Robb Report December 2015


Holiday Extravaganza The World's 31 Most Amazing Gifts Featuring the Dragon of the Seas  Plus 30 More Rare and Radical Finds

From This Issue

Royal Favors

In our rush during this season to give material expression to our regard for one another in the form of gifts (see “The Ultimate Gift Guide,” page 141), we are apt to forget the uncommon origins of this quite common tradition. The custom, of course, finds its prototype in the proverbial Three Kings, who were […]

Street Cred

Dior Homme flaunts an edgy take on classic eveningwear. Sitting in his office off the Champs-Élysées, Kris Van Assche looks sophisticated and cool in a tailored gray blazer and trousers with a crisp white T-shirt and argyle-print Adidas sneakers. It is a summer day in Paris, and the artistic director of Dior Homme is talking […]

Getting Sirius

A whiskey connoisseur’s brand bottles rare and novel spirits. In 2011, the whiskey collector Mahesh Patel (see “Cask Masters”) bottled a barrel of 1966 Glenfarclas and one of 1989 Glenfarclas from his personal cache to coincide with the launch of his Universal Whisky Experience, an annual multiday event in Las Vegas for fans of the […]

The Human Factor

Relationships define the terroir-rich wines of Donelan Family in California’s Sonoma County. The same asset that enabled Joe Donelan to prosper as vice president of A.T. Clayton—an East Coast enterprise supplying paper to catalog and magazine publishers—prompted him to launch a new career as vintner: a genuine affection for others. “Deep down, if I had to […]

Bubbling Over

Mexico City’s exuberant dining scene has an elegant new addition: La Table Krug. For food lovers in Mexico City, these are heady days. Mexican chefs who made their mark abroad are returning home to open ambitious restaurants such as Rosetta, where Elena Reygadas, formerly of New York and London, creates fine pasta and seasonal Mexican […]

Yin and Yang

Three new hotels balance the dual nature of an emerging Chinese capital.  Just a few years ago, Chengdu was considered a small town by Chinese standards. Known for its spicy cuisine, traditional teahouse culture, and the endangered panda bears that inhabit its surrounding mountains, the city seemed to operate at a more leisurely pace than […]

High Rollers

Trek Travel takes cyclists to the top in style.  “If you are going to do the climb,” Wiebe Moeys told me, “you should skip wine with lunch.” Moeys, a guide on my Trek Travel cycling trip through Tuscany and the Italian Riviera, offered wise but disheartening counsel—especially considering we were at a charming outdoor trattoria […]

Springs Eternal

A new retreat taps into the treasures of the ancient city of Bath.  The baths are eerily quiet as I float on my back and gaze up at the towering Roman columns, which stretch toward the soaring glass atrium and, beyond, the inky night sky. In the cavernous room to my right, a stone lion […]

Rock On

Pete Dye spins a new track at his mystical masterpiece in Pennsylvania. When the Mystic Rock golf course at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort hosted its first PGA Tour event in 2003, the winner, J. L. Lewis, posted a final score of 22 under par. Lewis’s low mark was one factor that impelled the course’s designer, Pete […]

Speed Demon

The 707 hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has its performance priorities straight. Much like swinging a sledgehammer or devouring a 32-​ounce porterhouse steak, driving an honest-to-god muscle car can satisfy a primordial urge. The new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat did the trick in August, addressing my desire to move fast and make noise en route […]

What’s in a Name

Roger Dubuis embraces its founder’s values with a series of vintage-movement timepieces. The first in Roger Dubuis’s series of one-of-a-kind timepieces organized around combinations of vintage movements, the Hommage Millésime pocket watch ($892,500) is the most interesting and, in many ways, counter­intuitive project the Geneva-based watch brand has undertaken in years. Although restoring and assembling these […]

Hidden Treasure

Pomellato’s cache of prized gems is ripe for discovery.  Stacked floor to ceiling inside the highly protected vault room of Pomellato’s expansive jewelry workshop are bins of rough stones waiting to be delivered to stonecutters. The jagged rocks—citrines, tourmalines, amethysts, and more, some as big as fists, others the size of pebbles—await transformation at the hands […]

Get Pumped

An ongoing series of auctions is cause for excitement among petroliana collectors. Kyle Moore owned what is likely the world’s largest assemblage of petroliana and kept it at his house in rural Oklahoma, about 90 miles west of Oklahoma City. He was private about his collection and seldom invited visitors to see it. Dan Matthews, […]

The Sound of Silence

The Gift:  ❄ Wider’s new 150-foot superyacht. ❄ About $30 million   An evolution of the indoor-outdoor living areas on superyachts began 25 years ago, when Blohm + Voss launched Lady Moura. The 344-footer features a hatch in the starboard side of the hull that opens to a cabana. Later yachts were designed with balconies that […]

Space Explorer

The Gift:  ❄ The first example of the Hysek IO 45 mm Skeleton Tourbillon with Blue Sapphire. ❄ $119,000   “The idea behind the watch is to give maximum transparency to the tourbillon movement,” says Ralph Aljord, vice president of Hysek, the watch and accessory design firm. “For this piece, we’ve kept the empty space [of a skeleton watch] but have […]

Suiting Up

The Gift:  ❄ An Isaia wardrobe, including two suits, a sport coat and trousers, a formal ensemble, a topcoat, shirts and neckties to accompany each look, beach attire, and shoes.  ❄ A private wardrobe consultation and fitting with Isaia’s master tailor in Naples, Italy. ❄ Two nights’ accommodations in a suite at the Eurostars Hotel Excelsior for the […]

Magic Dragon

The Gift: ❄ DeepFlight’s new 16-foot-long, two-person submersible. ❄$1.5 million Although the new DeepFlight Dragon submersible can dive as deep as 400 feet below the surface of an ocean or lake, it is as easy to operate as any personal watercraft. In fact, because the sub is controlled with a lever and a joystick, maneuvering it […]

Cask Masters

The Gift: ❄ A private-jet trip to Scotland for as many as five people with the renowned whiskey collector Mahesh Patel. ❄ A rare cask of Glenfarclas single-malt whisky from the 1960s. ❄ Private tours, tastings, and whisky dinners at the Glenfiddich, Dalmore, and Strathisla distilleries. ❄ Bespoke decanters from Glencairn Crystal Studios. ❄ A membership […]

Cruise Control

The Gift:  ❄ A private charter of Silversea Cruises’ new 295-suite Silver Muse for a weeklong voyage through the Mediterranean.  ❄ $2.695 million Anchored among the cruise ships that converge in the Mediterranean every summer, a Silversea vessel can seem quaint by comparison. The relatively discreet size of the Italian brand’s boats, none of which […]

A Golden Opportunity

The Gift: ❄ A one-of-a-kind strand of rare golden South Sea pearls produced by Jewelmer Joaillerie. ❄ One night at the Peninsula Manila for the recipient and a guest.  ❄ Transportation by seaplane from Manila to Taytay, Palawan, for a four-night stay in a villa at Flower Island Resort. ❄ A private tour of the Jewelmer pearl […]

School of Vine Arts

The Gift:  ❄ A five-day visit for four people to Florence and the Antinori family’s wine estates in Tuscany and Umbria, with travel by private helicopter and car from Florence to Tenuta Guado al Tasso in Bolgheri, Castello della Sala in Orvieto, and Tenuta Tignanello in Chianti Classico.  ❄ Tastings of Marchesi Antinori’s signature wines […]

Above and Beyond

The Gift:  ❄ A donation to Rhinos Without Borders to fund the organization’s capture, transport, and release of two rhinoceroses.  ❄ A 10-day safari visiting and Beyond and Great Plains Conservation lodges in South Africa and Botswana. ❄ Participation in either the capture or the release of the two rhinos. ❄ Starting at $250,000 A half million […]

First in Line

David Brown Automotive, an English marque that launched last year, is offering a Robb Report reader the opportunity to own the first Speedback GT ($775,000) delivered to the United States. The body of the Speedback GT—the company’s inaugural model—is made from 142 aluminum panels that are hammered, shaped, and assembled by hand during a build […]

Continued Success

Shelby American is building 50 Daytona Cobra Coupe continuation cars to coincide with the golden anniversary of the original Daytona Cobra Coupe’s 1965 FIA World Sportscar Championship GT III Class victory. The first of the continuation cars ($750,000) is being offered exclusively to Robb Report readers. Carroll Shelby and his crew developed the Daytona Cobra Coupe […]

Air Play

Nearly a decade in the making, the Icon A5 amphibious light-sport aircraft (starting at $189,000) is finally in service and ready to be flown—by new pilots and experienced ones alike—on weekend getaways, lake-hopping excursions, and camping trips. Icon Aircraft, which made its first delivery of an A5 in July, designed the unpressurized, two-seat plane to […]

Secrets of the Heart

It is believed that during his reign as the king of Italy from 1861 until his death in 1878, Victor Emmanuel II kept love letters from his longtime mistress, Rosa Vercellana, in a safe that he had commissioned specifically for that purpose. Three years ago, during the demolition of a house in southern Germany, the […]

A Snail’s Grace

When Arun Bohra first laid eyes on this gift’s vivid blue-green stone, he simply had to have it. He acquired it through a prominent diamond dealer, and rather than set it in a traditional diamond ring, the adventurous jeweler created a special backdrop: a playful design inspired by his 3-year-old son’s obsession with snails. The […]

Steeped in Tradition

The Danish company Georg Jensen has long embraced collaboration. Some of the century-old silversmithing house’s most notable pieces of flatware and hollowware are the work of designers such as Harald Nielsen, Henning Koppel, and Sigvard Bernadotte, who not only were allowed to pursue their own visions but also were given their own brand signs with […]

A Natural Fit

One of the founding fathers of the 20th century’s studio furniture movement, George Nakashima saw beauty where others could not. The designer, who passed away in 1990, regularly scoured the leftovers of lumberyards, plucking up seemingly useless scraps of wood to shape some of his generation’s most prized pieces. His work has been exhibited in […]

Gold Rush

Purists believe that caviar is best sampled on the hand—a technique that invites informality and thus leaves guests without the thrill of ceremony. This point was not lost on Ruediger Benedikt, a Barcelona-based designer who observed the crystal and stainless-steel caviar servers available to private hosts and imagined a sophisticated revision. “I really thought that […]

Not-Just-for-Junior Cars

A disappointing gift prompted Nathan Redfeam, a cofounder of the Harrington Group, to go into the business of building and selling fully functional half-size automobiles—or, as the company calls them, Junior Cars ($10,995 to $12,399). Years ago, he surprised his nephew with a toy version of a classic car. The car was expensive, but to […]

Riveting Replica

Amalgam Fine Model cars of Bristol, England, is offering an exact one-fifth-scale replica of the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic ($260,000), a styling tour de force from the mid-1930s that has become one of the world’s most valuable collector cars. Bugatti built only four Atlantics, two of which have survived in their original condition.  Amalgam can […]

Eyes and Ears of the Beholder

For this gift, Robb Report has assembled a Bang & Olufsen entertainment system (about $129,000) around the Danish manufacturer’s new flagship loudspeaker, the BeoLab 90. The speaker stands more than 4 feet tall, weighs about 300 pounds, and looks like a cubist sculpture. In addition to a pair of BeoLab 90s, the package includes the […]

Trophy Case

Because watch collectors spend copious amounts of time admiring the tiny details of their fine timepieces, housing those pieces in a case with a similar level of artistry seems only appropriate. The Blue Marlin box ($3,395) created by artist Giuseppe Miniero is a true example of métiers d’art fashioned in the same spirit as the […]

Putting On the Ritz

In its 117-year history, the Hôtel Ritz in Paris has been the setting of many a momentous occasion. According to legend, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom once called for assistance while staying at the hotel, having wedged himself too tightly into his suite’s bathtub with a companion who was not his wife. In […]

Going to the Xtreme

When Bob Parsons founded Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) last year, he hired a former Ping engineer and Ping’s former director of product development and gave them free rein to build the best-performing clubs they could. After spending more than $12 million on research, development, and facilities, PXG recently launched its first line of clubs. It […]

Making Your Cases

A distinctive set of well-made luggage is an ideal present for the consummate globe-trotter, so for this gift Bottega Veneta will fashion a made-to-order crocodile-leather ensemble that suits the recipient’s taste and travel needs. Each piece ($27,000 to $65,000) will be handcrafted to the recipient’s specifications, including the shapes, colors, hardware, and other details. Also […]

Bearing Fruit

Fred Leighton is perhaps best known for its remarkable collection of estate and vintage jewelry, but the New York company with more than 30 years on Madison Avenue also produces new pieces that command attention. Consider, for instance, a pair of perfectly matched, pear-shaped diamonds cut from the same rough stone: Each of the 20-carat […]

The Essence of Attraction

In 1952, Marilyn Monroe told Life magazine that her bedtime attire consisted of Chanel No. 5 and nothing else. With that famous remark, the Hollywood star turned the spotlight on the fragrance, which the Russian perfumer Ernest Beaux had created for Chanel in 1921 using a complex blend of aldehydes and floral notes, including May […]

Sleep on It

Alistair Hughes wants to find your perfect match in the bedroom. As the managing director of the London-based Savoir Beds, he believes that a bed should fit like a glove—or a custom-made suit. “It’s about comfort, style, and allowing the client to have whatever they want,” he says, drawing a comparison between his company and […]

Sacred Sound

To the ears of many guitar aficionados, no guitar achieves a more beautiful acoustic tone than the D-45 model that C. F. Martin & Co. produced in the years before World War II. Martin made fewer than 100 examples of the D-45 before ceasing production in 1942. According to Isaiah Evans, director of vintage guitars […]

As Luck May Have It

The personal preferences of Suerte’s owner make the new 228-foot Tankoa yacht ideal for chartering.   The owner of Suerte had two nonnegotiable requests for its design: The interior had to be modern, comfortable, and welcoming enough for him to feel as though he were coming home whenever he came aboard; and there had to […]

All-American Perspective

From 18th-century weather vanes to contemporary canvases, a fashion mogul has assembled a collection that spans the nation’s history. Jerry Lauren’s Manhattan apartment reflects his life as a whole: It looks effortlessly perfect, but it is the result of decades of toil and thought. First your eye is drawn to the living room, where an […]

A Fresh Eye on Antiques

The annual Winter Antiques Show ( at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan is known for its strong selection of Americana and has been the source of some of Jerry Lauren’s most prized pieces. The oldest continuous annual show of its type in the United States—its 62nd edition takes place January 22 to 31, 2016—the […]

Borne to the Wild

An Indian Roadmaster carries its rider along South Africa’s scenic coastal roads to the country’s private game reserves.  An hour into a 10-day journey across South Africa, the Indian Roadmaster full-dress tourer was already proving its prowess as it powered up the cliff-side curves of Chapman’s Peak Drive, a highway at the southwestern extremity of […]

Tribute to a Tastemaker

A Houston collector pays homage to the wines of Colgin Cellars with a retrospective tasting of the Napa Valley winery’s remarkable releases.  In the rarefied realms where the planet’s finest wines are poured, at least five labels from California’s Napa Valley must take their rightful places alongside those designated as First Growths by the Bordeaux […]

The Robb Reader: Joss Kent

A conversation with the world explorer and conservationist.  Born into a legendary safari family in Kenya, Joss Kent knows well the world of adventure. After rising through the ranks of his father Geoffrey’s tour company, Abercrombie & Kent, he left the family business in 2012 to become the CEO of andBeyond, an experiential travel company […]

High Steaks

❄ It is the kind of service only elite chefs enjoy: A top purveyor sources the best sustainably farmed meat, personally curates a selection at regular intervals, and custom dry-ages the most prized cuts. Rocker Bros. Meat & Provisions provides such a service to leading chefs in Los Angeles, at restaurants including Redbird, Petrossian, Bestia, […]

A Whisky for the Ages

For many connoisseurs and collectors, a whisky bottled by Gordon & MacPhail is a precious commodity. The company, which was founded by James Gordon and Jon Alexander MacPhail in 1895 and has been owned by the Urquhart family since 1915, specializes in bottling rare single malts sourced from a range of Scottish distilleries. In 2010 […]