21 Ultimate Gifts


Extreme Green Machines from Tesla and Koenigsegg. Also, classic and all-new Mercedes-Benz Gullwings, private A380 Jet and matching megayacht, out-of-this-world timepieces from Ulysse Nardin, in-home IMAX theater, 1927 Lou Gehrig bat, and the world’s rarest postage stamp. Plus, Virgin excursion into space, skier’s dream home at Deer Valley, 100-million-year-old dinosaur fossil, Napa Valley with Thomas Keller, pre-embargo Cuban cigar collection and much more.

From This Issue

Season’s Eatings

Princely Caspian Nearly a century old, the Petrossian company (800.828.9241, http://www.petrossian.com) offers gourmet goods including foie gras, truffles, wine, and cheese. But the Paris-based purveyor has its roots in caviar, and it remains a leading source for the finest osetra, sevruga, white sturgeon, and other roe varieties. The Imperial Special Reserve Stellatus (shown)—sevruga caviar cultivated […]

Autos: Easy Does It

The clanging and banging coming from a suburban summer house one night in 1885 was loud enough to wake the neighbors, who called the polizei and reported that Stuttgart’s counterfeiters appeared to be working nights. The neighbors got it wrong. The noisemakers were engineers Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. The two were hard at work […]

Jewelry: Personalized Best

A few years ago, while Los Angeles–based jeweler Martin Katz was showing his collection in Monaco, a client who wished to see important diamonds summoned Katz to his yacht late one evening. Katz found the man immersed in the vessel’s hot tub. The client promptly offered Katz a swimsuit and invited him and his cache of […]

Smoke: Toro Tribute

Manuel Quesada remembers the day the Cuban government confiscated his family’s tobacco business—then one of the two largest exporters of Cuban leaf—which was founded in the late 19th century after a debtor paid his great-grandfather in tobacco instead of money. “It was on a Saturday morning, shortly after the revolution,” he recalls. “A jeep showed […]

Watches: Remembrance of Times Past

Watch-industry veteran Jean-Marie Schaller began selling timepieces under the Louis Moinet marque in 2003. “It was [renowned watchmaker] Daniel Roth who originally suggested that the Louis Moinet name would make a good basis for a watch brand,” Schaller says. Yet Roth’s suggestion posed a challenge familiar to many contemporary watchmakers who have tried to capitalize […]

Vacation Homes: Sweet Equity

Not many real estate companies can say that the slumped economy has helped their business, but for Equity Estates, the last year has been its strongest yet. The three-year-old destination club has grown 50 percent—its highest rate to date—since December 2008. The company’s equity-based model, in which members purchase interests of a real estate mutual […]

Antiques: Brave New Art World

Among the treasures currently available at M.S. Rau Antiques, a fine- and decorative-arts emporium on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter, are an exquisite pair of early-19th-century English celestial and terrestrial globes by cartographers John Newton and Son, as well as what gallery owner Bill Rau calls “a phenomenal and incredibly rare silver coffee […]

Travel: Sonoma Sleuth

Geoff Kruth steers his Toyota Camry down a gravel road lined with industrial-size waste bins and derelict autos. At a dead end, he pulls up beside a brick-and-wood warehouse, where a friendly Red Heeler mix greets the master sommelier and his guests from the nearby Farmhouse Inn. Kruth, the wine director at the Forestville, Calif., […]

Wine: From Water, Wine

That anything liquid should issue from Priorat seems to the first-time visitor an unlikely prospect. Despite this Catalonian region’s two rivers, the Montsant and Siruana, its arid terrain of jagged peaks, rugged mesas, and dusty slopes is prone to drought. Yet, in 1994, Priorat ran to the opposite extreme when one of its towns, Porrera, […]

Dining: Fresh from Oz

After studying in France to be a chef, Alla Wolf-Tasker returned to her native Australia in the 1970s determined to create a Michelin-quality country restaurant that embraced the bounty and flavors of the region around Daylesford, Victoria, the tiny community where she spent her summers as a child. “I wanted to serve tomatoes that were […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Own the Tuscan Sun

THE GIFT The world’s rarest collection of vintage Tuscan wines ever compiled, consisting of 1,800 bottles (150 cases) of vintage and limited-production Brunello di Montalcino and Super Tuscans. A vintage Italian wine and white truffle experience for four at Italian Wine Merchants’ Studio del Gusto in New York with owner Sergio Esposito, one of the […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: The Big Picture

THE GIFT A one-of-a-kind IMAX home theater conceived by designer Theo Kalomirakis in collaboration with IMAX. $1.8 MILLION In a 1989 article, the New York Times described the 10-seat, 1,000-square-foot theater that Theo Kalomirakis had built in the basement of his Brooklyn home. He had equipped it with an 8-foot-wide screen and an assemblage of […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Wood Pickers

THE GIFT Two custom Taylor Guitars crafted from some of the rarest woods in the world. A visit to Taylor Guitars’ factory in Southern California, including round-trip private air transportation plus three nights’ accommodation at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. A five-year supply of Taylor Guitars apparel and accessories.   STARTING AT $150,000 Over his […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: House in the Cloud

THE GIFT A 1.21-acre homesite within the Red Cloud community at Talisker in Park City, Utah. A 9,000-square-foot skier’s dream home designed by the architectural firm Hart Howerton. A custom interior-design scheme by Paul Duesing Partners. One family membership to Talisker Club. Five-year hospitality ski passes for four to Deer Valley Resort. $13.1 MILLION in […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Dragon Quest

THE GIFT The last available Loiminchay Nine Dragons pen. A set of two Loiminchay Tibetan Goddesses pens. A two-headed gilded-bronze pen stand. $310,000 in the late 1980s, Patrick Chu walked into a pen store in Manhattan and asked if he could take a look at a 1950s-era Parker Duofold. He purchased the pen for $275, […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Baggage Acclaim

THE GIFT A custom eight-piece luggage set handcrafted by One Hermès craftsman in Paris. Consultation with a specialist from Hermès to create a bespoke suit, topcoat, shoes, and leather and knit accessories, all of which will be made to the recipient’s specifications. A Private tour of the Hermès leather atelier in Paris for the recipient […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Diamond in the Brough

THE GIFT A one-of-a-kind custom Brough Superior from Falcon Motorcycles.    $365,000  Ian Barry, cofounder of Falcon Motorcycles, has an artistic vision that goes far deeper than the motorbikes his company creates. Evidence of his mechanical acumen can even be found in the before-and-after design of Falcon’s shop in downtown Los Angeles. “This property used […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Dino Might

THE GIFT A 97-percent-complete composite dinosaur skeleton of Maiasaura peeblesorum, or “good mother lizard.” $500,000 Deep in the Badlands of northwestern Montana lies a rock body, the Two Medicine Formation, where in 1979 an eccentric, bespectacled paleontologist, Jack Horner, and his friend Robert Makela found a most unusual specimen: the Maiasaura peeblesorum, or “good mother […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: A Matter of Taste

THE GIFT A four-day food-and-wine experience for two in Napa Valley hosted by chef Thomas Keller. A private sous vide cooking class with Keller. Professional sous vide equipment and signed cookbooks to take home. Dinner conceived and hosted by Keller in the private dining room of the French Laundry. Wine tastings with the proprietors of […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Out of this World

THE GIFT A six-person suborbital spaceflight aboard Sir Richard Branson’s commercial spacecraft spaceshiptwo. A 28-person weeklong “welcome back to Earth” party hosted by Branson on Necker Island, his Caribbean private-isle resort.  STARTING AT $1.6 MILLION Have you ever traveled at more than three times the speed of sound? Have you ever witnessed the sky shift from […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Planet Cool

THE GIFT Ulysse Nardin Planet Earth, a large-scale desk clock that visually represents the relative positions of the Earth, moon, sun, and potential eclipses. Ulysse Nardin Moonstruck, a wristwatch that offers a highly practical and accurate depiction of the relative positions of the moon and sun, and predicts oceanic tides. A personal note from Ulysse […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Forbidden Treasures

THE GIFT Six boxes of Dunhill Selección Suprema Don Candido No. 505 pre-embargo Cuban cigars. Two boxes of H. Upmann Dunhill Selección Suprema No. 201 pre-embargo Cuban cigars. One cabinet of Montecristo Selección Suprema No. 1 pre-embargo Cuban cigars. Daniel Marshall custom-made humidor with a solid-gold medallion featuring a platinum filigree of the recipient’s name, […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: The Iron Horse’s Lumber

THE GIFT A game-used 1927 Lou Gehrig bat. A charitable donation to the ALS Association in the recipient’s name. $500,000 Babe Ruth and lou gehrig are widely considered to be baseball’s greatest one-two punch of all time. Though largely overshadowed by his New York Yankees teammate—both in stature and popularity—Gehrig left behind an unparalleled legacy […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Malt Whisky Mastery

THE GIFT A private tour conducted by malt master Brian Kinsman and semi-retired malt master David Stewart of the Glenfiddich Distillery, where the recipient and a guest will learn firsthand how the world’s most awarded single-malt Scotch whisky is produced before selecting a personal vintage cask to own. A rare bottle of the Glenfiddich 50 […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Charting an Old Course

THE GIFT An 11-day golf trip for eight through Scotland aboard Harmony II, a vintage 189-foot yacht that recently underwent a $12 million renovation.  Rounds of golf at Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns. VIP grandstand seating on the 17th hole of the Old Course at St Andrews for the 2010 British […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Pure Perfection

THE GIFT An exceptionally rare 10.03-carat, D-color, internally flawless certified type IIa diamond set in a diamond-and-ruby sautoir by jewelry designer Viren Bhagat. VALUED AT MORE THAN $1.5 MILLION In Viren Bhagat’s country of India, it is the custom to touch diamonds to your forehead upon first holding them, to show respect for them. The […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Getting Personal

THE GIFT An Airbus A380, the world’s largest jumbo jet. A custom megayacht. Personalized interiors for both by designer Patrick Knowles.  STARTING AT $500 MILLION With this, the most expensive package ever offered in Robb Report’s Ultimate Gift Guide, the recipient will receive an Airbus A380—the world’s largest passenger aircraft—and a custom megayacht. Renowned designer Patrick […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Past Meets Present

THE GIFT A 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing, procured and restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center.  A 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the new Gullwing sports car from Mercedes-Benz AMG. $1 MILLION During the early 1950s, Mercedes-Benz’s production line reflected the economic climate in postwar Germany. After assembling government vehicles during the war, the manufacturer resorted to […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Fortnight at the Museums

THE GIFT Art-consultant-guided private tours of 43 museums in 11 cities spanning 18 days, including stops in New York City, London, Paris, Athens, Rome, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. After-hours visits to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, the Vasari Corridor, the Sistine Chapel, the Palace of Versailles, and the Louvre. Private-jet […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Monaco Grand Spree

THE GIFT  A VIP experience at the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix. Round-trip private jet travel from North America to Nice, France, and helicopter transfer from Nice to Monte Carlo for a party of four. Five nights’ accommodations in the top-floor Suite at the Monte-Carlo bay hotel & Resort.  Privileges aboard a private 170-foot yacht that […]

On the Horizon

For Jiro and Yukiko Hashimoto, a well-traveled couple who introduced triathlon competition to Japan and now publish a portfolio of magazines for endurance-sports enthusiasts, Atami seemed the perfect place to build their dream home. The seaside town, which is one of Japan’s best-known hot-spring resorts, has a mild climate and is about a one-hour drive […]

Power Play

It did not take long for enthusiasts of high-performance cars to redefine the term “going green” as a pejorative. Among drivers who savor speed and raw power, the very thought of another fuel-sipping hybrid seems to trigger yawns and sighs. However, there are a handful of manufacturers currently striving to prove these skeptics wrong. Performance […]

The Robb Reader: Larry Ruvo

Las Vegas businessman Larry Ruvo believes success should be shared. As senior managing director of Nevada’s Southern Wine & Spirits, he has grown the company into one of the state’s largest importers and distributors. Yet the direction of his life changed when, in 1992, his father developed Alzheimer’s disease. The struggle to obtain an accurate […]

FrontRunners: Four to the Floor

By the end of 2012, Bugatti will cease production of its Veyron coupes (after a production run of 300 cars) and Veyron Grand Sport convertibles (no more than 150 cars). But the French manufacturer’s renaissance is far from over. Unveiled in September to a select group of industry insiders and potential customers at Bugatti’s Molsheim […]

FrontRunners: Looking Sharp

The $1,315 Mühle Edition No. 1 shaving set (www.muehle-shaving.com) comes with a badger-hair brush and an ergonomically designed razor and in a white resin gift box. Mühle, a German shaving-products company, makes the handles of both the razor and the brush from resin-coated carbon fiber. The Edition No. 1 is the top-end set from the […]

FrontRunners: Factory Special

For many riders, Italian superbike is synonymous with Ducati. But the 2010 Aprilia RSV4 Factory (www.apriliausa.com) promises to change minds—and turn heads. The $21,000 superbike weighs less than 400 pounds and features a new 65-degree V-4 engine that produces 180 hp and 85 ft lbs of torque. Black and red body panels wrapped tightly around […]

Style: The New Black Tie

The conservative, tried-and-true tuxedo no longer defines black tie. Menswear designers are mixing black-tie suits with an array of unconventional pieces, such as formal denim shirts, stingray-toed dress shoes, and animal-inspired cuff links. The sleek dinner jacket even appears with jeans, creating a distinctive, no-fuss style for day or evening. This season, the mix of […]

Wheels: Reptile Style

Ask a car enthusiast to name an automotive make and model that has endured in the spirit of its original design, and most would name the Porsche 911 as one car that forever altered the sports-car landscape—and the fortunes of its German manufacturer—when it went on sale in late 1964. Yet that same year, Ford […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Flight of Philatelic Fancy

THE GIFT  The finest graded mint specimen of stamp collecting’s most famous rarity, the Inverted Jenny. $1.25 MILLION When stamp collector William T. Robey went to a Washington, D.C., post office during his lunch break, he was unaware that he was about to discover the most famous error in all of philately. Robey, who intended […]

Robb Design Portfolio: All the Trimmings

Like a sculptor before a block of marble, Italy-based designer Brian Rasmussen conceives his pieces from solid forms. “I start with a perfect shape,” he says, “then scratch and cull and cut away to bring out the object’s inner light.” For Rasmussen’s recent collaboration with the Venetian lighting firm Studio Italia Design (305.621.9602, http://www.sid-usa.com), the […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Deco Dream

1938 Delahaye 135 MS The epitome of French style, marques like Talbot-Lago, Bugatti, Delage, and Delahaye embody the best of the Art Deco era’s aesthetic sensibilities. Yet among these, Delahaye stood at the forefront of technical achievement as well. In 1938, the company introduced the now-famous 135 MS (Modified Speciale), which it built on a […]

FrontRunners: DeLight

Austria-based architect and interior designer Genco Berk put deep thought into his DeLight humidor (www.genco-berk-design.com), a $4,400 desktop accessory that holds as many as 80 cigars. Berk based the DeLight—his first humidor design—on ancient Chinese coins that are round with a square cutout. Berk says the square symbolizes Earth and the round exterior represents heaven. […]

FrontRunners: Carrier Pitch On

The Sound Carrier 300 B Aurum tube amplifier (www.tehnicki-centar-krklec.hr) by Croatian manufacturer Technical Center Krklec is not for everyone. The amp (priced at $17,930 for a pair of mono blocks) has a retro-industrial look that may not suit some home interiors, and its specialized reproduction quality will not sate all musical tastes. But aficionados of […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Winemaker Aaron Pott has come a long way from his first wines, which, he says, he began making in his family’s garage at the age of 10, with baking yeast and grape-juice concentrate. He has held various positions—assistant winemaker at Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley; head winemaker at Château Troplong Mondot and, later, Château La […]

FrontRunners: Smoke Kin

Carlo Corazzo’s ancestors, from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy, began trading in Cuban cigars some 200 years ago. In tribute to his predecessors, Corazzo christened his Costa Rican cigar shop’s in-house brand after the former family name: Brun del Ré. In May, the 10-year-old Mundo de los Puros store and cigar lounge released the […]

FrontRunners: Three’s a Charm

Corum recently tackled a tricky engineering challenge and, in the process, produced the Corum Ti-Bridge (www.corum.ch), a contemporary watch with a robust movement inspired by the famous Golden Bridge design. The Golden Bridge was designed by independent watchmaker Vincent Calabrese, and was as delicate as it was beautiful. The second version, which was re-engineered by […]


In Zurich, Switzerland, where popular restaurants can go for decades without perceptible change, chefs challenge tradition with caution. But Laurent Eperon—chef at the recently reopened Pavillon at Zurich’s stately Hotel Baur au Lac—offers a fresh take on tradition with a trilingual menu that has a lightened touch. The once summer-only restaurant, which the hotel reintroduced […]

The Mark Hotel

French architect and interior designer Jacques Granges has transformed New York’s classic Mark Hotel into a stylishly modern neighborhood scene that features a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, Frédéric Fekkai beauty salon, and the fashionable Bar Mark. Located in the heart of New York’s residential Upper East Side on Madison Avenue and 77th Street, the hotel—where contemporary […]

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

In 2007, Emirates Hotels & Resorts purchased a 4,000-acre site in Australia’s Blue Mountains with the intention of building a resort-cum–conservation project. Two years later, the new Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa—which is based on Emirates’ Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and Al Maha resort in the Middle East—delivers on both fronts. At the heart of […]