10 Milestones That Defined the Rimowa Brand

In the 1930s, its factory caught fire, which burnt down everything but aluminum.
IMAGE © [email protected]; © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Rimowa luggage is often seen in airports around the world. Depicting luxury and innovation, the luggage brand has proven to be a cult favorite as well as a status symbol in the international jet set scene.

More a travel companion, each piece of luggage gives a glimpse into travelers’ individual histories—with some dented through years of use, and many adorned with countless stickers from globe-trotting.

Let’s take a trip down Rimowa's memory lane with these moments that shaped the sought-after brand now used by world travelers including Karl Lagerfeld, David Fincher, and Virgil Abloh:

1898: It was in the large city of Cologne, Germany where Paul Morszeck first started his business of designing and selling luggage.

His initial cases were crafted using hard-wearing wood, promising superior stability and lightweight luggage to its users.

1930s: In an unfortunate incident, Morszeck’s factory burst into flames.

The wood and leather that had traditionally been used to make the luggage turned to ash, leaving aluminum as the only material surviving the blaze.

1919: At the time when planes were made with wood and canvas, the world’s first all-metal passenger plane was unveiled in the form of the Junkers F13.  

This was a momentous event in the aviation history and made such an immense impact on Morszeck’s son, Richard.

1937: Using the same material as the Junkers F13, the very first aluminum trunk was pioneered by Richard Morszeck, and the company was consequently named after him.

Rimowa came from the first two letters of Richard and Morszeck, with an addition of Warenzeichen which translates to 'trademark' in German. Later on proving to become the company’s signature product, the luggage managed to be lightweight and corrosion resistant.

1950s: Rimowa gets its grooves.


Taking the distinctive design of Junkers F13 as inspiration, the grooves were added to Rimowa luggage in the 1950s. Later, these iconic grooves proved to be a characteristic design of all Rimowa products.

1976: Rimowa launched the Tropicana collection.

These pieces of luggage featured waterproof and extreme-temperature-resilient cases. This collection was made with aluminum and magnesium shells that were specifically engineered to protect sensitive equipment such as electronics and cameras.

2000: Proving to be constantly innovative, Rimowa made the first ever polycarbonate luggage.

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Made in Germany, each RIMOWA case takes an average of 90 steps and 200 components to complete.

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With the same material used in body armors and bulletproof glass, this luggage is practically unbreakable, almost weightless and stays remarkably dent-proof. The polycarbonate Rimowa luggage was granted two seals of safety and long-term quality from the German inspection organization, and is guaranteed to be a travel companion for life.

2015: As a tribute to the aviation legend which made such a deep impression on the company, Rimowa announced the revival of the Junkers F13.

Nearly everything was kept identical to the original design, except for a few technological improvements to comply with present flight safety standards. A licensed pilot himself, Dieter Morszeck, CEO and grandson of the founder, oversaw the production which took almost seven years. He said, “I wanted to give back to the world an important cultural asset—not in a museum, but where it belongs: in the skies.”

2016: Leveraging on digitalization, Rimowa came up with the Rimowa Electronic Tag.

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This enables travelers to use their smartphone to check in their luggage swiftly and easily. Through this breakthrough, the electronic tag uses a digital data module integrated into the suitcase and replaces the usual paper label. Currently, the company is partnered with global airlines Lufthansa, EVA Air, SWISS, and Austrian.

2018: Rimowa launches a new logo.

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Now exactly 120 years since the small family-run business was established in Cologne, Rimowa has evolved into one of the most prominent and preferred travel brands in the world. Recently, the company revealed a new visual identity, presenting a contemporary look that reflects the functional luxury of its products. They launched a new logo, which reflects the spires of the Cologne Cathedral, in honor of their city of origin.


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