In the November issue of Robb Report, we turn our focus to two natural, but rather different, bedfellows—watches and jewelry.
The last watch I bought was not actually for me. It was for my son, but inspired by my father. He’s had the same quartz Casio for as long as I can remember; he’ll happily tell you it’s not been serviced in 40 years and cost a fraction of any of mine, etc. As you can tell, watches don’t get him excited—Italian sports cars, on the other hand . . .
Anyway, as I grew into watch appreciation in my late 20s I became increasingly aware that at no time was I likely to have that touching moment when my father takes off the old Rolex or Patek that he’s worn for years and, dewy eyed, bestows it on me—at which point he’d repeat the story about how his father gave it to him and . . .
Never going to happen. So I thought I should make my own tradition, hence buying my son a timepiece, which I shall wear for now so that he will grow to recognize and love it, until he reaches 21. Then, during a dignified ceremony, I shall pass it down to him. He’s just turned one, so I’ve got a little while with it in my collection. And no, that doesn’t prove that I bought it for myself.
One of my many obsessions is Omega Speedmasters, so I picked him out a Moonwatch, with pretty much the finest heritage of any chronograph on this or any other planet. I had to track down one from 2006 with the original hesalite crystal and an open caseback, as I have a hunch that seeing the beating heart of this machine will be what turns him into a budding watch geek like his father.
But it shows that, for many of us, watches and jewelry are far more than tools or decorations. They have a provenance and a history and are products of hundreds of hours of painstaking human endeavor. More importantly, they are often imbued with meaning at the moment of ownership—whether that’s a Chanel necklace a woman buys herself for being appointed CEO or a Richard Mille for her husband on a landmark birthday. There’s something about change, it seems, that drives us to mark the occasion.
What that means for us here at Robb Report I’ll leave you to decide, as we’ve been through some changes ourselves. We’ve refreshed some of the sections in the magazine, retired some others, and introduced new ones. So, for instance, we’ve created a section called the Goods because it’s full of them: Some highlights in this issue include a fantastic new guesthouse in Rome that used to be Pope Innocent X’s private baroque chambers; the finest cashmere on the market; a warning that most Kobe beef is not what it seems; and a spotlight on some young artists it will pay to investigate now before others do.
After a quick spin around our new Q&A, called the Answers, you’ll pull up at a section named Dream Machines—pages and pages of the best cars, bikes, jets, yachts, and tech in the world. And some self-healing paint. Seriously. It’s on page 95 on the new Kawasaki bike, and it’s one of my favorite stories in the issue.
Speaking of favorites, we asked a few of our most treasured writers what’s getting them bent out of shape this month, which is how you’ll find columns on Aston Martin’s IPO and financial advice about estate planning rubbing shoulders with an ode to Irish whiskey and a rant about the pre-owned watch business.
Alongside our watches and jewelry coverage we have a diverse range of features, from which I want to flag up two excellent pieces of storytelling. The first is on the rising trend of private art museums, by Julie Belcove, who gained access to some of the leading, and more reclusive, collectors from across the country. The second is a very different, but no less in-depth, examination of the luxury industry’s attempt to counter a multibillion-dollar global network of fakers and fraudsters, by Mark Ellwood. The ingenious, and occasionally comic, methods that are used to secure the bags, paintings, and watches at the highest end of the scale make for riveting reading.
Lastly, in our new business-of-luxury section at the back, we examine how Tiffany turned its fortunes around, thanks in part at least to a hip-hop soundtrack and a $1,000 pencil holder. As ever, send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for the latest issue of Robb Report in your mailbox or on newsstands in the month of November.