Toys of Summer


Radical rides for land and sea, and other sizzling sensations. Ferrari's convertible Scuderia, Lamborghini's latest limited edition, BMW's aluminum superbike & much more. Plus, Grand Openings - outstanding new properties in Germany, Singapore, Prague & Provence.

From This Issue

Style: The Perfect Patch of Purple

The sober monochromes of traditional business attire offer men few opportunities to express their individuality. Often, a gentleman’s only concession to personal style is his necktie—a sartorial touch frequently undermined by the selection of loud neckwear that, against the standard-issue white or blue dress shirt, shouts like a silk exclamation point. Fortunately, this season designers […]

The Robb Reader: Billy Joel

Billy joel turned 60 in May. The multiplatinum recording artist says that he is an old man now—a somewhat questionable claim from someone who has a full touring schedule (with longtime friend Sir Elton John) and a number of new passion projects in the works. “I’m tired of the stardom machine,” Joel says. “These days […]

The Toys of Summer: Smooth Sailing

It may seem somewhat incongruous for a BMW Group–owned company, DesignworksUSA, to have styled the Bavaria Cruiser 55—a yacht propelled by wind, not horsepower. But BMW has become linked with sailing in recent years through its sponsorship of Larry Ellison’s Oracle Racing syndicate, and this new design project is not unprecedented: DesignworksUSA created the shape […]

The Toys of Summer: Under Achiever

For most personal watercraft, buoyancy is a virtue. But the new $100,000 Cayago Magnum sinks by design. Propelled by an emission-free, battery-powered jet-stream engine, the Magnum can take divers to depths of 130 feet when equipped with an optional buoyancy-adjusting weight. Both underwater and on the waves, the sea scooter can travel at speeds up […]

The Toys of Summer: A Pan for All Seasons

The pennant race is still too close to call, and your team is playing on TV. But the weather is warm and sunny, and you do not want to spend the afternoon inside. What is a sports fan to do? Pantel’s solution is a line of weatherproof LCD monitors, which includes the new Pantel Pan-650, […]

The Toys of Summer: Fast Food

What the 911 Cabriolet is to summer driving, the new X-Series barbecues could be to summer grilling. Porsche Design Studio—an offshoot of the German automotive company that has designed products ranging from eyewear and luggage to espresso machines and golf clubs—built this grill for speed: The sleek machine contains four infrared burners, laterally mounted at […]

The Toys of Summer: Showstopper

Like other personal-watercraft makers, Sea-Doo voluntarily limits the top speed of its machines to 65 mph. Still, the company’s latest top-of-the-line model—the $16,500 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255—blows past the competition by setting high-water marks for comfort and maneuverability. Sea-Doo claims that the GTX, powered by a 255 hp engine, can reach 50 mph in […]

The Toys of Summer: Cast and Cruise

With the new Bertram 540, deep-sea fishing excursions and weekend family getaways no longer have to be mutually exclusive. The 54-foot-long, $2.14 million yacht—built by the Miami-based fishing-boat manufacturer Bertram—can comfortably accommodate a group of six while still leaving room for 25 fishing rods, a bait well, a freezer, and a tackle storage area in […]

The Toys of Summer: Easy Spyder

In 2007, Canada’s Bombardier Recreational Products caught the attention of motoring enthusiasts when it debuted the outlandish Can-Am Spyder, a $16,200 three-wheeled roadster with a manual transmission similar to that of a motorcycle. New for this year is a $17,700 version with a five-speed semiautomatic transmission that offers simple shifting. With two forward wheels and […]

The Toys of Summer: Summer Screamer

The new BMW S 1000 RR is a 193 hp bruiser that weighs only 455 pounds, thanks to its aluminum bridge frame. The superbike is powered by a Formula One–influenced 999 cc inline-4 engine, which also serves as a load-bearing element. An optional three-mode Dynamic Traction Control system holds the reins on those 193 horses, […]

The Toys of Summer: Roadster Revelation

The Lamborghini Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster was conspicuously absent from the Italian marque’s display at the Geneva International Motor Show in March. Instead, the SuperVeloce—with its canary-yellow paint and oversize rear-wing spoiler—took center stage, while Lamborghini’s first production LP 650-4 Roadster was kept under wraps. Like any other Lamborghini, however, this $424,695 convertible will not […]

Art: Topical Illusion

Throughout his career as an architect, designer, and artist, Ron Arad has done much to destroy the distinctions between the industrial, decorative, and fine arts, as well as those between art and architecture. “Do I necessarily see a distinction? No,” says this native of Israel who now lives in London. “Let us not be neurotic […]

Wardrobe: Fashion Sense

This fall, a handful of Arizona businessmen will board a flight to Chicago, where they will convene in a century-old oak-paneled boardroom outfitted with a concealed bar (a relic from the Prohibition era). There they will savor a fine meal, great wines, cigars, and sweeping views of the city’s skyline. While this may sound like […]

Jewelry: Wearable Art

Janis Provisor’s foray into jewelry design was not an orchestrated career move but a creative accident. The renowned artist—whose paintings have graced the walls of such institutions as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—discovered her passion for creating jewelry around the time that […]

Home Electronics: Thin Is In

The recession cast a pall over the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. Attendance at the event was down nearly 22 percent from 2008, and few exhibitors debuted new, head-turning products. Panasonic was a notable exception. The consumer electronics giant introduced a spate of new releases, including one of its most impressive […]

Spirits: Land of L’Or

Although provenance is an important factor in determining the value of any commodity, including vintage wines and spirits, the precise origins of the Cognacs combined in the newly released $3,600 L’Or de Jean Martell remain something of a mystery. More than 400 eaux-de-vie, some dating back to the late 19th century, have united in this […]

Watches: Into the Spotlight

Over the last two decades, complication specialist Christophe Claret has been one of the watchmaking industry’s unsung geniuses. His creations have appeared under such brand names as Harry Winston, Jean Dunand, and deLaCour. For years Claret rebuffed suggestions that he create his own watch brand, making him somewhat unusual in an industry where self-promoting entrepreneurs […]

Travel: One Love

On the One&Only Cape Town’s first official day of operation, I rose before the sun. Parched from the many signature cocktails served at the previous night’s opening celebration, I craved a refreshing swim in the resort’s pool. But as I made the short walk across the footbridge leading to Villa Island, a group of stern-faced […]

Golf: Sands of Time

Before there was tiger, before there was Jack, before Ben, Byron, and even Bobby, there was Charles Blair Macdonald. Known as the “Father of American Golf,” Macdonald learned to play the game as a student in St. Andrews, Scotland, in the 1870s. He returned to the United States and became one of the country’s first […]

Spas: Wet and a Little Wild

At the new Eau Spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, you will find something called a MENu, which, instead of listing low-calorie appetizers and entrées, offers icebreakers—questions intended to promote conversation between you and fellow guests. “What is the best sports comeback of all time?” reads one entry. “If you were a superhero, what power […]

Grand Openings: Young and Restful

The new La Réserve Ramatuelle resort offers a six-day antiaging program that promotes a youthful glow and a sense of well-being—traits one could ascribe to the property itself. Opened in May, the French Riviera resort centers on a renovated 1970s building perched on a hilltop above the Mediterranean Sea in the Provençal village of Ramatuelle, […]

Grand Openings: All in the Family

What do you do when your 19th-century Heidelberg villa is too big for your family? You make it even bigger and turn it into the German university town’s first luxury boutique hotel. Owner Peter Huetter and his brother-in-law, Italian architect and interior designer Michele Bonan, spent five years expanding and transforming Huetter’s villa before opening […]

Grand Openings: On the Rise

The restored British Colonial buildings that mark the entrance to Capella Singapore shield an even greater architectural treasure. After passing through the 18th-century structures, which house the resort’s lobby and library, you step onto a grassy terrace offering views of a curvaceous edifice that sinks into the hillside below. Designed by architect Sir Norman Foster, […]

Grand Openings: Czech Inn

King Wenceslas II of Bohemia founded Prague’s St. Thomas Monastery in 1285, and the structure, which was rebuilt in the 1700s after numerous fires, still serves as the home of an order of Augustinian monks. Today, however, the holy men share their sanctum with followers of London hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, who in May opened the […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

All names have their personal and historical associations, but one would be hard-pressed to find a wine whose label alludes more richly to its place of origin than the TOR 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. Tor Kenward, the vintner behind this velvety red, has been a pioneer in Napa Valley for more than […]

FrontRunners: Mod Squad

Dragonette Limited of Los Angeles will exhibit an $18,000 seated nude by sculptor Antoniucci Volti at the second annual San Francisco 20th Century Modernism Show & Sale ( September 24 through 27. One of 50 American and European dealers at the event, Dragonette will offer the Volti bronze—the second in a two-piece edition—at the preview […]

FrontRunners: Getting Its Winglets

Compared to its predecessor, the $30.8 million Falcon 2000LX (—a new large-cabin jet from Dassault—features only one significant design difference: a pair of 5-foot-tall winglets. The winglets reduce drag by intercepting the disturbed air that otherwise would spill off the wingtips. They convert that turbulence into lift and give the 2000LX a fuel-efficiency 5 to […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Drawing Room

The 20th-Century French architect and designer Paul Dupré-Lafon created this circa-1935 architect’s desk for himself. Like many of his contemporaries, including Jean-Michel Frank and Eugene Printz, Dupré-Lafon favored exclusive materials—fine wood, Hermès leather, precious marble—employed with meticulous craftsmanship. The desk, which appeared in March at the European Fine Art Fair as a focal piece in […]

Robb Design Portfolio: French Revolution

At a time when most automobile engines were simple 1- or 2-cylinder affairs, French manufacturer de Dion-Bouton debuted a 4-cylinder motor for factory racing—as well as the world’s first independent rear suspension. With a top speed near 40 mph, the racer sporting this engine “was like a Ferrari—much faster than the roads would allow,” says […]

From the Editor: A French-American Paradox

“The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint,” wrote the French political philosopher and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, “but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through.” After the author of Democracy in America, perhaps no Frenchman has better understood this peculiar contradiction in the […]

Wings & Water: Flier’s Market

Recently, the owner of an older-model Dassault Falcon 900B offered to sell his plane to my company, Jet Advisors, for less than $14 million—an exceptional bargain for an intercontinental, large-cabin business jet. Though his asking price was somewhat surprising, in today’s secondary jet market it is becoming increasingly common to see top-of-the-line aircraft going for […]

Roll, Britannia

The Morgan Motor Company may be regarded by some as a quaint relic of Britain’s storied automotive past. Yet the last independent British carmaker celebrates its centenary not only with a nod to history, but with state-of-the-art technology that holds out the promise of a shining future. When H.F.S. “Harry” Morgan built his first single-seat, […]

Charter Choice: Past Perfect

Several years ago, a British businessman went looking for an older yacht to restore. He loved the classics from the early 20th century, and as a self-described “boat nut” he relished the thought of bringing one back to its original grandeur. “Frankly, there was not much left that was viable for restoration,” he says. “There […]

Sea Bird

Inventor Graham Hawkes’ lifelong obsession with underwater flight leads him to create a winged two-person submersible. “I don’t think I’ll ever build a better sub,” says Graham Hawkes a few days prior to the official debut of the Super Falcon, a two-person submersible that the 61-year-old British-born inventor has worked tirelessly to build. Sitting in […]

Sea Bird: A Sub of One’s Own

Ppersonal submersibles are quickly becoming standard tenders in the luxury yachting world. The following manufacturers offer submersibles of various styles and capabilities.   OCEAN PEARL: SEAmagine’s two-person submersible, designed specifically for use as a tender on a luxury yacht, looks a bit like a pontoon-equipped helicopter that lost its rotors. Priced from $1.3 million to […]

Boating: Young Turk

Noah’s Ark, arguably the world’s first expedition yacht, was built in Turkey. Yet despite this august heritage, the Turks have never been known as master shipbuilders. That could soon change: Vicem Yachts, a Turkish builder of modern mahogany cruisers and convertibles, recently debuted its new 92 Cruiser in the United States to broad acclaim. With […]