ says Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH. With this support and investment, Rimowa is destined to retain its place in the upper echelons of luxury product development. No luggage brand is fitter for this position.