Touring with Force


A top-down turn in Aston Martin's V-12-powered Virage Volante. Plus, 7 top collectors: insights from leading experts of art, automobiles, watches & more. Also, new capitals of cuisine, delicious destinations worldwide.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Michael Ault

Michael Ault is the son of a Van Cleef and the stepson of Dean Witter. As such, the 48-year-old nightclub owner and promoter spent his childhood jetting between New York, London, Palm Beach, Fla., and other chic locales, absorbing the finer points of hospitality that he would later put to good use. His background in […]

Leisure: Scotch of Ages

We begin to age from the moment we are born. This law of nature also governs the life cycle of single-malt Scotch—those often prized whiskies that have been pot-distilled in Scotland by a single distillery. For these popular spirits, “birth” occurs when the distillate is poured into oak casks, where it must remain for a […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Magnificent Flying Machine

1965 Aston Martin Volante The archetypal spy car from the 1960s, Aston Martin’s DB5 continues to enthrall secret-agent aspirants and collectors alike with its timeless lines and classically British understatement. The DB5, produced from 1963 to 1965, was essentially the sixth and final series of its predecessor, the DB4. Aston Martin made 898 DB5 coupes […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Grand Illusion

The House of Chanel (800.550.0005, has long been inspired by the designer’s life and legend, and its new high-jewelry collection is drawn from a particularly artistic moment: Coco Chanel’s 1925 collaboration with Jean Cocteau, when she designed the costumes for his play Orpheus. The collection, called Contrastes, was unveiled at the July haute couture […]

New Capitals of Cuisine: Singapore: 21st-Century Fusion

The roads begin twisting and the architecture shrinks as my taxi snakes through the weathered shophouses of Singapore’s Chinatown. The historic neighborhood was almost demolished last decade to make way for more of the skyscrapers that sparkle in the distance on all sides. But these colorful remnants of a colonial past survived, and now they […]

New Capitals of Cuisine: Scandinavia: The Landscape Artist

“We have to go see Mr. Duck,” says Magnus Nilsson. I have just arrived in Jämtland, located about halfway up Sweden’s western coast, and have only begun to acquaint myself with this young chef who looks like a Malibu surfer but wears a Russian fur hat and packs a rifle in the back of his […]

FrontRunners: Riva Iseo

The recently launched Riva Iseo ( can be as quiet as its namesake—Lago Iseo, a northern Italian retreat not far from the constant commotion of Milan. The 27-foot runabout is available with an optional hybrid propulsion system that includes an all-electric cruising mode. When this system is engaged, the Iseo is powered by a 25-kilowatt […]

FrontRunners: Four Scores

BMW is introducing a 4-cylinder vehicle to the United States this fall for the first time in more than a decade. The $50,000 BMW Z4 sDrive28i Roadster ( is also the first U.S. model to be powered by BMW’s all-new Twin-Power Turbo 4-cylinder engine, which develops 240 hp and a stout 260 ft lbs of […]

FrontRunners: Game Face

In addition to telling time, the Christophe Claret 21 Blackjack ( watch features a blackjack game played by pressing pushers on the side of the case. The wearer can also try his hand at dice, which are visible through a side aperture. Claret, who has created a host of unorthodox time pieces for other brands, […]

FrontRunners: Rock and Read

Add to the long list of accessories designed for tablet devices the $19,000 LL2 Lounger (, an ergonomic rocking chair by Bonetti/Kozerski Studio in New York. At one end, the curved leather chair has a gap in which you can place your feet to prop up your knees and create a resting place for a […]

FrontRunners: Reacquired Taste

A jewel among Gustav Klimt landscapes will headline the Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale ( on November 2 in New York. Litzlberg am Attersee (Litzlberg on the Attersee), painted in 1914, could fetch $25 million or more. It is the second major Klimt landscape offered by Sotheby’s in two years; the London branch […]

FrontRunners: In Its Element

The cross-grained olive wood used in the Graf von Faber-Castell Elemento Collection ( references Faber-Castell’s origins as a family-owned pencil manufacturer. In 1761 cabinetmaker Caspar Faber started a small business in Stein, Germany, outside Nuremberg. He made maybe 10 pencils per week and walked them into town to sell at market. Two hundred fifty years […]

FrontRunners: Superior Pour

Conceived by CEO Maximilian J. Riedel, whose family has operated its namesake Austrian glassware company for 11 generations, the Riedel Mamba ( contoured vessel allows wine to aerate considerably faster than does a bowl-shaped decanter—almost 19 times faster, according to the company. Green glass and black glass designs are available for $495 each in a […]

FrontRunners: Fresh Eggs

The new 12-piece Les Fameux de Fabergé ( collection features the Ribbon Egg, a jeweled and enameled pendant adorned with a delicate diamond-fringed bow, and the sparkling titanium Diamond Egg, a pendant set with 394 white diamonds. The elaborate, one-of-a-kind designs were inspired by the jeweled Easter eggs that the House of Fabergé made a […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Due to the strict laws regulating their production, certified single-vintage Cognacs are somewhat elusive. So after Cognac house Camus discovered an especially rare example from Petite Champagne—one with documentation dating back to its barreling in 1964—the nearly 150-year-old distiller decided, in 2008, to bottle every last drop. Though it requires some time in the glass […]

Autos: Flower Power

British-built lotus road cars have long been known for their light weight and nimble handling. The Evora, introduced in 2009 as the company’s first all-new production model since 1995, embodies both of these virtues. The recently launched Evora S has more of a third quality for which Lotuses are not renowned: power. Lotus has fastened […]

Jewelry: Russian Revival

At the turn of the 20th century, Joseph Marchak was known as the Cartier of Kiev, a talented jeweler and craftsman of gold and silver objets d’art with a following that included the elite of Russia. He opened his first workroom in 1878, when he was just 24, and continued to create finely wrought gold […]

Boating: Sea Change

The Pershing brand has been synonymous with high-performance sport yachts for more than 25 years. But with its 2011 model line, the Italian builder—a subsidiary of the yachting conglomerate Ferretti Group—is looking beyond its fast-and-furious past to a more refined future. The brand’s new semicustom flagship model, the Pershing 108, marks this shift toward efficiency […]

Sport: Get Up, Stand Up

As my one-man outrigger canoe capsized in the Bora-Bora lagoon, I remembered the first rule of Kainalu XT training: Respect the water. I had gone into the paddling session with the mind-set of an experienced kayaker—overconfident and in control, rather than attuned to the subtleties of an unfamiliar canoe in unknown waters. Even in the […]

Spas: Local Motion

The Hilot therapy at the Aman Spa at Amanpulo, a 40-villa private-island resort in the Philippines, begins in a hearty bath of guava, calamondin leaves, ginger slices, and lemongrass. Bathers submerge up to their necks and marinate for 20 minutes, then follow their soak with a deep-tissue massage designed to flush out toxins from the […]

Home: French Dressing

Convention has never defined the work of Christian Lacroix. Before his famed fashion house fell into bankruptcy in 2009, the couturier paraded everything from 18th-century-inspired courtesan dresses and Romanian gypsy costumes to Spanish toreador boleros down the Paris runways. So it is fitting that when the quirky and irrepressible French designer decided to try his […]

Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Squeezed in among Hermès, Lanvin, and Yves Saint Laurent storefronts, the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, made its debut on the narrow shopping street of rue Saint-Honoré in June. Though quite stylish itself, the hotel presents a comforting contrast to the crowded street outside. Visible upon entry to the 1930s-era building, the Mandarin Oriental’s interior courtyard is […]


Hayman—the original private-island resort in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef region—was already scheduled for a renovation when two cyclones struck the property last January and February. The island, which first opened as a resort in 1950, was subsequently shuttered for the first time since it closed in the mid-1980s to be redeveloped as a luxury resort. […]

Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech

Based on traditional Berber designs, the modern-looking carpets at the Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech were made on massive looms by tribal weavers from the Atlas Mountains. Designers imported the yarn for the rugs from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, dyed the material for near-exact matches with traditional blue and beige hues, and then trained […]

Watches: Stellar Investment

The most complicated and expensive timepiece to issue from the doors of IWC Schaffhausen has a deceptively simple face, featuring a large tourbillon cage that gently rotates in one-second increments thanks to a constant-force device. “When we started this project, the idea was to make a horologically pure tourbillon,” says Mario Klein, a product manager […]

Art: American Masters

When the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens in Bentonville, Ark., on November 11, it will not just herald the arrival of a major new museum; it will admit the Walton family to an exclusive club that includes the Gettys, the Rockefellers, and the du Ponts. While many wealthy people collect art and support […]

Wardrobe: Gentleman’s Clique

Since the dawn of the Internet, the only thing that has distinguished the luxury online shopping experience for men has been the price tag. Looking for a Louis Vuitton scarf or Hermès necktie has meant trolling the digital equivalent of the local shopping mall, a landscape of cluttered windows, empty shelves, and nearly nonexistent customer […]

Smart Collectors: Sports Memorabilia: Dennis Gilbert

ESPN analyst and former major-league ballplayer John Kruk once dubbed Dennis Gilbert’s house “Cooperstown West.” Indeed, hundreds, perhaps thousands—Gilbert has lost count—of photos, jerseys, bats, balls, and other baseball mementos fill the Los Angeles–area estate where the legendary sports agent lives with his wife of 33 years, Cindi. Dennis played in the minor leagues from […]

Smart Collectors: Art: Eli Broad

Los Angeles’ biggest patron of the arts is Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist and megacollector. Anyone who doubts this will find supporting evidence all around town: He is a founding chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art and bankrolled the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; he provided major […]

Smart Collectors: Books: Gerald Dorros

Unusual among book collectors because he did not grow up in a book-laden household, Dr. Gerald Dorros also did not begin collecting until he was in his late 50s. But since starting in 2000, the cardiologist, now 69 years old, has assembled a wide-ranging library that contains Western Americana, children’s titles, literary classics, and American […]

Smart Collectors: Cars: Roger Morrison

When speaking of his car collection, Roger Morrison refers to himself as the autos’ custodian, not their owner. Collector cars can offer history lessons, he says, so he feels a responsibility to preserve them. The collection under his care numbers about two dozen, including veterans, old Fords, European and American sports cars, and historically significant […]

Smart Collectors: Art: Dean Valentine

A high-energy Champion of emerging artists, Dean Valentine began collecting just 16 years ago but quickly became an independent collector to watch. He was among the first to appreciate Takashi Murakami and John Currin, and his sharp eye regularly lands him on ARTnews’ list of the world’s top 200 collectors. Born in Bucharest, Romania, and […]

Smart Collectors: Jewelry: Fiona Druckenmiller

Jewelry and gemstones have always led double lives: They are a kind of currency, particularly in times of political or economic turmoil (witness the rising value of precious metals, diamonds, and rare gems today), and they are the most sentimental of treasures, given as gifts of love or cherished as family heirlooms. Fiona Druckenmiller, a major […]

Smart Collectors: Watches: Thomas Mao

A doctor of psychology, educator, economist, management consultant specializing in consumer psychology, and self-described “serial entrepreneur,” Thomas Mao prides himself on bridging cultures as well as professions. His wide-ranging skill set and boundless energy exhibit themselves in a frenetic schedule that has him traveling continually between his home in China and regular destinations in other […]

Flight of Fancy

Aston Martin believes in choices. The company already offered an embarrassment of riches ranging from the V-8-powered Vantage to the million-dollar-plus One-77. Now England’s winged wonder—with deference to badges worn by Morgan and Bentley vehicles—has further expanded its selection by introducing the V-12-powered Virage. The new model is available as the two-door hardtop Coupe or […]

New Capitals of Cuisine: Peru: Next Stop: Lima

  If you were to transport an Inca chief from the steps of a pre-Columbian pyramid to the bar of the Club Nacional in Lima, Peru, he would feel right at home. Give him a coat and a tie, and he would fit right in among the city’s power elite. The long flights of steps, […]

Trophies of Peace

On July 27, 1798, a convoy of 29 carts entered Paris through the present-day Quai d’Austerlitz, carrying a curious cargo that spanned much of the history of Western culture. This payload, which officials had hoped would arrive before the newly inaugurated Bastille Day celebration, had been the topic of fervid debate among the leaders of […]

FrontRunners: In His Shoes

One of the most prominent brands in women’s shoes, Jimmy Choo now offers the Jimmy Choo Men’s Collection ( The Italian-made shoes are priced from $595 to $1,295 and range from formal styles to biker boots. Standouts include a classic loafer with pewter bit hardware that evokes a circa-1970s men’s silver bracelet.