Rimowa’s iconic aluminium case rose to prominence accidentally, after being the only material to survive a factory fire at the company’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany in 1937. Celebrating its 80th anniversary last year, each aluminium case is crafted from 205 individual parts and takes exactly 117 minutes to construct.
There are three colours in the collection – silver, titanium and stealth (black). I opted for the classic silver cabin-sized luggage, reviewed on a five-day trip to Los Angeles with Hong Kong Airlines.
The classic silver Rimowa case is effortlessly stylish and the design clearly stands out next to other brands. The smart, functional appearance strikes a perfect balance between casual and formal, making it ideal for both business and leisure travel, while the silver tone will go with most outfits, from a business suit to jeans.
The case measures 21.7 x 15.7 x 9.1 inches – which is slightly larger than the recommended IATA guidelines for cabin-sized luggage at 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5, but the case fit comfortably in the overhead compartment.
Weight, on the other hand, is a point to consider. Being made of metal, the case is quite a hefty 4.8kg when empty – leaving just 2.2kg for personal items if the airline is strictly enforcing the typical 7kg hand-carry limit.
The aluminium material is very durable and scratch-resistant compared to plastic-based models. The hard shell gives piece of mind for carrying breakable items (such as laptops) and should also fare well in the hold from dents and nicks, should you need to check your carry-on case.
A plastic grip circled around the case, to keep the bag waterproof.
The royal blue interior was fairly roomy (though the handles took up some of the space when they were being stored). I managed to pack a thick coat in one half, and a pair of shoes, laptop, tablet and work documents in the other. The contents of both sides are kept in place by rigid boards, secured with Velcro strips. There is also a double-zipped net on each of the boards, allowing you to store small flat items.
The Rimowa has four pairs or wheels, making eight in total, and is incredibly smooth to pull along – either flat on all four sets of wheels, or tipped onto two. When pushing the luggage, it wheels effortlessly in a straight line, with excellent balance.
Unlike most brands, whose handles click into place at two preset levels, Rimowa’s telescopic handle has no pre-set stages meaning you can easily adjust the handle length to your exact preference. I also appreciated the switch to plastic for the handle material, as metal could be unpleasant to hold in cold environments.
The square logo on the surface can be pulled out to hang a small shopping bag, but it doesn’t connect to a larger case to glide together.
There are two TSA locks (one at the top and bottom), which are easy to set and unlock.
The sturdy, durability of a Rimowa is second-to-none. Despite being overly rough with my case during the journey to stress test it, it came back in perfect condition. One drawback, however, is the weight, as it is heavier than most.
A drawback is it is quite heavy and you have to mind what you want to pack in it.