Robb Report December 2014


From This Issue

Faith and Fraud

On an icy February evening in 1920, a young woman plunged from a bridge into Berlin’s Landwehr Canal. A policeman pulled her inert form from the frigid water and took her to a nearby station house. The authorities found no identification on her person, and when questioned, the woman told them, “I have asked for […]

A Breathtaking Vu

Founded in 1926, the Turin, Italy–based Società Italiana Auto Trasformazione Accessori, better known by the acronym Siata, was developing performance modifications for Fiats more than two decades before the arrival of Carlo Abarth, the more renowned Fiat tuner. From 1952 to 1954, Siata produced a brilliant sports car of its own design, the 208S, which […]

Keyed In

Paul Gentile, the Canadian artist who created the one-of-a-kind Steinway White House Piano in Miniature (mini.steinway​.com), intended to make a second, but he was advised not to. That advice came from his neurologist. The doctor told him, “You had better make some decisions before your body does.” The 16 years Gentile spent working full-time on the […]

Anniversary Ring

Patek Philippe marks 175 years with its most sophisticated wristwatch yet. Thierry Stern, president of the Geneva-based watch manufacturer Patek Philippe, bristles when he recalls the discouraging words he once heard as a trainee at the company he now runs. “They told me, ‘Good luck. Everything has been done before, and you will never do […]

Compact Cat

Though the XE will be Jaguar’s smallest model, it figures big in the company’s plans. With the recently revealed XE, a lightly down-priced and downsized sedan, Jaguar will attempt to make up for lost time and gain ground that it has been surrendering since the 1970s to BMW’s spirited 3 Series and also, in more recent […]

Fast Forward

Piaggio’s Avanti turboprop has evolved to offer greater range, more comfort, and as much speed as ever. The Avanti Evo, Piaggio Aero’s newest twin turboprop, retains the distinctive look of its predecessor while offering longer and quieter flights. And with a top speed of more than 460 mph, the new model is just as fast as […]

Hide and Seek

The buffalo are skittish this morning. Clustered into a bunch, with the strongest bulls on guard along the perimeter, the herd shuffles toward the watering hole for a drink, then suddenly retreats, alarmed by some unseen adversary. Moments later, a second attempt is made, but again the potential danger prompts the group to bolt back […]

Hot Commodities

A shipwreck’s discovery could increase the demand for Arctic and Antarctic exploration relics. The discovery in September of the HMS Erebus under the Arctic waters of the Queen Maud Gulf may eventually benefit Canada’s national interests. But in the short run, it almost certainly added to the value of an auction lot that sold a […]

Generous Pours

Oenophiles flock to Florida for the nation’s most exclusive wine auction. When a marching band assembles on the otherwise serenely verdant lawns of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., locals and staff brace themselves for a wave of invading oenophiles prepared to abandon themselves to the unrestrained consumption and purchase of rare wines. This gathering […]

One and Done

Each of sculptor John Elwell’s classic-car renderings is a singular work.  The British artist John Elwell took up sculpture to entertain himself, and it seems he finds nothing more fun than paying strict attention to detail. The 65-year-old retired aircraft engineer has focused on classic cars for the past decade, rendering them in a combination of […]

Village People

Two designers debut one-of-a-kind private resort communities in Bali. One is a famed Frenchman, the other an accomplished designer and the daughter of the jewelry-brand owner John Hardy. Each is creating a private community in Bali, where topographical extremes—breezy beaches and jungle-covered mountains—provide two distinct backdrops for their two distinct visions of life on the Indonesian […]

Alpine Art

Vintage ski posters present uplifting visions of Champagne powder and sunny skies. Owning a ski Chalet is not a prerequisite to acquiring a vintage ski poster, but it is something that many buyers have in common, says Nicholas Lowry, president and principal auctioneer of Swann Auction Galleries in New York. “What distinguishes ski posters is […]

Small Change, Big Success

The Audi R8 LMS Ultra racecar that won the most recent edition of the 24 Hours Nürburgring endurance race has much in common with the R8 V10 sports car from which it derives. It would be an understatement to say that 2014 has been a good year for Audi. For the 13th time in 15 years, an Audi won the 24 […]

Sparkle & Swing

The elegant sway of tassel jewels—a style favored in delicate motifs during the Edwardian era and in more daring iterations as the Twenties roared—has resurfaced in colorfully kinetic new designs that put precious stones in playful motion.  Chanel Fine Jewelry earrings with white gold, diamonds, and black diamonds, $162,000 (800.550.0005, (Continues on next page…) Solange Azagury-Partridge yellow-gold-and-diamond ring, $5,900 (212.879.9100, […]

Cool in Camel

Traditional camel hues exhibit the endurance of the dromedary itself. This warm color for cool seasons has enlivened wardrobe staples for generations, but this season, the timeless tint enhances some very versatile and modern designs. The camel’s pleasing palette assumes a sporty edge on suede and leather jackets, and it lends eye-pleasing appeal to trim, body-shaping […]

Speed and Endurance

Aston Martin’s small and sporty V12 Vantage S Roadster has the potential to live a long and fast life.  The Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, Calif., sits atop a bluff in the Santa Rosa Mountains, surrounded by a bighorn sheep reserve and overlooking Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. The setting is breathtaking and exclusive. It is […]

The Kosher Riviera

The threat of conflict forever clouds Israel’s tourism industry, though you may never know it in the high tech–fueled coastal town of Herzliya.  In the spring of 2014, the relative calm before the storm in Israel, a yacht raced from the Herzliya marina and out into the open sea. The thicket of sailing masts in […]

The Robb Reader: Kara Ross

Kara Ross’s world travels—and the artists and craftspeople she has met along the way—frequently inform the New York–based jewelry designer’s whimsical creations. Her adventures and encounters have also inspired her to amass an eclectic anthology of artworks, artifacts, vintage clothing, and curiosities that reflects her independent spirit. Many of the pieces—from python-covered candlesticks to larger-than-life […]

Holiday Lights

Much like the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, the market for top-quality cigars this holiday season is defined by three themes: the past, the present, and the future. Through the handiwork of such brands as Avo, Arturo Fuente, L’Atelier, and Cubano Limitado, smokers are once again enjoying thin and elegant lanceros, a classic cigar […]

Beast in the Bottle

The wild spirit of Mortlach single-malt whisky is recaptured at last. One of Scotland’s most elusive single malts acquired its sobriquet, “the Beast of Dufftown,” because of its thick, muscular character; however, like some beasts in the wild, this spirit has proved difficult to track down over the decades. In fact, among collectors, few single malts enjoy the […]