Future Shock


Porsche's 918 hybrid supercar electrifies the roads. Special issue: Watches & Jewelry, Chopard, Patek Philippe, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mikimoto, Graff, Harry Winston, Richard Mille & more. Plus, top holiday cigars, Cartier's Russian revival, Aston Martin's V12 Vantage and Perini Navi's Panthalassa. Also, Grand Openings: new resorts in Marrakech, Majorca & Lake Como.

From This Issue

From the Editors: Russian Roulette

in the minds of Western observers, Moscow seems to embody Russia’s dark past, bustling present, and hopeful future. Yet, over the course of two centuries, this ancient capital vied for supremacy with an upstart metropolis to the north, St. Petersburg, where Cartier—a favorite supplier of treasures to the Imperial Court—opened a new store this year […]

Texas Tech

During a chance meeting at a Starbucks on a quiet Sunday morning in Austin, Texas, architect Winn Wittman agreed to help transform businessman Milton Verret’s staid mid-1990s McMansion into a lively and contemporary haven. Completed this year, the reenergized five-bedroom, 10,500-square-foot lakeside house—Verret’s primary residence—now incorporates automated systems for both lighting and audiovisual entertainment and […]

Crystal Revelations

René Lalique crafted some of the finest examples of glass sculpture ever made. But for the artist, his most memorable creation probably was his first. In 1895, after working more than a decade for a company that designed jewelry for Boucheron, Cartier, and other elite brands, Lalique, at age 35, opened his own shop in […]

Holiday Lights

Speak with true cigar makers—people who prepare filler blends and then select binders and wrappers that complement those blends—and you frequently will hear the word balanced. Cigar makers seemingly employ the term as often as winemakers say approachable. Everyone—those who make cigars and those who smoke them—prefers cigars that exhibit balance. But only the real […]

Cap Rocat

The 24-room Cap Rocat resort opened in June inside a converted 19th-century military fortress along Majorca’s Bay of Palma. Set on a peninsula 15 minutes from the city of Palma—capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands—the hotel blends with the landscape and is nearly imperceptible from the sea. From the hotel’s guest rooms, however, the views are […]

Royal Mansour

Built by his highness Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, to be the most lavish hotel in Marrakech, the Royal Mansour opened its bronze-plated doors in June. For Mohammed’s guests, the royal treatment begins at the airport, where they are ushered into a private air-conditioned immigration area before being transported to Marrakech’s medina, or old city. […]

CastaDiva Resort

The first true luxury hotel to open on Italy’s Lake Como in the past century, CastaDiva Resort debuted in June in the town of Blevio, about 10 minutes by car from the city of Como. The resort occupies the former estate of 19th-century opera singer Giuditta Pasta, whose performance in 1831’s Norma inspired the property’s […]

Wheels: Power Packed

Aston Martin’s concept was simple, and deliciously mischievous: Take the largest, most powerful engine in its lineup and shoehorn it into its smallest car. That powerplant is the 510 hp, 6-liter V-12, which is normally housed under the hood of the hulking DBS. Its new home is the engine bay of the Vantage, a smaller, […]

Style: Smart Sets

Top-of-the-line materials and down-to-earth functionality make these new leather-goods collections worth reaching for. The distinctive pieces—billfolds, briefcases, tote bags, trolleys—will carry you from week to weekend in a most stylish and orderly fashion. Tiffany & Co. The American jeweler’s first leather-goods collection—created by Tiffany & Co. design directors John Truex and Richard Lambertson—is a sophisticated […]

Return to Russia

It was like old times in St. Petersburg one weekend last May as some of Cartier’s best clients convened at the Grand Hotel. A century ago, when the Romanovs ruled the country, they might have been drawn by the retail shop that Cartier operated at the hotel during the winter holiday months. On this weekend, […]

Lasting Visions

Fashion trends come and go, but certain jewelry pieces transcend the fads and, year after year, accentuate the wearer’s sense of classic style. This season’s timeless treasures—from long, versatile necklaces and bold cuff bracelets to chic cocktail rings and glamorous earrings—promise never to go out of style. In photo #1, from far left: Tiffany & […]

Pockets of Resistance

The mechanical-watch renaissance of the past decade or so has proven a boon for just about every sort of timepiece, as brands have developed and produced countless new models of complicated, simple, classical, and modernly styled watches. The only form seemingly uninvited to the party happens to be the one that started it all: the […]

The Robb Reader: Randy Morton

Randy Morton, president and chief operating officer of the Bellagio resort and casino in Las Vegas, has spent 30 years in the hotel business—after giving up his dream at age 17 of becoming a professional hockey player. But even from an early age, Morton showed a penchant for hospitality: When he was 6 years old, […]

Spa: Smooth as Silk

With its mountain climbing, paragliding, bungee jumping, river rafting, and other extreme sports, the Swiss resort town of Interlaken has long attracted travelers looking to enliven the senses and, perhaps, recapture a bit of their youth. For those averse to risking life and limb, the city’s venerable Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa now offers a […]

Vacation Homes: Sweet Serenity

The Abaco Islands are downright deserted compared with some Bahamian destinations. But over the last few years, the laid-back Abaco chain—a pristine collection of islands and cays in the northeastern Bahamas, about 200 miles off the coast of Florida—has become one of the Caribbean’s hottest locations for luxury resort developments, the latest of which include […]

Charging Forward

At Porsche, a marque that has been building variations on the same 911 model year after year for nearly five decades, history tends to repeat. But no true car enthusiast would ever complain about that annual exercise in déjà vu. And certainly none was griping in March, when the carmaker unveiled the 918 Spyder Concept […]

Health: Skin Fitness

Dangene McKay-Bailey’s skincare treatments do not include pampering—no shoulder, hand, or foot massages, no scented sheets or herbal teas. To improve your skin, says McKay-Bailey, you have to be committed to her program, just as you have to dedicate yourself to an exercise regimen if you want to get in shape. In fact, McKay-Bailey calls […]

Wardrobe: Revival of the Fittest

Massimo Sforza’s new line of clothing allows you to appear fit, trim, and stylish, even if you are carrying a few extra pounds. The 42-year-old former Brioni designer created his comprehensive collection for men of his vintage who enjoy sophisticated detailing and still want to wear contemporary, body-slimming cuts. “There’s always been this divide between […]

Jewelry: Show Business

While in London for three weeks in the winter of 1940, during World War II, a South American businessman met a British woman and fell in love. So smitten was he that before returning to his homeland he visited the Cartier boutique on New Bond Street and purchased an engagement ring set with a 20-carat, […]

Spirits: They’ll Drink to This

Earlier this year, the Macal­lan released the most aged whisky in the 186-year-old distillery’s history, a single malt drawn from three ex-sherry Spanish-oak casks filled no later than 1946. The largest individual portion of that release is contained in a one-of-a-kind decanter designed and produced by French crystal maker Lalique and called Cire Perdue, French […]

Travel: Good Times in Hyderabad

The Biryani beckons. In the shadow of the four-towered Charminar mosque, next to a market stall where customers stand and sip tea with pointed nonchalance, a vendor mans his cart, scooping heaping servings of this spicy rice-and-chicken concoction out of a vat and onto his customers’ plates. The rhythmic tap, clank, scrape, tap of his […]

Boating: Gentleman Racer

Jerry Gilbreath made a career out of designing, building, and racing speedboats that were faster than some supercars. By the time he retired from racing five years ago, the powerboat pilot had notched more than 25 speed records and nine world championships in a span of four decades. So even in retirement, Gilbreath would seem […]

Watches: The Super Car to Watch

Time can be a nemesis, even occasionally for those who spend their professional lives mastering it. Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier, for instance, recently discovered that time was not on its side when Bugatti Automobiles asked the company to create a special watch to commemorate the unveiling of its latest offering, the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport […]

Winter Thrill

The portrait of a perfect charter yacht varies with every passenger’s preferences. Some charter clients care most about the quality—and the equality—of the staterooms. Others might be focused on the yacht’s outdoor spaces and water toys. For some, a first-rate crew is of foremost concern, while others place a premium on fuel efficiency and range. […]

FrontRunners: Ball of Sound

The $6,000-per-pair Reference 3.5 loudspeakers (www.roundsound.com) from Anthony Gallo Acoustics are striking, but they are under 3 feet tall and do not dominate a room. Gallo has taken elements from the design of its Reference Stradas and incorporated them into the Reference 3.5s so that they yield excellent high- and mid-range output. Gallo’s cylindrical diaphragm […]

FrontRunners: Editors’ Choice

On November 20, Christie’s Paris will auction off 65 works by American photographer Richard Avedon (1923–2004), best known for his black-and-white portrait photography featured in magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Avedon: Photographs from the Richard Avedon Foundation (www.christies.com) will feature many of Avedon’s most famous photos, including a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Dovima […]

From the Robb Cellar

Although the Davies family launched its Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with the 2001 vintage, the wine has a long history. The grapes used to make this robust Napa Valley red are harvested from three vineyard blocks that were planted by some of the region’s pioneers. Two of these parcels were among Napa’s first hillside vineyards, […]

FrontRunners: Winging It

The single-engine, six-seat turboprop known as the Kestrel (www.kestrel.aero) soon will have a new prototype. England’s Farnborough Aircraft, which has been flying a version of the Kestrel in the United Kingdom since 2006, enlisted Cirrus Air­craft cofounder Alan Klapmeier in Octo­ber 2009 to establish a company in the United States—Kestrel Aircraft Co., in Bruns­wick Landing, […]

FrontRunners: Block of Time

OriginTimes has the perfect winder for the new Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport watch (“The Super Car to Watch,”)—and 15 other timepieces. The $98,500 Big Block Winder (www.origintimes.com) is designed around a Bugatti Veyron engine block and accommodates a watch in each of its 16 cylinder cavities. OriginTimes—a luxury brand launched in the spring by MTE […]

FrontRunners: Graceful Turn

The delicately feminine Dame de Pressy (www.dewitt.ch) ladies watch is not as great a departure as it might appear to be for DeWitt, a company known for its bold, technically complex timepieces. The $79,000 design required as much watchmaking know-how as any men’s edition. Adorned with 461 brilliant-cut diamonds of various sizes—set on the case […]

FrontRunners: Prize Writer

Notwithstanding his fight-hyping poetry, Muhammad Ali gained more fame as a pugilist than as a writer. Yet he is unquestionably a momentous cultural figure and thus a fitting subject for the first of Mon­tegrappa’s new Icon series of pens. The Tribute to Muhammad Ali (www.montegrappa.com) is trimmed in gold or silver, and its barrel and […]

FrontRunners: Thread Count

Don a suit from the new Domenico Vacca Limited Edition (www.domenicovacca.com) collection, and you can feel confident that you will not encounter anyone wearing the same garment. When Vacca describes his new suits and jackets as “the essence of exclusivity,” he is not exaggerating. Launched in September, the series features designs that are each limited […]

FrontRunners: Shaping Up

Ferretti Yachts has upgraded its model line by adding the Ferretti 500 and the Ferretti 620 (www.ferretti-yachts.com), which offer more space and sportier lines than the models they are replacing, the 470 and 592, respectively. The 50-foot Ferretti 500 is the brand’s new entry-level option, while the mid-range 620, at 62 feet, is a larger […]

FrontRunners: Veyron Rocket

The new $2.4 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport (www.bugatti.com) is an even more potent version of the original Molsheim monster, the Veyron 16.4, which Bugatti released five years ago. Introduced in August at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Super Sport has a 1,200 hp engine—notably more muscle than the standard Veyron’s 1,001 hp […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Flight Time

Maximilian Büsser & Friends’ Horological Machine No4 Thunderbolt (HM4) is unusual but not unexpected: Outlandish designs are precisely what propelled Büsser’s 5-year-old brand (www.mbandf.com) to prominence in the first place. The company’s 43-year-old Swiss founder, who draws inspiration for his timepieces from childhood memories, based the shape of the HM4 on the twin jet engines […]

Robb Design Portfolio: The Bare Essentials

1939 Bugatti Type 64 The Type 64 was the swan song for Jean Bugatti—eldest son of marque founder Ettore—who was killed at age 30 while test-driving a Type 57 C Tank racer. His Type 64 was an evolution of the successful Type 57 S, but only three chassis were made, and one, number 64002 (pictured), […]

Above the Fray

Night has fallen in Acapulco, and any moment now a young Mexican diver will fling himself off a cliff and into the surf pounding against the rocks 95 feet below. He stands at the cliff’s edge, torchlit against the blackness. He is in no rush to jump. To depart this perch too soon or too […]