Objects of desire: Rimowa luggage

For over a century, German luggage specialist Rimowa has been at the forefront of the luxury industry, blending ingenuity, sophistication and timeless aesthetics to create the perfect travelling companion

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December 7, 2015
Objects of desire: Rimowa luggage

For over a century, German luggage specialist Rimowa has been at the forefront of the luxury industry, blending ingenuity, sophistication and timeless aesthetics to create the perfect travelling companion

Now with one store in Phnom Penh and a second in Siem Reap, customers have full access to Rimowa’s complete line of high-tech aluminum and polycarbonate cases, recognised around the world for its superior craftsmanship and signature grooved finish.
IMG_3025webHaving built his first case as a teenager, Dieter Morszeck, grandson of Rimowa’s founder and the CEO and chairman of the company, discusses the launch of the latest store in Siem Reap and what makes Rimowa so special.
What do you feel about the latest Rimowa store in Siem Reap?
Cambodia is quite a new market for luxury accessories but since opening a store in Phnom Penh in 2014 we have been really satisfied. There is continuous growth and demand for quality luggage. In looking at Siem Reap, we see the same trend. There are so many tourists that come from all over the world – tourists who are in love with the Rimowa brand. In setting up a store in Siem Reap, we expect to attract tourists but we also expect to meet the demands of locals who want a high-quality product.
You have opened up your second store in Cambodia in barely a year. What is the reason behind the growing popularity of Rimowa in Cambodia?
As a company, we are driven by quality rather than quantity, and we are really passionate about customer satisfaction. If there is a problem with a Rimowa case, we fix it within 24 hours, free of charge. It’s this after-sales service that customers really like. They like the quality, the service and the lightweight feel and design of the luggage. Because of this we have so many Rimowa fans.
Our company also uses the best products available on the market. For example, we use a Japanese zipper as opposed to a Chinese zipper, which may cost less but is of lesser quality. Rimowa also has many high-end materials coming from Europe, such as the double ball bearings in our wheels. Finally, we are passionate about continually improving our product.
You recently launched the Junkers F13, which was the plane that inspired the first ever luggage with the grooves in 1950. Why do you think that was such an important milestone?
The F13 is the first all metal commercial airplane in the world but it’s completely forgotten, nobody knows about it and just five remain in museums today. We are so proud and lucky to create this project. Our maiden flight is scheduled for April 2016 and certification of the aircraft will follow in May. As a pilot of 32 years, I will also be flying the F13.
For me, this is a dream. There is a very close connection to our product because my father developed the first luggage with the grooves in 1950, it was exactly made out of the same material, aircraft aluminum. He set the trend of today.
What does HAND-MADE MEETS HI-TECH mean for Rimowa? Which part in producing suitcase does Rimowa use hand-made technique?
We use a special alloy – aluminum and magnesium – which is not easy to handle in production so there are several handmade operations to ensure that everything is satisfactory to the customer. Same with our polycarbonate cases. Alongside using the best machines, we manually form and set the frame and manually fasten rivets, locks and handles.
What are the latest Rimowa suitcases consumers can be expected to look forward to?
Just imagine that you are at home or in a hotel, and you are able to check in your luggage. No more queuing up at the airport, you just arrive, place your luggage in a drop-off box and catch you flight. We created the ability to do that with our new Rimowa electronic tag.
As part of an exclusive arrangement with Lufthansa, customers can download the airline’s app and receive digital luggage information along with their digital boarding pass. With one click the luggage information is sent via Bluetooth from the smartphone to the Rimowa electronic tag, which is built into the case. All the details are immediately displayed on the electronic tag, much like today’s paper labels. It makes flying with baggage more convenient, faster and more secure. We are proud to say that it’s really working and we will be connecting with other airlines to bring this product forward.
Which is your favorite Rimowa suitcase and why?
I have a special Salsa deluxe 3-suiter, which I really like because of its two chambers. When I arrive somewhere, I don’t like wrinkled suits. The two chambers separate and protect my clothes. It’s perfect for traveling.
What do you expect for the future of Rimowa?
In the first two quarters of this year, we increased our turnover by one-third. It’s unbelievable what’s happening right now. So we are really investing in building capacity while still maintaining the same quality standard.
In Cambodia, I find the country very personal. It’s steeped in history and people are very friendly. It’s really special to be here but I don’t expect an overnight success. Like other Asian markets, I think it will take three to five years for people to become familiar with the Rimowa brand.
Why do you think that Rimowa’s popularity has grown throughout the world and particularly in Asia?
We are very serious about providing the best product to our customers rather than becoming a mass product. Our customers understand this and see Rimowa as both a luxury product and a status symbol that demonstrates success. They also know that when they buy a Rimowa they are purchasing a high-quality product that will last. It’s what makes Rimowa standout from all the rest.

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