Luxury Preview


Exclusive firsts from Jaguar, Learjet, Berluti, Peninsula Hotels, Heesen Yachts, Tiger Woods Design, Fuente & more. Plus, the World's Next Culinary Master - unveiling the winner of our super-chef face-off. Also, the shape of the future, the McLaren P1 Supercar.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Richard Geoffroy

In the cellar and in his life, Richard Geoffroy manages to blend contrasts and contradictions into graceful unities. Born in Champagne’s Côte des Blancs region to a family whose members had been vintners for many generations, he chose to pursue a career in medicine rather than in viticulture. After earning his degree, he made the […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Dutch’s Treat

1954 Kaiser-Darrin Kaiser Motors Corp., which built cars in the United States from 1945 until 1955, introduced the Kaiser-Darrin model in late 1952. This was about a month before General Motors debuted the Corvette, thus making the Kaiser-Darrin America’s first fiberglass sports car. (The distinction is ironic considering that the company’s owner, industrialist Henry J. […]

Elements of Style

Cartier takes the classic tourbillon on the road with its Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon Two Time Zone (price upon request). The travel timepiece incorporates two hour displays and a minute display in a mechanism that sits on top of the flying tourbillon movement. The time-zone displays show an extra level of ingenuity, as the hour […]

Wheels: Dream On

From the late 1940s to the mid 1960s, U.S. automakers built and displayed cars that represented their visions of future designs. The most outrageous were impractical and essentially unbuildable as production vehicles. But that did not matter. Whether they were intended to be powered by gas turbine engines or even atomic energy, had clear bubbles […]

Aviation: Seating Plan

When JetSuite began operating three years ago, it offered economically priced short charter flights in the entry-level, four-passenger Embraer Phenom 100. Its service area was limited to California, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. The company, which is based in Irvine, Calif., eventually added flights to Texas, and then this past year it expanded into the Northeast. […]

Autos: Arizona Is Abuzz

It is an axiom of collecting that when an artist dies, the value of his or her work increases. This also seems to be the case with the work of Carroll Shelby, the legendary auto racer, designer, and entrepreneur. Since his passing last May, prices for cars associated with Shelby have been on the rise. […]

Art: Worlds Apart

If Henry Darger had rented from a different landlord, his life’s work would likely have ended up in the trash. Darger spent much of his childhood in orphanages, and he lived alone in a Chicago apartment before he moved into a nursing home in 1972. When the apartment landlord cleared out Darger’s lodgings, he found […]

Watches: Perfect Paradox

As he digs through a shoebox filled with spare parts, the genial and relaxed Gregory Bruttin—a movement developer at the Geneva watch manufacturer Roger Dubuis—bears little resemblance to the conventional image of the fastidious watchmaker. Not surprisingly, his latest creation also defies stereotypes: The Excalibur Quatuor, an enormous timepiece sporting no less than four beating […]

Home Electronics: Digital Divine

Vinyl records have long been the gold standard of high-fidelity audio reproduction. With the recent arrival of DCS’s Vivaldi system, the digital age finally has an answer to the accuracy of analog. Founded in 1987 as a manufacturer of digital-signal converters for military and telecommunications applications, DCS started producing home-audio components in the mid-1990s, when […]

Golf: Time Tryall

In the 1950s, a group of prominent Texans acquired an idyllic stretch of coast near Jamaica’s northwest corner, about 12 miles from Montego Bay. The new owners—a group that included future senator Lloyd Bentsen and former governor John Connally—soon started developing what would become one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive communities, marked by a stately […]

The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna

In 19th-century Vienna, anybody who was anybody lived near Hofburg palace, the Habsburg family’s royal residence on the Austrian capital’s Ringstrasse. With the recent opening of the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, the famous circular boulevard is now home to the top address in town for travelers. The 202-room Ritz-Carlton made its debut in August as one of […]

Topping Rose House

Tom Colicchio—the New York chef behind the Craft Restaurants group and Bravo’s Top Chef series—heads for his latest project to the bucolic East End of Long Island, where he has transformed a pillared Greek Revival mansion into Topping Rose House, a luxury inn and restaurant with firm foundations in the local pastureland. The restaurant, Colicchio’s […]

Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou

The new Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou gives new meaning to the term high design. Opened in July, the property towers over China’s third-largest city from the top of its tallest building, looking down on such architecturally significant neighbors as Zaha Hadid’s Opera House, Japanese firm Nik­ken Sekkei’s New Library, and Hong Kong–based Rocco Design Architects’ […]

Travel: Silverback Lining

Jupiter is barking. Somewhere within the thick maze of arrowroot leaves that blanket the Republic of the Congo’s Odzala-Kokoua National Park, we hear—and feel—the silverback gorilla and his dozen or so female companions circling us. Only a few yards away, the pah-pah-pah of massive fists beating a barrel-like chest rips through the jungle, followed by […]

Home: Out of Sight

In November, the Italian kitchen manufacturer Minotti Cucine was preparing to celebrate the grand opening of its first New York City showroom, which is housed in a stylishly renovated former ironworks. Grandly displayed were the kitchen designs’ monolithic slabs of marble and wood, shined and carved to perfection. Largely missing from plain sight, however, was […]

Robb Report’s New Culinary Master for 2013

  Katie Button called herself “the underdog,” and it was hard to argue with that. She had been a chef for just 18 months, all of them at the helm of Cúrate, her modern tapas restaurant in Asheville, N.C. In six hours, she would be serving a five-course meal to 50 judges participating in the […]

Culinary Masters Competition 2012: Master Class

MOURAD LAHLOU OF AZIZA, SAN FRANCISCO Nominating Chef: Michael Mina Location: Monarch House, a contemporary estate high above Hollywood, Calif., that made a sparkling backdrop for Lahlou’s modern Moroccan cuisine. The Event: In the hours before his competition dinner, Lahlou methodically unpacked five enormous coolers he had shipped from San Francisco. They held pureed mango, a golden […]

FrontRunners: Mikimoto Regalia

Marking the 120th anniversary of when company founder Kokichi Mikimoto began producing cultured pearls, the Mikimoto Regalia collection ( incorporates the largest and most beautiful examples of these gems in 13 one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. The lavish pieces are a departure from the brand’s usually traditional designs. Mikimoto harvested the smaller, perfectly round Akoya pearls in […]

FrontRunners: Rookie of the New Year

To the increasingly bustling sport-sedan party comes the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F (, a car that is sure to steal glances from its European counterparts. The GS 350 F’s aggressive appearance distinguishes it from other Lexus models, and the car features enhancements that provide receptive handling and responsive—not brute—power. The sport-tuned suspension, the Dynamic […]

FrontRunners: Pour Shape

The designs for the Prouna Geometrica tableware collection ( are based on simple shapes. The Italian designer and architect Alessandro Mendini collaborated with Prouna, a Santa Clara, Calif.–based company, on the line. He describes the collection’s circular handle designs as “a playful succession of small geometrical forms.” Made from English fine bone china and priced […]

FrontRunners: Perfect Timing

Built for the sole purpose of maintaining the most accurate time possible, the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum ( features mechanisms that traditional watchmakers—including Journe—have employed to improve timepieces’ precision: double barrels and a constant-force device. The Optimum’s innovative element is its direct-impulse, lubricant-free escapement design, which enhances efficiency and therefore enables the watch to keep […]

FrontRunners: Tender Reveal

After the most recent launch of a Hodgdon Custom Tender (, the secret is out about Maine’s 200-year-old boatbuilder. It turns out this is not Hodgdon Yachts’ first megayacht tender; it is its third. The first two were built for the owner (reportedly Steven Spielberg) of the Oceanco-built, 282-foot Seven Seas. The new tender, like […]

FrontRunners: Get Naked

An aesthetic redesign, the Ducati Monster Anniversary Edition ( celebrates two decades of the Italian manufacturer’s top model. The bike—known for its engine-baring design—features the chrome headlight and circular rearview mirrors of the original 1993 Monster. The anniversary styling also includes a circa-1993 Ducati logo, a Champagne-colored front fork, and a bronze trellis. These are […]

FrontRunners: Aire Rave

It has arrived well after its competitors, but the McIntosh McAire desktop wireless music system ( outperforms them all. Priced at $3,000, it is easy to use and syncs with any Apple AirPlay–enabled device or home-network music library. It also offers a wired connection via USB or RCA inputs. Each of the system’s two channels […]

FrontRunners: Small Wonder

Among the Americana treasures to be offered at New York’s Winter Antiques Show ( are a late-19th-century carving of a cigar-store Indian valued at $125,000 and a circa-1788 dower chest that could command as much as $425,000. The fair is scheduled for January 25 through February 3 at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. The […]

FrontRunners: Handicap Helper

Technology keeps bringing the home-recreation room closer to the golf course. High Definition Golf’s high-resolution curved widescreen golf simulators ( feature a widescreen format and a curved screen design, which allows players to use their peripheral vision during play. The screen sizes range from 17.07 feet to 20.66 feet (measured diagonally), and the curved shape […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

The Heidsieck name has been intimately associated with Champagne since 1785, when Florens-Louis Heidsieck established Heidsieck & Co. in Reims. Champagne Charles Heidsieck was founded in 1851 by its eponymous proprietor, a grandnephew of Florens-Louis, who earned the sobriquet “Champagne Charlie” while marketing his bubbly to the prosperous inhabitants of New York and Boston in […]

Private Preview 2013: The Brando

In 1769, during his first voyage around the world, Captain James Cook scribbled in his journal about a remote atoll some 30 miles from Tahiti: “This island is called Tetiaroa … a small, low, uninhabited Island, frequented by the people of George’s Island for fish, with which it is said to abound.” Two centuries later, […]

Private Preview 2013: Berluti

After more than a century in the shoe business, the French brand Berluti is setting a fast pace as it transforms from a cult-status footwear company into a men’s lifestyle label. Last year the artisanal shoemaker, which was founded in 1895, unveiled a top-notch collection of ready-to-wear men’s clothing. Its plans for 2013 include opening […]

Private Preview 2013: Lorenz Bäumer

Paris’s Place Vendôme, home to some of the world’s great jewelry and watch houses, will welcome a new member to its elite ranks early this year with the opening of a boutique from Parisian jewelry designer Lorenz Bäumer. “It is a great privilege to be the first independent jeweler to open on Place Vendôme in […]

Private Preview 2013: Icon Aircraft

The Los Angeles–based Icon Aircraft plans to begin delivering its $139,000 A5—an amphibious 23-foot-long aircraft with foldable wings that allow it to be towed behind a truck or SUV—in the fall. The company says it already has received more than 900 deposits and is now taking orders that will be filled in 2016. Cirrus will […]

Private Preview 2013: Lürssen

The title of world’s largest yacht soon will belong to a vessel known by the code name Project Azzam, which, according to reports, German shipbuilder Lürssen expects to complete by the end of 2013. Lürssen is under a confidentiality agreement not to release details about Project Azzam, but various reports estimate its length at approximately […]

Private Preview 2013: Bombardier Learjet

The Learjet 85, which parent company Bombardier expects to begin delivering in 2013, will be the first FAA-certified midsize jet with a fuselage and wings constructed primarily of a carbon-fiber composite. The composite is stronger, more durable, and lighter than aluminum—the material that most business jets and all other Learjet models are made of—and it […]

Private Preview 2013: Verity Audio

When Quebec’s Verity Audio debuted its $90,000-per-pair flagship Lohengrin speakers more than a decade ago, they were not big enough or capable enough for some audiophiles—the ones with outsize listening rooms who were intent on reproducing the large soundstage of orchestral recordings. Thus Verity began developing the Monsalvat loudspeaker system, named for the mountain where […]

Private Preview 2013: Arturo Fuente

A 2011 fire that destroyed 8,000 bales of aged tobacco hindered the Arturo Fuente cigar brand’s plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding last year. Instead, the brand will mark the start of its second century by releasing several special-edition cigars during the first week of May, between the birthdays of Carlos Fuente Sr. […]

Private Preview 2013: The Peninsula Paris

For its inaugural property in Europe, the Hong Kong–based Peninsula Hotels has taken on a century-old Beaux-Arts building located steps from the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The 16th-arrondissement structure once housed the Hotel Majestic and, after 1946, the Preparatory Commission for UNESCO, which reallocated bedrooms as secretarial offices and bathrooms as […]

Private Preview 2013: Heesen Yachts

Heesen is well into the construction of the 213-foot, four-deck Project Omnia, which will be the Dutch shipbuilder’s largest vessel ever and the world’s first all-aluminum yacht with a fast-displacement hull. The hull design will make Project Omnia quick and fuel efficient: It is expected to have a range of 4,200 nautical miles and a […]

Private Preview 2013: McLaren Automotive

Freedom of expression was the right that enabled history’s most inspired automotive designs. Giuseppe Figoni, of the 1930s-era French coachbuilder Figoni & Falaschi, was allowed to fashion his wildest Art Deco dreams. Aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer designed the eternal Jaguar E-Type free from the tyranny of bumper regulations. When Marcello Gandini sketched Lamborghini’s space-age Miura and, […]

Private Preview 2013: Jaguar

In the days when it was producing the XK120 sports car (1948 through 1954), Jaguar was on the leading edge of design. Yet over the decades, despite the E-Type and mostly because of its sedans, the brand gained a reputation for being staid and stoic and cloaked in romantic notions. In the last few years, […]

Private Preview 2013: Lincoln

Lincoln design director Max Wolff faces a challenge. The American brand once represented the pinnacle of automotive luxury. Today, Lincoln—a part of Ford Motor Company—is reinventing itself in order to remain relevant in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Luxury-car buyers have become more culturally progressive than their predecessors and more open-minded, according to Wolff. Such attitudes […]