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Gifts of the Season 2013: Safe Travels

Karen Cakebread

A luxury safe company’s latest commitment to portable protection.

In today’s mobile world, people are constantly on the go, but that doesn’t mean they want to be disconnected. Cell phone technology has taken care of that, providing the world with almost nonstop access to e-mail, the Internet, and anything else that once left the working world feeling as it if were chained to its desk. For years, however, watch and jewelry collectors have had to come up with stopgap solutions when traveling with their prized possessions. Even then, an element of risk often was involved. Now, thanks to the venerable German firm Döttling, such a concern is a thing of the past.

Earlier this year, the company unveiled the Guardian, an elegant case that marries vaultlike security with easy mobility. From outward appearances, the compact canister, fit with a leather handle grip and a shoulder strap, looks nothing like the impenetrable fortress that it is. Measuring less than 14 inches long and slightly more than 5 inches in diameter, the Guardian hides its true identity behind a standard calf-leather exterior (available in 60 colors). For those desiring a more eye-catching look, crocodile leather also is an option, and it’s available in 20 colors, lacquered with either a matte or glossy finish.

Beneath that leather exterior lurks a double-walled security tube developed by Döttling, which is made of an almost diamond-hard metal and polycarbonate—the same material used for police and military riot shields. The upshot is that the safe, which is priced starting at €14,300 (about $19,400), is nearly impervious to sledgehammers, chisels, or drills. Weighing less than 9 pounds, however, the Guardian also is surprisingly lightweight. According to the brand’s managing partner Markus Döttling, that combination of strength and weight was one of the greater challenges that the company faced when designing the secure piece of luggage.

Inside the safe, Alcantara suede upholstery (offered in 50 colors) provides an equally luxurious environment for all small-scale valuables. The standard-sized Guardian is equipped with enough room to hold six watches—or, as the company suggests, important documents, cash, or jewelry. Like many of Döttling’s brawnier products, however, the Guardian can be further customized. Larger and smaller versions can be made, and the interior configurations can be designed to hold both watches and jewelry at the same time. For those seeking even more customization, the safe’s stainless steel grip mounts can be engraved.

As a first line of defense, the contents within the Guardian are protected by a safe door, sealed by four high-carbon steel bolts, which the owner opens with a three-digit code. And while we readily admit that airport security checkpoints can be an aggravation, the Guardian won’t cause any extra headaches. Despite its impenetrable character, the Guardian is X-ray-viewable, which means travelers won’t have to open the safe to reveal its contents.

Finally, if safe and owner should somehow become separated, the Guardian is equipped with a GPS transmitter—an aspect that makes Döttling quite proud. When asked to choose his favorite feature of the safe, however, the managing partner selects something that no customer will see: “to have a patent on the product,” he says.

Döttling, +49.7031.43.74.56, www.doettling.com

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