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CONTENTS_sep09 16/10/2009 14:33 Page 12

CONTENTS Fashion & Luxe 30 Back in Black 65 Property 104 A Sparkling Return 127 Top 10



Car presented: BMW 328 Collector’s Car, scale 6/10, petrol engine 170 cm3, Chamonix white body with brown leather upholstery, hydraulic drum brakes.

For more information, to place an order or find a reseller : Photos by Jean-Daniel Lorieux The BMW logo, brand name and model name are properties of BMW AG and used under licence . Blanc-Chateau sarl, RCS 481 731 818 L yon, France

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46 Guardians of the Desert 58 Brave New World 98 Walking on Sunshine 114 Legend of the Pearl

And Beyond Ad.indd 1

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28 36 Hours in Monaco 52 Urban Retreat 108 Venice of the North

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41 Champions for Sale 70 Saddle Up 84 Two of a Kind 95 All Change at the Exchange 118 Heavenly Hideaways


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ED NOTE_sep09 16/10/2009 11:58 Page 22



The Editor’s Note


hen I began working in publishing, I quickly found that my interest lay

in the world of luxury, and it still fascinates me every day—the power of objects, the passion of craftsmen, and the progress that is made every day by some of the smartest businesspeople in the world.

In this issue, which we’ve devoted to a look at tangible luxury, we were able to go in-

side some storied luxury institutions. The house of Hermès has been a benchmark for high quality craftsmanship for more than 150 years, and we spent several days between New York and Paris getting to know the company from the ground up. We also spoke with a man who has devoted his life to promoting the ultimate luxury heirloom—the vintage watch. Osvaldo Patrizzi has been a fixture in the watch world for more than 50 years, and just after the first anniversary of his brand new venture, Patrizzi and Co., we sat down with him and his partner to get an inside look the auction business—but ended up exploring the true emotional connection he has to the watches he encounters instead. As many in the luxury world know, the best way to preserve the products we love is to sell them—to create a market for and an interest in the work that we do so that no matter the climate, no matter the place, no matter the person, the object retains its value. It is the common thread in the work of almost all of our subjects, from Mohammed Zaal, who has brought his family’s vision of luxury living to life, to Hamad al-Ghanem, whose passion for his salukis and his falcons is keeping these ancient hunting arts not just alive but thriving. We were inspired by Geoffrey Russell selling thoroughbred horses to the international racing royalty, and by Alistair Callender, who has designed an eco-friendly yacht that is the must-have boat of the future—because whether your goods are old or new, there is always a market for quality. Remember as you flip through our pages and as you move through the world—while you may not be able to take it with you, there’s something to be said for enjoying the best of what’s around while we’re here.

Kate Winick, Editor-in-Chief




Page 1

CONTRIBUTORS_aug09 16/10/2009 12:00 Page 24


Rebecca Goozee

Natalie Brandweiner

Sydney Cannon

Rebecca Goozee is currently a contribu-

Though Natalie began her career as a

Her fleeting feet and studies of Philoso-

tor for 100thousand Club. She is also an

business writer, interviewing executives

phy have taken Sydney around the world.

Associate Editor of Business Management

from a variety of industries, and still con-

The Los Angeles native now combines her

US, Next Generation Oil & Gas US and

tributes to several business magazines,

wanderlust, passion for all things luxe,

MENA Infrastructure. She enjoys writing

her understanding of the needs and de-

and love for literature to contribute to

about fashion, travel and photography.

sires of high-profile people give her

100thousand Club.

unique insight into creating maps, lists, and feature stories that will grab her reader’s attention.

Josh Sailor

Matt Buttell

Norimichi Inoguchi

After working in production for the better

Matt’s interests in the jet set lifestyle,

Norimichi is a skilled photographer who

part of his professional career, Josh even-

fashion, gadgets and style meld perfectly

focuses on images using movement and

tually caved into his passion for photog-

with his other writings as a business jour-

water. He is intrigued by the interaction

raphy, and hasn’t looked back since.

nalist, which also help to offer a different

of water and fashion, and incorporates

Based in New York, his portfolio is as di-

persepective to his work. Having con-

his eye for movement into unique still-

verse as his experiences, and he creates

tributed to 100thousand Club before, his

lifes. He holds a BFA in photography and

fabulous shots of people, installations,

extensive and varied ournalistic experi-

was first in his class at the International

and beautiful places around the world.

ence are a welcome return.

Center of Photography.

Taj Air.indd 1

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CREDITS_oct09 16/10/2009 11:59 Page 26

Advertising, Marketing, and Client Services T: +44 117.921.4000


Finance Director JAMIE CANTILLON HR and Personnel Manager OLIVIA REEVES Production Manager HANNAH DUFFIE


Production Coordinators LAUREN HEAL, RENATA OKRAJNI Circulation Manager BEN KELLY

Editorial/Executive Chairman/Publisher SPENCER GREEN

Subscription Enquiries

Director of Projects HARLAN DAVIS

T: +44 117.921.4000

Creative Director ANDREW HOBSON

Editor-in-Chief KATE WINICK

General Enquiries


Online Editor JANA GRUNE Assistant to the Editor SVETANA ARAPOVA

Letters to the Editor

Design Director JAMES WEST Senior Designers ZÖE BRAZIL, SARAH WILMOTT

Printer Workbrands Ltd. Ferodo House, Willway Street, Bristol

Contributing Writers

BS3 4BG, United Kingdom.


T: +44 (0) 117 9669189. E:


Contributing Photographers

100 Thousand Club


(Vol. 2, Issue 3, Q3 2009) is published four times a year


by GDS Publishing. All rights reserved. GDS Publishing, Ltd.


Queen Square House, 18-21 Queen Square, Bristol,


BS1 4NH, UK.

NEWMAN, LIVIO BONDI, CATHERINE WILSON Legal Information The advertising and articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. We are not to be held accountable for unsolicited manuscripts, transparencies or photographs. All material within this magazine is © 2009 100Thousand Club.

Head Office GDS International Queen Square House, 18-21 Queen Square, Bristol, BS1 4NH, UK. T: +44 117 921 4000. F: +44 117 926 7444. E:

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100 Thousand Club

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very September, the horseracing world gathers

The auctioneers welcome 800 people at a time into the sales pa-

in Lexington Kentucky for two of the most im-

vilion, as well as each of the horses, one by one, brought from a show

portant weeks of the year, the Keeneland Racing

ring in the back to a sales ring in the front, as an announcer reads out

September Yearling Sale. Although this may not

their names and lines. Despite all the advantages in auction technol-

be the kind of big-hat and mint-julep event most

ogy across the industry, this sale remains very much the same as it

civilians associate with the sport of horse racing,

ever has. “There’s a live streaming of the sale, but it’s all done on site.

this is in a way a more important event because this is the moment

You can phone in to your agent, but its not like buying Barry Bonds’

when the future of the sport, the latest crop of thoroughbred racers, is

baseball, they’re living and breathing things, so you have to come

distributed around the world.

in and inspect them, be sure the horse reflects what you’re looking

Geoffrey Russell, Director of Sales, is entering his 13th season at Keeneland after years in the horse world, and his authority on thor-

for. At Sotheby’s its either a Monet or it’s not a Nonet—maybe it’s a Manet!” he jokes.

oughbred sales is unparalleled. Raised in Ireland, he arrived in the

The town of Lexington transforms for the event, from the sleepy

United States in 1982 for a summer internship, and never left. “It’s

center of the horse-breeding world to an international mecca. “What

my job and my hobby,” he says of the horses he’s sold to the tune of

makes Keeneland one of the leaders is because we’re based here. There

US$2.5 billion over the course of his eight-year tenure. With the down

are four major sales companies in North America, as well as one in

economy nevertheless a factor, interest in this particular sale remains

Ireland, England, France and Australia; it’s a global business. We ship

high. Keeneland has remained the top name in the field and sold more

these horses to the four corners of the world. The majority of our horses

champions and stakes winners than any of their competitors, making

are from Lexington, and people come to buy what we have.” They con-

this an attractive business venture year after year for many investors.

duct all their auctions here four times a year and each time is a major

“Some horses sell very well and recoup it, like Fusaichi Pegasus, who

production. Entries close on May 1st and then physical evaluations

was a Derby winner,” says Russel. Another being the 2006 Belmont

begin on the majority of the horses to be sold (2700 of the 5100 for sale

winner, Jazil.

this year). “We go all through North America, as well as seeing some in

“There’s no mistake that there’s a huge business component to it,

Europe, and by the end of July we put together the catalog. In October

but a lot of people do it for enjoyment in their retirement. Its very fam-

we conduct racing, it’s the highest average purses in North America,

ily-oriented, they can go to the races as a group, its great for families

and then in November we sell mares. Our catalogs are graded based on

to get together. It’s also major business. We’ve sold horses for as much

pedigree; the better pedigrees tend to sell early, the ones that we feel

as US$13 million [Seattle Dancer, sold for US$13.1 in 1985, a record

have strong conformational attributes.”

that still stands], so it’s very strong. Some people are just commercial breeders and they breed horses as their livelihood.”

“Our sales attract buyers from all over America, probably 75 percent of our gross is domestic; the other being from over 48 countries

Both these types gather together on the grounds of Keeneland to

around the world. We sell at all levels so we have a constant flow of

experience the excitement of the sale. “We have a very beautiful plant,

people coming and going with the high end horses selling first, and then

over 1000 acres of parkland and 46 barns for the horses to be shown out

so on through 16 days this year. The first two days we’ll sell about 200

of. When the sale starts, the atmosphere is electric and the excitement

a day and then 400 a day after that.”

fantastic. The night before a sale we have a party for our consigners and

They also draw in a strong flow of visitors from around the world,

our buyers, and we like to tie it into our community – this year it’s a

particularly from other horse-loving regions. There is no mistake, the

Taste of Kentucky, to help them feel what it’s all about,” says Russell,

thoroughbred horse is traced back to the three foundation Arabians,

whose Southern drawl belies his Emerald Isle roots. “Keeneland is the

and the great love for horse racing in the Middle East makes this a major

leader in the world, so in that regard I’m at the top of where I can be.”

draw for many of the royal families, many of whom come in person to

100 Thousand Club

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participate in the sale. “One of the major buyers and investors in the industry are the Maktoum family from Dubai. We have a lot of involvement and they’ve all purchased at one time or another. It varies if they come in themselves: Sheikh Mohammed comes on a regular basis, King Abdullah from Saudi Arabia sends advisors, so it varies based on the principals themselves. They’re very involved in all of this.” While he won’t reveal too many details in the short few days before the auction starts, there are a few in particular that are on many peoples’ short lists: “Stormcat’s second to last crop is up for sale. Its his last full crop and we think they’ll be very well received. We’re also doing the dispersal of Overbrook Farm, who have built up a wonderful band of brood mares that are very exciting. Its an exciting time, a nerve-racking time for our consignors, this is their livelihood – it’s nerve racking but we do look forward to it.”

“We have a very beautiful plant, over 1000 acres of parkland and 46 barns for the horses to be shown out of” As a livelihood, it’s certainly something of a nerve-racking choice these days, but Russell says his veteran colleagues remain more or less unshaken. “There is tax depreciation allowed on horses, and the farm bill increased some incentive with the stimulus package. You can still earn an awful lot of money racing in North America or around the world, but it’s an expensive hobby.” Besides, he laughs, it’s not in the nature of those in the horse world to be depressed about the economy. “We’re an optimistic industry, everyone who buys a horse thinks they’re going to win the Kentucky Derby. No one buys hoping to just break even. So we tend to be optimistic in our outlook, but we’re of course smart enough to realize that it’s a very different time.” Despite the current economy, purchasing a Keeneland horse tends to be a favorable investment over time, because of the high stud fees many highly pedigreed horses make after their purse-winning years are over. Of course, you can’t put a price on the feeling of participating in events like the Derby or the Triple Crown or even the sale itself from the seat of an owner, watching the action up close, with your own heart on the line, bookended by glamourous social events. “I think the thrill of it all, of winning in the auction ring or on the track, that most people don’t know until they experience it,” Russell says. “We see that a lot and it’s a great encouragement for people who are at that level. They enjoy winning.” „


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of the desert They say a dog is a man’s best friend. But one Emirati has made preserving his favourite breed a life’s mission. Diana Milne meets Hamad Ghanem Shaheen Al-Ghanem, Director of the Arabian Saluki Centre.


amad Ghanem Shaheen Al-Ghanem is at

his most comfortable camping deep in the Arabian desert surrounded by his family and his beloved pack of Saluki dogs. We meet however, in very different surroundings; in the grounds of an English country manor surrounded not by sand by rolling

green parkland. It’s unfamiliar territory for Al-Ghanem but he is there to promote a cause that very close to his heart; the preservation and heritage of the Arabian hunting dogs, the Saluki. Al-Ghanem has dedicated his life to educating people on the role that the Saluki once played and in many cases still play – in desert life. He is determined not to let an animal that has played so big a part in Arabic heritage is forgotten. He is Director of the Arabian Saluki Centre in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, which promotes the preservation of the pedigree saluki dog and provides owners with advice on everything from feeding to breeding. But his work doesn’t stop in the UAE. He has attracted international acclaim for the steps he has taken to preserve the breed, and regularly appears at global events promoting Arab culture, including the UK’s annual Fal-


100 Thousand Club

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HAMED GHAMEN_oct09 16/10/2009 11:57 Page 48

conry Festival, taking place an hour from London, where I meet him.

serve the pure Saluki line and not mixing them with other species. Nowa-

He may be far from home but Ghanem’s determination to preserve tra-

days people are interested in breeding dogs because they want to win

ditional Arabic heritage, as so much of his country becomes modernised

prizes. But they don’t necessarily look at the quality of the dog. I am

beyond recognition, is abundantly clear. I asked him to explain to me

looking for quality not quantity and I want to keep this part of our hunt-

what keeps his passion for the canine cause alive.

ing culture alive.

Can you describe why it is so important to educate people about

Are Salukis still an important part of Emirati family life?.

the role that Salukis play in desert life?

Yes, when a family has a Saluki they share it with every member of

Salukis are great hunting dogs. They hunt gazelle all year round and

the family. So if you have a puppy you will share it with your brothers and

rabbits. Nowadays hunting has become a sport but in the past to be able

sisters and your cousins. They bring a lot of happiness into a family. And

to hunt in the desert was key to survival. It’s important not to forget the

when people have say three or four Saluki puppies they give them to

old days because it is such an important part of our culture. We teach

their neighbours and it helps them to form relationships between other

children from generation to generation not to forget this very important

people. Relationships between families are sometimes built on the fact

part of our past and we teach them about it through exhibitions, story-

that they have exchanged Salukis or horses. People give Salukis as gifts,

books and in the media.

just as they might give falcons or horses. It is not a money issue it is about love and care.

Why are you personally so passionate about breeding salukis.


What is it about this particular creature that you feel so strongly

What are the unique characteristics of a Saluki dog compared


to other breeds?

I have been around Salukis since I was born and they have existed

The Saluki is part of the Arabian hound family that is able to live in

for many generations before me. We need to continue to keep them alive

the desert environment where it is very hot with less food. They don’t eat

and in good health and good hand. That is why we are working to pre-

that much. In fact they eat whatever they can ran. Salukis are very loyal

100 Thousand Club

HAMED GHAMEN_oct09 16/10/2009 11:57 Page 49

and they have a good temper. They care for their master and they are always around him, sharing his food, and living beside him. We like to host visitors in the desert and the Saluki will lead the visitors to us in the desert. If for instance you are camping in the desert and somebody passes by he will hear the saluki and now there are others close by. He will go towards them and come to us and we will show him our hospitality. Can you tell me about the activities you are involved in the UAE to raise awareness and understanding about the Saluki? We established in 2001, the Arabian Saluki Center in Abu Dhabi to preserve the pure breed and as a place where owners could register their Salukis. Through the centre we educate people on how to look after them, their health, advice on feeding and breeding and we encourage people to protect and respect this animal that has been living among our people for over 12,000 years. You have a close working relationship with the ruling family of the UAE. Can you describe their interest in the Saluki breed? We support them when they hunt and we breed (salukis) for them. Our Salukis will join them on their trips and there will also be camels, falcons and horses on the trips. Arabian culture is all about hospitality but also looking after the camels, the horses, the falcons and the salukis is an important part of their culture. The UAE has become very modernised. Are you concerned at all that its cultural heritage will be lost as a result? I don’t think so. The government is taking care to keep the tradition and culture alive by organising plenty of exhibitions and visiting schools to teach children about Arab culture. They are keen for children to understand how their ancestors lived. We want people to know about us and we want our people to know about their own heritage and culture. So, are there are a lot of expatriates in the UAE involved in the centre as well as local people? Yes, there are people who lived a long time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

As part of the cultural heritage of Arabian Hunting, Bedouins

and, and in different countries in the Gulf, in Emirates – and during that

have been breeding Salukis for thousands of years. These

time they keep Salukis then when they go home they take the Saluki

Desert hounds, known for their exceptional stamina, intelli-

back with them. The centre also covers other parts of the GCC and we

gence and loyalty are highly prized by all who own them. The

are even registering the number of pure line Salukis as far away as Jor-

Arabian Saluki Centre honours the Arab tradition by provid-

dan, Syria and Yemen.

ing a professional caring and friendly environment, where

As our interview draws to a close an excited group of school children

members and their Salukis can experience the latest and state

approaches Al-Ghanem’s exhibition stand at the Falconry Festival keen

of art services.

to hear about what makes his particular breed of dog so special. It’s a

To find out more about the Arabian Saluki Centre, log onto

subject he needs no encouragement to talk about and one he knows he or email

must pass on to the next generation if his cause is to be continued. n

100 Thousand Club


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retreat There is no greater media frenzy than of that surrounding world sporting events, be they the Olympic Games, the Cricket World Open or the Grand Prix series. In 2010, South Africa is set to host the notoriously hyped World Cup; builders across the region are racing to complete the new stadiums commissioned in time for the opening of the games on June 10, 2010, with Soccer City in Johannesburg hosting the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the final.




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s its cities are preparing in strong stead for the

There are a multitude of top-class places to stay, such as The Twelve

influx of tourism the games are due to bring,

Apostles, which offers a personalised approach to hotel accommoda-

South Africa is drawing on its previous success

tion, and complete with its Sanctuary Spa has been voted the best spa

in attracting tourists – its breathtaking land-

resort in Africa. Cape Grace and Mount Nelson are other exclusive ho-

scapes and richly diverse wildlife are world fa-

tels; and as you would expect in an area thriving with wealth, you are

mous as a destination. Safaris across the

never more than a stone’s throw from a hotel of grandeur. But the tourists

region’s plains, plentiful with wildlife, have brought visitors here from

found walking the streets of South Africa’s busiest cities are less inter-

across the world wanting an authentic African experience trekking

ested in relaxing within the hotel and more about the adventures of the

through the lush forests of Tsitsikamma or basking on the un-spoilt

city – the bright lights, busy crowds and trendy bars.

beaches of the Wild Coast. However the World Cup is due to attract a

Cape Town, although magnified by its beautiful and cascading

new type of tourist to its thriving city streets, with Johannesburg, Cape

scenery, is often compared to cities such as LA and Milan. Despite its

Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth offering a contemporary, yet authen-

distance geographically, its fashion district is certainly not lacking in

tic experience. The urban nightlife and metropolitan bustle of South

style. In fact, Cape Town is booming for brands, as many designers are

Africa’s cities hold their own in terms of luxury and entertainment, and

realising the potential growth to be had on the continent. Often de-

for those with a more fast-paced approach to tourism, the region’s urban

scribed as a ‘label nation,’ Louis Vuitton has opened up the ‘Mother’

retreats have so far been vastly underrated.

store, and design houses such as Escada, Gucci and Armani hold a

Often described as a seaside playground, Cape Town’s ‘city bowl’ district is fast attracting tourists to the township. It is known for being

signers, such as Hip Hop, Errol Arendz and Catherine Moore.

one of the most entertaining cities in the world, and only a 10 minute

However, it’s that time when the streetlights turn on that Cape Town

drive from the water’s edge, the bustling metropolitan centre offers an

really comes out to play. Bursting with culinary delights from all over

array of exquisite restaurants, an abundance of high-fashion stores and

the world, the choices of where to eat are endless. The culinary experi-

endless miles of wine estates to indulge in following a day’s adventures.

ence at the One & Only hotel is a guaranteed satisfier – both Nobu Mat-

Fans of USA join the people of South Africa to watch the USA v Brazil match, FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009


strong presence, as do the continent’s own emerging and well-loved de-

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suhisa and Gordon Ramsey have brought their respective Michelin-

cation provides a 180˚ view of Table Mountain upon which to enjoy the

starred talents to their first African venues. However, the need for im-

dazzling sunrise.

ported chefs from Europe and the US is fast diminishing, and local

Cape Town is not the only urban scene on the continent. Johannes-

South African chefs are now gaining popularity. Chefs such as Garth

burg is up-and-coming as a city due to its fascinating cultural heritage,

Stroebel at the Mount Nelson, Barak Hirschowitz at Tides at the Bay

combined with the contemporary attractions enjoyed the world over.

Hotel, and Graeme Shapiro at The Restaurant are regarded as Cape

Often referred to as the ‘City of Gold,’ Jozi, as its called by the locals,

Town’s best, combining traditional dishes with the exotic new ingredi-

is famous for its championship golf courses. Regarded as one of the best

ents of the modern world.

cities in the world in which to indulge in this much loved sport, Johan-

There is also a plethora of lively nightlife options, and deciding where

nesburg has the perfect climate to stroll across the fairways. The courses

to enjoy an evening’s cocktail is equally as hard. Cape Town is home to

themselves are held in great esteem – 36 of the top 100 golf courses of

several options where you can wile away the nighttime hours – starting,

South Africa are located in Johannesburg. The Royal Johannesburg and

of course, after your sundowner cocktails, a delightful colonial tradition

Kensington course, listed 12th in the ratings, is a particular favourite

that is still going strong all over the country. Café Caprice is regarded as

with the locals. Established almost a century ago, the two courses

being the city’s ‘bar of the moment’. Located on the waterfront it offers the

merged to enlarge the club’s bank account and upgrade both the courses

perfect setting in which to watch the sun go down, in its cocktail bar or

and the clubhouse. Both fine examples of metropolitan parkland lay-

intimate restaurant. Entertained by resident DJs, the crowd here is a local

outs, the course has played host to the Joburg Open since 2007, and is

one, attracting young professionals and the odd celebrity.

the only golf club visited by the European Tour where more than one

If it’s a night of music that is desired, Cape Town’s air of luxury ex-

course is used for a single event.

tends into its club scene. Rhodes House is a club in which to find

However, golf is not for everyone, and as a richly diverse city, there

wealthy locals enjoying the entertainment – the setting boasts three up-

are numerous other activities to enjoy. As befitting the city where gold

stairs bars and an opulent VIP lounge to accommodate its frequent

was first discovered (by Australian prospector George Harrison in 1886)

celebrity visits. Hemisphere is another of the city’s most sophisticated

wealth seeps through almost every aspect of society, and holiday gam-

and stylish clubs. The contemporary décor of fiber-optic lighting and a

bling is enjoyed at the 300 tables located within the city’s many casi-

glass walled VIP area is enjoyed to the sound of retro music, and the lo-

nos. Often compared to Las Vegas, there are few places with such an

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extraordinarily high density of casinos to enjoy. Gold Reef City and

battling the waves, stuck in the office or visiting its cultural art centres.

Montecasino are located within the city and open 24 hours to accom-

But despite its scenic beauty and natural attractions, the city is also

modate those moments when fluttering desires strike.

known for its nightlife, which is as fast paced as its water-sports. Joe

As with Cape Town, Johannesburg truly comes to life after hours. Its

Kools is a regular hotspot for the locals; and its notorious Sunday night

vast array of restaurants are an array of cuisine to tempt all tastes;

parties continue well into sunrise. But for something a little more hard-

Auberge Michel, an award-winning restaurant, offers an exceptional

core, club 330 is regarded as South Africa’s best place for dance music.

seasonal menu of light French dishes and is known as being one of the

For more than 15 years, magnitudes of DJ’s across the globe, from Carl

most exclusive restaurants in the city.

Cox to Josh Wink, have played the biggest tunes in the city’s most hap-

Durban is a lesser-known city with it’s own unique appeal. Re-

pening nightclub, and the scene has exploded into becoming one of the

garded as South Africa’s beach getaway, the city is credited as being

top10 places in the world to party. Don’t be fooled by what appears to

the most culturally diverse spot of Africa – the city’s inhabitants cover

be a traditional beachside town; hidden amidst the surfboards and

almost every cross section of society. Take a walk along the sands or on

trendy bars is a scene similar to that of London and LA.

the city’s streets and expect to find phone-clad executives, teenagers

Without taking away from the region’s breathtaking plains and

and surfers, as well as the more traditional sari-clad matrons. It is the

teeming wildlife, South Africa clearly has more to offer than the tradi-

closest seaport to Johannesburg and is notorious for its underwater ac-

tionally conceived holidays of safaris and trekking. A trip to South

tivities; it hosts South Africa’s only surfing museum, a sport that attracts

Africa’s cities is the perfect way to bask underneath the African sun

enthusiastic tourists to its shores the world over. With a multitude of

and admire the region’s culture whilst enjoying a modern, fast-paced

restaurants and coffee shops overlooking the small boat harbour, Dur-

style of life, be it indulging in sumptuous cocktails, relaxing in a tran-

ban provides the perfect setting in which to unwind after a day spent

quil spa or dancing until the sun rises across the African skyline. 

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ALISTAIR CALLENDER_oct09 16/10/2009 12:01 Page 59

Alistair Callender is opening up the horizons of luxury yachting

ALISTAIR CALLENDER_oct09 16/10/2009 12:01 Page 60


hen a lifelong sailor and lover of boats

always been determined to be in that minority.” He spends his days on

applies their talents to the creation of

a combination of computer-based CAD modeling work, sketch develop-

boats, it’s no surprise that the result em-

ment work and tangible model making. “I currently work from home,

bodies the kind of creative thinking and

which enables me to work far more productively as no time is wasted

innate rightness of being that exists only

commuting. In recent weeks my design day would finish on average at

in truly important technology. As the

about two or three in the morning, then up again for the next day of cre-

yacht business faces tough times and the world faces tough questions

ating somebody’s dream! Long hours, but I thoroughly enjoy it. The per-

about our use of fuel, he’s taken his innovative mind and applied it to

sonal sense of satisfaction I get at the end of a project, when I have seen

where these question intersects in the world of yachting and created So-

my design creations completed and in production is unbelievable.”

liloquy, the world’s first green megayacht. Callender’s career on the water began early, growing up 300 metres from his local sailing club on the south coast of England. “For as long as I can remember, I have been around boats and the water. I was four when I first took the helm of my father’s sailing dinghy.” One of his fondest sailing memories is also one of his earliest, he reminisces; “I was sailing down to the mouth of Chichester Harbour with my family in our sailing dinghy. I couldn’t believe the true feeling of adventure – landing on this ‘remote’ and ‘secluded’ beach. It was my very own Swallows and Amazons adventure. Apparently I fell asleep on the anchor on the return journey later that day – due to the incredibly relaxing sound of lapping water to the bow of the boat – it is so therapeutic.” He started seriously considering making his hobby his career when at 16, he heard a talk given at his school by Andrew Winch, the worldrenowned super-yacht designer. “I knew there and then it was my ideal career path to take – I have been hooked ever since!” He ended up getting valuable work experience at the Andrew Winch Designs office in London, and began his formal education at Coventry University. Whilst only a student, Callender was the only one selected out of 150 others in the course for a six month professional enhancement placement; in his case, in Plymouth, United Kingdom, to work alongside the design team at Princess Yachts International. He has since continued his relationship with the company and has several of his designs for them currently in production. “Very few people are lucky enough to work in an industry they are passionate about,” he says, “I have


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later into the design process. “ This is particularly important if you want to achieve an eco-friendly design, as with Soliloquy. “My generation is passionate about the planet; fortunately I’m also passionate about superyachts,” he says. “I have always been inspired by one of my sailing heros’ conservation work, the late Sir Peter Blake. I could not forgive myself if I did such a radical superyacht design to push the future boundaries of yacht design without considering, in every possible way, the impact that my design will have on the planet. This was why I then approached Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd, their technology seemed to perfectly match my green, rigid-wing design concept proposal.” The simple explanation of the technology that powers this 58 metre motor-sailor is that, through the patented technology of Solar Sailor Holdings Limited, this eco-luxurious superyacht will be propelled from wind, solar and hybrid marine power (HMP) technology. The vessel can be sailed from only the wind, and/or a combination of her stored electric energy to run the electric motors. Her speed is competitive to other relative vessels, but with the capability to be zero-emissions. As Callender sees it, the advantages of green technology are limitless. He has followed the development of this technology for many years, and while researching his rigid-wing superyacht design, came across Solar Sailor Holdings. “It was the perfect application to my superyAlistair Callender

acht design. The slightly greater initial investment more than makes up in savings thanks to the numerous advantages the technology can bring. These

His inspirations for his designs vary widely; he says, “I like to try to

include lower levels of vibration, minimal noise, reduced running costs,

find new solutions and innovations with every new project I begin. I

added resale value, and of course, the invaluable benefit of zero-emis-

wouldn’t like to pin myself into a particular bracket of design style. This

sions, compliant technology. “A future owner has the opportunity to in-

is because each new brief and client will require a new approach, and I

vest in a superyacht that causes minimal harm to the environment and

can adapt accordingly, to ensure their personal dreams and desires are

has a holistic, carefully managed design approach. That will turn heads

created.” In the case of his design for Soliloquy, The ‘Super-Green Su-

and make a positive statement about them as an owner, in a way no other

peryacht’ was strongly influenced by the design of the Rotating Tower,

vessel can.”

currently under construction in Dubai. “The ever-changing forms, and

Of course, with a top-of-the-line superyacht, it’s not a boat where

beautiful aesthetic, emotional connection was my main inspiration.”

you can skimp on the details. Balancing the desire for luxury with the

Something he feels many consumers don’t know about the design process

need for sustainability was a challenge that depended on creative sourc-

is the holistic manner in which it is approached. “To achieve a well re-

ing and being open to trying new materials and products. “Luxury takes

solved end solution, every aspect of the brief and objectives have to be

many forms, and research shows it is relative and individual to each of

100 percent understood, from the outset, rather than considering things

us. Through the innovative design of numerous features onboard Solilo-

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ALISTAIR CALLENDER_oct09 16/10/2009 12:01 Page 62

quy, I hope to exceed people’s expectations,” Callender says. “The key

for harnessing the 'power of nature'. Those are people that want to be

criteria to achieve the required sustainable stance, was to ensure all ma-

leaders in state-of-the-art technology, or to help make a difference to the

terials and construction techniques were selected to be supportive of the

future of the industry, whilst they can also minimise their carbon foot-

brief. More and more firms today specialise in having luxurious and eco-

print. Soliloquy might initially be for the client that wants to be the

friendly products. Therefore, this brings the opportunity to carefully se-

first to own a radical superyacht design, perhaps simply because they

lect materials that are both eco-friendly and also provide its user with the sense of luxury that is expected on a superyacht. It was said at the announcement of the projects that Soliloquy was originally intended for “an owner of an eco-friendly stance, with a non-sailing background.” The vision of the ultimate user of the boat is not been exclusive to these criteria, but it did initially form the basis for the brief, he says. “These

“I wanted to design not only an environmentally green superyacht, but an innovative design solution that provides an attractive, elegant and highly desirable vessel that many people would like to experience”

points are still valid, but do not exclude those outside of these areas by any means. In fact, the nu-


merous advantages will appeal to owners of numerous desires.” The

can, as well as clients who just want to experience something revo-

radical, architecturally dynamic form, with her ever-evolving super-

lutionary, whilst in the knowledge they are being eco-friendly.”

structure is truly innovative; something Callender believes will appeal

At this stage of the project, Callender Designs is still in talks

to numerous potential investors. “I wanted to design not only an envi-

with different yards and naval architects and has not begun produc-

ronmentally green superyacht, but have also tried throughout the process

tion, but interested parties are encouraged to, and have already been,

to achieve an innovative design solution that provides an attractive, el-

getting in touch with the designers. They expect these finer details to

egant and highly desirable vessel that many people would like to expe-

be influenced by the client involved. Callender firmly believes that

rience.” As to his ultimate buyer, he says, “I believe Soliloquy will be

there are buyers out there – “information available shows that his-

attractive to many high net-worth individuals that see the true potential

torically the superyacht industry has been one of the least affected by

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the financial climate, where new builds remain buoyant even during times of recession.”


This recent university graduate plans to spend his immediate future on the circuit, giving various speeches on Soliloquy – the first will be in

He expects that overall the direction in which he is going with So-

Majorca this June, at the fourth annual Future of Superyachts Confer-

liloquy reflects larger trends in the yachting world that will develop over

ence. “Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd. and I will be promoting Soliloquy’s de-

the next few years. “We shall see more efficient hull design, and inno-

sign and technical innovations at various yachting events in the coming

vative methods using renewable energy and propulsion,” within the next

months.” He also hopes to continue his own sailing career: “I have been

five to ten years, he predicts. The green mentality provides an unex-

passionate about sailing for as long as I can remember, so I would wel-

pected perk for those who worry they might be compromising the im-

come the chance to sail to the most remote and idyllic parts of the world.

pressiveness of their boats: “I think the average size of private luxury

I hear the Pacific and New Zealand islands are stunning. This, I think,

yachts will continue to gradually increase in size. Interestingly, the larger

would be a wonderful place to visit. I am fascinated by visiting new parts

the design Soliloquy becomes, the more beneficial and efficient she be-

of the globe and I always enjoy experiencing new cultures.” Like many

comes: thanks to the scale effect of harnessing renewable energy and

sailors, Callender has a philosophical side to him, which has provided

also hull length ratios.”

the finishing touch to this project. After considerable time and thought,

Harnessing free, renewable energies, that are plentiful in the areas

he decided that ‘Soliloquy’ was ideal name for super-green superyacht.

of the world that these yacht often frequent, will mean the running costs

“The syllable ‘sol’ in Latin means sun, which is one of Soliloquy’s main

will reduce, along with the other benefits that will all will be attractive

forms of clean and free propulsion,” he says. “Also, a soliloquy in a

to future investors, in turn pushing more yachts in this design direction.

Shakespearean play is when a character divulges his or her innermost

“Rigid-wing technology is certainly the future of efficient sailing propul-

thoughts, and deepest desires and beliefs to the world. In this same vein,

sion,” he says, and Soliloquy is the first to apply such a rig to be incor-

this yacht is the character that will tell the world that you no longer have

porated within the superyacht industry.

to design highly polluting luxurious vessels.” n

100 Thousand Club

Al Barari, Dubailand, Dubai Set within the larger portion of Dubailand, Al Barari has been designated by none other than His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. A step

Middle East


away from the commercialism of most projects found in the region, Al Barari hosts an exotic and beautiful space with over 80 percent of plantings and greenery. The design is intended to reflect that of the Middle East’s natural climate, echoing the sands and dunes of the Arabian Desert and the development is set to incorporate 300 villas, each encased in infi nity pools, water features, outdoor massage area and garden terraces, as well as a selection of apartments and a hotel and spa. Lifestyle will be a primary focus of the developers; architectural themes will be used in the designing of the Lifestyle Shopping and Cultural Centre to both reiterate and magnify the region’s tradition. Unlike most current projects within the UAE, Al Barari’s development has stuck to schedule and intends to open its fi rst completed luxury villas during October. The fi rst phases of 287 villas is surrounded by six botanical gardens and a 14.6-kilometre walkway, one of the longest in the world.

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Burj Dubai One of the most talked of and media covered developments in the UAE’s property growth, the Burj Dubai, is finally set to end all anticipation and open toward the end of 2009. The developer, Emaar Properties, confirmed in October that the opening will be kept secret, building further hysteria of the already world-renowned tower. Currently standing at 800 metres, the final height is yet to be released, but is already set to be the world’s tallest building. The individually designed homes within the tower will be spread across the three-wing plan that maximises the amount of exterior window area and natural light, without compromising on the important element of privacy. Also located within the historical tower will be exclusive corporate suite offices, the long awaited Armani Hotel, four luxurious pools, a cigar club, restaurants, a library, an exclusive resident’s lounge and 15,000 square feet for fitness, providing not just a living space but also a complete set of social amenities. The Burj Dubai is set to be one of the most desired and luxurious addresses within the region’s capital.

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The Galleries, Downtown Jebel Ali, Dubai Developed buy Limitless, the company responsible for the real-estate development arm of Dubai World, Downtown Jebel Ali is set to be a 200 hectacre urban centre. Aimed at building a community than widening its buyer’s property portfolio, this is not simply a residential development. Amidst the townhouses and apartments – of which most are to inhibit swimming pools, gyms and 24-hour security – public spaces will contain parks and plazas, creating a vibrant and bustling city. The communities will exist within the development’s four quarters, which together will host 237 residential buildings, set in the design of congestion-controlled streets. In each quarter there will be a mix of business and residential units, as well as shopping and entertainment facilities, creating not only a residential cluster, but a social hub. The Galleries will also incorporate a Metro station in each of its quarters to inhibit the company’s greener policies. Construction of the fi rst four of eight buildings within Zone one is now complete, with the final completion predicted to be during the first quarter of 2010.

City of Arabia This US$5 billion development may not host its first phase of opening until the end of 2011, but with almost 80 percent of the project already sold, now is the time to invest. Not only a residential destination, but also commercial, the City offers an array of business and administrative offices, as well as schools and clinics. It’s vision is to become a prominent urban centre within the region and is split into four functions: Mall of Arabia – one of the world’s largest malls, Restless Planet – a US$300 million theme park, Wadi Walk – a waterfront community of apartments and cafes, and Elite Towers – a luxurious collection of commercial and residential buildings. The City will incorporate a total of 8,200 residential components and on completion will home approximately 40,000 residents within a catchment area containing 1.87 million people. The vibrant mix of residential, entertainment and relaxation make it a vibrant yet peaceful place to live. 100 Thousand Club

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Saddle Up The leading luxury leather house looks to the future

You see them everywhere – strolling Park Avenue in New York, shopping Knightsbridge in London, dangling off tanned, toned arms in

Cannes and Monaco, and stuffed under first-

class seats of planes all over the world. But the Hermès Birkin looks particularly at home

in Paris, reflected in the storefronts of the Rue Faubourg, where in the glass vitrines of number 24 contain more exotic and sought

after versions of the iconic handbag than anywhere else in the world. This is, in a sense, the ancestral home of the Birkin bag, an enduring symbol of the luxury, good taste and humor of one of the world’s most legendary luxury houses. To witness the birth of one of these bags, however, you must head out of the glamourous city centre and into the suburbs to one of their ten production sites, all located in France. We enter the Harmonie workshop, a nondescript commercial building just down the street from Hermès headquarters in Pantin, on the outskirts of Paris. The waiting area, on this warm summer Friday, is unattended as only a French office on a summer Friday can be, and we peek into a vast fabric warehouse ogling piles of silks and cottons until Kerry Hollinger, head of the small leather goods collections, beckons us onward. She explains that what we’ve been looking at is one of the shirting workshops; Hermès ID is also in this building, where the wildest Hermès customer dreams come true–helicopters, boats, motorcycles, anything that can benefit from the touch of Hermès leather is customised here. But what I’ve really come to see, she says, is upstairs.

Saddlestitch image by Stephanie Tetu

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The company, founded in 1837, stayed put in their offices above the

make their final picks. The other skins will go

24 rue Faubourg store until 1992, when they were finally forced to ex-

to other leather-goods houses, but none of them

pand; they’ve already outgrown what they still call “the new offices” and

could be said to be using Hermès leather – it’s

are continuing to buy as many neighbouring buildings as they can. The

that eye for the best that makes their bags what

official number of 10 sites is not exactly correct – there are 10 for bags,

they are. This, of course refers just to calfskin;

plus small leather goods and luggage, plus a special studio for alligator

Hermès produces many exotic skin bags as well,

bags, but not the wallets, which are made elsewhere, and not the saddles,

and recently made headlines with the news that

which are still made above the store, as they have been for the past 172

they were breeding their own crocodiles in order

years. The degree of specialisation amongst the 250 craftspeople em-

to fill the demand for their bags – a practice that

ployed here and elsewhere is staggering; it’s not just corporate speak

makes sense if you consider the disposition of

when they say that these are workshops, not factories. Indeed, as is im-

crocodiles and the difficulty of finding one in the

mediately evident when we step out of the elevator, it is the physical and

wild with the unscarred, undamaged skin nec-

philosophical opposite of a vast room full of people as interchangeable

essary for a bag. Regardless of the type, the skins

as the parts they’re making – everything, everyone, is specialised.

go next to the cutters, who select from the skins

In the Harmonie workshop, one is witnessing not just the creation of

for particular work orders and cut them to spec-

the legendary bags, but the creation of something the company considers

ifications, and the neatly wrapped packages of

just as important as its products – a new generation of artisans, trained

cut leather forms arrive in flat plastic bags at the

since their youth to be the best of the best. France has a leather school from

workshops, packaged with shiny shrink-wrapped

which Hermès takes the top eight students and apprentices them for their

hardware and the details of each work order –

own special training. “What they learn isn’t as intricate as what we do, the

everything the assigned craftsman will need to

quality is higher,” says Hollinger, and the students spend about 15 months

make the bag from start to finish. “We know who

training in this and other workshops, by the end of which time they will

did each of the bags,” says Hollinger, “it’s im-

have made one Birkin and one Kelly bag, which between them include all

portant for our pride and for our quality.” Each

the proprietary details for finishing, inside and out. “They work under someone more experienced and we really emphasise quality to them over and over.” The apprentices in the workshop we visited were mainly focused, on this sunny Friday afternoon, on mastering sewing and finishing, but each step of the process is as labour-intensive as the next – there are no throwaway tasks. The time it takes to train an apprentice fully is an investment on which the company refuses to cut corners: “After about five years they’re paying for themselves; it takes about ten years to master the whole range,” she says, “and at the end of making a bag, the headmaster does the quality control – if they’re not perfect but can be fixed, he will send them back to the craftsman, if they’re just not up to scratch, they’re destroyed.” The quality control for an Hermès bag begins at the very earliest stage of the process. The leather buyers choose their own skins from the tanners, making selections at each stage of the tanning and finishing processes – they’ll cull from the initial batch, then again after the first tan, then again after the second, and then the buyers


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Image by Vincent Sahuc

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craftsperson has their own tools, and each sta-

oil just right,” she says – a detail which many companies machine onto

tion reflects the various heights, hands, and

their leather bags to simulate that same effect. Little bits of bags and

quirks of its owner – the apprentices learn over

leather, like bright flowers, pepper the workshop – here, the handle of a

time to arrange their things just as they will

tool is wrapped in red pebbled leather; there, the rough edge of a metal

need them.

hanging rack is padded with a strip of hot pink kidskin. All the leathers are

We move from table to table, observing

coloured on site by hand; the first crafstwoman we pass is putting together

some of the dozens of steps that go into creat-

the second of a pair of bag handles, all leather inside and out – a leather

ing one of these bags. Each edge, for instance,

core wrapped in a finished leather strip. Many are busily chatting and edg-

has a line that’s hand-embossed along the

ing at the same time. The edge finishing is a slow, methodical process; Her-

threadline – “they have to get the pressure and

mès edges are always dyed brown or black, in keeping with their roots as a saddlery, and just one of the almost imperceptible details that gives their bags that classic look. Coat after coat of dye is applied, let to dry, and then the edges are sanded into a perfectly smooth, rounded half-moon edge. In the hour we were there, there were several women who did nothing but this, sanding away at edges so perfectly beveled it was impossible for the casual observer to believe they were shaped by hand, let alone had any irregularities – but then again, these are not casual observers, and, says Hollinger, “Its sanded and dyed as many times as it takes to get it right–there are layers and layers on it by the end.” Two tables in the back have larger bags gripped in corklined vises; a 40cm camel leather Birkin and a larger Kelly bag in a dreamy gray-blue color, one of the newest introductions to the range. Both craftspeople are absorbed in saddle

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stitching the thick layers of the tops of the bags, the signature stitch that makes wealthy women all over the world confident that they can stuff their handbags full of the detritus of a life well-lived, throw it into the backseat or drop it on the floor, and it will still look every penny’s worth as beautiful as the day it came out of its orange box. Done with two needles, the saddle stich is a very strong and secure stitch, a legacy, as the name suggests, from Hermès’ roots as a saddlery. A single piece of sturdy linen thread is covered in beeswax then stitched from both ends, a mat-

“There’s always been a feeling of wanting to surprise our clients, to do new things” ter of practical importance that guarantees if one stitch breaks, the rest of the thread won’t fall apart, and it can go without being restitched indefinitely – perhaps not a priority for a modern handbag, but a definite asset on a horse’s saddle mid-ride or mid-show. The craftsperson uses an awl to make a hole, then deftly switches the awl for the needle and pulls both ends of the thread through to make a very tight knot. Hollinger interjects, “When they start stitching, they finish; they don’t take breaks, they don’t go out – because maybe after lunch, they wont have the same energy, the same stitch.” And truly, even as I peer over their shoulders, those in the middle of their stitching remain in their Zen-like calm – chatting with their neighbours, music playing, but clearly absorbed in the rhythm of their work. The bags are actually made inside out, the basis for Hermès’ claim that every inch of their bags are equally perfect – an almost unfathomable thing to imagine, except that then a woman beckons us over to the corner, where a black bag that would look at home on the shelf of any boutique sits on her work table. “Black lizard,” whispers Hollinger, “she’s been here a while. You wouldn’t want to start on one of those!” and indeed, as she picks up the bag, flips the handles to point towards the floor and Portrait by Alexo Wandael

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begins to firmly, literally, snake them down the sides of the bag, working the squeaking leather centimeter by centimetre, I would indeed not want that. I’m not even touching the bag and I’m breaking out in a nervous sweat, watching approximately US$15,000 of material, history, and human labour take such punishment. She smiles, in on the joke, as she pushes out the first corner of the bag’s bottom panel with an audible “pop!” and then suddenly, three “pops!” later, there it is, not entirely finished but fully recognisable in its black, glossy glory, a 30cm Birkin bag. With nary a break in the action, she reaches for a dull wooden knife and begins working in the folds on the side of the bag, the end of her labour nearing. Her neighbour, a very dashing young blonde Frenchman, is finishing work on the hardware, one of the last steps in the process, and requiring skills beyond that of a leatherworker into that of a silversmith – each piece of hardware is nailed through the leather, and then the end of the nail is cut off and hammered down carefully until its formed into a nailhead, making it nearly impossible for the hardware to fall off. “Every little bit is hand finished,” notes Hollinger almost unnecessarily, as I am nearly dizzy with the amount of considered detail in every step of the process, from the interior finishing to the cabinet of linen threads, in every color they produce plus white, which is not even a white, just the natural color of the high-quality linen thread. Different amounts of time are allotted per bag varying according to size and material – a basic Birkin is about 15 hours; 23-24 hours for crocodile, and it only goes up from there. “All the detailing makes the bags costly, not expensive – it adds up to so many hours by so many people,” Hollinger says, which of course raises the inevitable question when discussing Hermès handbags – how is it possible that a bag sold at a price which is more than many people make in a year has waiting lists that are years old? And in a larger sense, how has this company, which sells only the highest end leather, silk, china and other luxury goods, managed to not only survive but thrive and grow in the midst of an economic crisis?


he answer, according to Robert Chavez, CEO of Hermès USA, is their deep understanding of their customer and their commitment to their product. Hermès has never been about ubiquity or flash, and that understated image is both more

attractive to their key customers and easier to maintain. “We want a very limited distribution for our products, and I think that’s key to weathering the storm – and we’ve been really all right so far. Remember last fall’s 70 percent off sales? I remember walking into Saks Fifth Avenue, seeing designer merchandise thrown all over the place, being sold for nothing. I was horrified. We didn’t do it; people came in and said “Don’t you have anything on sale? Everything else is on sale.” We just said no, sorry, and it helped us – our customers fell off a bit, but it’s helped us in the long run to maintain.” He also guided them past several other po-

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tential pitfalls that befell many of their com-

a year shoppers, who come in to buy that one tie, that one bracelet, they

petitors, rather than falling in to the lure of

dropped off significantly this year, but our regulars stayed with us. There

ever-larger stores and ever-easier money. “I

was some pulling back, which the staff saw, but for the most part they’re

draw a bit from them, but it’s more about what

still here.” And, he says, their commitment is not just to moving prod-

not to do. We have great creative people here

uct, but to truly understanding and making their customers happy when

figuring out where we can go, so they come up

they enter a store. “There’s always been a feeling of wanting to surprise

with their ideas, and its up to me to see what

our clients, that’s a word we use a lot around here. There’s always been

we have to avoid. Every time I see some gi-

an effort to do new things.” However, that surprise never comes at the

gantic mega-flagship, I think my god, I’m glad

cost of the key elements that are the signature of the brand. “I think peo-

that’s not us, and I think right now a lot of them

ple know us for three things. They know us for leather – bags, sure, but

are regretting things like that.”

also belts, small leather goods, other things, and then of course for silk

Hermès’ devotion to their core customers,

as well. The third thing is really our colour.” Colour, he explains, is an

a systematic program of communication be-

icon at Hermès, “people notice it and appreciate it. I saw the color

tween sales associates and regulars that was

kitchen in Lyon, where we’ve made something like 70,000 colours, and

implemented at the beginning of Chavez’s

it’s just incredible, something people respond to. And of course differ-

tenure, has seen dividends. “A lot of the once

ent colours will sell in different places, maybe bright pinks and greens

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in Palm Beach and darker colours in Boston–but that’s what is again great about the buyers [who hand-select what they want to stock from each collection for their particular stores and customers]. It also creates a funny phenomenon–if you see something in a store that you love, you better buy it, because you might not see it again. It even happens to me, I remember being somewhere and seeing a tie I loved and then thinking, oh, well, okay, I’ll just get it when I get back to New York, and when I got here they’d sold out of them entirely. And once they’re gone, there’s no more.” It may seem counter-intuitive, but the company has posted increasing profits in the two toughest quarters since the beginning of the recession, and their competitors are scrambling to get back to a similarly stable position. Back in the Harmonie workshop, we inhale the smell of cauterising leather, growing smooth under what looks like the stroke of an electric fountain pen, our guide remarks that it was only 16 years ago that they heated the smoothing tools on Bunsen burners sitting on their tables, requiring yet another layer of ability to gage just how hot your tool was. Electricity, frankly, seems like a better idea in a room full of dangling bits of cloth and thread and leather, and the craftswoman smiles wryly when the Bunsen burners are mentioned. Progress has not left the workshop untouched, but certain aspects of this traditional labor necessarily retain an old-fashioned feel. For instance, men usually work on larger bags – not out of any ingrained preference, she explains, but it takes a lot of strength to stitch through that much leather. “In the trunk workshop, they’re making a hole and then stitching through layers of wood and leather together. In the small leather goods workshops, the staff is almost entirely female, where we need smaller fingers to finesse the stitching and turning.” There is no preference given to anything other than the absolute top level of skill, and that makes hiring difficult enough. “You really need someone who wants to work with their hands, wants to work in a group, but there are places here to grow. They do advance, but they have to be very gifted to begin with.” Of the few people who have left, Hollinger says, “a lot of those came back – it’s just not possible to do this level of work anywhere else.” The nature of Hermès as a family company and a French company means that constant hiring and firing is not a habit or even a possibility were more labor were available, so instead, we have this – the best people, using the best materials, to make the best product they can, every time. 

“I think people know us for three things. They know us for leather bags, sure, but also belts, small leather goods, other things, and then of course for silk as well. The third thing is really our colour”

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Two of a Kind Osvaldo Patrizzi’s New York City showroom, high over Madison Avenue, is full of empty display cases. Normally this would be worrisome, but when your work is auctioning off some of the rarest and most expensive watches, clocks and timepieces to the highest echelon of collectors in the world, a room full of empty cases is a very good thing.


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r. Patrizzi, chiseled and handsome at 64 as only an Italian can be, sits in the conference room with his partner, Philip Poniz (whose business card reads Expert-in-Chief) against the backdrop of a window engraved ‘Patrizzi & Co.’ The watch expert and chairman of the auction house has been in the watch business for just over 50 years; indeed, he created much of the watch business as

we now know it. With the founding of his fi rst auction house, Antiquorum, he is credited with essentially creating the market for collecting high-end watches, and now, with Patrizzi & Co., he’s taken the experience gained over a lifetime to create a new concept in auctioneering. Founded in April of 2008, the company is truly collectordriven – it takes advantage of multi-screen technology to allow state-of-the-art virtual auctions, which for the collector means they can follow multiple threads within the auction at once, and for the house means moving up to 1,500 pieces per auction, rather than the limit of four or five hundred that most sites can currently handle. They’ve also eliminated the buyer’s commission, a considerable change, since most houses charge 20-25 percent of the sale price added to the cost, a fee which can be considerable when auctioning items in the millions of dollars. As Patrizzi & Co. is just celebrated their fi rst anniversary after a very successful year, we went to the man himself to hear his thoughts on watches, auctions and what he’s doing now. How did you get started in the watch industry? Osvaldo Patrizzi: I had to. My father died when I was 13 years old and I had to work. I had an apprenticeship in a watch and clock workshop and it started my interest and my passion for watches, and after I saw that I had an interest not only from the technical point of view but the historical. I was smart, I was artistic, but I thought people were such geniuses to have invented this mechanism to give you the information you want. Astronomic or astrological, you have the GSM, the sun and the watch. And the watch is able to tell you where you are with the position of the stars and the sun.

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How did you transition from watchmaking to auctioneering?

‘Wow, that’s a lot of money’. It’s really a test market for what the value of

OP: I became a watchmaker because I had to work to make money

the watches is for buying and selling.

for my family. When I had enough experience around the world and especially around Europe, I saw that Milano was too small. It’s okay,

How do you fi nd the watches that you auction? Do you source

it’s a big city, it’s probably the number one city in Italy for industry, but

from individuals, from companies, from other avenues?

it’s small. One of the best ways to succeed is to have a different kind of

Philip Poniz: Yesterday I was speaking with our partner in Los Ange-

instrument, and to get to know people, and the best way to do that is the

les who mentioned that Osvaldo was in Los Angeles for one day and has

auction. You have the world in front of you; if you have a nice boutique

around US$1 million or so of watches. I like mushrooms, when I go to

you have the street. It’s why I enjoy the auction. Today, if we have one

the woods, I pick mushrooms. When Osvaldo goes anywhere, he picks

watch in New York, ten minutes later China, South America, they say

up watches, I don’t know how, but that’s what he does! They just come to him. I know almost all watch people, there’s no one like Osvaldo, not even close. OP: Today, it’s a good day! PP: Usually, we quarrel. This, we note, is patently untrue. Poniz joined Patrizzi at Antiquorum in 2000, and stayed with him after the dramatic breakup of Antiquorum in the summer of 2007. After Artist House, the Japanese holding company purchased a 50 percent stake in Antiquorum, disputes between the investors and the founder led to a series of disputes, firings (including Patrizzi’s own ouster) and a flurry of lawsuits on both sides. Patrizzi never dwells on what happened between him and the company he founded, though his anger at what took place was well-documented in the press the following year. The reticence we expected on the subject of his former firm never manifested itself; he seems to have channelled that energy into his new venture, and is enjoying coming from a very different place professionally – he comes in this time at the top of his game, in a market that he himself is credited with creating, with remarkable personal connections to the top experts, buyers and sellers in the watch world. What was is like to start over? OP: You mean between Antiquorum and now? I started [Patrizzi & Co.] for one special reason, to show that what the company said about me, it wasn’t true. I mean, can you imagine, I have 35 years of experience auctioning, 50 in the watch world, even somebody comeing in with all the problems I have, and I’m able to start a new company with no problems. Normally when you try to start with a problem like that on your back, with the lawyers, the money, it’s hard. I lost some money in Antiquorum, but it’s no problem. What is especially important is to show them that myself and the team that wanted to join me, they’re the best people and have more knowledge and experience than anyone in the world. I


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had somebody yesterday ask me ‘How many experts at our level are there in the world?’ and I said, maybe 11? And two are in the same company, in this room, it is fantastic. We though we’d open a new company, to do what we like. PP: Wait, I thought it was just for fun! OP: It is fun, we have a lot of fun. We have a lot of problems, but the fun makes it easy to resolve the problems. What’s been your biggest sale so far? OP: There was a fantastic sale of renaissance clocks in May, in Milano. It was fantastic not only because we had so many clocks and early watches from one owner, but also these clocks are in excellent condition. We practically never get to exercise all of our passion, not only for the wristwatches, but also for the clocks. The watches, sometimes they’re boring, this is several centuries, several different styles, different mechanical concepts. When you have the chance to see it all together, it’s really incredible. There are not many today who are interested in buying this kind of horological art. And also we had a spring sale in Geneva that was very good, and one in New York, and some very important watches coming up in September, there’s a watch that will get probably a million dollars. We’re cataloging everything now. The best

Above: Osvaldo Patrizzi, Chairman Below: Philip Poniz, Founding Partner

souvenir for the moment is this collection of clocks. You pioneered some new ideas in auctions, including the themed sale, which you’ve continued to fi nd success with. What do you think makes people respond to them? OP: The idea to create a themed sale came from the way this business normally is done. You have some interested people, really cultivating one brand, one type of horology, but from the historical point of view, only. And missing on the market were people who didn’t just approach the expert, because there’s the collector approach. We live every day with the collectors, we know what the collector wants, what they want to see, what we have to explain. The thematic sale for us is the event where we can go deep on the history of the subject, to explain in an easy way for a dealer, collector or amateur who wants to know the brand or the subject. Also, themed sales are supported by a lot of promotions, it is commercial, most of its made by the collectors themselves. They’re talking watches 18 hours a day. It’s a lot of work, the thematic sale, but the interest in the brand comes from something we decide, something important, like a jubilee, or the anniversary of an iconic model of that brand, or we decide to focus on one kind of horology, say English or French. Remember Antiquorum in Love? PP: That was a good sale. OP: That was a very good sale. We have to see the historical point of view, what gives us a reason to focus. When we have this reason we start

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to find the pieces, to find them, to describe and explain what the sale

We’re changing from horology to kinetic art, it’s a very nice evolution.

means and what we want to show, and we see the customer respond to

We want to create our own customers, we want to tell them our passion

that. The approach is totally different than the classic approach.

first, and the way we see our business. When we get together, Philip

PP: Nothing like that in the history of the world has ever been as-

and I, we don’t talk football, we don’t talk women, we don’t talk cars,


we talk watches.

Will you seek out watches along the lines of a particular

Patrizzi’s communications manager overhears this and begins to

theme, or does the theme follow what you’re fi nding?

hassle him about his lack of outside interests – a particular issue when

OP: If we find a watch collection where the collection is possible for

trying to get him to engage in, say, Twitter. He laughs at the gentle

a thematic sale, we start to see if we have an intellectual interest, its

teasing, but then focuses in with his signature combination of excited

important that it not just be a collection of very nice watches and then

gesticulation and intense concentration.

we do an auction. We need to have something to talk about, something to explain. If we find that its just one kind, one style, we have to have

OP: Watches are not a boring subject! You have so many developments

an argument to explain at the beginning, to create an auction theme. I

in art, engraving, enamel, repoussé and technical technical; it so rich,

think it’s a choice we made from the beginning, in 1974 when I started,

we have to think for days and days to understand what the watchmaker

then it was really only Sothebys and Christies, who were selling. When

made 200 years ago, by hand, to create one watch, one escapement,

I started my choice was to go directly to the buyer, to explain and de-

one complication.

“When I go to the woods, I pick mushrooms. When Osvaldo goes anywhere, he picks up watches, I don’t know how, but that’s what he does! ” scribe. You don’t explain and describe it the same way to the dealers.

PP: During our research, we have advanced the history of horology

We started with this kind of education from the beginning because the

significantly. We discovered that the chronograph, the return to zero, it

more people that have knowledge, the more that have the interest, and

was made about 30 years before it was thought to have been made. We

the ability to pay. And that is what happened.

discovered the beginnings of Patek Phillipe, we’re still working on that.

PP: Take the Art of American Horology. It was something which was

Many things, from horological analysis, we created a number of historic

worth doing because American horology has a very special effect. He

changes. Sixty percent of the watches that are in the most important

decided to do it, and when I go to shows now, people talk about it, and it

horological museum [Patek’s own museum] came through us.

was what, 10 years ago? Nobody else has done anything like this.

OP: From what I hear yesterday in LA, we are only at the beginning.

OP: It’s true, this approach, here and at Antiquorum, it created a lot of

There’s a machine that costs millions that can make a perfect watch.

interest around watches, even in Switzerland. In 1975, only two students

For the future, it’s important. It makes it a million times more precise,

followed a horological path in school. They were thinking of closing, be-

really millions, and its easier, cheaper, one wheel that would cost US$10

cause no one was interested in mechanical watches. In 1980-81, when

million, with this machine, costs US$3 million, and it has the capacity

we were starting to sell those watches and focusing on those watches

to finish and be developed in the next 10 to 15 years, to develop the

as a collectible, there were 24 students in the programme. Is it just

most incredible watches in a medium size, not larger and larger. We’re

because of us? Probably there were always people who loved watches,

much more interested in the kind of horology of craftsmen, but from a

but people forget, if they don’t have people showing them what’s nice,

technical point of view its fantastic.

regularly exciting them about what we do. This was the quartz period and it caused a lot of problems. From 1980-90, we’re missing a genera-

Why is there emphasis on making watches smaller when the

tion of watchmakers. The 1970s watchmaker changed from watches to

trend has been to make them bigger?

electronics. After, we’re starting again with manual and mechanical,

OP: At times, our interest, we explain to the customer. Alot of times

and they’ve come back. Today we have probably the best period in ho-

they don’t know the difference between a normal watch and an extra

rological history, where the watch industry makes incredible watches.

flat watch. A lot of people don’t understand the importance to be small

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and flat – why? Because a smaller watch costs much more than a bigger

to eliminate the buyer’s commission and to become a partner with the

watch. Today, people like bigger, it’s showier, but at the time small meant

vendor. It’s difficult sometimes for people to approach the auction when

capacity, manual capacity, precision, requiring much more than a normal

they don’t know how much they’re going to have to pay. Emotion pushes

size watch. And flat, it requires the ability to work in very small dimen-

them to go up, up and up and afterwards they come down, and start to

sions, it’s much more explain why an extra flat watch costs much more

think “Oh, how much do I have to pay now? I have to pay 0 68.6 thousand,

than a large watch, it’s hard to explain based on what we like. We have to

plus the commission is US$12.8 thousand, plus tax is US$137 thousand,

show them and get them to participate and get pleasure out of it.

my god, 30-40 percent you pay on service. This is important because it’s

PP: 22mm difference could be a 100 percent increase in the price. This

30-40 percent of the auction house charges of the value.


is in watches made in the beginning of the 20 century. You didn’t men-

If you want to include the service in the value of the watch, you have

tion the concepts! The entire idea!

to reduce the value of the watch, to reduce the estimation and give the

OP: About the new auction?

lowest bid to the buyer and say its low, I’d go up. Its not the reality of the

PP: About the collectors, friends, not making them pay…

market, when at auction you’re selling, the estimation still exists, people

OP: One of our qualities in this business is not to take advantage of the

don’t understand why the sale prices are up and down. If I put down 100,

situation, to go deep in what we do, but also to see what’s missing, what is

I pay 100, its simpler from the buyer’s point of view, and from our point

not logical, or some situation where the business is driven by the financial

of view, if you know how much you’ll pay, maybe you’ll buy more. It’s

people and not by the experts. It’s important to put the church in the

simpler. And if we send to the vendor this watch worth up to US$102.5

middle of the village. That’s why we decided with this new company to

thousand, we start at US$61 thousand and split the difference, he says

start a new concept, and the concept is to give the real value to the buyer,

okay, he tries to make the best for everyone. We don’t just to sell to get to the commission at any price, its not important how much it fetches, just to get the auction house the commission to survive. It’s a friendly approach and a transparent approach, and today with a real global market, this kind of transparency helps a lot, and we see the result, we have spectacular sales. Have you noticed an influx of new watches in the economic downturn? Do you think people are trying to recoup some of what they may have invested in watches? OP: To buy new watches to make money, it’s not a very clever idea. You have to buy the watches because you like them and you have the capacity to buy and get pleasure out of them. It’s a mistake at the beginning to think that, “I’ll buy the watch at the next watch show and keep it six months and sell it for a profit.” You don’t buy one car and keep it six months and expect to make money. You have some cars and some watches that are so rare that are made in so few models that are so spectacular that sometimes, yes, its true, the limited number, the quantity of demand push up the price, but most of your new wristwatches are time instruments, not investments. You have to give at the time what they want and keep it while the price evolves for 15 years and after 30 years the price will be stable and it will be vintage. But not in two or three years. I think it’s a mistake in the beginning to buy for investment; you should buy what you like. And what you like depends on the amount of money you have, the pleasure you get, you buy what you like. Later, collecting for investment, its possible. We see that when the value of the money goes up, the value of everything else goes down, but the watches are more stable than some other art because its


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small, easy to transport and there’s a worldwide appreciation. It’s more

You seem to consider new collectors in your thinking quite a

difficult for the Chinese to appreciate a piece of modern art than a watch,

bit; what was your fi rst watch?

because it’s known worldwide. Pieces of modern art from a new artist is

OP: The first watch I ever bought I received it when I made first com-

much more of an investment. Philip just came from Shanghai.

munion, when I was 11; it was a Zodiac. At the time, it was like, wow.

PP: I called Osvaldo and said “We’ve got to establish an office in China,

My first purchase, I was probably 14, but it was not for myself, just to

we’ve got to.” The level of sophistication and interest of the Chinese is

buy something to sell it. In Italy at the time, the fashion was to buy the

remarkable, and it’s developed very quickly. I believe that the most ex-

English style long-case clocks, with many of the companies changing

pensive watch from our next sale, the Only Watch, will be bought by a

their names for Italian. I remember I bought one very nice long-case

Chinese collector.

clock from Scotland, I put it at home in my apartment, and after a few days, somebody came in and wanted to buy it, and I said no, this is for

Is it difficult establishing presence in Asia?

me – but hey, if I sell it, I make money!

OP: It’s much more difficult to find good people. To find a place, no, to


get the documents and meet people, no, but to find nice people to work in

Do you fi nd that a lot of watch collectors are interested in

the same spirit, its not easy, because you need time to see who is really


passionate, or just trying to make money. After so many years, though, we

OP: At the time in Italy, most people were interested in clocks. They

know people who are able to help us.

were easy because you enter in the house and see them; in watches you

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PP: He was the first to realise that certain types of Rolex dials with age, change colours. Collectors started calling those dials Patrizzi’s dials. OP: This is my own brand, Rolex! But really, what is nice is that these mistakes sometimes are so charming, we see in the plate collections some color, from black to chocolate, or chocolate to red, or bluish – you’d never produce it. Like Indian Summer. Did you ever consider taking your career in another direction? What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this? OP: I’m very happy with what I do. Just yesterday, we had a meeting with several people, collectors, investors, but also musicians, and when I was talking music, I think that in my next life, I’d like to go down that path. I like piano, the violin. It’s fantastic because these people are from a foundation for young musicians, we find one young guy who plays fantastically and needs money and decided to support him. PP: Ah! Now I understand the concert before our last Milano auction! We organised a concert of string instruments, but the real old strings, the way they used to be strung a 100 years ago, natural guts. A little bit softer, it was hard to organise when he was in Paris, but he brought an orchestra from London to Milan and it made quite an impact. Maybe that’s why we sold those clocks so well! OP: Especially because the music was specially composed for clocks. PP: Yes, I forgot, about the music, not many people know about Mozart and others, they made music for clocks. This was a concert from that music. They were making very sophisticated music. Is that something you see yourself doing more of? OP: I think we have to think, I’d like if one day we could do American music, to get an American composer from that same period, because need to keep them in safes, go to the bank to see them. If watch collec-

they’re really two different things but so similar in some ways. Some-

tors now buy clocks, it’s just for decoration. The pocketwatch collectors

thing that explains another thing.

sometimes overlap, because a pocketwatch and clocks come from the

PP: We got the oldest existing American-made watch, from the 1760s.

same kind of passion. Wristwatches are a different world, and different

A watch with a really unusual escapement. The ébauche bounces, the

age. Watches, the youngest watch collector we have is 11 years old, he

finish and everything is American. A remarkable piece. We got it be-

came with his mother to the auction, and the mother said, my son is

cause of the Art of American sale.

bidding, whatever he does is okay. He bought six watches, very clever

OP: Oh?

choices, very nice. He was Chinese, he bought for a real amount of money,

PP: And, it’s from a clock collector! It requires an article, it requires

US$74.3 thousands. Wristwatches are probably around 55-60 years old.

someone to write good music for it.

Pocketwatches start probably at US$37 thousand and go up from there. And clocks are probably more around 40-50 years old, the average age of

So what’s coming up next for Patrizzi & Co.?

a collector.

OP: Next, I can’t tell you, because we haven’t signed the contract yet,

And what do you wear now?

important anniversary, and the company is really interested in giving

OP: Now, it’s a Rolex Daytona, with the dial that’s changed colour. I was

to us and to explain to the public their brand and model that’s very im-

the first to realise this kind of mistake, and collect them.

portant, to explain the design, and how the model changed the way we

but the company is very famous, in the next year they’re having a very

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produce and made watches. I’ll tell you, it’s not Rolex, it’s not Patek.

having a good time, you switch the lever, and the watch goes slowly so

We also have the Only Watch, which is a special sale, important

the time expands twice as big. The other way around, if it’s a lousy time,

for several reasons. The auction is for a charity, the whole amount is

everything goes bad, stressful, you switch the lever to the other side, and

given to research for muscular dystrophy. I founded it with Luc Pet-

the time starts flying. Then of course when you come to your senses, you

tavino four or five years ago, and asked each manufacturer to give us

put the lever in the middle and the hands go regular time. Nothing like

one watch. It went very well, with the patronage of these companies,

that had ever been thought of, to say nothing of making – they made it

and being in Monaco is important. We asked for watches for selling,

for us, for this Only Watch.

and sold them well because its during the Monaco Yacht Show, the

OP: The approach is very interesting, because practically we go out

best event for boats, which brings to the same place, a few square

of what is the gold standard regulation of watchmaking. It’s really a

metres, billionaires from all over the world, and we can show them

philosophical point of view, and like I said, kinetic. Finally, it’s not more

something different than boats. And the second year, when the cata-

important than time, but when I met with another guy [from the watch

log was prepared, we had the fight with Antiquorum; last year, the

company MBR], it was really the new frontier. When I saw this watch,

manager of the yacht show, after I’d already opened this company,

I’d been to the offices, and I said “Nice, okay, its different, it’s a new con-

asked if I wanted to do it again, the Only Watch. I said yes, but we

ception, but I don’t see the time.” And it’s not important! You make the

decided to change the aspect of the sale, and the reason for the sale.

watch but it’s not important that it tells the time. We started talking and I

Not where the money goes, but the idea is really to make a gala of

opened my mind and I thought ah, maybe we’re not talking about a watch,

extraordinary watches.

we’re talking about a piece of art. And because the idea comes from the

Just to get watches for selling, okay, it’s nice, but it’s not exciting

mechanical pieces, it becomes kinetic art. It’s not important what they

enough to do three times, people won’t find a reason to pay double just

do. When I ask him, “But who is your customer?” because they produce

for charity. But for an extraordinary, unique piece, yes. We explained to

35 watches a year, no more, he gave me the names and practically all

the watch manufacturers the project, and we got a fantastic result, be-

these people are major collectors worldwide of modern art.

cause all the major manufacturers decided to produce a special watch

Practically it’s that concept, to do something, use the shape, the

for this occasion – one incredible watch. And you have some watches,

wrist, that is logical with the personality of the owner, and sometimes

the evolution of them, they’re modern and still unique, or they’re the

you make these; it’s not a time instrument, it’s a piece of art moving to

first of a very small series, still with something different. The commer-

help you find more or less where you are – what kind of time is now. „

cial part, from the psychological point of view, that the manufacturers decided to accept it, decided to put their name with our name, this is very important. It means a lot to us after what happened, to have 100 percent support and it’s a pleasure to do something there. And this is something really new, somebody from Singapore with somebody from Richemont asked me if we’re interesting in making, every year or every two years, one new concept at Basel, only for a spectacular watch, just to create an event, push people worldwide to talk about something spectacular. PP: Like a contest – one watch, and one of the most important manufacturers. OP: The Basel fair, the Geneva fair, it’s nice, but it’s made for production, its made for US$10 thousand – this, we’ll make one. It’ll push the boundaries. It’s so important that they see the capacity and the savoir faire of the watch industry, the manufacturers. This is really something. PP: For Only Watch, they made something that has been not unheard of, but unthinkable. They changed the meaning of time. They made a watch where you can adjust your pace of time, literally. It’s a philosopher’s stone sort of watch, literally. If the time goes well for you, if you’re


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oreign Exchange trading, known oreig as Forex, has boomed in recent years, ears, as a many have realised that th the currency market provides great

opport opportunities for reaping profits. Volatility within currency markets the past two years has given many investors windfall profits – although many have taken substantial losses as well. Also appealing to Forex investors is the market’s 24-hour nature; Forex trading occurs non-stop from Sunday to Friday through all the world’s major markets, allowing investors a great way to allocate their free time for recreational trading. As mentioned, the currency markets have been extremely turbulent throughout 2008 and 2009 – case in point, the relationship between the US Dollar and the British Pound. Trading for around 2:1 (respectively) during July of 2008, the dollar strengthened up to 1.35:1 by January of 2009; by August of 2009, the dollar had once again slid to 1.7:1. Even more dramatic rises and falls have been seen in other currencies, with the relative strength of currencies like the Mexican Peso having been decimated through 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis. The profits gained through the wild swings in the world markets have been a silver lining of the crisis though, as speculators have taken advantage of the market’s uncertainty.

All change at the exchange 100 Thousand Club

FOREX ED P95-96.indd Sec1:95


16/10/09 13:21:44

Speculators dominate Forex trading, and thus trading on margin is

currency speculators bear no responsibility

a crucial component of the currency market. Trading on margin is the

for the huge impact they have on the general

hallmark of Forex trading given how small movements within currency

population’s lives; whole populations have

markets are, with minute-by-minute movement usually measured in

been plunged into depressions because of

the hundredths of cents. The use of margin trading removes entry

speculators from across oceans. Given the

barriers because small margin deposits can be used to leverage such

general global push for more government

large sums of money that traders just starting out can make large

intervention while the current economic

amounts of money very quickly (or, they can obviously rapidly lose

crisis continues unfolding, a clampdown

money). Larger investors can actually influence the markets when

on speculation in the currency markets is

trading on margin as they can leverage such massive of money that

possibly close at hand.

individual currency trades impact exchange rates.


Regardless of whether speculation is

The responsibility speculators have to the general population has

curtailed in the future, the currency market

been debated in the face of calls for more regulation of the financial

today provides a great opportunity for new, as

market – speculators operating in the energy markets have already been

well as seasoned, investors to test their skills.

thoroughly demonised, following the huge fluctuations in commodity

Tracking the change in ticks (the smallest

prices as a result of their trading. With the effects of speculators

amount that exchange rates can change by)

evident in the relative failures of several currencies, many have begun

between Dollars, Euros and everything else

calling for regulation of currency speculation. Speculators can have

can be both a business and a hobby, and

such a huge impact with relatively little collateral that some believe

is a great way to stay informed regarding

they hold too much sway in the world markets, and that reducing

broader subjects pertaining to international

trading on margin will help to limit market volatility. Essentially,

economic data. „

100 Thousand Club

FOREX ED P95-96.indd Sec2:96

16/10/09 13:21:47

Mediacom(DBFX)_AD.indd 1

14/10/09 15:51:03

Rupert Sanderson_4.indd Sec1:98

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Walking on Sunshine By Natalie Brandweiner


upert Sanderson’s footwear collections have

London – its famous graduates include the

long had a reputation in the fashion industry,

notable Jimmy Choo, Beatrix Ong and Emma

but it is 2010 that is set to be his most explosive

Hope – and armed with his degree certificate,

year. He has already this year teamed up with

he began his apprenticeship under the guard-

Karl Lagerfeld for the fashion mogul’s Fall ’09

ian craftsmanship of Sergio Rossi and Bruno

show in March, announced his first ever pop-up

Magli. He describes working alongside these

shop in Paris in the same month, and celebri-

Italian greats as a “real privilege,” and the in-

ties such as Cheryl Cole and Sienna Miller are

fluence of the individual Italian style, as well

increasingly spotted wearing his shoes.

as the quality, is easily spotted throughout his

Rupert’s story as a designer originated far

work. “It informed me on my approach to my

outside of London. Born in Penang, Malaysia,

own business – ‘piccolo e bello’ as the Ital-

it seems no coincidence that he shared the

ians say. Large groups are good for economies

same birthplace as Jimmy Choo, but, rather

of scale and muscle in the market but don’t

differently, Rupert’s interest in crafting shoes

always work for everyone,” he says.

originated in his passion for architecture. “As

It was his journey across Italy during his

a boy I was always interested in architecture

summer break at Cordwainers that formulated

and the structure of designs such as boats,”

his passion for the Italian craftsmanship that

he explains. “This somehow turned into a pas-

has become synonymous with luxury and

sion for shoes which have a similar construc-

sensuous design. On the back of a motorbike,

tion. I worked in advertising for a number of

he travelled across the region, visiting shoe

years after university, and at a certain point I

factories and tanneries, which later was seen

realised I had taken the wrong fork in life and

to be a huge influence on his style of design.

knew I had to pursue my love of a good shoe.”

“My travels made me realise that there is a

He enrolled on a shoe-making course at

wonderful world out there of people who still

the world-renowned Cordwainers College in

specialise in making things. Manufacturing is

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Rupert Sanderson_4.indd Sec1:99


16/10/09 11:54:52

Sothebys AD.indd 1

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not a big automated oily business – it can be a man making a good living making the world’s most beautiful buttons,” Rupert says. In 2008, Rupert founded Fashion Fringe Shoes with Colin McDowell, with the aim of discovering new talent. “The idea for Fashion Fringe shoes sprung from my experience of living and working in Italy for Sergio Rossi. I gained so much knowledge about the actual craft and construction of shoes that I was lucky enough to take a controlling interest in my own factory. I thought it would be good to give a really talented young designer the chance to have a similar experience to help them on their way,” he says. In the same year, Rupert became recognised for his designs and was awarded Accessory Designer of the Year at the 2008 British Fashion Awards, as well as receiving the same title at the Elle Style Awards. Such recognition so early on in his career was, as he describes, “Vindication of all the hard work, from everybody for everybody. Elle have always been a fantastic supporter of my work, and I appreciate the honour.” Elle are certainly not his only supporters. A year later and the stir within the industry of his award-winning designs gained him support from Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. The department store invited Rupert to open his first ever pop-up store in the French capital in March this year, just as Paris fashion week began, with Rupert hosting a selection from his Spring/Summer ’09 collection. A London based designer, Rupert’s shoes are designed for what he describes as, “Clever, sexy and self-assured women who know what suits them. Women who wear their shoes, and don’t want something to wear them.” He loves women with the style to really pull off his shoes, from “a Russian oligarch’s wife in full sail,” to his British countrywomen, who he says are “a wonderful mix of the conventional and fashionable ambitions.” Living and working amidst the

Rupert Sanderson_4.indd Sec1:101

16/10/09 11:54:53

London scene provides Rupert with the

describes as being hugely inspiring. “I am

perfect means to indulge what he calls his

also involved in the Royal Opera’s 2010 pro-

“inexhaustible appetite for the London life.”

duction of Aida, which is under the direction

However, the origins of his designs remain

of the super stellar David McVicar, so expect

fi rm, and he enjoys leaving the city to spend

a little Egyptian influence in my Spring/

time with his young family in his half-built

Summer ’10 collection. I am also in talks with

house and factory in Italy.

Disney with regard to the new Alice in Won-

However, the best is yet to come. Within the same month as the opening of the pop-up


derland film. There is a lot happening in the Rupert Sanderson camp.”

store in Paris, Rupert is asked to collaborate

So what are we to expect for his Spring/

with Karl Lagerfeld on the fashion mogul’s

Summer 2010 collection? “I’ve lightened and

Autumn/Winter ’09 collection, fulfilling a

simplified things,” he says. “I think (hope)

dream of many shoe designers. In a post on

the world has tired a bit of the monster plat-

his hugely read blog for Vogue’s online site,

form. Simple, sexy cigarette heels and playful

Rupert could not contain his excitement fol-

twists on familiar themes,” will be his focus

lowing the success of the show: “Back stage

for the foreseeable future, echoing a return to

was all you wanted it to be – I even heard him

craftsmanship and femininity we’re beginning

name check me to a journalist – if anyone

to see bubbling up from underneath the foot-

needs me I’ll be on cloud nine.”

wear insanity of 2009. As Rupert’s designs

So what’s next for this increasingly suc-

continue to gain popularity, we expect noth-

cessful designer? 2010 is set to see Rupert

ing less from this young talent than to stay

designing once again for Lagerfeld, which he

similarly ahead of the curve. „

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Rupert Sanderson_4.indd Sec1:102

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JewellreyArabia_AD.indd 1

15/10/09 10:52:12

Deborah Najar ed:27Apr



Page 104

Jewellery Arabia:

A Sparkling Return


rom 17 to 21 November

ipation of an official pavilion of Malaysian jew-

the halls of the Bahrain

ellers coordinated by the Malaysia External

International Exhibition

Trade Development Corporation. And of

Centre will glitter with the

course, the eminent jewellery houses and

finest gems, jewels and

watch manufacturers will be making a return

exciting new designs, as

appearance at Jewellery Arabia 2009, includ-

the ultimate industry

ing Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Chopard, De

showcase in the Middle East returns for a sell-

Beers, Graff Diamonds, Harry Winston,

out show. Held under the patronage of His High-

Hublot, Patek Phillipe and Piaget, amongst

ness the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of

numerous others.

Bahrain, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa,

Many of these exhibiting companies will

over 600 exhibitors from 30 nations will reveal

once again have an exclusive presence in the

exquisite items at Jewellery Arabia 2009,

Middle East at Jewellery Arabia, affording up-

ranging from incredible finished jewellery to

wards of 40,000 visitors a unique preview of the

luxury timepieces; to precious stones of every

global market.

size, shape and cut. The most prestigious master jewellers and

set it apart from other exhibitions in the region.

watchmakers in the world will shine on a floor

Designers of unique one-off watch and jewellery

area of 18,000 square metres, complemented

pieces exhibit alongside giant luxury goods

by the creative gleam of national pavilions

companies, in addition to the multicultural mix

from leading jewellery export countries, and

in the national pavilions – where exhibitors

the refined sparkle of the Middle East’s finest

from all over the world exhibit their non-

retailers and manufacturers.

branded products – and make it such an ex-

Despite the current global economic cli-

ceptional event,” says Arabian Exhibition

mate, Jewellery Arabia 2009 has sold out to

Management’s Director of Sales and Market-

capacity as the watch and jewellery industry

ing Fawzi Al Shehabi.

looks to the Middle East for growth. To cater

Since its inauguration in 1992, Jewellery

to the high demand, show organisers Arabian

Arabia has firmly established itself as the biggest

Exhibition Management have commissioned

and most prestigious jewellery exhibition in the

two temporary halls to extend existing facili-

Middle East, providing international jewellery

ties at the Bahrain International Exhibition

houses with unrivalled direct access to trade

Centre for the fourth year in a row.

buyers and private collectors from throughout

Jewellery Arabia 2009 will feature a num-


100 Thousand Club

“Jewellery Arabia’s variety, size and quality

this important economic sector.

ber of exciting new companies looking to break

Last year’s show attracted over 42,000 qual-

into the region, including the first time partic-

ified visitors. Of the total, 26 percent were drawn

Deborah Najar ed:27Apr



Page 105

Deborah Najar ed:27Apr



Page 106

Deborah Najar ed:27Apr



Page 107

from the region’s single largest jewellery market, Saudi Arabia, with significant support also coming from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and other neighbouring countries. The exhibition’s high quality profile and enthusiastic consumer following continues to reflect the region’s passion for fine jewellery, which has succeeded in creating one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets. “It’s the oldest, longest-standing jewellery fair in the Middle East…the only other important jewellery show being that of Qatar, which takes place in February,” says Deborah Najar of De Beers, which is a regular exhibitor, and regards the fair as an important tool in its positioning in the region. “Our stores in Dubai have been open for more than three years. Clearly, Dubai is a very important anchor for the Middle East for any international luxury brands that want the presence in this region. It’s a very easy country to operate out of, because the government has made so many efforts to facilitate the formation of foreign companies in Dubai.” The brand is continuing its expansion into Qatar in 2010, via Salam International, which is devoted to developing the brand for its specific clientele. Najar’s expertise is in developing stores towards that customer, which she says is different in taste and custom than a European or

to buy an engagement ring, and it would be a

clusive invitation to meet the CEO. There is

American customer. “ The Middle East is prob-

one-carat. You know, it might be a ten, twenty

one event that everyone attends, which is the

ably the world’s largest market for sets, and when

thousand-dollar budget, and he would know

Middle East Watch and Jewellery Awards, be-

I say a ‘set’, I mean quite a large necklace with

everything about the four C’s, but he wouldn’t

cause that’s the one thing that brings all the

the matching earrings and the bracelet. Whereas

have that same experience. These women have

brands together. Otherwise, it’s very much

a European woman, regardless of her means,

really grown up with jewellery, and they love

each of us inviting our customers, and not our

would not have many of those, in the Middle

jewellery, and they know a lot about it.”

competition,” says Najar, in an effort to further understand their clients’ needs.

East it’s very important. You have wedding sets,

During the show, the brands have an oppor-

and you have all sorts of jewellery sets for dif-

tunity to expand on their relationships with these

“We have very interesting customers in this

ferent occasions, and that’s something that we

clients – in addition to the business being

part of the world, because they really understand

had to really, really work on to produce those to

transacted, there are several gala social events

diamonds, and they’ve probably grown up with

satisfy this customer base.”

that are a highlight for the jewellery lovers at-

diamonds and probably have quite a collection.

This cultural importance placed on jew-

tending. “During the week the exhibition takes

And that’s where De Beers comes in and is able

ellery translates to a consumer that is, for a fine

place, the different brands will host events for

to maybe offer them the exceptional or maybe

jewellery brand, a very unique client. “ I would

their VIP customers. It can be anything from a

something different for the buyer who already

say that an American customer would come in

ladies-only lunch to a gala dinner to a very ex-

has everything.”  ` 100 Thousand Club


of the north


s our sleek black BMW enters St. Petersburg’s city centre on a cold Russian morning, the landscape passing outside the window brought to mind the words of William Faulkner: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” Cruising down

Nevsky Prospect as nearly every visitor to St. Petersburg has before, sets the scene for the city at large. Planned by Peter the Great himself, the wide avenues and bridges that crisscross the network of islands that make up the city are straight and deliberate, with plenty of space for the grand palaces and monuments that have shaped and represent the events that shaped this historic city. The main street in St. Petersburg is marked by the Admiralty building with its tall gold spire on the north end and the Nevsky Monastery to the south, with the Kazan Cathedral, the Dom Knigi bookstore (an Art Deco confection that formerly housed the Singer sewing maching company), the Russian National Library, monuments to Catherine the Great, and the Anichkov Bridge with its four famed equestrian statues in between. It’s also the central street for shopping and restaurants with the Gostiny Dvor, the city’s largest department store, on one side of the street, across from the Grand Palace luxury complex.. However, St. Petersburg isn’t a shopping city, its high prices and limited selection means that most wealthy Russians do their shopping on vacations in the rest of Europe or America. That taste of history was enough to get us excited as we pulled up in front of the block-long Grand Hotel Europe, the oldest and grandest of the


100 Thousand Club


16/10/09 13:27:49

100 Thousand Club



16/10/09 13:27:58

hotels in this very old, grand city. The first five-star hotel in the country, the historic building dates from 1824 including the preserved neoclassical facade and original Art Nouveau interiors designed by the Italian architect Carlo Rossi, an architectural legend in St. Petersburg. While the dramatic entrance hall was striking enough, we were headed for the Historic Floor and the 10 recently renovated historic suites, which after an extensive restoration, led by French designer Michel Jouannet, who is renowned for his work at Hotel Cipriani in Venice, reflect the rich history of both the hotel and St. Petersburg. The 1,044 square foot suites were named and inspired by famous Russians who left their marks on the hotel, either directly, as in the Pavarotti Suite, complete with grand piano, where the tenor stayed during his final tour in 2004, and the Dostoevsky Suite, named for the author who was a frequent guest (it’s a corner suite, because he preferred big windows to watch the crowds outside), or indirectly, as in the sparkling jewel-toned Faberge Suite, and the Romanov Suite, grand in purple and gold, where we had the honor to lay our heads. Though the hotel’s interior, from the palatial L’Europe restaurant to the top-floor ballroom, is big enough and exciting enough to explore for a week, the view outside was too good to keep us inside for long. Within walking distance of the Winter Palace Square is the Hermitage Museum, the Moussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theatre; the hotel being the perfect place to set out from for a day of sightseeing. We began by exploring the theaters and museums of Arts Square and the main Russian Museum; look for the life-size Pushkin statue that marks the centre of the square. The house where he lived here has also been turned into a museum – it housed the city’s other favorite son, Tchaikovsky, for a short while as well. We next ventured down Kanal Griboedova to the Cathedral of the Spilt Blood, a classical-style Russian orthodox construction in the style of St. Basil’s in Moscow, and then into St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the fourth-largest domed cathedral in the world and an architectural marvel. A caveat: visiting St. Petersburg is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. As a royal capital for generations, the history here is alive and kicking, with every stone and every stream symbolizing something. The breadth of this truth hit home as we crossed the bridge onto Peter and Paul Fortress, one of the 42 islands that make up the city called “Venice of the North. Established by Peter the Great, the complex has served as a military base, as well as a prison for high-ranking political prisoners. There is no Russian history without military history, and this is one place that many central players passed through at one time or another, all of them at least once as we soon found out. The central cathedral, one of the tallest structures in Russia, is the burial place of all the tsars from Peter the Great to Alexander III, as well as the final resting place of the Romanovs and the family of the last last tsar Nicholas II, who were reinterred into their own memorial room. After fighting our way out of the scrum, we went for a walk into the gardens, stopping


100 Thousand Club


16/10/09 13:37:45

to touch the spindly fingers of the statue of Peter the Great, created from his death mask and said to be his most accurate depiction, for good luck, overlooking the Gate of Death, which the arch prisoners walked under before boarding a boat that took them to the Gulf of Finland, where they were killed and dumped. Luckily, there is a coping mechanism in place for the weight of all this history, and its name is vodka. Pectopah is the one word you need to know if you’re hungry in St. Petersburg. It’s pronounced “restoran,” like “restaurant” with a twist, and is displayed prominently on almost every eating establishment in St. Petersburg. The cuisine available varies from Moroccan to European to Japanese (sushi is the latest craze with the younger set) but for traditional Russian fare, there are a few experiences a cut above the rest. Stroganovsky Dvor is a combination of traditional food, new trends and some concepts that haven’t quite become trends yet, such as inter-table telephoning. Don’t be confused when you walk into the courtyard of the Stroganov Palace, past the entrance to the Chocolate Museum, that large, heated tent filled with statuary that looks like something out of your last bar mitzvah is, in fact, the café; the location is also a hotspot at night. If the word “Stroganov” is ringing some bells, you’re correct:

Where better to relax the next morning

they’re the ones who gave Russia and then the world beef Stroganoff.

than on the waterfront? In this nautical city,

However, for that dish we recommend you try the Caviar Bar at the

a boat tour is an important point of view, and

Grand Hotel Europe: they’re in possession of the family’s own recipe,

there are all kinds of boats available for rental,

a closely guarded gift from the youngest generation, who are frequent

from the very high-end to private catered

guests at the hotel. The Caviar Bar is also, naturally, in possession of

group tours to open boats similar to the

huge quantities of top-notch caviar, and if you’re a fan, make sure to try

bateau-mouches of Paris. We saw views of the

the sturgeon from whence they came as the delicious fish is not available

bridges that were inspiringly beautiful, as well

in the United States. They’ve also recently begun training a vodka

as the less-exposed and less polished sides of

sommelier, to help pair their extensive list of vodkas with your various

the buildings that really emphasizes the strife

courses, a delightful conceit that nevertheless failed to distract us from

this city has seen. There are also some local

the caviar to be consumed. To complete our own vodka education, we

oddities as the ruins of a massive shipbuilding

lunched at the Russian Vodka Room No. 1, which is also home to the

factory can be found on a tiny man-made island.

Vodka Museum, tracing the history of the drink in the country. We

On a clear day, you can take a hydrofoil clear

attempted a trio of shots, and discovered two things the hard way: honey

across the Gulf of Finland, and one popular

vodka is often also flavored with hot peppers, in case you’re looking for

destination is Peterhof, one of the summer

something sweetened, and that curl of white substance on black bread

palaces. Over 350 fountains on the grounds

is not some kind of smoked whitefish, it’s lard. That said, the excellent

take advantage of a naturally-occuring quirk in

blinis and hot borscht more than assuaged our terrified stomachs, and

the river system here: a mountain spring keeps

we more than walked off the heavy stuff seeing at the Western-style

them fed and spouting without a single pump

nightclubs. The Royal Beach is one club that has adapted the best and

or machine, as it has for hundreds of years. The

worst of American nightlife. Creating a distinctly Russian twist, tanks of

beautifully restored rooms include personal

baby alligators and bikini-clad gogo dancers made a lively addition to the

effects of some of the country’s past leaders,

scene. For a nightcap, nearly everyone in the city has taken advantage

and furnishings that will make you wish you’d

of the Lobby Bar in the Grand Hotel Europe – the beautifully preserved

chosen interior design as your profession.

Art Nouveau-style space is open 24 hours, and the signature cocktails are as good as any breakfast.

We finished up the night at the Alexandrinsky Theater for a performance of

100 Thousand Club



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the White Dining Room, where the Bolsheviks captured the leaders of the government, which stands as it did that day, the clock permanently set to 2:10, when they were overthrown. We took a stroll through a special exhibit of French Impressionists (fitting, we thought, since the Hermitage is in constant and vicious battle with the Louvre for the largest overall collection of works) and were unpleasantly surprised by the conditions in some parts of the palace. The paintings sat under hazy lighting on cracked walls, next to windows open to the humidity and ocean air. The upstairs galleries where the more permanent collection is housed are in more standard condition, and some of the works are super-protected, you can tell the paintings that have been slashed, attacked with acid and otherwise damaged over the years as they are the ones to be found under glass with a motion-detector alarm. We suggest you not pay the 15 rubles to be allowed to take pictures inside, though hundreds of your Swan Lake, but you won’t lack for cultural options here. The Russians

fellow visitors will; the experience of being

are, collectively, a nation of balletomanes and opera buffs, and there are

inside surrounded by centuries of history and

multiple performances taking place every night, including the Kirov

the arts is something you’ll never be able to

Ballet at the Mariinsky Theater, arguably the biggest and best in the

capture in the frame anyway. „

country. And truly, it was a thrill to see a Tchaikovsky ballet performed and then to file out into the Arts Square in the shadow of centuries of artists. They take their high culture seriously here, and it shows.

Getting there

Any previous visitor to St. Petersburg is probably wondering why we

There are connections to St. Petersburg’s

haven’t mentioned the Hermitage. Beautiful, challenging, unmissable and

Pulkovo II International Airport (airport code

inescapable, no visit to the city is complete without it. As any reasonably

LED) from most major European cities; we

worldly-minded person has probably heard before, the warning goes

took the opportunity to try out Lufthansa’s

that you can’t see the Louvre or the Hermitage in one day. And well,

new business class, complete with priority

you can’t. Don’t try. There are several special exhibitions going at any

check-in, a dedicated boarding aisle

one time, although they’re not always well-advertised, and it’s best to just

(through a separate door on the plane), flat

pick one or two sections of interest so you have time to enjoy the art and

seats, plentiful entertainment and meals

the interiors themselves. It’s a combination of grand baroque and spooky

prepared through their new Star Chefs

decay that just about sums up the indefinable nature of modern Russia.

program. We found the business class

Engaging a tour guide is an excellent way to make sure you know what

lounges to be the biggest enhancement

you’re looking at. There are a few extraordinary galleries, particularly the

for our trip as they were stocked and

halls of portraits, which are of great historical as well as artistic value, such

operational for tired travelers even in the

as the Military Gallery, with more than 300 portraits painted from life of

wee hours of the morning. Entry visas to

every officer that served in the Napoleonic Wars (blank spaces are left for

visit Russia are required.

officers who died overseas or before their portraits could be paints), and

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Legend of the Pearl As the saying goes, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’, but if a woman

viously a diamond dealer in Europe, began selling waterproof watches to

lusts after diamonds then it’s love that she shares with pearls. Accord-

American army men. “When the war ended, my father was left with thou-

ing to Salvador J. Assael, founder, chairman and owner of Assael Inter-

sands of Swiss watches,” he explains. “The Japanese needed watches

national, the romance exists simply because pearls are, as he describes,

but had no money, so my father exchanged watches for pearls from the

“nature’s true gem.” Birthed from oysters, the nacreous substance claims

Japanese. He taught me how to barter.”


an understated but regal presence that sets it apart from its sparkly, more

When asked how the idea of selling Tahitian natural colored culture

contrived counterparts. Its rich history, intimate connection with earth’s

pearls was born, Assael fondly recalls being on his yacht, cruising in

oceanic roots, and long-time love affair with regal dams has made the iri-

Saint Tropez in 1973, when his good friend Jean- Claude Brouillet spoke

descent gem a timeless and alluring luxury.

with him about a far-flung atoll he purchased in French Polynesia.

Although the precious prize has been retrieved and harvested in waters around the world for over four thousand years, it wasn’t until around

“Brouillet raved about the turquoise waters producing black lipped oysters and pearls,” said Assael.

three decades ago that the world met and fell in love with the exotic

It was during those times that the businessman would fleet back and

black Tahitian pearl. Salvador J. Assael, who humbly describes himself

forth to his own island, solely accessible via private jet, in the Tuamotu

as, “intelligent, passionate about [his] work and family,” is to thank for

Archipelago. “I began breeding black lipped oysters there. I [also] used

the brilliant introduction.

it as a getaway years ago.” Within the first year, the crops that Assael had

Not your run of the mill merchant, Assael didn’t simply enter the

been nurturing and tending came out less than great, unfitting for his

jewellery business with a one-track vision for glitz and glamour. A rar-

stringent standards of perfection. Undaunted, the entrepreneur recol-

ity much like the treasures he cultivates, his genuine passion sprouts

lects waiting for another year, “until [his] harvest produced better spec-

from his early days in Italy where he studied ancient history, archaeol-

imens. I took several Tahitian strands to my old friend Harry Winston

ogy, mineralogy and gemology. After extensive schooling in all things

who, a visionary himself, bought them all hoping to sell a few. He made

earthly, it makes complete sense that the jeweller landed in the pearl

magnificent jewellery out of the strands and put them in his fifth avenue

business. “I went into business because of my father. Gemology was my

window with an outrageous price tag.” After a short period of time and

favorite subject and while working with my family, it helped me under-

a good dose of well-calculated marketing, a black-pearl frenzy started in

stand [things] outside the books and classroom. It made me appreciate

New York and spread across the states, clamoring to claim a piece of the

the gems I dealt with and the knowledge I had prior,” says Assael.

jewel for themselves. Winston was pleasantly surprised at the news that

Dubbed ‘The king of pearls’, he earned his spot on the throne while work-

he had completely sold out of Assael’s once marginalised pearls.

ing under the wing of his father James Assael. He remembers how it

On a business trip to Tahiti, Salvador remembers stumbling across

started in World War II, around the time Salvador’s father, who was pre-

what he describes as, “A 24mm huge button-shaped pearl that was very

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SALVADOR ASSAEL_ME7_14oct 16/10/2009 11:53 Page 117

impressive in size but unattractive in colour. As I was inspecting the pearl, I noticed some layers open in the back and decided to peel them. The risk was either finding a smaller pearl or completely ruining the pearl itself, but once peeled it came out that he had a magnificent 22mm round pearl and sold it for €137 thousand, a hidden gem under the layer of an ugly duckling.” In his unwavering commitment to maintain Assael International’s impeccable taste, Salvador explains how in a potential collaboration he always looks for, “Integrity, good work ethic, loyalty, experience or initiative to learn new things.” After serving as Vice President of Sotheby’s jewellery department for 15 years, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia joined Assael International as Vice President Creative Director in 2003. His collaborative work with Prince Dimitri, amongst others, was an attempt to shake things up yet again in the rather traditional world of pearls. “Their fresher, newer look incorporated diamonds, moonstones and other

Jeweler Salvador Assael Selecting Black Pearls from Robert Wan, the largest single producer and exporter of Tahitian Black Pearls

gemstones to the look of classic pearls,” Assael explains. “Prince Dimitri combined pearls with non-traditional elements such as denim, rubber and wood”. His pearly numbers have also been the go- to accessory down the runway, from Balmain to Oscar de la Renta. “An old friend of mine [Oscar de la Renta] commissioned €17 million worth of South Sea pearl jewelry for models to wear while showing his spring line,” Assael says. So, how exactly does an inexhaustible jetsetter stop and relax for just a moment? “I adore chocolate and traveling to Europe, to Switzerland and to my homeland of Italy. They have the best chocolate locations; I also love reading biographies,” he exclaims with a glimmer. With a lifetime achievement award from Modern Jeweler under his belt, the Chevalier Dans L’ordre De Tahiti Nui award from the Tahitian Government, and the atrium at the Gemological Institute of American named after him, it’s clear that the pioneer has whipped up a delightful recipe for success. On mixing business with pleasure, he adamantly declares, “If you’re making money doing something you love, it enhances one another.” Yet, he rejects the notion that he’s an inventor of any sort. “Someone always comes up with new ideas. There was Thomas Alva Edison, and then Bill Gates.” However, the mild-mannered gent with an adventurous spirit doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. “I am still a people person and always have been. I have a young wife, young family and a dedicated staff that wants to continue my legacy for many more generations to come!” n

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erdant swaths of wild

green plant life, surrounding stately mansions, peaceful lakes and neighbours strolling from home to the town center for shopping and

dining – is it possible that we’re in the Middle East? For 300 lucky villa owners, this is the new reality of life at Al Barari: the long-awaited new vision of a totally different kind of life in Dubai. Though the development boom brought many things to this city, it is only natural that the needs of its occupants would evolve past the architectural showpieces and back to the homes and families that are, after all, the center of life anywhere. And so it’s only fitting that the completion of the project depended on a family effort, as multiple generations of the Zaal family contributed to the various stages. Begun initially in 2004, the project intends to fill a niche that was not being met by other developers, to build a place where the more affluent could really call home. “There was one conceptual development but it was mainly plots, and we thought we had the chance to start something new,” says Mohammed Zaal, COO of the project. Born in England and educated both there and in Dubai, he returned for good after attending the Royal Military University in England for a graduate degree and to continue in the Army for a while, but he was finally lured back into the family business in the sales department. He sold the majority of the stock in the Al Barari project and as a result of his efforts was promoted to COO. His experiences growing up internationally informed the final vision of the project in both an aesthetic and experiential way. “I lived in England for many years, and when you live in England, you can leave your house, walk down the street, have your local butcher and baker, and that’s something we wanted to introduce here, living in greenery. We also lived in France for a while,” he says. Their collective experience of home has continued – his father’s vision was carried out


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by him and his sister Nadia in the earlier stages, his mother Leslie served as the interior designer for the project, as she has for many other prestigious Dubai homes, and his sister Camellia is a landscape designer, who contributed her talents to making sure the surroundings outside were as spectacular as the surroundings inside. And how they have succeeded on that front. It’s the first thing everyone notices and the thing everyone can’t stop talking about once they’ve seen the place. Lush doesn’t begin to cover the way the community feels, and it’s an achievement that the young executive is particularly proud of. “Personally, the green side of it, to be able to have all of these plants, its never been tried before, so we worked very closely with the government because we were bringing in plants from countries all over the world, everything from cypress trees from Italy to ferns from Malaysia, so it was really interesting to acclimatise them and see if they would succeed here. I think we have a very successful operation.” While it certainly wasn’t easy to succeed, the family remained actively invested in each step of the process, and their devotion paid off. There are over 1,800 species of plants in the development, more than most residents of temperate zones will see in their lifetimes, “and we’re here in the middle of the desert in this botanical haven, it’s amazing,” he says. They’ve also created a bit of a cottage industry in Dubai for others who may wish to follow in their footsteps, creating a market for the services they needed. “It was extremely difficult when we realised there wasn’t really the expertise here, even though we’re avid green enthusiasts, so we brought the talent from elsewhere in the world.” They created a new initiative called Greenworks, made up of three companies: 2nd Nature Landscape Design, Sustainable Earth, and Greenworks Nurseries, responsible for plant growth and introduction. The three firms

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tackle everything from organic soil materials and plants to water recycling and are now branching out to advise others on green investments and green community developments. “The landscape design was difficult from start to finish, and it was easier to do it in house,” he explains. Speaking to us just weeks before handover, with the majority of units sold before the ground breaking, he is optimistic even in the face of the economy which has so drastically altered since the project was conceived. “It’s definitely a primary home development, I know most of the clients and they’ve all been waiting for this. Old merchants and businessmen from Dubai have never had this opportunity. There are a few clients from abroad who will use it as a summer home, but a small minority,” he says, and that stability will give the project a bridge into the future. “The whole project was to create a community, not just houses and roads on a conveyor belt, and we decided to concentrate it around the concept of greening and gardens, unique living in the desert. You can walk out of your house and walk to the retail area, to the coffee shop, you know who your neighbours are and can walk in peaceful surroundings. The houses themselves are all one of a kind, and we’re all living in the development ourselves. We started it because we couldn’t find anything that met our standards,” he says, but now, looking around at the world he has created, they have surpassed even their own expectations. “We do have various smaller developments in the area but nothing on this scale,” he says, and their attention is still firmly on the Al Barari project. “We don’t want to overstretch ourselves at this point, it’s a lot of time and money and we’re all very hands on, so we’ll finish this one and then move onto the next.” But for those not lucky enough to find their dream home in this first development, rest assured. There are many new worlds to come from the Zaal family. n

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UAE October 1-31, 2009

Dubai October 24-25, 2009

Abu Dhabi November 17-21, 2009

Not just a race for cars, this test incorporates

The two-day event is action packed with a

The Emirates Palace is more than fitting to

cars, trucks and motorcycles from all over

variety of activities for boat lovers of all ages

host this event, showcasing the world’s finest

the world. The challenges take place over a

– a sailing competition, boat displays and a

art and antiques. The fair’s mission is to

five-day endurance test, an apt description

samba parade can all be experienced. For

stimulate dialogue between East and West,

for the driver’s terrain. Set at the Moreeb Hill

the younger boating fans, there is a model

with over 22 countries taking part in the

bivouac, it is the Empty Quarter within the

boat race to participate in or the dragon

show of contemporary art. There are also a

course that the competitor’s fear most.

boats to watch.

series of seminars and exhibitions for great

TOP 10 EVENTS IN... 2009-10


art discussion and event interaction.

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TOP 10 EVENTS IN... 2009-10

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF Dubai November 19-22, 2009

watchful crowd, joined together at the Marina Bandar Al Rhowdha finishing line. Fencing Grand Prix


tournament only the 60 highest ranking

Qatar January 23-25, 2010

golfers will be teeing off at the Earth course

A tournament open to all fencers holding a

located Jumeriah Golf Estates. Designed by

FIE license, this is a sport truly for the fans.

the renowned Greg Norman, it’s the perfect

It is held at Doha’s Al-Sadd Club and Al-

setting to watch a tournament with an

Majilis each January and boasts a total prize

equally luxuriant prize of $10.

of US$31000. Its organized by the Qatar

Regarded as the world’s most lucrative

Fencing Federation so be prepared to watch

RIYADH MOTOR SHOW Saudi Arabia December 12-16, 2009

some serious competitors. Dubai to Muscat offshore sailing race


market in the Middle East, the show is

Dubai February 1-7, 2010

extremely popular with car-lovers across the

The final golf event to finish the winter

region. It is the oldest show, highlighting the

season, the tournament is held at the

most luxurious names in car manufacturing

Emirates Golf Club, the first grass course in

from across the world and is expected to

the Middle East. The desert terrain provides

attract around 97000 visitors.

a hazardous and challenging course, with

As the region with the largest automotive

many of the world’s best competing. As

ABU DHABI GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP Abu Dhabi January 21-24, 2010 Set on the beautiful course at the Abu Dhabi

part of the PGA European Tour, winning is regarded as a momentous achievement.


Golf Club by Sheraton the tournament is

Abu Dhabi February 25-27, 2010

sanctioned by the European Tour and the

Only in its second year, the show has

UAE Golf Association, providing great

had great success, the 2009 event seeing

credibility as well as a whopping US$2

brokerage sales of over US$200 million. It is

million prize fund. 120 players compete for

the Middle East’s only show for yachts over

the ‘Falcon’ trophy over four rounds.

25 metres long, and with considerably more

Art Paris-AbuDhabi Riyadh Motor Show

space for its return, there are many more


superyachts expected to be on display.

Dubai TBA January, 2010 Starting in Dubai, the offshore race spans 360 miles, endeavoring through the infamous straits of Hormouz before arriving in Oman. Almost 20 years old, the race hosts 30 participants with an ever-growing

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T H E L U X U R Y L I F E S T Y L E • A U T U M N 2 0 0 9 65 Property 30 Back in Black 127 Top 10 104 A Sparkling Return