Aston Martin Turns 100


The British brand, Aston Martin, marks a century of high velocity with the CC100 Speedster. Also, Italy's next great destination, Grand Openings in Abu Dhabi, Turkey, Vietnam and more. Plus, the special Watch & Jewelry issue, featuring striking timepieces and brilliant gemstones.

From This Issue

Century Marque

The Aston Martin name is not quite 100, but the British company that builds the cars was originally formed in 1913, and so Aston Martin has spent the past year celebrating its centennial. The events included the debut of the CC100 Speedster Concept (shown on the previous pages), a one-off design made mostly of carbon […]

Arresting Developments

Global Thinking Greubel Forsey first attracted notice a decade ago by reviving 200-year-old English and French finishing techniques, and in the ensuing years, the company has pursued increasingly bold styles. In the GMT model ($595,000), a panoply of metal-finishing techniques enhances the many levels and curves of the movement, giving it the appearance of a […]

Magical Mystery Stones

More than any other mineral, opals seem to come alive with intense, variegated colors and dynamic waves of light. Early Bedouins believed that the stones contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Today, geologists offer a more earthbound explanation: The stones, which are largely found in vast deserts, result from drenching rainstorms that […]

Focal Colors

Photo 1. Clockwise from above: Cindy Chao the Art Jewel 42.48-carat and 46.89-carat Colombian emerald earrings with colored diamonds, price upon request (+852.9867.2798,;  Bulgari181-carat sapphire pendant on a necklace of emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires, approximately $12 million (800.285.4274,; Arunashi for Lugano Diamonds 9.12-carat emerald ring with opals and diamonds, $136,000 (949.720.1258, Photo […]

Treasure Hunters

Greener Glory In just six years, the mining company Gemfields has become one of the world’s major producers of exceptional colored gemstones—a feat that was accomplished with the company’s policies of sustainability and transparency in force. The London-based firm holds large stakes in emerald and amethyst mines in Zambia, as well as in a ruby […]

A Singular Safari

The wildebeests have been vacillating for hours, kicking up dirt, pouncing into the Mara River, and then nervously backtracking into the herd. It is June in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, and I have come with my guide, Ping, to witness the great migration, an annual journey of some 1.5 million wildebeests and 300,000 zebras […]

Flying Solo

The population of China—which at last count included 2.8 million millionaires and 315 billionaires—spends more money than any other country’s except Japan’s on luxury goods, from Louis Vuitton luggage to Bottega Veneta purses to Bentley sedans, coupes, and convertibles. In fact, in 2012, Bentley Motors sold 2,253 automobiles in China, which was close to its […]

New World, Old Wines

For the longest time, most serious wine drinkers adhered to the notion that California wines did not improve with age. These offerings were often exciting and much anticipated, but while everyone was tucking their first-growth Bordeaux into the farthest nooks of their cellars to peacefully wait out the decades, the best wines of California were […]

Wheels: Crisis Control

The look of the sixth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, better known as the C6, may not have grown old, but the people buying the car did. One study placed the average age of a Corvette owner at 59, nearly as old as the car model itself, which has been in production since 1953. Another found that nearly […]

Leisure: Locals Only

“Have you seen the List?” That is the question on the lips of five dozen farmers gathered for the third growers’ symposium organized by James Babian. A chef on the Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island for more than 15 years, Babian is a big reason many of these farmers can stay in business. For […]

Journeys: Southern Exposure

In his memoir Christ Stopped at Eboli, the Italian artist and antifascist activist Carlo Levi told the story of his capture and imprisonment by Mussolini’s government during World War II. Rather than being confined to a jail cell, however, Levi was sentenced to exile in Matera, a godforsaken province in the Italian state of Basilicata […]

Elements of Style: November 2013

A black-tie invitation may no longer restrict wardrobes to a traditional tuxedo or evening gown, but it does request the pleasure of having guests dress with a festive flair. This season’s best evening wear elegantly obliges, offering a black-and-white blend of classic formality and modern edge. Canali’s white-wool dinner jacket with a satin lapel ($1,950) […]

Design Portfolio: Series Survivor

In celebration of Aston Martin’s centenary this year, Robb Report photographed chassis number 1920, which was among the first cars that the British brand ever built and is likely the automaker’s oldest surviving production car. (The A3 racecar from 1921, which is featured in “Century Marque,” page 120, is considered the oldest surviving Aston Martin.) […]

Design Portfolio: This Is Not a Pipe

Six years ago, the Smokers Division of Alfred Dunhill Ltd., the London luxury-goods maker, set out to create a pipe that would embody elegant living, high art, and fine craftsmanship. Kalmon Hener, the brand’s product line director, designed a singular piece based on the Eiffel Tower, and like the structure itself, it is a marvel […]

Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul

The Hong Kong–based Shangri-La group has been heading west in recent years, with new hotels in Paris and Toronto and upcoming projects in London and Rome. Uniting the company’s eastern roots with its latest pursuits, the new Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul, straddles the divide between Asia and Europe. Opened in May on the European side of […]

Domaine de la Baume

An every-leaf-in-its-place French garden would seem out of place at the new Domaine de la Baume in Provence. The 99-acre resort—formerly the country estate of the 20th-century French expressionist painter Bernard Buffet—instead embraces the natural beauty of the surrounding garigue, with the wild and colorful landscapes that once inspired the artist now serving as an […]


The latest property from Amanresorts seems intended to resemble a Buddhist temple. But while Amanoi’s austere interiors celebrate simplicity, this new retreat in Vietnam’s Nui Chua National Park is an otherwise indulgent affair. Opened in September on a secluded promontory overlooking Vinh Hy Bay, Amanoi—Amanresorts’ first property in Vietnam—sprawls over 100 acres of forest, far […]

Hemingways Nairobi

For safari-goers in Kenya, Nairobi is a necessary pit stop en route to the country’s well-known game parks. The congested capital is rarely seen as a destination of its own, but with the April debut of Hemingways Nairobi—a stylish boutique hotel on the city’s pastoral outskirts—the stopover might merit an extended stay. Located within the […]

St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Compared with its sister property on nearby Saadiyat Island, the second St. Regis in Abu Dhabi is more business hotel than beach resort. But the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, which occupies the 33rd to 49th floors of the recently completed Nation Towers on the spectacular Corniche promenade, is a worthy leisure retreat in its own […]

Autos: Show of Restraint

Since its arrival in the United States six years ago, the Audi 5 series—the standard (A5) and sport (S5) coupes and convertibles—has presented some of the most subtle and elegant shapes on the road. It is a popular choice among technically inclined, design-conscious drivers who value understatement almost as much as they value performance—people who […]

Pens: Iowa Ink

Since the creation of the first fountain pen 130 years ago, the writing-instrument industry has seen the rise and subsequent demise of countless manufacturers. The fickle market has been especially challenging in recent decades, which makes the 2013 centennial of the pen company Sheaffer an achievement worth celebrating. To mark the occasion, the American firm—which […]

Sport: Kick Starter

“Jab, kick, jab, kick!” Khun Bee commands as I hurl my limbs awkwardly at the muay Thai master’s sparring pad. Bee, who runs the new martial-arts training program at the Siam hotel in Bangkok, has been polishing what he calls my “eight weapons”—elbows, fists, knees, and shins—all morning. My weapons do not get as much […]

Dining: Experimental Course

Is it art or is it dinner? At the gastronomic road show known as Gelinaz, the question is unavoidable. Consider, for example, what happened on the night of September 9, 2013. On an outdoor terrace in Lima, Peru, overlooking ancient Incan ruins, 24 of the world’s best chefs—including Albert Adrià of Barcelona’s Tickets, René Redzepi […]

Spirits: A Sesquicentennial to Savor

Although the house of Camus has grown to become the fifth largest Cognac producer in the world, the firm has remained in the hands of the family that founded it in 1863. This liquid legacy’s current steward—the company’s president, Cyril Camus, who represents the fifth generation of his family to run the business—manages to blend […]

Collectibles: Art of Glass

Tiffany table lamps—the stained-glass furnishings made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the New York design studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany—were never a bargain, says Ben Macklowe, president of the Macklowe Gallery in Manhattan. The gallery specializes in lamps and other art objects produced by Tiffany Studios, which operated, under various names, […]

Aviation: Executive Order

As a commercial jet, the Airbus A319 is a workhorse of the airline industry, seating from 124 to 156 passengers. As a private jet, it has been configured for use primarily by heads of state, political leaders who require privacy when flying long distances but also need space to interact with staff. The Dubai-based and […]

Travel: Haute Explorer

The anchorman stands at the top of the cliff, securing a rope for the young islanders who swing like Tarzan from ledge to ledge below. Pausing from time to time, the daredevils inspect the tiny, white, speckled ovals that litter the bluff’s steep face. From the upper deck of Le Soléal, a 466-foot cruise ship […]

Wardrobe: Dandy Italian

The designer-dandy pairing that produced a special-edition subcompact car two years ago has teamed up again, this time to create a capsule collection of made-to-measure menswear. Lapo’s Wardrobe represents a collaboration between Lapo Elkann, an heir to the Fiat fortune, and Frida Giannini, his longtime friend and Gucci’s creative director. The collection ranges from sportswear […]

Watches: Electric Avenue

“Electronics almost killed the Swiss watch industry,” says Urwerk’s cofounder and lead watchmaker, Felix Baumgartner. “Everyone remembers those sad days, which is why electronics remains a taboo in fine watchmaking.” This pervasive resentment, however, ultimately did not deter Baumgartner or the rest of his team from integrating electronics (albeit in the most horologically pure manner […]

Vacation Homes: Miami Herald

Miami Beach is known more for its flash than for its refinement. But the balmy beach city is in the midst of a cultural reawakening, fueled by premier art shows, world-class event venues, and new high-end restaurants and hotels. Next fall, the city will welcome its most ambitious luxury development yet: the $750 million Faena […]

FrontRunners: Greens Keepers

Golfers tend to focus on their drivers and irons, but on average, putting accounts for roughly 40 percent of a round’s score. If putters merit more attention from golfers, these attention-grabbing new models should be a good fit in any bag, with sleek designs that promise unprecedented forgiveness on the greens. The Titleist Futura X […]

FrontRunners: Blue Streaks

Bonhams will host a sale of Ecurie Ecosse vintage racecars ( on December 1 in London. The auction will feature seven competition cars from the 1950s and early 1960s and a transporter for the private racing team, which the Scottish businessman and racer David Murray founded in 1951. (Ecurie Ecosse is French for “Stable Scotland.”) […]

FrontRunners: White Lightning

The most noticeable differences between the Jaguar XKR-S GT ( and the XK coupe from which it derives are the former’s flamboyant but functional aerodynamic components: air intakes on the hood, and a carbon-fiber rear wing and front splitter. They increase downforce, while a reworked suspension, revised steering, carbon-ceramic brakes, a wider front track, and […]

FrontRunners: The Latest Buzz

The Vespa 946 (,, the brand’s first all-new model in six years, evokes the prototype from 1946 that the Italian industrialist Enrico Piaggio’s namesake company built when he requested a simple vehicle that he could ride without dirtying his clothes. Piaggio thought the resulting two-wheeled scooter resembled a wasp (vespa in Italian), thus the […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar November 2013

The eponymous owner of Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley has an obvious passion for all things cultural. This enthusiasm manifests itself in every aspect of the property: The tasting room, with its California Craftsman–style design, quietly evokes the region’s past, for example, while in the winery, sleek postmodern […]

FrontRunners: Times Three

The Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane ( solves three mechanical timekeeping problems. The $280,000 watch’s gimbaled balance, which floats under the domed crystal, eliminates gravity errors, while its high frequency provides improved precision. The Hurricane also features a chain-and-fusee system that maintains accuracy as the mainspring winds down.

FrontRunners: Light Show

Digital-cinema purists will appreciate the SIM2 Multimedia Grand Cinema Superlumis (, a new $60,000 three-chip digital-cinema projector. Instead of the LED-lighting engine and 4K screen resolution that other projectors feature, the Superlumis has a 350-watt lamp that delivers as many as 5,000 lumens through an optional high-brightness lens that is ideal for large rooms with […]

FrontRunners: Fast Cat

The first launch from the new Sunreef 80 Carbon Line ( is Levante, a performance catamaran with a carbon-composite hull. The Polish-built 80-footer weighs a svelte 45 tons and has about 3,650 square feet of sail area. This combination enables it to reach speeds in excess of 20 knots. The Sunreef 80 model can be […]

FrontRunners: High Note

Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s birth is the release of the Montegrappa Rigoletto ( The pen is part of the Italian company’s Emozioni in Musica series of writing instruments, which pays tribute to the great operas. The pen is styled after the costume of the court jester Rigoletto, the […]

FrontRunners: Safety in Numbers

The Buben & Zörweg Collector Safe XL (, an enhanced version of the German manufacturer’s high-security Collector Safe, will protect a larger assortment of assets. The basic XL model ($56,000) stands more than 4.5 feet tall. It includes eight watch winders and five drawers, and is secured by an electronic lock that is controlled with […]

The Robb Reader: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter

Skunk Baxter is best known as a guitarist for the 1970s-era rock groups the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. But Baxter—who is reserving the story behind his nickname for his autobiography, which he hopes to finish in the next year or two—is as respected in various scientific communities as he is in the music world. […]

From the Editors: Precious Stones

When the HMS Phaeton sailed into the port of Constantinople in 1799, dignitaries in festive costumes lined the quays of the ancient port to greet the most illustrious passenger aboard the frigate: Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin and 11th of Kincardine, who only months before had been appointed by King George III as the […]

Hosts Guide Holiday 2013: Gifts of the Spirit

THE PUREST OF PLEASURES Elit Pristine Water Series: The New Zealand Edition Last year, elit by Stolichnaya demonstrated the importance of the water used in vodka with its limited-edition pristine water series—the Himalayan Edition. This year brings the second offering, this time from New Zealand—the Blue Spring. Revered for its clarity, Blue Spring water is […]

Hosts Guide Holiday 2013: Something Old, Something New

Ever since a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge invited Bob Cratchit to discuss their affairs “over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop,” it has been a seasonal tradition to artfully apply a little holiday spirit to one’s guests. Sometimes these drinks are tailor-made for winter festivities. Scrooge’s bowl of bishop, for example, is a hot punch aromatic […]

Hosts Guide Holiday 2013: Season’s Sipping

The 18th-century Swiss writer, composer, and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “I have always said and felt that true enjoyment cannot be described.” Though the celebrated father of modern autobiography and author of Reveries of a Solitary Walker was probably not contemplating the sublime experience of savoring the nuances and subtleties of a glass of Bordeaux […]

Hosts Guide Holiday 2013: A Touch of Glass

Riedel Boa decanter ($525), Paola Navone for Egizia Design Studio double old fashioned ($45 each) and vodka ($20 each) glasses from TableArt, From left: Riedel Nachtmann Aspen Collection decanter ($120; with two tumblers),; Colle Cloe Liqueur decanter ($345) from TableArt,; Lalique Perles decanter ($1,565), From left: Saint-Louis Stella gold large Champagne flute ($550), […]