Luxury Preview 2014


Luxury Preview - 14 for 2014. Extraordinary debuts from BMW, Baccarat, Cessna, Ritz-Carlton, Ermenegildo Zegna, and more. Plus, our annual Culinary Masters Competition crowns the world’s next super-chef.

From This Issue

Private Preview 2014: X Factor

The wait is almost over for the upgrade to Cessna’s midsize Citation X. Announced in 2010, the $22.95 million jet is on track for FAA certification and entry into service in early 2014. (The original Citation X entered service in 1996.) In October, the FAA verified a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.935 (or 617 […]

Private Preview 2014: Quick and Quiet

In the case of the Mission RS electric motorcycle, sound can be deceiving. Instead of roaring, the bike’s 150 kW motor softly hums while it generates 160 hp and 120 ft lbs of torque. This is at least 20 ft lbs more torque than the gas engine powering Ducati’s new 1199 Superleggera (see “FrontRunners,” page […]

Private Preview 2014: Playing Coy

Those who admire valuable yet understated objects will naturally be drawn to Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony Contemporaine Calibre 1731 minute repeater. On its surface, the $369,300 watch appears to be little more than one of the brand’s elegant dress models; yet its interior workings are as highly engineered as those of any modern complicated watch. The […]

Private Preview 2014: Puros Gold

Padrón Cigars celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and it will mark the occasion in the fall by offering a limited number of handcrafted humidors containing 50 Nicaraguan puros created specifically for the occasion. The cigars will be rolled in an exclusive new shape and made from the most aged and most refined tobaccos in […]

Private Preview 2014: High-End Voltage

The plug-in ELR coupe, which will arrive in showrooms in January and is based on the Converj concept from 2009, is Cadillac’s first electric model—and executives at Cadillac and General Motors have indicated that it will not be the flagship brand’s last one. They are considering adding a larger and more luxurious model as a […]

Private Preview 2014: Time Machine

Watch collectors looking for something truly unusual this year may want to seek out the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante. Constructed at Montblanc’s tiny facility in Villeret, Switzerland, the $322,500 timepiece showcases the traditional machines and techniques employed by the watchmaker. Unlike many modern pieces, which are designed and manufactured with the assistance of […]

Private Preview 2014: Italian Evolution

The century-old, family-owned Italian menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna took a risk when it hired the former Yves Saint Laurent designer Stefano Pilati and gave him free rein to reimagine the Couture collection, its top-tier line of tailored clothing. But the risk has paid off. Pilati’s first line, for spring 2014, presents a refreshing new aesthetic […]

Private Preview 2014: Cruising Speed

After a few somewhat sluggish years caused by the global recession, business is booming again at Christensen Yachts. The shipyard, which is located in Vancouver, Wash., has 10 orders on the books for new builds, including three custom motor yachts that are scheduled to hit the water in 2014. The 160-foot Project C-2014, 142-foot Project […]

Private Preview 2014: Fitting Inns

Set among emperors’ palaces and Shinto shrines, the ryokan (inns) of Kyoto, Japan, have long been the preferred rest stops in the former imperial capital. Inside the inns, simple accommodations—separated by rice-paper walls and furnished with futons and tatami mats—provide guests with an authentic, if ascetic, Japanese experience. This ancient tradition will take a luxurious […]

Private Preview 2014: A New Challenger

The Challenger 350, an updated version of Bombardier’s popular super-midsize Challenger 300, will take to the skies in 2014 with a redesigned cabin and new engines. The 350, which is priced at $25.9 million and is expected to enter service in June, accommodates as many as 10 passengers in a flat-floor cabin with larger windows […]

Private Preview 2014: Royal Residences

In Baccarat’s 250 years of operation, the French glassworks has outfitted many of the world’s finest residences, producing stemware, chandeliers, and other items for clients who have included King Louis XVIII and Czar Nicholas II. This year, the brand will unveil a few elite residences of its own, with the opening of its first-ever hotel […]

Private Preview 2014: Mega Marina

The transformation of Barcelona’s Marina Port Vell represents a tidal shift in Spain. The London-based Salamanca Group acquired the marina in 2010, prior to the repeal of Spain’s matriculation tax, which forced owners of yachts longer than 50 feet to pay 12.5 percent of their vessels’ total value to charter the boats in Spanish waters. […]

Private Preview 2014: Sport Diver

The pioneering submersible designer Graham Hawkes is diving again into uncharted waters. Hawkes—the man responsible for the two-person Super Falcon submersible owned by wealthy adventurers including Tom Perkins—has designed what could be described as the world’s first sport submarine, the initial version of which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014. Dubbed the […]

Robb Report’s New Culinary Master for 2014

When chef Thomas Keller, America’s high priest of haute cuisine, raises an eyebrow over an item on a menu, most young chefs scurry to change it. Last summer in Southern California, Keller’s eyebrow arched over a course of Ris de Veau Panés—crisp sweetbreads, topped with a fricassee of escargot—on the menu of a young chef […]

A New Course

Justin Smillie of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, New York City Nominating Chef Nancy Silverton Location The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, an uptown address for Smillie’s downtown style. The Event It was most likely the first open fire built in the Ritz-Carlton’s kitchen. With a wide grin, Smillie stuffed handfuls of hay into a […]

The Wild West of Beer

At the Judgment of Paris in 1976, a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena Winery famously defeated its French competition, opening the world’s eyes (and palates) to California wine. U.S. craft beer has not made such a dramatic entrance onto the world stage, but like California wine, which is not subject to […]

A Jeweled Journey

The pendant brooch is an extravagant piece, featuring a 10.03-carat Golconda diamond, recalling the legendary mine in India, surrounded by a mosaic of calibrated rubies and flat-cut diamond “petals” to form a favored Mogul flower, the lotus. A perfectly proportioned tassel of diamond and ruby beads cascades beneath the flower, a flourish sometimes found in […]

Wheels: Show of Force

A car that pairs a 550-plus hp engine with a sedan-sized hatchback body is becoming an essential component of automakers’ lineups—German automakers, at least. This combination of explosive power and family-friendly practicality once may have seemed incompatible, but then came the 550 hp Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG in 2011, followed by the 560 hp BMW M6 […]

Autos: Topped Off

For the 2014 model year and for the first time ever, Aston Martin is offering its top-of-the-line Vanquish as a ragtop, or, as Aston Martin calls it, a Volante. As with the coupe version of the new-generation Vanquish—a name that returned for the 2013 model year after a six-year hiatus—the Volante shares very little with […]

Golf: Dessert Golf

Arizona’s Enchantment Resort is a feast for the senses. Nestled in Boynton Canyon in Sedona—and surrounded by the Coconino National Forest and the area’s mystically beautiful red-rock formations—Enchantment lures everyone from adventurers to spiritualists with its outdoor activities (notably hiking and mountain biking), gourmet Southwestern dining, world-class spa, and proximity to what many believe are […]

Collectibles: Memorabilia Mania

When the Beatles arrived in the United States from Liverpool, England, in February 1964, everyone wanted a piece of them. Fifty years later, their appeal has not diminished: Everyone still wants a piece of the band—of its history. “People have been collecting Beatles memorabilia since the Beatles were still playing, and I don’t think they […]

Aviation: Biggest Bird

The Dassault Falcon 5X, a forthcoming business jet from Dassault Aviation, will feature the French manufacturer’s most spacious cabin ever, and the company promises that it will be the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the large-jet category. The cabin will be just under 9 feet wide, nearly 39 feet long, and 6.5 feet tall, which is […]

Watches: Resounding Discovery

When A. Lange & Söhne re-entered the world of haute horlogerie nearly 20 years ago, many of the German brand’s watchmaking techniques had been forgotten for decades. But the restoration of a badly corroded yet highly complicated pocket watch now informs the next generation of the company’s wristwatches, which is exemplified by the new A. […]

Boating: Getting Your Deep-Sea Legs

Erik Hasselman bobs on the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Malta, protected by a clear acrylic sphere. A pilot and commercial director for the Dutch submersible maker U-Boat Worx, Hasselman is about to give a lesson on how to helm one of his company’s vessels. He releases air from the ballast tanks and the […]

Wardrobe: When in Rome

About a year ago, while looking at the famous images photographed by William Klein on the streets of Rome during the 1950s, a young designer in New York City named Antonio Ciongoli was struck by the relaxed elegance of the men Klein captured lingering in cafés or zipping by on Vespas. These urbanites were invariably […]

FrontRunners: Rosewood London

Following a $130 million transformation, the Rosewood London ( swung open its immense wrought iron gates last October to reveal a refined modern hotel that honors its belle epoque roots. Guests entering the 1914 structure on High Holborn pass through a grand carriageway and Edwardian courtyard before arriving at the arched entryway, where a pavonazzo […]

FrontRunners: Crans Ambassador

The Crans Ambassador ( debuted in the Swiss Alps ski town of Crans-Montana in the early 1970s with an unorthodox design—a jumbo chalet with a silhouette mirroring the Dents du Midi mountains—that was considered revolutionary at the time. While its peaked facade remains in place, the ski-in/ski-out resort is otherwise unrecognizable following a renovation that […]

FrontRunners: Masters Plan

Located an hour’s drive from Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia’s Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, is aiming to lure PGA Tour fans who want to play golf, rather than simply spectate, during the 2013 Masters Tournament. The resort’s Ultimate Club Experience (, which is priced from $2,049 per person per night (excluding tournament tickets), is available […]

FrontRunners: Nizuc Resort and Spa

Spread over 29 beachfront acres some 15 miles south of Cancún, the new Nizuc Resort and Spa ( presents a mellow alternative to the spring break–style party palaces of its northern neighbor. The 274-suite retreat—which opened in September on a sandy enclave that once served as a private hideaway for Mexico’s presidents—brings some much-needed authenticity […]

FrontRunners: Costa Smeralda Villas

Since the Aga Khan founded the Costa Smeralda more than 50 years ago, the ritzy resort development has been the place to see and be seen on Sardinia. For visitors who want an occasional break from the scene, the Costa Smeralda Villas ( offer the destination’s best option: secluded hideaways that still enjoy front-row views […]

FrontRunners: Look Sharp

The new Kiton men’s accessories collection ( reflects the same commitment to craftsmanship as the Italian brand’s tailored clothing does. Diego Dolcini, formerly a designer for Gucci, delved into the Kiton archives to find inspiration for this collection, his first for the brand. For a leather-trimmed weekend bag ($4,223), a wallet ($838), and other pieces, […]

FrontRunners: Easy on the Arches

The new Di Bianco SPQR shoes ( do not appear any different from the brand’s leather oxfords and wing tips, but they certainly feel different. The soles are made of pliable rubber and have gel inserts, making the shoes as comfortable as sneakers. The line was designed for businessmen who need footwear for the office […]

FrontRunners: Cellar Notes: Schramsberg J. Schram 2005 Rosé

The owners of vineyards sometimes exhibit personalities every bit as faceted as their wines. Katherine Crofton Cebrian Pringle was such a person. This figure of 20th-century San Francisco society once lived in Madrid, but the Spanish Civil War forced her to return to California, where she entertained lavishly—with the help of appropriate staff. “I don’t […]

FrontRunners: A Civilized Sip

In 1807, when John Blandy arrived in Madeira, the Portuguese archipelago (though remote from the centers of European civilization) had long been producing what, in the 18th century, came to be regarded as the Western world’s most civilized wine. Exportation began on the islands in the late 15th century, when European vessels heading toward the […]

FrontRunners: Sun Basque

Eneko Atxa, the inventive Basque chef freshly awarded a third Michelin star at Azurmendi in Bilbao, now has a second restaurant in Thailand. But unlike most high-profile chefs with restaurants in far-flung locales, Atxa will spend about three months a year at Aziamendi (, which opened in December at the new Iniala Beach House resort […]

FrontRunners: Cutting-Edge Creativity

A technique that combines ceramic with gold to produce surprising flashes of color is showcased in some of these rings from James de Givenchy for Taffin ( Instead of working solely with gemstones and precious metals, de Givenchy prefers to use unconventional methods and materials when crafting his pieces. Examples of his creativity include a […]

FrontRunners: Diamond Head

A regal diamond tiara is not for every woman or every occasion, but the Graff Diamonds Alice Bands (, named for the protagonist in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, are more subtle and playful versions of the royal accessory. They are adorned with diamond-encrusted flowers (shown here), butterflies, or bows. Graff Diamonds introduced the […]

FrontRunners: Integration Policy

The mechanisms of the triple-complication Blancpain Le Brassus Carrousel Minute Repeater Flyback Chronograph ( are built alongside one another—or “integrated,” in watchmaking parlance—and visible through an open-worked dial. The watch is the latest installment in Blancpain’s series of timepieces featuring renovated versions of its complicated movements. The company has been releasing these watches on an […]

FrontRunners: Deco Delight

Often referred to as the father of art deco, the artist Romain de Tirtoff  (known by his pseudonym Erté) is the subject of the Urso Monsieur Deco (, a new release from the Italian pen maker. The pen’s resin barrel, which is available in five different colors, features a sterling-silver or vermeil overlay of Erté’s […]

FrontRunners: Lighting the Way

With a power output of 200 hp and a dry weight of 342 pounds, the recently unveiled Ducati 1199 Superleggera ( has the greatest power-to-weight ratio of any production motorcycle ever. But this distinction is nothing new for Ducati. When the Italian marque unveiled the 1199 Panigale in 2011, that sport bike was touted as […]

FrontRunners: Quiet Cruiser

The Italian yachting classification and certification agency Registro Italiano Navale recently awarded the Admiral Tecnomar Impero 40 ( its best noise and vibration ratings ever. When the vessel is traveling at a cruising speed of 16 knots, its advanced insulation keeps the noise level in the master cabin to just 49 dB, which is quieter […]

FrontRunners: Great Light Shark

Large panels of windows run nearly the entire length of the main and upper decks of the 161-foot Rossinavi Prince Shark 49 ( The first example, dubbed Param Jamura IV, was delivered in May and made its public debut at the Monaco Yacht Show in September. On Param Jamura IV, natural light fills an interior […]

FrontRunners: Vinyl Remaster

The recent release of the Limited-Edition Linn Sondek LP12 ( celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Scottish manufacturer’s original Sondek LP12. That turntable has achieved legendary status among analog enthusiasts. The tribute version, which is priced at $37,750, features a solid wooden plinth made from an oak cask that once held Highland Park single-malt whisky. […]

FrontRunners: Digital Delight

The Danish digital-audio pioneer Peter Lyngdorf, who founded Steinway Lyngdorf in 2005, has lately been lending his technical prowess to another company he started the same year. The Lyngdorf Audio TDAI-2170 (, which began shipping in December, demonstrates just how much digital technology Lyngdorf can pack into an amplifier. Shown here stacked beneath Lyngdorf’s new […]

FrontRunners: Higher Calling

Sleeker and more modern looking, the Vertu Constellation ( is the successor to last year’s Ti, the first Android-enabled smartphone from the English mobile-phone maker. The Constellation is equipped with a 1.7 GHz processor that runs the Android 4.2 operating system or the new Android 4.4 operating system known as KitKat. The phone’s sapphire-crystal touchscreen […]

FrontRunners: Sand Castles

Lavish beach villas take shape at three Caribbean resorts. Mayan Marvels: Set where the jungle meets the sand, the Viceroy Riviera Maya’s ( five Signature Villas ($840–$1,120 per night) debuted in October with plunge pools and butler service. Cay Club: The Bahamian private-island resort Kamalame Cay ( opened three villas ($2,325–$4,070 per night) this month, […]

FrontRunners: Ming Ring

A simpler way to call the crew. For yacht owners who want to summon a crew member but do not want to be bothered with dialing a phone or navigating a touch panel, there is the Ming wireless steward call system ( The Ming, a portable 2-inch-tall cylindrical device that operates on its own or […]

FrontRunners: Anchors Aweigh

A trio of expedition ships sets sail. Darwinian Delight: Launched in September, Silversea’s 50-suite Silver Galapagos ( explores the islands for which it is named, encountering blue-footed boobies and other rare wildlife. Pacific Star: Also from Silversea, the 128-guest Silver Discoverer (, scheduled to debut in March, will ply remote archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean, […]

FrontRunners: On the Mark

A collaboration between one of the United States’ oldest men’s clothiers and a nearly 500-year-old Italian firearms maker has yielded the Brooks Brothers and Beretta Cordura Jacket (;, a high-performance field jacket. The jacket has a cotton shell and an interior lined with Brooks Brothers’ signature tartan. It is available in navy or green […]

Design Portfolio: Singular Style

1948 Delahaye 135M Figoni et Falaschi Narval Cabriolet. The Delahaye Narval, the fantastic creation of the French coachbuilder Figoni et Falaschi, is named—in French—for the Arctic sea creature it resembles. The graceful lines of the hood, center section, and trunk evoke the shape of the narwhal’s body, and the car’s protruding nose clearly references the […]

Design Portfolio: Brass Band

In 2011, when the Tel Aviv–based architect Alex Meitlis was designing the interiors of London’s esteemed Nopi restaurant—a two-level, bright-white brasserie now known as much for its stunning decor as for its inventive Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine—he incorporated lamps, vases, and other elements in brass. “As I was working with brass at Nopi, I […]

The Robb Reader: Henk de Vries

Henk de Vries has boatbuilding in his blood. His great-grandfather was a boat maker in the Netherlands in the early 20th century, and his grandfather cofounded Feadship in 1949. The Dutch shipyard, of which de Vries is now CEO, has since grown to become one of the world’s leading builders of megayachts. Feadship has launched […]

From the Editors: A Telling Fortune

Foresight is perhaps the most prized of human faculties: Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to know what the future holds—as, we hope, this month’s Private Preview 2014 (page 81) attests. Yet for many, the most pleasing consequence of prescience is a handsome profit, and few individuals have transformed their instincts into income more capably […]

FrontRunners: One Spicy Hand Roll

When Heinrich Villiger wanted to mark the 125th anniversary of his Swiss cigar company, Villiger Söhne AG, he turned to the legendary hand-rolling talents of Nester Plasencia in Estelí, Nicaragua. The result is the Villiger 125 (, a medium-strength smoke that features an Ecuadoran seco Habano wrapper from the superb 2009 harvest and two binders […]