Why is RIMOWA so expensive?

What makes Rimowa so pricey?

Nobody knows!

Ha. I bet you didn’t expect this answer.

Actually, someone knows, the person who decided that a +1000 $ piece of luggage is something that people nowadays want.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Rimowa, but I don’t find it worth so much. 

In terms of overall growth, the brand beat the market and is still growing at a higher rate than any luxury luggage manufacturer.

Rimowa sales in Japan and China are increasing, but that doesn’t mean that U.S. and Europe are far behind. After the Covid crisis passes, I expect that Rimowa to emerge stronger than before.

Let’s dive in and find out the reasons that make Rimowa worth so much and convince an increasing number of customers to pay the hefty price tag.

Maybe Rimowa is the perfect brand; you will never know unless you keep reading.

Rimowa, a luxury or fashion brand?

Rimowa started in 1898 as a small family business, and the first eye-catching aluminum case was made in 1950.

The bare aluminum-looking case was made from the same aluminum and copper alloy as airplanes. 

Rimowa gets a step further by copying the distinctive groves from 1950’s aircrafts and add them to their case design. 

Rimowa made a huge effort that their brand became synonym with airplane travel in a period when only the very rich could afford to travel this way.

Back then, if you wanted to signal that you are a successful person, Rimowa luggage was the logical choice.

It didn’t take long till Rimowa became a status symbol.

The world’s first polycarbonate suitcase

In 2000 the first polycarbonate case signed by Rimowa hit the market in a move that conservative customers did not cherish.

They said that adding polycarbonate as a luggage material is diluting the brand value, and nobody will pay big money for a piece of plastic. However, time did show that they were wrong.

After the brand was acquired in 2016 by LVMH( the same company that owns Louis Vuitton), it became clear that the Rimowa strategy for the next decade will be to transform the brand into a fashion symbol; Luxury and fashion walk hand in hand after all.

Buying Rimowa as a luxury item might be a good decision, but as a fashion item, not so much.

The Rimowa managers are well aware of this issue. To fix this, a process called by marketeers “authority brand transfer” it’s being used, and thus limited-edition suitcases between Rimowa and other brands were launched.

As you guess, a piece of limited edition luggage between Rimowa and Christian Dior or Rimowa and Moncler will cost you way more than a simple Rimowa luggage. 

I think that right now, Rimowa has an identity crisis. It wants to be a luxury and a fashion brand.

Of course, it is a luxury brand based on the manufacturing process and overall quality, but Rimowa wants the perception of being a fashion brand also, same as Louis Vuitton. 

Can you see Louis Vuitton and Rimowa as equals?

I certainly can’t.

Manufacturing Process.

All the duralumin cases are made in Germany and Canada. The polycarbonate ones are manufacturer in Europe and Canada, so no China for you.

Speaking about China: Rimowa products are heavily counterfeited, most copies came from China, and I had the “pleasure” to see one with my eyes.

The faked suitcase was well made, and if you don’t know what to look for, you will not be able to tell this was a fake item. From a first-buyer perspective, you wouldn’t stand a chance.

You should buy Rimowa products only from their shops or partnered shops and stay away from obscure deals and discounts since this is the usual way the overpriced fakes make their way into the innocent buyers’ hands.

Rimowa stated that they own over 80% of all the manufacturing chain.

Owning the manufacturing chain means that the quality of products will be at the highest standards, and the chances that you will not find spare parts are diminished.

The drawback of manufacturing almost everything in-home is the cost. An external supply chain helps by allowing cuts in the price of materials and workforce, but Rimowa decided otherwise.

Watch this video to understand the manufacturing process of Rimowa luggage.

One of the selling points of the brand is the multi-wheel system that Rimowa patented in 2001.

The two-wheel system in each corner of the suitcase allows for a better distribution of weight, smooth rolling, and higher impact resistance.

Please don’t believe that the wheels are indestructible, they will break with time, but because Rimowa owns its distribution chain, you are assured that you will find a new set. The expensive wheels are added to the overall price of the suitcase.

Duralumin ≠ Aluminum

When they see a Rimowa, people’s first assumption is that the case is made of aluminum.

This is not true. The Rimowa cases are made from an aluminum alloy. In Europe, the term duralumin is accepted, but it means the same thing.

The aluminum alloy used in Rimowa combines aluminum, copper, magnesium, and manganese with aluminum consisting of over 91% of the mix. Although copper seems like a soft material, combined with aluminum, it creates a stronger material.

I bet my hat that the fakes Rimowa are not made from the same alloy(duralumin).

I’m attached to my hat btw.

As you expected, the aluminum alloy (duralumin) is harder to manufacture and costs more than pure aluminum.

Design that will stand the test of time

Let’s face it, Rimowa has one of the best atemporal designs in the luggage industry.

Nobody would give you a staring look if you were to walk into an airport with a 1960 Rimowa case right now.

You may receive a few compliments for the vintage-looking luggage you have. Most people will not realize that they are looking at a +50 year suitcase. 

When you are buying a Rimowa, you are also buying a story.

You will encounter people who want to make small talk in your travels, and your suitcase might be the starting point.

It seems that some people always wanted to buy this brand but never made a move. 

Does Rimowa have lifetime warranty ? 

Every Rimowa luggage comes with a 5-year manufacturing guarantee. However, this applies only if you register your Rimowa product. In case you forgot to registered, then the manufacturing guarantee drops to 2 years.

If your luggage breaks for whatever reason in the guarantee period, don’t try to guess if you are eligible to receive a warranty. Rimowa stated that they will check the product and will contact you.

Even if the manufacturer’s warranty does not cover your luggage’s defect, Rimowa might still repair or replace it.

If Rimowa determines that the warranty covers the product, they will repair and replace the item and pay for the shipment.

Rimowa has more than 100 specialized repair centers worldwide. This number seems high, but it’s not. If you are not living in a big city, you will not be able to find a Rimowa repair store.

Don’t stress about it, though; you can ship your product to the nearest repair store.

Good Employee Treatment

People working at Rimowa love the company culture and the slow pace at which things are done.

There is an insider joke at Rimowa: “We are the only 120 years startup company”.

The only complaint is that Rimowa is still a growing company, and the teams are rather small.

A small number of employees complain about unprofessional managers, but this is to be expected when you hire a lot of new managers. 

Environment

The Rimowa products are not the best eco-friendly pieces of luggage you can buy, not by a long shot.

Rimowa follows a different approach to environmental problems, stating that the longer your suitcase will last, the less you’ll need to replace it.

This makes sense overall, but as a customer, you can’t know if your Rimowa suitcase will last you the same period as 2-3 cheaper ones. 

On fairify.io, Rimowa received a rating of E which means “Terrible.”

Is Rimowa worth it?

If you are looking for luxury designer luggage, then yes, Rimowa is worth it.

But if the looks and durability are your main buying points and not the brand name, for half the money(Rimowa price), you can find other options.

The better question: Is Rimowa worth it for you.

This question alone will need an entire blog post. To cut it short, I advise you to use the 1% spending rule.

If you want to spend on something — a non-necessity — that costs or exceeds 1% of your annual gross income, you must wait one day before buying. More about this rule here.

500 $ will be 1% of your total earnings when you earn 50k $ a year. 

It will not make any sense to spend more than 1% of your earnings on a piece of luggage. 

Are Rimowa suitcases worth it?

The reality is that RIMOWA offers superb cases for a while now, and some persons are happy paying the high price. 

I hope that the beauty and functionality of this case impress the baggage handlers.

In the baggage handlers’ minds, it’s a simple process: If it looks tough, it means it is. I hope you don’t have a piece of luggage that only looks tough.

We are all at the baggage-handler mercy. If he has a bad day, your luggage might have one too.

There are a few things to know before buying a suitcase.

The duralumin case, although baggage handler resistant, will attract dents and scratches easily. Rimowa calls this patina; you can call it whatever you want.

If you are the person who circles the car checking for the new dents to sware about, then the Rimowa duralumin line will not be your best choice.  

Remember that Rimowa wheels are designed for flat surfaces like the ones you’ll find in airports and hotels. Cobblestone is a known enemy of Rimowa. If you are a hardcore traveler, then chose another brand.

As a Rimowa buyer, you can choose the color of the case, handle, and wheels, thus creating a unique look for your luggage. However, remember that choosing to customize your case will add 1-2 extra days to the delivery time and extra cash to Rimowa’s pocket.

If what I say doesn’t discourage you and your budget allows it, then buy a Rimowa suitcase.

What to expect in the future.

For the next decade, Rimowa will face fierce competition in the luxury luggage space.

I expect that a lot of startups will try to steal Rimowa’s crow.

Talking about the competition, the Rimowa Chief Executive, Alexandre Arnault, acknowledges that Rimowa will face many challenges.

Still, he stated that he is not worried because Rimowa is a different brand in terms of quality and design and competition helps the brand grow because it makes the luxury luggage category more visible.

I can’t argue with him about this. 

When space travel becomes affordable, I expect Rimowa to push on that, and maybe this brand will become the first choice of space travelers. We will never know!

F.A.Q. about Why is Rimowa so expensive

Are Rimowa iPhone cases worth it?

Yes, they are, and I have a good reason to say this fact.

The Rimowa iPhone cases are made from the same materials as the suitcases.

So, if you are a new customer and are not sure about Rimowa’s products’ durability, why not choose the safest route and invest a small amount of money into an iPhone case.

But, on the other hand, if you are not satisfied with the smartphone case overall quality, you haven’t spent a small fortune.

What is the most expensive Rimowa luggage?

The Rimowa Topas Stealth Aluminium Carry on Luggage is the most expensive luggage you can buy at 1500 $. 

Keep in mind that you can find rare Rimowa suitcases in the 5000 $ range.

The collaboration luggage between Rimowa and other brands like Porche, Moncler, Christian Dior, and others can go up to 10000 $.

Who owns Rimowa?

French luxury group LVMH ( Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) owns 80% of Rimowa. LVMH paid 716 million $ for Riowa in 2016.

What luggage brand is similar to Rimowa?

If you are thinking about price and quality, then Tumi is the perfect brand to replace Rimowa.

But if you want the cheapest options, the first brand that comes into my mind is Away.

At Away, you can find a good aluminum case with the same looks as Rimowa’s.

If you go even lower than Away, then you can try Yuemai.

Is Rimowa a Chinese or Japanese brand?

No, Rimowa is not a Chinese or a Japanese brand; Rimowa is a German brand.

However, Rimowa’s popularity in Japan and China makes many believe that the brand is of Asian origin.

What is the cheapest Rimowa luggage?

Rimowa Salsa Air and Rimowa Essential Lite are the cheapest choices from this brand.

You can find them online for as low as 600 $.

Is Rimowa cheaper in Germany?

Yes, you can find Rimowa products at a discount in some German stores like Oberpollinger, Koffer Klein.

Also check out Koffer Direkt. They run deals on Rimowa and, on special days like Black Friday, you can buy Rimowa luggage at a 25% discount.

If the store you are in doesn’t have any Rimowa luggage, you should ask the seller regardless; some shops have Rimowa in storage but cannot display the brand items.

Don’t forget to apply for a V.A.T. refund.

Is Rimowa cheaper in Paris?

No, in Europe Rimowa is cheaper but in expensive cities like Paris or Rome, the prices are high. So your best bet for a deal will be a German store.

Does Rimowa luggage ever go on sale?

Yes, you will be happy to know that you can find Rimowa suitcases at a discount.

The issue is that you’ll have to wait for special days like Christmas or Black Friday.

Try to search online for a discount but remember that Rimowa suitcases are heavily counterfeit and, if you are not careful, you will end up with an overpriced fake.

Conclusion

As you can see, several factors make Rimowa suitcases pricey but don’t be a fool; Rimowa is a luxury item. Unfortunately, you are paying more for this. 

In China, where Rimowa sales are going crazy, owning a Rimowa is a must once you reach a certain status.

If you feel like the brand is for you, then make the step; usually, new Rimowa customers are not disappointed by the brand products.