DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: INSIDE GLOBE-TROTTER’S ALL-NEW CARBON FIBRE CASE

Designed in collaboration with the world’s foremost carbon fibre manufacturers, Globe-Trotter showcases its most cutting-edge suitcase to date

In the early 1900s, Globe-Trotter put the strength of its patented vulcanised fibreboard to the ultimate test when it encouraged an elephant to stand on one of its suitcases. In 2020, the company continues to push the boundaries of material innovation with the launch of a new high-tech carbon fibre case.

The 007 Limited Edition Carbon Fibre Case joins the official No Time to Die suitcase collection, designed by Globe-Trotter to align with the needs of the world’s most famous secret agent. To create a suitcase of almost superhuman strength, Globe-Trotter partnered with Toray, the world’s leading carbon fibre manufacturers.

“Carbon fibre is composed of carbon atoms, much like diamonds, and is one of the strongest materials known to man”

‘Carbon fibre is composed of carbon atoms, much like diamonds, and is one of the strongest materials known to man,’ explains Akiyoshi Oku, president of the Toray Carbon Magic Co. The Japanese company is the world’s leading manufacturer of PAN (polyacrylonitrile) based carbon fibres, and began its research and development way back in 1961.

‘Carbon fibre is lighter, stronger and more flexible than metal. It does not rust or corrode either, so it is often used to build cutting-edge machines which operate in the most extreme conditions, such as F1 racing cars, airplanes and space shuttles,’ says Oku.

The material is also used in everyday items, such as golf clubs and fishing rods, but this year marked Toray’s first venture into luxury accessories with the Globe-Trotter collaboration. The material is made by mixing carbon fibres with resin. The challenges of working with it, Oku says, are ‘adjusting and optimising the ingredients, design and process methods to make a material that matches the needs of each purpose.’

“The woven surface design gives the finished product elegance and a sense of status”

Fortunately, it transpires that carbon fibre lends itself well to suitcase design. ‘The fact that [carbon fibre] is lightweight and durable means it does not impede the movement of a suitcase,’ he says. ‘Furthermore, the woven surface design gives the finished product elegance and a sense of status.’

Edgy yet recognisably Globe-Trotter, the 007 Carbon Fibre Case also features a dynamic 4-wheel system — only the second case in Globe-Trotter’s 123-year history to do so.

The overall brief was to create a case suitable for business or personal travel with a design that reflects the aesthetic of a British gentleman. Just like with the ‘elephant test’ well over a century ago, there was also a desire to explore the potential of a new and durable material. After more than two years of development, Toray finalised just the right material for the suitcase, and sent it to the Globe-Trotter UK team for further trials and to see how it performed under the factory’s unique and traditional manufacturing techniques.

“Our development team in Japan and the Globe-Trotter design team in the UK coming together formed a key part of the whole process”

‘As this was one of Globe-Trotter’s first forays into a 4-wheeled trolley case, the process was a very collaborative one,’ explains Oku. ‘Our development team in Japan and the Globe-Trotter design team in the UK coming together formed a key part of the whole process.’

The final result is something completely new yet timeless; a stylish and modern suitcase as strong as steel but eminently light and practical. The quilted interiors add another level of quality and luxury, and feature a subtle 007 logo and the production number. Limited to just 700 cases, it represents the latest achievement for a company that truly values innovation.

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