Updated on June 21st, 2023

Rimowa suitcases are the obvious choice when looking for suitcases that ooze quality. However, with so many Rimowa models in the market, knowing which Rimowa to choose can be confusing.

This article aims to reduce your Rimowa selection confusion by comparing the Rimowa Classic and the Rimowa Original.

At the end of the article, you’ll know which Rimowa is best for you.

Main features of the Rimowa Classic

The Rimowa Classic features high-end anodized aluminium alloy, riveted high-gloss aluminium corners, and hand-made leather handles. It is also customizable.

The Rimowa Classic was initially known as the Rimowa Classic Flight. It received a new name and face lift after Alexandre Arnault took over the helm of affairs at Rimowa.

The slight adjustments to the design put the Rimowa Classic in a league of its own, having long been seen as an affordable option of the pricier Original.

Materials of the Rimowa Classic

The Rimowa Classic has an aluminium protective shell, polyester insides, leather handles, and hard plastic wheels.

The exterior

The suitcase is a super-durable hard shell made of high-end aluminium alloy. So, the Rimowa Classic is meant to last a lifetime.

Rimowa luggage has survived even plane crashes and tornados with barely a dent. Apart from a few dents and scuffs that could appear over time, the luggage can be passed down several generations.

97353004 Rimowa Classic
97353004 Rimowa Classic Cabin

The interior

The Classic features polyester insides and flex dividers. Polyester is a soft material that keeps your items inside the suitcase safe by not scratching them.

It used to have only one height-adjustable flex divider, but it now has two. You can adjust the dividers to suit your belongings, ensuring your items are in perfect order.

Rimowa Classic Interior
Rimowa Classic Interior

The Handles

The Classic has leather handles that showcase the brand’s artisanal craftsmanship. Thus, the Rimowa Classic has an ergonomic grip as the leather handles offer optimum comfort.

A telescopic handle extends from the back of the Classic for smooth manoeuvrability. It also features a premium leather grip.

The telescopic handle makes carrying another bag with your Rimowa a breeze. You can place a bag on the Rimowa luggage and let it rest on the extended telescopic handle as you roll the suitcase around.

Rimowa Classic Handles
Rimowa Classic Handles

The Wheels

The Classic has a high-end multi-wheel system featuring wheels made of hard plastic (polycarbonate). The Classic’s check-ins and cabin have the same size sturdy wheels. 

Suitcase wheels take a beating when you travel with them because they roll on different trying terrains. So, you need sturdy wheels that will not give up on you.

The Rimowa Classic wheels tick all the right boxes. The hard plastic material can handle any terrain, and the ball-bearing wheels guarantee stable and effortless steering.

Rimowa Classic Wheels
Rimowa Classic Wheels
Rimowa Classic Wheels
Rimowa Classic Wheels

Design of the Rimowa Classic

The Classic has distinctive Rimowa grooves running against the edge, riveted high-gloss aluminium corners, and TSA locks integrated into the luggage.

The Grooves

Unlike the grooves of some Rimowa models, the grooves of the Classic do not stop before the suitcase’ edges. Instead, they run against the edges.

The vertical grooves design is synonymous with Rimowa. Since they first appeared in 1950, the grooves have been a mainstay in all Rimowa aluminum suitcases.

Classic carries the Rimowa iconic grooves design. The parallel grooves run along the hard aluminium shell, distinctively running into the suitcase’ edges.

Rimowa Original Grooves
Rimowa Original Grooves

The Rimowa Classic’s grooves design is evidence that the aluminium shell of the suitcase is made from one large plate.

The corners

The corners of the Classic are reinforced with high-gloss aluminium panels, giving them a shinier look from afar.

The corners of suitcases take a severe beating, so high-quality suitcases should have reinforced corners.

Rimowa suitcases have corners reinforced with aluminium sheets thicker than the outer shell. These reinforcing sheets are riveted in place.

The Classic’s riveted high-gloss corners are distinctively shiny.

Rimowa Classic Corners
Rimowa Classic Corners

The lock

The Rimowa Classic has two TSA-approved locks “sitting on” the luggage. The locks are more vintage-looking. Each lock has a hinged arm with a small protrusion that swings into a hole in a combination lock system.

The locks are very easy to use. To lock the suitcase, you simply snap the arm in place and get a satisfactory “click” sound. To open the suitcase, you push the lock’s button outwards to release the hinged arm. 

Rimowa Classic Lock
Rimowa Classic Lock

The locks of the Classic are some of its least celebrated parts. One reason is the noise the locks make when opening the suitcase. 

When you push the button to open the suitcase, the swinging arm slams against the hard shell to make a relatively loud noise.

The Rimowa Classic is customizable

One of the main features of the Rimowa Classic is that it is customizable. You can build your own Rimowa Classic by choosing from a range of colorful accents and accessories.

You can customize four parts of the Classic to create a travel look that is uniquely yours. These parts are the body, handles, wheels, and tag.

Rimowa Classic Customization
  • Body: You can choose between a black or silver color. 
  • Handles: You can choose from nine (9) colors. These are black, cognac, emerald, paprika, ocean, honey, lagoon, clementine, and cactus.
  • Wheel: You can choose from eight (8) colors. These are all the nine colors available for the handles except cognac.
  • Tag: You can choose from ten colors. These are all the nine available for the handles, including raspberry. You can also put your personal touch on the tag by adding text (up to three-letter). This allows you to personalize your Classic’s tag with your initials.

Main features of the Rimowa Original

The Rimowa Original has gleaming high-end aluminium with distinctive grooves, riveted matte aluminium corners, sleek-looking TSA-approved locks within dedicated slots, and tone-on-tone plastic handles. While the Original is not customizable, it comes in many color options.

The Rimowa Original needs no introduction. Rimowa introduced the Original in 1950. It has remained one of the brand’s most recognizable suitcase designs.

Materials of the Rimowa Original

The Rimowa Original has a hard aluminium shell, polyester interior, plastic handles, and hard plastic wheels

The exterior

The Rimowa Original is built with longevity in mind, as it has a hard shell of aluminum magnesium alloy. 

The Rimowa Original is super durable and guarantees to last a lifetime of travel.

Rimowa Original Cabin

The interior

The Rimowa Original also features a luxurious polyester interior. The soft inside prevents your belongings from scratching. It also has two flex dividers to hold your items in place during transit.

The handles

The Original have flap back handles. This means the handles are pushed back towards the suitcase, so they don’t flap around. There’s a rubber cushion on the handles, so they don’t make noise when they flap back.

The handles are made of tone-on-tone plastic with a matte finish. The plastic handles offer a comfortable grip. The telescopic handle that extends from the back of the case also has a plastic grip.  

Rimowa Original Handles
Rimowa Original Handles

The wheels

The Original uses Rimowa’s high-end multi-wheel system with four hard plastic ball-bearing wheels. The spinner wheels guarantee effortless steering when rolling your luggage through the airport.

The Original check-ins have larger wheels than the cabins. So, the suitcase sits on wheels sturdy enough to roll the heavier load it carries.

Rimowa Original Wheels
Rimowa Original Wheels

Design of the Rimowa Original 

The Original has distinctive Rimowa grooves stopping before the case’s edges, riveted aluminium corners with a matte finish, and TSA-approved locks in dedicated slots

The grooves

The Rimowa Original has the iconic parallel grooves running along the aluminium case, but they stop about half an inch before the edges.

The grooves design shows that the Original is not made out of one large aluminium plate but that the shell is tailored for each model.

Rimowa Original Grooves
Rimowa Original Grooves

The corners

The Rimowa Original has corners reinforced with thicker aluminium plates. The corners of the Original are more robust (have thicker reinforcing plates) than the corners of most other Rimowa models.

However, unlike the high-gloss finish of some models, the riveted corners of the Original have a matte finish. This gives them a more contemporary look.

Rimowa Original Corner
Rimowa Original Corner

The locks

The Original has two TSA-approved locks, which sit in dedicated slots. The sleek-looking locks also use a number combination system with three rotating discs sitting on their sides.

To open the lock, you push a button at the underside, then gently pull the lock upwards and outward. The locks of Rimowa Original snap shut and open with a subdued sound. 

Rimowa TSA Lock
Rimowa TSA Lock

The locks of the Original can also act as leverage to help you close your suitcase better. If you are slightly overpacked, and the Original is not fully closed, you can use the lock to hold the two halves of the luggage in place and force it to close.

The Rimowa Original comes in a range of colors

One interesting thing about the Rimowa Original is the wide options available.

Many Rimowa models are limited to only black and silver body. But the Original is available in eye-catching body colors like titanium and quartz pink.

If you like colors, but a full-colored hard case is not for you, you can still go with a contemporary black or silver look with a sprinkling of some colors. The Original Twist models allow this.

These Originals come with a colorful twist. They feature the contemporary silver aluminium hard case, accented with eye-catching color-matched details (such as leather handles, locks, and seals).

Multiple Rimowa Original Twist
Multiple Rimowa Original Twist
Rimowa Original Twist
Rimowa Original Twist

Differences between the Rimowa Classic and Original

The Rimowa Classic and Original are similar in many ways. They are both hard cases made with high-end anodised aluminium. Their shells feature the iconic Rimowa grooves, and they have identical interiors and multi-wheel systems.

But, despite their remarkable similarities, the Rimowa Classic and Original differ in

  • Color options
  • Customization
  • How the grooves end.
  • The design of the locks.
  • The finish of the riveted aluminium corners.
  • The material of the handles.

Here is a breakdown of the differences

Rimowa ClassicRimowa Original
Color optionsMainly available in black and silver colours for a contemporary look.Available in more color options, including eye-catching titanium and quartz pink
CustomizationIt is customizable. You can choose from various colors for the wheel, handles, and tag. You can also personalise the tag.It is not customizable. But the Original Twist models allow you to choose a case with color-matched accents.
How the grooves terminateThe parallel aluminium grooves continue into the edges of the case.The parallel aluminium grooves stop about half an inch before the edges.
The design of the locksThe two locks sit on the case.The locks are found within dedicated slots.  
The finish of the riveted aluminium cornersThe riveted aluminium corners have a high-gloss finish, making them look shiny from afar.The riveted aluminium corners have a matte finish, giving them a more conventional look.
The material of the handleThe handles have premium leather for optimum comfort.The have flap-back handles, which are made of tone-on-tone plastic.

Also, the Classic is slightly roomier than the Original, allowing you to pack more.

Consider the Rimowa Classic Cabin and the Rimowa Original Cabin which are carry-ons that lets you exit airports quickly without stopping at baggage claim.

The two cabin luggage have the same dimension (55 x 40 x 23 cm/ 21.7 x 15.8 x 9.1 inch) and weigh exactly the same (4.3 kg/ 9.5 lbs). But while the Classic Cabin has 36 L (9.5 Gal) of storage space, the Original has 35 L (9.2 Gal).

Pros and cons of Rimowa Classic

The Rimowa Classic spots a durable hard shell, plush interior, ergonomic handle, easy-to-use locks, and more. But, the noise the locks make when opening the suitcase may be a turn-off.

Pros of Rimowa Classic

  • It is customisable, allowing you to personalise your suitcase
  • The hard shell is very durable.
  • It is relatively lightweight.
  • The flex dividers perfectly hold your items in place.
  • It is roomier than other models.
  • The leather on the handle makes for super grip comfort.
  • The locks are very easy to use (close and open).
  • It has a sturdy multiwheel system that can handle different terrains.

Cons of the Rimowa Classic

  • There are limited color options for the exterior case. 
  • The locks are relatively noisy when opening the suitcase.
  • It doesn’t squish down to fit smaller spaces like soft-sided luggage and cannot expand to fit more items.
  • It shows scuffs and scratches.

Pros and cons of Rimowa Original

The Rimowa Original is arguably the brand’s star luggage. It has an impressive hard shell, plush interiors, sleek-looking locks, and more. But, it is pricier than other models.

Pros of Rimowa Original

  • Its casing is a durable aluminum alloy.
  • There is a wider range of color options
  • It has a lightweight frame.
  • The grooves terminate before the edges making for an impressive exterior.
  • It has handles that are pushed back towards the suitcase, so the handles will not flap around during use.
  • It has a soft interior that keeps your items safe.
  • It has two flex dividers that keep items intact during transit.
  • The locks are sleek-looking and close with a subdued sound.
  • The locks can be used as leverage to force the case to close (which is not possible with the classic)
  • It has spinner wheels that easily steer the luggage.
  • Its check-ins have larger wheels than its cabins (unlike Classic check-ins and cabins that have the same wheel size)
Rimowa Trunk Wheels
Rimowa Trunk Larger Wheels
Rimowa Original Smaller Wheels

Cons of Rimowa Original

  • It is relatively pricier than the Classic
  • It doesn’t squish down to fit smaller spaces like soft-sided luggage, and cannot expand to fit more items 
  • It shows scruffs and scratches
  • It is not customisable

Which suitcase is best for long trips?

The Classic and Original are available in check-in and trunk sizes, making them excellent for long trips. The Classic and Original check-ins meet the 62-linear-inch “check-in luggage requirement” of most airlines. So you can pack all your essentials without incurring extra luggage fees.

However, if you’re going for a very very long trip and have to pack a whole lot, the bigger Trunk sizes are best. You can’t go wrong with the Original Trunk XL (just don’t overpack, so your luggage is not too heavy and over the weight limit).

Size is the most important factor when considering a suitcase for long or short trips. For a long trip, you need a suitcase that is big enough to carry all your items.

Which one is a better investment?

Whether you buy the Classic or Original, you’ll end up getting a top-quality lifetime travel buddy. So, the Classic and Original are both excellent investments, with no one edging the other.

The question of which one you should go for boils down to personal preferences.

For example, to some people, the fact that the Original’s grooves terminate before the case’s edges makes no difference. But to others, it makes the Original’s exterior more impressive.

Also, to some people, the Original’s sleek-looking locks make a lot of difference. But to others, it is only a minor difference since the Classic’s locks are arguably easier to open and close.

Also, to some, the Classic’s more ergonomic leather handles make a lot of difference. But to others, it is only a minor difference since the Original’s plastic handles offer easy gripping.


Typical of the Rimowa brand, the Classic and Original ooze quality. They are both hard shell aluminium suitcases built to last a lifetime.

They both have Rimowa’s signature grooves and many premium features (like plush interiors, TSA-approved locks, telescopic handles, easy-to-roll spinner wheels, etc.).

While the Classic and Original are remarkably similar, they differ in their options, grooves, riveted corners, locks, and handles.

  • The Classic is customisable allowing you to personalize your luggage. While the Original is not customisable, it comes in a range of color options.
  • The Original’s grooves terminate about half an inch before the case’s edges, but the Classic’s grooves run against the case’s edges.
  • The Original has more robust corners, which have a matte finish for a more contemporary look. But the Classic spots high-gloss riveted corners for a shinier look. 
  • The Original has sleek-looking locks situated in dedicated slots, but the Classic locks are integrated “on” the case.
  • The Original has flap-back plastic handles that do not flap around during use, but the Classic has leather handles that offer a more comfortable grip.

With these differences laid bare, choosing your Rimowa is made easier. It’s the Classic if you want a shinier look or a more ergonomic grip. It’s the Original if you want a more impressive exterior and lock system.

Want to know more about Rimowa luxury suitcases and accessories? Check Gracefuldegrade for everything Rimowa.