Upgrade! Rimowa facelift for Topas models

In 2017 I purchased a Rimowa Topas and noticed some slight differences with a Rimowa Topas suitcase I already had. The grooves were different, the wheelbase was different. Overall it had a more polished look.

I looked on the internet to find out when this facelift came into production, but the results were very confusing. The confusing part is that not all models got the upgrade at the same time. Rimowa first started with the check in luggages and then moved to the cabins. But there are still a few models which haven’t received the upgrade. The models that still haven’t received a facelift are the smallest cabins from the Topas, Titanium and Stealth line, the 32L. The Sport models from the Topas, Titanium and Stealth line also haven’t received the upgrade yet. To make it more confusing, in the same period Rimowa (2016-2017) released the E-tag which also required changes to the design.

The differences

The easiest way to explain the differences is to show some pictures and zoom in on the differences. The first photo below is the previous pre 2017 model. The second photo is the new 2017-2018 upgraded model.

1. The groove

The first big difference is the change of the grooves. In the previous model the grooves were more triangle shaped. Now they are round. I can’t say it’s an improvement but it’s one of the first thing that could my attention.

2. The case is not made from one large grooved plate anymore

This one is bit hard to explain. But previously the outer aluminium shell was made from one large plate. You can see this at the edges because the grooves don’t stop at the corner but continue to go under it. With the new design each model has it’s own plate. At the corners and at the Add-a-Bag holder the difference is clearly visible. The grooves on the new model stop half an inch before the corner and the Add-a-Bag holder. I believe this is one the major changes the design went through. Because it’s the first time Rimowa started to made a separate aluminium plate for each different size model. The result is really great. The look and feel is much more streamlined than it was before.

3. The wheelbase

On the previous model the plastic wheel base sticks out from the aluminium by a few millimeter. On the new model the wheel is aligned with the outer aluminium shelf. To me this is also a big improvement and adds to an overall more refined look.

Rimowa facelift differences previous model (pre 2017)
Rimowa facelift differences previous model (pre 2017)
Rimowa facelift differences
Rimowa facelift differences (new model 2017-2018)

4. No third latch

Another change has been made to the side of the suitcase. The previous check-in models had a third latch (See photo) for extra reinforcement.

Previous model Rimowa with third latch
Previous model Rimowa with third latch

The face-lifted version (see below) doesn’t have third latch. I believe that this latch stood in the way of the Electronic Tag. The check-in models come nowadays in an Electronic Tag version and a non-Electronic Tag version. The one below is a non-Electronic Tag version. You can still see that the non-Electronic Tag version has space reserved for the Electronic Tag.

Rimowa upgrade side
Rimowa upgrade side

6. Changed type of velcro

What I’ve noticed is that the Velcro strip which hold the Flex-Divider in place didn’t stick as well as it did on my other Rimowa suitcase. When I looked at the velcro I noticed it was a new type of velcro which is less ‘sticky’. An advantage is that it doesn’t stick and damage certain types of garments which you have in your suitcase. The downside is that is doesn’t stick that well.

Rimowa Velcro for Flex Divider
Rimowa Velcro for Flex Divider
Rimowa Velcro Flex Divider
Rimowa Velcro Flex Divider

7. The model number

The Topas model started with 923. For example the Topas 34L had model number 92453004. The upgraded model start with 924 instead of 923. So the upgraded Topas 34L has model number 92453004.

Conclusion

To me the Rimowa suitcase was already perfect but Rimowa managed to improve it and take it to the next level. The way the upgrade is implemented, and the process is still going on, is very confusing to me. First they started with upgrading the check-in models, except the Sports. After that the cabin models followed, except the 32L. So at the moment every Topas model (Stealth and Titanium included) is upgraded except the following models: Rimowa Topas 32L, Rimowa Sport 89L and 100L, Rimowa Topas Beauty Case and Business Case.