Private Preview


First look at autos, resorts, boats, watches and more. Also Aston martin's Rapide revealed, Tiger Woods' debut golf course, 500-foot gigayachts, and 300 MPH DiMora super sedan.  Plus world's best wine-country escapes and a vintage car rally: Hong Kong to Beijing in a Rolls-Royce.

From This Issue

From The Editors: Space Reservations

“Secluded location and spectacular views!” a reviewer might write about what would be the world’s most expensive hotel. “But no flushing toilets.” Galactic Suite, a Barcelona company that was established earlier this year, is the latest entrant in the space tourism race. And if it can figure out how to get a marble bathroom into […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Do the Locomotion

The tourbillon mechanism was invented more than 200 years ago to diminish gravity’s effect on a watch’s precision. But instead of diffusing gravity’s force, Harry Winston’s Tourbillon Glissiere, which features a flying tourbillon and linear power reserve indicator, harnesses it. Evoking the wheels and pistons of a steam locomotive, the Glissiere’s two platinum blocks glide […]

FrontRunners: Montblanc

When Montblanc issued its first limited-edition pen, a tribute to Lorenzo de’ Medici, in 1992, Barry Rubin became a man possessed. Since then the former CPA has collected more than a thousand rare and limited-edition writing instruments, or as he calls them, “art, five inches tall.” Along with Montblancs, pens from Cartier, S.T. Dupont, David […]

FrontRunners: British Wide Open

In 1923, Walter Owen Bentley, founder of the car company that bears his name, determined that driving enthusiasts wanted a more potent version of the standard 3-liter Bentley. Thus were born the Bentley Speed models, 4-cylinder vehicles that reached the then extraordinary velocity of 90 mph. More recently, the firm concluded that drivers wanted a […]

FrontRunners: Body Work

Physician and anatomist Andreas Vesalius’ 1543 work De humani corporis fabrica libri septem is among the most important medical books in history. But Dr. Dean Edell, who is known more for hosting a radio talk show than for collecting books, likes his first edition for another, less obvious reason: He regards its illustrations of the […]

FrontRunners: Photo Op

During a rough stint covering World War II, British photojournalist George Rodger took some remarkable photos in Africa, including the one of horsemen shown above. In 1947, Rodger, along with his colleagues Robert Capa, David Seymour, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, founded Magnum Photos, a cooperative that produced some of the most memorable images ever recorded by […]

FrontRunners: Curve Appeal

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker system (www­ not only is compatible with the iPod, but just might be worthy of it. The striking, airship-shaped system employs technology borrowed from B&W’s famed 800 Series speakers, including the Flowport, a design that extracts deeper bass from woofers without producing the huffing and puffing that characterizes many […]

FrontRunners: Light Speed

The term muscle scooter might sound self-contradictory, but it aptly describes the Aprilia Sportcity 250 (www­ Aprilia, a unit of the Italian vehicle maker Piaggio, is best known for its sportbikes, and it has packed the new Sportcity with technology derived from those race-winning machines, including an electronic fuel-injected engine and 15-inch wheels. The Sportcity […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Those who have met Richard Geoffroy know they are unlikely to meet anyone more passionate about Champagne than he is. Of course, he is the cellar master for Dom Pérignon, a most distinguished office first occupied by Pierre Pérignon, who in the late 17th century tended the cellar in Hautvillers Abbey. There he devoted his […]

FrontRunners: Whiskey Shooter

Ardbeg (www­, the maker of what is considered the smokiest of Islay whiskies, has released examples of its 1974 vintage in a forceful package: a rifle case designed by the London-based gun manufacturer James Purdey & Sons. The company has set a price of $20,000 for each of the 50 cases. Each hand-stitched leather enclosure […]

FrontRunners: Global Perspectives

For centuries, determined pilgrims have endured grueling conditions to visit sites such as the lost city of Petra and Easter Island. For a cost of $77,750, participants in Abercrombie & Kent’s Nine World Wonders by Private Jet tour (www­ can reach those destinations while enjoying flutes of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle in the lounge of a […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

The new CAO Gold Maduro cigar originated as part of CAO’s Concept Series, a group of experimental blends available only to those who visited the company’s Nashville, Tenn., headquarters. Guests’ enthusiastic response to the cigar prompted CAO to market it. The filler and binder tobaccos are the same robust, subtly spicy Nicaraguan leaves the company […]

Spirits: Honest to Abe

According to local folklore, a woman named Old Meg resided at the Strathisla distillery in Speyside for several decades during the 19th century. She lived in a dingy room where the spent ale was stored, earning a meager living by sewing barley sacks. Rarely did she venture into the daylight, and after years in her […]

Wine: Merlot Masterpieces

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. Whether the gratitude in question is that of the artist toward the forces that created him, or that of the audience toward the creative genius who has bestowed on them his imaginative bounty, is unclear. Yet for restaurateur-turned-vintner John Schwartz, the […]

Dining: Sea Rations

Rod Browne Mitchell sometimes rises early to go fishing aboard his 23-foot powerboat before heading to his office in Portland, Maine. For Mitchell, the founder and owner of Browne Trading Co., a purveyor of seafood and caviar, these morning excursions are busman’s holidays. He sells his catch of mackerel and striped bass at the company’s […]

Autos: Seeing the Light

Ferrari’s recently retired Formula One champ Michael Schumacher was back behind the wheel of an F/1 racer, leaving trails of rubber as he slid the car around the corners of a test track. Not far away, more than 1,000 Ferraris were on display outside the white-brick building that used to serve as the home and […]

Motorcycles: Out of Sight

Victory Motorcycles has introduced an impressive array of big American cruisers over the past decade; the Hammer, Vegas, and Kingpin bikes each displayed a fresh design and distinctive flair. Now, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, Victory has again demonstrated its vision with the release of the Vision, a futuristic-looking motorcycle that is available […]

Boating: Rider on the Storm

In mid-march, during the 20th Maine Boatbuilders Show, a late-winter storm pummeled the Maine coast. The blizzard dropped 7 inches of snow on Portland, the city hosting the event, and whipped its harbor into a frenzy of whitecaps and waves. But the weather did not dissuade Sabre Yachts CEO Daniel Zilkha from launching his company’s […]

Collectibles: Anchor Man

The next best thing to exploring the wreck of Titanic might be visiting Peter Boyd-Smith’s antiques shop, Cobwebs, in Southampton, England. Titanic items remain especially popular with his clients. He recently sold a chair that might have come from a restaurant on the doomed ocean liner. He cannot guarantee its provenance because Titanic and her […]

Golf: Dude, Where’s My Ball?

A wind blows across the hills of British Columbia’s backcountry toward the green of Tobiano’s par-3 seventh hole, which is set atop a sage-covered bluff. From the back tee, 189 yards away, the green looks awfully small, perhaps because it and the tee box are the hole’s only safe areas of play. The rest is […]

Travel: Getting First in Line

Window seats at the Seattle Art Museum’s new Taste restaurant afford views, directly across First Avenue, of the pink-lettered marquee of the Lusty Lady. “We’re open, not clothed,” the sign sometimes reads, a reference not only to the peep show’s performers but to its staying power. The operation—which purportedly has rejected multimillion-dollar buyout offers from […]

Wardrobe: Style by the Sea

San Francisco retailer Wilkes Bashford once vowed he never would open a store in any location where he could not be accessible in person to his clientele. So when he took over the former Saks Fifth Avenue space in the center of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., last year, Bashford purchased a second home within walking distance. “My […]

Art: Shipping Center

Donald Demers’ first submission to a juried maritime art exhibit fared only slightly better than the painting’s subject. The Thomas W. Lawson was a huge, seven-masted, early-20th-century schooner that naval historians regard as an intriguing failure. It launched in 1902 and wrecked five years later in a storm off the coast of England. “It’s an […]

Jewelry: Rock Art

“Collecting rare, colored diamonds is like building an art collection,” says Thierry Chaunu, president and chief operating officer of Leviev. “One incredible painting on the wall is not enough, just like one pink diamond isn’t enough.” Over the last decade, the New York–based diamond company has built an extraordinary cache of natural colored diamonds, including […]

Home: Inside Jobs

Back in June, a Medici was on the mind of Markus Döttling. “The most outstanding piece just arrived from Italy, a [safe] from the Medici dynasty originally produced in Milan in 1770,” said Markus, the German-born, 36-year-old chief executive of Döttling Luxury Safes. His great-grandfather, Ernst Döttling, founded the family business in 1919 in Sindelfingen, […]

2008 Private Preview: Rapide Fire

At various times in the previous century, Rapide—an exotic and evocative word—has denoted a fabric and plywood airliner (in the 1930s), a cycle-fendered roadster (also in the ’30s), and a European fast ferry (’90s). Now the name Rapide has returned, raised from the dust by British carmaker Aston Martin, keeper of the flame and files […]

2008 Private Preview: Reincarnated 928

Appearing like a 911 coupe captured through a wide-angle lens, the Panamera is Porsche’s answer to Mercedes-Benz’s highly successful four-door, four-passenger CLS. The Panamera—named after La Carrera Panamericana, the Mexican road race—is perhaps a long-awaited assembly-line version of the 989, a four-door concept car that Porsche considered producing in the late 1980s. (The company was […]

2008 Private Preview: Super Commuter

“This is not just a show car,” proclaims Alfred DiMora, founder and CEO of DiMora Motorcar, a boutique automaker in Palm Springs, Calif. “In essence, we are bringing Silicon Valley to Detroit by building the most technologically advanced car in the world right here in America.” Any other entrepreneur might be considered an eccentric just […]

2008 Private Preview: Japanese Rocketry

The GT-R is to sushi and soy sauce what the Corvette is to apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Originally sold in 1969 under the Datsun brand, the model has long been revered by Japan’s driving enthusiasts. However, until now, GT-Rs never have crossed the Pacific, officially at least; a few gray-market imports have made […]

2008 Private Preview: Off the Track

While competing in its third Grand Prix motor racing season in 1987, Aprilia won its first title, at the Grand Prix of San Marino. Since then, the Italian producer of motorcycles and scooters has won 32 world titles and recorded 250 individual victories. Despite its racing success, the brand has remained relatively obscure in the […]

2008 Private Preview: Into the Woods

Fans of Tiger Woods are familiar with the grainy home movies and taped television appearances that testify to the then-youngster’s penchant for the game of golf. Less well known is his early interest in golf course design. At the age of 11, Woods entered a hole-design contest sponsored by Golf Digest. However, in what has […]

2008 Private Preview: Green Acres

Hidden within Napa’s Howell Mountain is a $2 million wine cave whose twisting and turning tunnels follow the shape of PlumpJack Winery’s shield insignia. The 14,500-square-foot facility is part of the new Cade Winery, which is scheduled to open in spring of 2008. Like PlumpJack, Cade is co-owned by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and […]

2008 Private Preview: Setting the Tables

Alain Ducasse’s vaunted ability as a chef might by matched by his flair for selecting restaurant sites. He soon will add four establishments to his ever-expanding empire—two in New York, one in London, and one in Paris—each of which will be housed in a notable setting. Adour is slated for a November debut in Manhattan’s […]

2008 Private Preview: Tera-Incognita

Noah’s ark, it could be argued, was the first gigantic yacht, although undoubtedly its amenities, while suitable for most of its passengers, fell short of today’s standards. The Bible states that the ark was 300 cubits long, which, given that most scholars peg a cubit at 18 inches, would place the vessel at about 450 […]

2008 Private Preview: Time Machine

Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea captured the imagination of Fabrice Gonet, who read the novel as a boy at his grandfather’s home in Switzerland. Years later, Gonet recalled Verne’s fantastical undersea adventures and imaginary inventions as he conceived his second timepiece for HD3 Complication, the watch company that Gonet, Jorg Hysek, and Valérie […]

2008 Private Preview: Three for the Show

Each October, virtually every boat manufacturer in the world comes to southeastern Florida. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show has taken place annually since 1959, when it featured 47 vessels, the longest of which measured 26 feet. Last year the event covered six sites encompassing more than 3 million square feet and showcased more than […]

2008 Private Preview: Lasting Legacy

Watchmaker Emmanuel Breguet, a seventh-generation descendant of Abraham-Louis Breguet and the only family member still involved in the namesake business, dons white cotton gloves as we prepare to peruse the archives of the company that his ancestor founded in 1775 in Paris. “I’m the guardian of the grail,” says the 42-year-old Emmanuel as he removes […]

2008 Private Preview: Speed Demon

The Centigraphe Souverain has a closer connection to car racing than some automotive-themed watches. For Antiquorum’s 30th anniversary auction in 2004, Geneva watchmaker François-Paul Journe created Vagabondage, a set of three unique timepieces. Proceeds from the sale of the watches went to the Institute for Cerebral and Medullary (spinal) Disorders in Paris, the charity of […]

2008 Private Preview: Diamond Dynasty

Kwiat, a Polish surname that is pronounced “kwee-ot,” might not be a marketing firm’s preference for a brand moniker, but the Kwiat family is understandably attached to it. Though hardly a household name, Kwiat is widely known throughout the diamond industry as a supplier of stones and as a manufacturer of jewelry. Early next year, […]

2008 Private Preview: Titan Treasures

Francis Mertens contends that you cannot create truly innovative designs if you try to make them from traditional precious metals. “Gold and platinum are heavy and thus limiting in what you can make,” says Mertens, a former trucking entrepreneur who five years ago opened his first diamond jewelry workshop in his native Antwerp, Belgium. Instead […]

2008 Private Preview: In Concert

A typical home theater includes six to eight speakers and a like number of electronic components, which must be interconnected with at least five different types of wire and configured to operate properly with each other. Even the professionals who install and service these systems find that creating reliable, easy-to-use home theaters demands a team […]

The Pride of Kenya: Fixing the Future

A student is nodding off in his morning math class, a common occurrence among the 266 day students who attend Olkiramatian Arid Zone School, a public elementary school in Kenya. The boy cannot be older than 6, and he rose early to walk several miles to school. Odds are he left home without eating breakfast and […]

Grape Escapes: Hotel Marqués de Riscal

Arriving at the new Hotel Marqués de Riscal, perched atop the Riojan winery’s cavernous aging cellars at the edge of the medieval village of Elciego, Spain, recalls the scene from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind in which Richard Dreyfuss tentatively approaches a pulsating UFO on a remote mountaintop. Gleaming, fixed titanium ribbons […]

Feature: Grape Escapes

Diners in the second-floor restaurant at Marqués de Riscal’s new hotel in Elciego, Spain, can descend in one of three elevators—built into the main pillars that support the Frank Gehry–designed structure—to La Catedral, or the Cathedral. The reverential term refers to the Rioja winery’s place of worship, its cellar, where visitors can choose from vintages […]

Grape Escapes: Castello Banfi il Borgo

Wherever one looks in Italy, one sees the overlapping of eras, centuries, and epochs, like so many layers of glaze coating every surface with an indelible patina. Ancient terra-cotta pieces and Roman coins lie about in the soil where tractors till, but the Italians take these dejecta membra of history as a matter of course. […]

Grape Escapes: Peppers the Louise

Since its first vintage in 1951, Penfolds Grange has been the prototype Australian Shiraz, a robust, cellar-worthy red that has spawned imitators in the Barossa Valley and beyond. As a guest at Peppers the Louise, a 15-suite hotel located two miles from the Penfolds winery, you, too, can attempt to clone South Australia’s standard-bearer. The […]

Grape Escapes: Cavas Wine Lodge

Ask Cavas Wine Lodge owner Cecilia Díaz Chuit to suggest a tranquil place for lunch, and she might send you off—with a picnic of serrano ham and arugula sandwiches on just-baked whole-grain bread—to explore the property’s vineyard on a mountain bike. Any location you choose will afford vistas of snowcapped Andes peaks, but you need […]

Wings & Water: Boat Camp

“Man overboard!” Electrified, the crew members leap into action. On this blustery March day in the Pacific Ocean off San Francisco, the water temperature stands at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If a sailor remains in the water for only a couple of minutes, he could suffer cold shock and drown. When a passenger or crew […]

One Last Thing…

  The ItemThis medallion flew into space aboard Apollo 12 in 1969. Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. had a total of 82 of them struck from silver ingots recovered from a Spanish ship that sank in 1715 near what is now Cape Canaveral, Fla. Conrad and fellow astronauts Alan Bean and Richard Gordon Jr. took […]

Wheels: Beijing or Bust

Checkered flags fluttered, TV cameras rolled, onlookers waved, and ancient motors revved, as the procession of vehicles, the likes of which rarely are seen in China, majestically rolled away from the Hong Kong Harbour Plaza hotel. With that, the 2007 Hong Kong–Beijing Classic Car Rally was under way. From here, the cars would proceed 2,500 […]

Grape Escapes: Clos Apalta Lodge

Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle’s favorite rock sits halfway up a narrow hiking trail at the Clos Apalta estate in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. A quick scramble up the almost perfectly round, Volkswagen Beetle–size boulder puts Lapostolle in position to admire her property: hillsides and a valley floor planted with Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot; a […]

Feature: Jaded Beauty

The anxiety becomes palpable in the city of Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma), each March and November, when Asian stone dealers convene for the government-run auctions of rough jadeite. The sales produce revenue for the country’s government, a military regime with a dubious human rights record. But politics are not the source of the tension at […]

Feature: The Pride of Kenya

Hell’s Gate National Park, despite its name, is one of Kenya’s more welcoming destinations. Indeed, you can roam areas of the wildlife reserve’s 26 square miles with little fear of being eaten; few of the big cats—lions and leopards—tend to cross the borders into the park. No animal poses any threat to my fellow passengers […]

Feature: Fit for a Sun King

A couple’s search for a home that would recall the era of Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, ultimately led them from Paris to London, to a historic, white-stucco building in Eaton Square. Inside the terraced edifice, they found a 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom flat that opens onto a garden shared by the buildings’ residents. The first preference […]

Grape Escapes: Poetry Inn

The Cliff Lede Estate in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District is a patchwork of vineyard plots on either side of the Silverado Trail. Planted with Bordelaise varietals and named for classic rock songs, the parcels stretch across the flat valley floor to the west of the road and climb a steep incline toward the Stags Leap Palisades to the east. […]

Contributors: Ticking into the Future

The future has become au courant in watch designs, says senior editor Laurie Kahle, who writes about HD3 Complication’s Vulcania and F.P. Journe’s Centigraphe Souverain, two of the more than two dozen products and places featured in this issue’s Private Preview 2008 special section. “We’re seeing a lot of these over-the-top designs that are very […]

Grape Escapes: Cave B Inn

“Even the French say the best wines are created from vines that see the river,” says SageCliffe winemaker Berle “Rusty” Figgins over dinner at the estate’s Tendrils Restaurant. At SageCliffe, a 680-acre spread in central Washington’s Columbia Valley, nearly everything sees the river, from the Sangiovese vines just beyond Tendrils’ terrace to the property’s Cave […]