Issuu on Google+

May 2012 | Vol 1 | No 2 | Price R15.00

Bespoke New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh*, Pune*


iNside Indulge

Contents Indulge May 2012 | Vol 1 | No 2

Special, exclusive

W

hen we started Indulge nine issues ago, we drew a whole list of dos and don’ts. One of the most prominent one was that we’d never, ever, ever use the phrase “price on request”. Now this might seem a little odd. How hard can it be to get these prices? And given the financial gumption required to buy some of these products, does it even matter? Or to use an old luxury retailing apophthegm: “If you have to ask how much it costs, it probably isn’t meant for you.” Which sounds snooty, but also makes some sense. Either you can easily afford a Koenigsegg, or you can’t afford one at all. But sometimes these prices are very hard to get, indeed. Even brands that prominently display prices in their stores are often extremely wary of seeing the same in print. Perhaps, they are wary of losing the power to change prices frequently, give “exclusive” discounts, or of driving away tentative and first-time buyers. If you’re a luxury retailer, I’d love to know the reason for your reticence. And at Indulge, we think these prices matter because we want to help people make genuine buying decisions. And while emotion, aspiration and desire are all central to buying indulgent products, the matter of the price tag is unignorable. We want you to buy, but not blindly. In this month’s issue, however,

we’ve failed to meet our objective. Simply because most of the products and services we showcase don’t have a predetermined price. That is because this month, we focus on personalized products and services. From suits made to your exacting requirements, to one-of-a-kind motorcycles. And with great personalizing power, comes great variability in pricing. Talk to any luxury retailer or brand manager, especially exasperated foreign ones, and they will tell you how India is truly the land of bespoke. That we love getting our luxuries— furniture, clothing, jewellery, Bengali sweets—handmade by craftsmen. Partly, I suppose, this is because we still have craftsmen, and many still work at affordable rates. Some of them are masters at reverse engineering, effortlessly replicating items from IKEA catalogues and Bulgari advertisements. And some of them are quite extraordinarily original. Good for us. Because there is something particularly luxurious about owning a product that has been made especially for you. After all, isn’t rarity one of the defining characteristics of authentic luxury? In this issue, we went scouring around the world for prominent brands that offered bespoke products and services. We hope they inspire.

SIDIN Vadukut (Issue editor)

Columns

4|

6| 8|

Madhu Menon making salads

Shashank Khare on philately as an alternate mode of investment Joel Harrison on new blends from the old masters

Bespoke

9|Have It Your Way 10|Luggage Of Legends 11|Motorhead 14|Car? Super! 15|Palace Intrigue 16|Hotstepper 17|Suited 18|Going Places 19|It’s Complicated

Showcase

20| The making of the Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee whisky

Interview

22| Officine Panerai CEO

Angelo Bonati talks about the brand’s future, its Italian DNA and innovation

NOTE TO READERS The Media Marketing Initiative on Page 5 is the equivalent of a paidfor advertisement, and no Mint journalists were involved in creating it. Readers would do well to treat it as an advertisement. Cover image: A Hollister’s chopper

Mint Indulge Editor: SuKumar Ranganathan Published/Printed By Vivek Khanna on behalf of HT Media Limited, HT House, 18-20, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001; Printed at HT Media Ltd presses at B-2, Sector 63, Noida, Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar (U.P.); Plot No.-6, MIDC , TTC Industrial Area, Near Digha Bus Stand, Thane Belapur Road, Navi Mumbai-400078. RNI Registration: Applied For; ©2012 HT Media Ltd, All Rights Reserved.


Column

Making Salads S ummer’s here and the readers have been bugging, err, asking, me to write a piece on salads. As usual, I’m not happy giving you just a couple of recipes like a food magazine, so get ready to learn about how to say goodbye to limp, watery salads with dressing that pools at the bottom. I’ll give you some themes that you can mix and match to create your own fun variations. A salad is a fairly broad class of food, with no clear definition even in the dictionary. You can find salads of leafy greens, other vegetables, root vegetables, meats, pasta, and more. While many are served cold, there are also warm salad recipes. Even salad dressings are optional. So let’s just settle on it being a dish served on the side apart from main course and work from there. The most common type of salad that pops into mind is, of course, the green leafy salad, and that’s what this column will focus on. Leaves are the most abundant parts of plants found in nature, so a salad was probably one of the earliest common foods available to man. While lettuce is often found in Western salads, plenty of other greens such as spinach, fenugreek, watercress, arugula, cabbage, etc., can be used as salad bases. (Just search for ‘‘salad greens” on www.foodsubs.com to get ideas.) Ever wondered how salads in upmarket restaurants look so good, while your home salads don’t? There isn’t any magic there; it’s all about picking the right ingredients at their freshest and keeping them that way. When shopping for salad greens, pick the firmest, most vibrant leaves you can find. Ignore the ones that look limp or frayed at the edges. Avoid leaves that have been already separated. Once you get home, it’s time to breathe new life into these greens that have been sitting out for so long. Giving them a cold water bath will do. Fill a large bowl with ice water and soak them in it for 20 minutes. This will restore some of the water in the leaves and make them crisp and tastier. It will also eliminate mud and grit from the leaves. Once you’ve soaked them, gently lift them out of the bowl with your hands (this is to avoid taking the mud along) and put them in a plastic tub with holes (the vegetable basket often found in Indian homes will work fine). Now we need to get rid of excess moisture before refrigerating the greens. Abroad, they’d use a salad spinner, but you can get this done

Madhu

Menon chef

the old-school way by gently placing your palm over the greens and vigorously shaking the basket up and down a few times. (If you don’t get rid of the water, your greens will rot in the fridge.) To store the greens, wrap them in paper kitchen towel (not paper napkins). Just roll them in a nice big wad of kitchen towel, and then put them in a plastic zip-lock bag with all the air squeezed out. This will keep them happy in your fridge. How about some salad recipes, eh? Instead of recipes, let me give you some salad composition tips instead. This way, you can mix and match a variety of ingredients to create interesting new mixes instead of being stuck on one or two salads. A good salad should have a contrast in terms of both flavours and textures. Combine crisp with soft, spicy with mild, crunchy with leafy, sweet with tart, and so on. Don’t have too many assertive flavours that fight each other. For instance, don’t have two different kinds of strong cheese in the same salad. Also avoid the ‘‘kitchen sink” approach of throwing everything from your vegetable drawer into your salads. Too many ingredients create chaos on the tongue (this is frequently a problem with restaurant salads, sadly). I like to keep the number of ingredients restricted to five-six. And now here’s a list of ingredients to help you make some salads of your own: Base greens: Lettuce (iceberg, romaine, chicory, radicchio), spinach, fenugreek, cabbage, pak choy, arugula Fruits (soft): Orange, grape, melon, grapefruit, fig, mango, papaya, guava, berries Fruits (crisp): Pear, apple, pineapple, coconut, pomegranate Vegetables (raw): Broccoli, carrot, sprouts, cucumber, tomato, onion, radish, celery, fennel, zucchini

iStockphoto

Vegetables (cooked): Cauliflower, eggplant, beans, potato, beetroot, peas, mushrooms, asparagus, corn Meats: Grilled chicken, bacon, ham, shrimp, pan-fried fish, squid, roasted beef, roasted duck, numerous cold cuts Dried, cured, and pickled foods: Olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapeños, gherkins Cheeses: Goat cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, scamorza, brie, feta, bocconcini, parmesan, gouda, haloumi, gorgonzola, and loads more This list is by no means exhaustive, but by mixing ingredients from each column, you can create several interesting salads that go beyond just throwing some cucumbers and tomatoes together. Just be careful when you combine two strongly flavoured ingredients, or two salty ingredients, or two acidic ingredients. For instance, you don’t want to have feta cheese along with bacon in a salad. Both of them are very salty and will ruin the flavour balance. Balance is everything in food and cooking. But hey, you want a bang for your buck from this column. Of course you also want to learn to make your own salad dressing. So I shall teach you a basic concept for a vinaigrette dressing and then show you how to vary them to create regional flavour profiles from other countries. Vinaigrette is formed by mixing two ingredients— oil and vinegar—that don’t normally mix together. So we force them together by extreme agitation (in plain English, strong whisking or shaking). This brings them together as an ‘‘emulsion” even though it doesn’t last forever (the two will eventually separate). Just remember the 3:1 ratio for oil to vinegar. Right, so take a big steel bowl; add 150ml peanut/groundnut oil, 50ml plain vinegar, salt to taste, 1 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Tilt the bowl slightly, and with a wire whisk or fork, beat them vigorously for two minutes. It will change character and become a thick salad dressing. Ta da! Your basic vinaigrette is ready. No, seriously, that’s all. And if you don’t want to whisk it, you can also shake this in a glass bottle or in a cocktail shaker. Now, that’s pretty plain and there are numerous variations on the theme. People add flavourings such as minced onions, garlic, and herbs, or switch out the oil and the vinegar for different flavoured oils and vinegars. So here are some ideas for different flavour profiles to create interesting salad dressings: Italian: Use extra virgin olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar. Add seasonings such as oregano, minced basil and garlic. Indian: Use mustard oil or coconut oil. Add seasonings such as coriander seeds, chilli powder and lime juice with herbs such as coriander or mint. Thai: Whisk some warmed peanut butter into the dressing along with some chilli garlic paste and 1tsp sugar. American honey vinaigrette: Add 1tbsp of honey into the mixture and whisk. Honey vinaigrette actually stays together longer because honey is a great emulsifying agent. French: Use extra virgin olive oil and red/white wine vinegar. Also add some garlic with herbs such as chervil, rosemary or tarragon. Chinese: Replace one-quarter of the oil with sesame oil. Add some garlic and chilli flakes. Replace vinegar with rice wine vinegar. Of course, these are not in any way the sole representatives of their respective countries, but just some starting points for you to adapt the same 3:1 formula to other flavours. With these ideas for the dressing, and the list of ingredients from the earlier list, there’s a lot you can do. Before we leave, here are some final tips. • Always tear salad greens either gently with your fingers or cut them with a sharp knife to avoid ‘‘bruising” at the edges. • Never mix salad until just before serving. Salt in salad dressing will draw out moisture from the vegetables and you’ll have a pool of water in your salad bowl along with limp, soggy vegetables. • Hands are actually the best way to combine salad ingredients with dressing. Do it gently with love. But make sure hands are clean first. • Salad dressing will run off wet ingredients. Make sure everything in the salad is as dry as possible. • Have fun coming up with your own variations. There are very few rules for salads. I’m pretty sure I’ve given you enough ideas to last a few months, so go on and get experimenting with some sexy salads. I am very happy to receive pictures of your creations, so do email them in. I

Madhu Menon is a chef, restaurant consultant and food writer. Respond to this column at indulge@livemint.com

04

INDULGE | May 2012


column

A Stamp Of Approval For This Alternative Asset L ooking for an investment which can potentially triple in seven years? Something which has extremely low price volatility and is uncorrelated to other asset classes? Before you exclaim that it is impossible to achieve all three, allow me to explain. The miraculous asset class which satisfies this holy trinity of investing is postage stamps. Yes, the stamps that you and I collected as children are a serious investment proposition. According to Stanley Gibbons Ltd, a UK-based leading philatelic dealer, the market for stamps has an estimated 60 million collectors spending $20 billion annually. Contrary to what you might think, it is not just about old stamps. An Indian stamp as recently printed as 1992 sold for ₤11,500 (approx. R8.5 lakh at the time), 11.5 times its estimated value at an auction held in the UK last June. Before you get excited and start hunting for your old collection, remember that not all stamps are valuable and neither are most childhood collections. Within the large universe of stamps, there is a very small set of investment-grade stamps that have value. Therefore, selection of stamps requires the same rigour as selection of stocks or bonds in a portfolio. This point is aptly demonstrated by Bill Gross, the founder of PIMCO and one of the richest men in the world. He transformed a $2.5 million investment into $9.1 million in seven years by extensively researching and analysing the performance of individual stamps before selecting his portfolio. As a result, he massively outperformed conventional asset markets. Stamps are an alternative asset that you should consider as part of your balanced portfolio. The remarkable risk-return profile of philatelic investment can be seen by looking at stamp price indices. These indices track the price of rare stamps and are similar to equity, bond and commodity market indices. Chart 1 shows the comparative performance of two indices designed by Stanley Gibbons—the SG100 Rare Stamp Index and the GB30 Rarities Index—against conventional asset

Chart 1

Capital appreciation across asset classes SG100 (£)

Nifty (R)

Gold ($)

Dow Jones ($)

GB30 ($)

Relative price performance

300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Jan 07

Jan 12 Source: Bloomberg, author’s calculations (GB30 Index linearly extrapolated between years)

Chart 2

Investing in stamps has provided the highest risk-adjusted return (Dec 1998 – Jan 2012)

Avg. annual return Volatility (standard

deviation of annual returns)

SG100 Index (£) 5.54%

GB30 Index (£) 11.01%

NIFTY (R) 14.40%

Gold ($) 14.62%

Dow Jones Industrial ($) 4.52%

2.55%

8.21%

27.03%

17.44%

15.66%

2.17

1.34

0.53

0.84

0.16

0.00

-0.01

0.06

Annual return/volatility Correlation of returns with SG100

-

-

Source: Bloomberg, author’s calculations Graphics by Naveen Kumar Saini/Mint

06

INDULGE | May 2012

Shashank

Khare

investment professional

classes. The last five years have seen the most difficult investment climate in recent history. In this period, while other asset classes have undergone turbulent phases, stamps have been quietly appreciating. While they may not have the highest return, stamps offer the highest risk-adjusted return compared with conventional assets (see chart 2). In addition, they offer the benefits of genuine diversification by being completely uncorrelated to other assets. These benefits are especially important in the current context where asset prices are exhibiting high volatility and correlation. At this point, sceptics will state that past performance is no indicator of future performance. The veterans among them will emphasize this point by taking the example of the bubble and subsequent crash in the postage stamp investment market in the late 1970s. This is a valid criticism, and, as with other investments, there are no guaranteed returns. However, the market currently does not seem to be in the grip of unbounded euphoria. Moreover, there are three main reasons that make it likely that an investment in stamps will pay off in future. The first is due to the inherent nature of the market—the set of investment-grade stamps is limited and cannot increase as those stamps cannot be printed. Also, as the use of stamps declines due to electronic communication and prevalence of franked mail, the whole asset class will become a rarity. The second advantage is the increase in demand in the face of fixed supply. The loose monetary policy being followed by the Western nations implicitly favours the wealthy. This boosts the amount of money chasing stamps as philatelic investors and aficionados tend to be in the top wealth decile. In addition, demand is likely to be boosted by the fears of inflation and currency collapse, which have already led investors to seek traditional safe havens such as gold. Stamps are a part of a larger set of collectible items, which generally hold their value in inflationary episodes. As wealthy investors look for safe havens, collectibles in general, and stamps in particular, are likely to benefit since traditional safe havens such as gold have become crowded investments. The third advantage for the market is the rise of the so-called BRIC nations. Ranks of the estimated

iStockphoto

60 million stamp investors are surging rapidly as newly wealthy collectors from BRICS nations join their brethren in developed markets. The flow of new money is likely to raise prices as it has done in other alternative asset classes such as wine. The astronomical prices paid for Indian stamps recently underscore this point. Given the track record and prospects of philatelic investment, it is hard not to be excited about the potential of postage stamps as a genuine alternative asset class. Successful investing requires the usual twin ingredients—time and effort. A good starting point is subscribing to and reading philatelic journals to gain knowledge on the subject. Before spending any money, it is important to know what you want your collection to look like. A welldefined set of investment-grade stamps can prove to be more valuable than a general collection. On the other hand, a collection encompassing different countries and ages can provide the benefits of a lower risk diversified portfolio. Even though individual investment grade stamps are as cheap as £50 (around R4,300), building a portfolio requires a higher investment. For example, Stanley Gibbons requires a minimum investment of £1,000 to start a portfolio. Initial acquisition of stamps for your collection can be done through dealers and at auctions. Over time, as you build contacts in the philatelic world, you can also exchange and buy directly from other collectors. Given the fragility of stamps, care has to be taken to prevent damage that leads to substantial value impairment. Therefore, storage and insurance are as important as acquisition in philatelic investment, and are usually offered by large dealers at minimal charge. As you set about investing, two aspects of stamp collecting should be kept in mind—one, value lies in the eyes of the collector, and, two, returns from investment accrue over the long term. In an illiquid market, value is determined by what the other person is willing to pay for a stamp. That in turn depends upon how important the stamp is to the person’s collection. As an example, Bill Gross exchanged a $3 million set of stamps for a single stamp to complete his collection. This quality also makes stamp investment indices and catalogue values only rough guides to valuation. The serious investor should pursue the ‘‘start it, add to it, preserve it” strategy for long-term investment success. This is one asset that does not require poring over spreadsheets and worrying about frequent valuations. It is time you rediscovered the boyhood joy of stamp collecting. I Shashank Khare is a London-based investment professional, learning from the capital markets what they didn’t teach him at IIM, Ahmedabad. Respond to this column at Indulge@livemint.com


column

Stanley Gibbons Ltd

Chinese, Indian markets are developing rapidly

S

hashank Khare asked Stanley Gibbons about the state of affairs in the stamp markets. Edited excerpts from an email reply by the company: What is the estimated annual transaction value of the market? The market is underpinned by an estimated 60 million collectors worldwide, spending more than $20 billion per annum on their hobby. However, the true number is believed to be considerably more and difficult to gauge because there are many new collectors coming up from the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. Has Stanley Gibbons seen an influx of collectors from emerging economies such as the BRICs recently? We have seen an increasing number of enquiries coming from the BRIC countries, most notably from India and China. The strength of the home market in India is causing exceptional growth in prices. A number of newly wealthy collectors and investors entering the market seem keen on buying back all the great Indian rarities, but this has not gone as mainstream as the interest in GB material and the recent boom in Chinese material. The timing could be just about right to buy into this market before the big buyers get involved. The Chinese and Indian stamp markets are developing rapidly and we believe they may, therefore, provide a good opportunity for investment. Recently, stamps from China and India have broken several world records at auction. As of May 2011, the record price for a single Indian stamp stands at €144,000 for a 1948 R10 Mahatma Gandhi stamp; one of the

only 18 known examples, which were issued by the government of India as a set of four commemorative stamps on 15 August 1948. What is your estimate of the proportion of Indian collectors in the market? And has this been increasing over the years? It is incredibly difficult to estimate the number of collectors worldwide and, therefore, providing an estimate for the number in India is just as challenging, but it must be in the millions and growing. Does a well-defined set of stamps on a theme add more value to a collection, or is the value of a collection only an aggregate of the value of the individual stamps? In truth, building a collection of stamps that would be considered investment-grade is very unlikely. Stanley Gibbons experts recommend building a portfolio that consists of a range of stamps encompassing a selection of countries and ages to ensure that you have a balanced portfolio with the best chance of healthy returns. We also recommend you hold on to your portfolio for at least five years to maximize returns due to the low-trading volumes of the rarest items. To qualify as an ‘‘investment-grade stamp”, the stamp must be in ‘‘fine condition for the issue concerned”—we currently have an article on our site outlining what we define as ‘‘fine” when classifying a stamp as there are numerous factors we take into consideration. Even as the world’s largest stamp dealer, with more than three million stamps in stock, Stanley Gibbons only has a very small percentage of stock considered to be of investment-grade (equivalent to approx. 0.005% of stock holding).

Tough questions about the good life 1. What is the best tweed in the world? 2. Does it make sense to invest in some excellent Montepulciano? 3. I think I am ready for my first grand complication watch. Should I go for the minute repeater? Or aim straight for a tourbillon? 4. Ok, I am here at Savile Row. Now what? 5. I want something that is like the Yamazaki 12-year-old single malt. But not the Yamazaki. Help! From the perfect gift to the indulgent holiday, coming soon, the Indulge team of experts, columnists and roving reporters will help solve your finer dilemmas. Simply email your queries to indulge@livemint.com 7 mint

Indulge | February 2012

Some rare Indian stamps

Four Annas

Issued on 15 October 1854. The ‘‘4 Annas head inverted” is the original holder of the record for India’s most valuable single stamp; selling for £105,000 in October 2010. Image above shows a pair of ‘‘4 Annas head inverted” used on cover. Only 27 examples of the ‘‘inverted head” are known.

Scinde Dawk ½a Scarlet

1948 R10 Mahatma Gandhi Commemorative

Holds the record for India’s most valuable single stamp, selling for €144,000 in May 2011.

1992 Birds of Prey error of value

An example of one of India’s first prepaid postage stamps. These stamps were first issued on 1 July 1852, and featured an embossed design depicting a figure ‘‘4” above a heart shape divided into three sections. The 1/2a scarlet is currently catalogued at £12,000.

Catalogued at £1,000, Stanley Gibbons sold an example in June 2011 for £11,500.

1976 Wildlife 25p with black omitted Catalogued at £500, Stanley Gibbons sold an example in June 2011 for £1,610.


Column

joel

harrison

drinks consultant

Making Whisky Your Own

I

t’s fantastic when something fits. I mean really fits. Anyone who has had a pair of shoes handmade for him will know what I’m talking about. Not only the attention to detail that your shoemaker will lavish upon you, from the measuring-up visit through each of the subsequent fitting sessions, but that fantastic feeling each time you slip into your utterly bespoke numbers. You know that no one else in the world has a pair that is the same. No one else can boast the comfort you’re enjoying. No one else is you. Over time, your wardrobe will develop and reflect your style and personality. A range of clothes will develop—denims for different jollies, suits for certain meetings, shoes to show off. Surrounding your clothes will be accessories, from Hermes belts to Breitling watches, all with the specific role of enhancing your outfit, adding that extra bit of glitz and glamour to your personality. The one constant though should probably be your aftershave, a consistent aroma which, over time, moulds itself to you and eventually becomes a part of who you are. When

your girlfriend/wife welcomes you home after work with a hug, the smell, your smell, will be the one constant among the changing suits, shoes and watches. Your drinks cabinet should be much like your wardrobe. Over time, it will grow and expand, providing different choices for different occasions. That Ermenegildo Zegna suit you bought in the summer for your best friend’s wedding... the beautiful light linen one that matches with the Tod’s shoes perfectly? Well, that isn’t going to be appropriate for your business trip to London in November. And neither will it do for that IPL game between the Delhi Daredevils and the Mumbai Indians. Drinks are the same. You should think about them as you do for your clothes. The drink in your hand will add to your personality and reflect your mood, status and occasion in the same way your watch, your shoes, or your suit will. A bottle of beer won’t accessorize an expensive suit as well as a glass of Dom Perignon or Royal Salute will. You get the picture... Way back in time, when spirits were pretty rough, old drinks (think homemade, in the literal sense of the term) with more ability to blind you than open your eyes, you’d be lucky to find anything of real quality that was befitting of the wealthy and stylish. But when whisky—Scotch whisky in

particular—became popular as a drink, it was largely (if not entirely) because of the forward thinking merchants such as John Walker, creator of the now worldfamous Johnnie Walker and Sons range. Seeing a need to build consistency and quality in the fledgling whisky world, Walker was among the first people in the world to ‘‘blend” together spirits from different Scotch whisky distilleries, enabling his company to expand across the globe with a product, which not only people could trust each time they bought, but was specially tailored to their developing palate. Much like the emerging watchmakers of their time, a new craft had been discovered, and, to this day, you see many blending companies, from Chivas to Whyte and Mackay, producing consistently excellent whiskies available on a global scale. However, these bottles, these expressions, are either replications of old, original recipes (as much as a Master Blender can trust a recipe from the early 20th century) or brand new creations. The likes of Whyte and Mackay’s Richard Paterson, who has been making whisky for the same company for more than 40 years, are the new designers in this field, charged with constructing new blends for an ever changing, worldwide palate. To this end, new whiskies are always being developed. A great current example of this

is the long-awaited addition to the range of Johnnie Walker bottling across the world—Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, an 18-year-old blended whisky, which will sit in the range between a re-engineered version of Gold Label and the much-loved Blue Label. To me, it is like having a whole new suit to play with! It’s bound to get comments when it’s taken out for the first time, but what is the right occasion for it? To find out, you need to be brave! Try it in a few different situations and see which one feels the most comfortable... It may seem that these large companies are simply churning out new whiskies for the masses to meet the demand of another new set of drinks dreamt up in a strategic marketing meeting somewhere in a boardroom. Of course, there is plenty of research done before a new product is launched and big money is spent, but new expressions from any of the leading brands are carefully crafted, designed and built with the customers in mind. They will be as bespoke as you can get on the blended whisky front, made for you and me—a new generation of whisky drinkers. So I raise a glass to people like Jim Beveridge, master blender at Johnnie Walker and the man responsible for not only continuing the legacy of Walker himself by crafting each batch of the Red, Black, Gold and Blue Labels so dearly loved still to this day, but also for exploring new waters in developing new products; liquid that we can call our own and say proudly, ‘‘This was done for us. This was done for me,” as the liquid flows from the bottle into our glass (personally engraved with our initials, of course!). I

Joel Harrison is a drinks writer and consultant and co-founder of the website Caskstrength.net Respond to this column at indulge@ livemint.com


bespoke

Have It

Your Way

W

hat is the difference between a watch that only 9,999 other people in the world own, and one that only you do? Or between a premium suit picked off a rack, and one made to your exacting physical specifications? There is a small matter of price. But what else? Why does a select group of luxury consumers, all over the world, seek not just the highest quality, but also minute, sometimes tortuous, levels of personalization? The answer may lie in the history and DNA of some of today’s most popular brands. Brands such as Louis Vuitton and Vacheron Constantin owe their reputation today not to international networks of boutiques and showrooms, but to founders and craftsmen who, decades ago, made precious objects to order, by hand. This is what luxury really meant: things made only for you, on your terms. Today, many of these pioneering luxury brands have diversified into making high quality at high scale. But some of them retain a kernel of their bespoke past—exclusive workshops that create luxury the way it used to be. Indulge presents a survey of bespoke services from brands both old and new. Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

May 2012 |

INDULGE

09


Bespoke

Luggage Of

Legends F

or almost 160 years, Louis Vuitton has equipped some of the world’s most refined travellers. From the instantly recognizable monogram to the curious combination of classic craftsmanship and modern utility, LV is perhaps one of the best-known luxury brands in the world. For the most discerning customer, Louis Vuitton offers two levels of customization.

Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

Cost of indulgence:

Louis Vuitton’s range of soft luggage for men starts at around £700. While Made To Order pieces will cost this plus a percentage more for personalizations, special orders are entirely priced from scratch. This DVD and Coffee ‘‘secretary trunk” is an example of the one-off pieces made entirely to customer specifications at Louis Vuitton’s Asnieres workshop.

The trunk comes with a built-in solar power system to run the hardware.

All Special Orders are overseen by Patrick Louis-Vuitton, a fifth generation member of the founding family, and a talented craftsman himself.

This sleeping trunk, originally designed in 1868 for explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, later became a hot-selling item in the Louis Vuitton travel collection.

What do they offer

The company offers two levels of customization: Made To Order and Special Order. In Made To Order, the brand’s craftsmen make personalizations and embellishments to products that are currently manufactured and are in the brand’s global catalogue. In the Special Order service, customers work closely with the LV workshop in Asnieres, France, to create their very own one-of-a-kind work of art.

10

INDULGE | May 2012

Where can you order it All Made To Order and Special Orders are taken at LV boutiques across the world.

How long does it take Special Orders can take anywhere from six months onwards. Made To Order pieces have considerably shorter delivery periods.


Bespoke

Motorhead

H

ollister’s had a very humble beginning when the company reconstructed a used Harley to make its first motorcycle in 1986. Two years later, the company opened its first shop in Zimmern, Germany. In 1999, Hollister’s became Germany’s first certified custom bike manufacturer. In the 25 years of its existence, the company has won numerous honours and awards in designing and customizing bikes.

Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

On a special order from a Bahraini national, Hollister’s made this bike with a special handmade leather seat with the flag of Bahrain. It used diamonds at the top of the screws for the rims.

Cost of indulgence:

Prices can vary from €30,000 (for a custom twin) to €100,000 (for unique bikes), excluding duty, depending upon the buyer’s requirements.

What do they offer

Hollister’s makes bespoke bikes, mostly with handmade components, which are ordered and designed according to the personal taste of the buyer, making each of the bikes one of its kind.

This single-seater Viper has a Tom Pirone motor and a six-speed gearbox. It took more than four months to develop this matt-pearl, white-finish beast.

What can you choose

The company says there is no end to the customization options available to the customer. From special handmade leather seat to painting the bike in the colours of the Indian flag—the customization options are endless.

Where can you order IT

Hollister’s is represented in India by InterGlobe ESTD, which takes all the orders and forward the requests to the bike maker’s headquarters in Germany.

How LONG does it take

The entire process, from conceptualizing to delivery, takes around nine months and may vary depending upon the extent of customization. All the customization is done at the Hollister’s factory in Germany. May 2012 |

INDULGE

11


Bespoke

Car?

Super!

W

ith a dream to launch his own car company and the sole mission to create the perfect supercar, Christian von Koenigsegg, then 22 years old, started his namesake company in 1994. Koenigsegg moved to its present location and headquarters in Ängelholm, Sweden, in 2003. The building had previously been home to the Swedish Air Force and once housed JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets. Now refurbished to suit Koenigsegg’s requirements, these facilities provide the perfect infrastructure for building high-tech supercars. It is here, in this state-of-theart facility in southern Sweden, that Koenigsegg creates a handful of bespoke supercars every year.

The car

Two-door, two-seater with removable hardtop stowable under the front hood lid. Body made from preimpregnated carbon fibre/ kevlar and lightweight sandwich reinforcements. Carbon vents over wheels. Fitted luggage, special leather and colour requests, full visible carbon body, heated seats, ski box roof, skis, winter wheel package. Three-year global warranty. Technical specifications:

Power output: 1,140 horse power (hp) at 7,100 revolutions per minute (rpm) Torque: Over 1,000 Newton metre (Nm) from 2,700-7,300 rpm Max torque: 1,200 Nm at 4,100 rpm Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 2.9s

Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

Braking distance: 30.5m (100-0 km/h) Emission levels: Euro V Dimensions: 4,293mm x 1,996mm x 1120mm (LxWxH)

Cost of indulgence:

Wheelbase: 2,662mm

Price of the Koenigsegg Agera R, the latest model, works out to R12 crore in India, including taxes.

What do THEY offer

Koenigsegg makes luxury super cars that can clock 400kmph. All Koenigsegg models go through rigorous crash testing (around 18 different kinds of such tests) to ensure they meet or exceed world standards. Koenigsegg cars are wind-tunnel tested during development. The exterior design is the most streamlined design available that will accommodate the powertrain, comfort and performance requirements—highlights of a Koenigsegg car.

14

INDULGE | May 2012

Fuel capacity: 80 litres Luggage compartment: 120 litres

What can YOU choose

The buyer can choose the colour of the car, the interiors, the type and colour of leather for the seats, the stitching, other personalization options such as incorporating names or initials. Everything from the lay-up of carbon fibre to the interior of a Koenigsegg is meticulously hand crafted.

Where can YOU order IT

Koenigsegg is represented in India by InterGlobe ESTD, which takes all the orders and forward the requests to the Koenigsegg headquarters in Sweden.

How LONG does it take

Typically, it takes up to 12 months to deliver a Koenigsegg from the date of order. All the customization happens at the Koenigsegg premises in Sweden, where a customer can visit and choose from an array of options for his dream car.


Bespoke

Palace Intrigue

A

part of the Tata group, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces is a global chain of luxury hotels and resorts. Apart from providing luxury hospitality, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces also offers various kinds of bespoke services to its patrons. We asked them to tell us about two of their most lavish recent bespoke projects. This is what they had to say.

Write to us indulge@livemint.com

Uber proposal 1

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur Uber proposal 2

Taj Falaknuma Palace, hederabad

Another unique bespoke service was the Valentine’s Day proposal for an astounding amount of R10 lakh. Customized invitations were delivered by the palace butler. He fixed appointments for the couple at Canali and Burberry to design and suggest attire for the evening. Chefs visited them to discuss the menu. A customized diamond ring was designed for the woman. Jaguars were sent for transportation. The Mashal, a unique dining venue, was created for the evening overlooking the 400-year-old city of Hyderabad. The couple was offered a bottle of Dom Perignon Rose, and a professional photographer captured the moments for the album which was gifted to them on departure. The next day, a champagne breakfast was served and the couple rode out in a horse carriage till the clock tower and on a Jaguar thereafter.

The Taj Lake Palace, with its fairy tale setting, is a favoured destination for the most special occasions such as anniversaries. And guests have gone to great lengths to ensure their proposals are memorable and unique. One such request was made from an exmilitary man who wanted to propose to his girlfriend on one of the terraces right at sunset with fireworks signalled by a hand gesture. He wanted all of this to be captured from a camera hidden on an adjoining terrace. The Taj staff had several dry runs internally on this, right from involving the photographer, to timing the sunset and the length of the fireworks. Several of the management teams were involved, and of course she said ‘‘yes”. May 2012 |

INDULGE

15


Bespoke

Hotstepper

I

n 1900, Filippo found a small shoe factory in Italy that remained a family business for the next seven decades. The turnaround came in the 1970s, when Filippo’s grandson, Diego Della Valle, entered the business and took over the responsibility of its development. With the help of his innovative marketing strategies and the company’s handmade manufacturing process, he turned the family-run business to an industrial firm, and today, Tod’s SpA is the holding group, among the leading producers of shoes and luxury leather goods, with brand names such as Tod’s and Hogan. Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

Cost of indulgence:

Prices range from R1.08 lakh onwards and depend on how crazy one wants to get with the leather texture and the numbers of combinations of the leather used. Other details such as monogrammed initials, colours and braids also affect costs.

What do they offer

Tod’s custom-made project in India is an exclusive service that enables the customers to create their very own Tod’s accessories (bags, shoes and small leather goods), including the iconic Gommino shoes.

16

INDULGE | May 2012

What can you choose

A buyer can choose from a range of styles, colours and exotic leathers—from alligator to water snake to other precious leather. Also one can choose to monogram it with his initials, creating a one-of-a-kind piece.

Where can you order IT

In India, all orders are placed through the New Delhi store.

How long does it take

Once the order is placed locally, it is then forwarded to Tod’s headquarters near Ancona (region Le Marche, Italy) where the products are made. It takes around three months from the time of placing the order for the final product to be delivered.


Bespoke

Suited

I

n 1934, brothers Giovanni and Giacomo Canali established an artisan workshop in Triuggio, Brianza, to produce high quality clothing. In the 1950s, the second generation of the family took over the running of the firm, consolidating its presence in the Italian market and increasing sales volume and product quality. In the mid-1970s, the company rose to the challenge of international markets, and by 1980 was exporting 50% of its production. The company now exports 85% of production. In the tradition of great suit-makers, Canali provides bespoke services to aficionados of its products. Write to us @indulge@livemint.com

Cost of indulgence:

Though prices vary from one suit to another and depend upon factors such as type of material and the cut, etc., Canali made-tomeasure suits range from R1.25 lakh onwards.

What do they offer

Canali offers made-to-measure services across the globe for its clients. Each season the company flies down the master tailor from Italy to India to cater to the local clients who want to avail this special service. Separately, the company also offers a special R 30 service where the client can walk into any of the boutiques across India, look up a guide book, and then choose the fabric, the colour and the model of the suit he wants stitched for himself.

What can you choose

A made-to-measure suit offers one a chance to express himself by creating his own look, choosing the cut, fabric and colour for the suit. After the first stage of choosing the material, the master fitter and the customer work together keeping in mind the body type and personality to ensure that the cut chosen is most appropriate for him and fits perfectly.

Where can you order it

A Canali made-to-measure suit can be ordered at any of the company’s boutiques in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

How long does it take

Canali takes 45-60 days to deliver a made-to-measure suit.

May 2012 |

INDULGE

17


Bespoke

Going Places

Q

uintessentially was launched in Soho, London, in 2000 by co-founders Aaron Simpson, Ben Elliot and Paul Drummond as a luxury concierge service provider to its members round the clock. From last-minute restaurant reservations and holiday bookings, to theatre and opera tickets and access to clubs, parties and special events, Quintessentially provides its members unlimited access to an unrivalled package of privileges, preferential rates and bespoke services. Today, it has more than 70 offices globally. Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

Highlights

From a religious trip to Mecca with the request of finding the best spot for praying at the Kaaba, to a private banquet on the Great Wall of China, or living the life of indigenous aboriginals in the heart of Australia, to a private tour of the pyramids of Egypt with an after-hours visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Quintessentially has delivered all these demands.

Photos: iStockphoto

Cost of indulgence:

Costs can vary from a couple of lakhs of rupees if one wants to have a dinner date on a private yatch around the Indian coastline, to a crore and above if one wants to hire a charter and go for a world tour.

What do they offer

Quintessentially Travel specializes in creating tailormade itineraries to the world’s most glamorous, sought-after and remote destinations, organizing everything from flights, transfers, hotels and villas to private jets, yachts and private tours. The company also provides the traveller the concierge service it is mostly known for.

18

INDULGE | May 2012

What can you choose

Every itinerary drawn up is specific to customer tastes and requirements, with expert inputs. The travel products include romantic journeys to specialized wine and scotch trails to gourmet tours to exclusive safari adventure tours to yacht and luxury voyages and self-drive luxury vacations.

Where can you order it To place a request, members can contact Quintessentially India at qindia@quintessentially.com

Membership

By invitation. Membership fees vary from ÂŁ1,000 per year for general members to ÂŁ25,000 and above for global elite members.


Bespoke

A small window shows the leapyear cycle.

It’s

Complicated I

Perpetual calendar dials are arranged in a triangle, displaying the days of the week, month and date from left to right.

n the middle of the 18th century, Jean-Marc Vacheron decided to open his own watchmaking workshop in Geneva and thus, in 1755, Vacheron Constantin was founded. Fifteen years later, the company created its first complication watch. Vacheron Constantin was bought by the Richemont Group in 1996. The company provides an exclusive service to its clients of producing unique timepieces. We asked them to share one of their most exclusive one-off pieces. And they reached into their secret archives to present the Vladimir.

back view

Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

In the centre of the dial, a blue hand sweeps over a small sector devoted to the equation of time, the variable difference observable between true (solar) time and the time marked by clocks.

Small counter with a small blue hand indicates the striking mechanism torque, i.e., whether the minute repeater mechanism is engaged.

A second time zone with day/night indicator.

Hands traversing two sectors at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock show the time of sunrise and sunset.

The power reserve indicator is enhanced by a 52-week indicator.

Precision sky chart of the northern hemisphere.

Moon phase on a blue sky with a precision moon in gold, smiling or serious depending on the phase.

Cost of indulgence:

Cost depends on factors such as number of complications used in the watch, the materials that are used, etc., and varies from piece to piece. Watches that come from the Atelier Cabinotiers can cost several times more than a normal Vacheron Constantin watch, which starts from R8 lakh.

What do they offer

In 2006, Vacheron Constantin created the Atelier Cabinotiers that offers clients exclusive services of producing unique timepieces, entirely custom-made and created on an individual commission basis.

60-second tourbillon mechanism.

Front view

What can you choose

A buyer can choose everything he wants from movements to complications to jewels and other features. For example, in the 1930s Vacheron Constantin made a watch for Prince Farouk of Egypt in which there were 13 hands on the dial. Recently, it made a watch for an undisclosed buyer with a hand-wound mechanical movement and 17 complications. Named Vladimir by the buyer, this movement has some 891 components, all hand-finished and hand-decorated.

Where can you order it All the orders are taken online.

How long does it take

These exclusive timepieces take a long time to complete. It took more than four years to complete the Vladimir. But, in the mean time, there is a dedicated website specially created that gives customers the opportunity to enter the world of the Atelier Cabinotiers and track each stage of production. May 2012 |

INDULGE

19


showcase

The Making of a

A Diamond

2

1 By Pradip kumar saha

H

pradip.s@livemint.com

ow exactly does a £100,000 bottle of whisky look like? More importantly, what makes a bottle of whisky that expensive? The answer may well be the Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee that Diageo launched in February to commemorate the 60th year of accession of Queen Elizabeth II. Fiery golden liquid inside a diamond-shaped crystal decanter rests on a crystal stand with six radial legs capped by fine silver and a diamond stud. Each of the bottles comes with a pair of Cumbria Crystal glasses engraved by Philip Lawson Johnston and a commemorative artifact book, hand bound by Laura West at her Isle of Skye bindery and personalized for each owner by Sally Mangum, calligrapher by appointment to Her Majesty. All these elements are housed in a chest made by the cabinet makers at N.E.J. Stevenson. “It’s extremely rare whisky,” says master distiller Jim Beveridge. Jonathan Driver, global ambassador of the brand, says, “It’s probably the most expensive and the most complex edition we will ever make.” The whisky was distilled in 1952, the same year the queen acceded to the throne, and was launched on 6 February 2012, the day she completed 60 years of her reign. “It’s important to determine which flavours you can get from the

20

INDULGE | May 2012

4

different whiskies and with the age it becomes a particular challenge,” says apprentice blender Matthew Crow. The project started two years ago and 60 craftsmen were involved in its creation. Apart from The Queen’s decanter, there are only 60 bottles of this limited edition available in the world and each comes for £100,000 plus taxes. A minimum donation of £1 million from the sales of the Diamond Jubilee edition will be given to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, a registered charity in England that will help support excellence in craftmanship. Driver told Indulge that the company has allocated two bottles for India based on the market feedback and believes it will be able to sell more. I To see a slideshow and video of the making of the Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee, go to www.livemint.com/ queenscotch.htm

1. Master blender Jim Beveridge

(right) and apprentice Matthew Crow check the blend.

2, 3. Artisans at Cumbria Crystal

combine rare, traditional glassmaking skills with contemporary design to create a bespoke glass, cut with six main facets to mark six decades of the queen’s reign.

4. All the glasses are hand engraved

by Philip Lawson Johnston, a distinguished craftsman with 40 years of experience.

3


showcase

7

5

8

6

5. Yves Parisse works at Baccarat. Eight of Baccarat’s best craftsmen created the multi-faceted, diamond-shaped crystal decanter. 6, 7. Artisans work at silversmith Hamilton and Inches. Hamilton and Inches made a silver collar set with a half-carat diamond for each decanter, as well as a John Walker and Sons Royal Warrant, entwined JW&S monogram and a numbered seal to adorn the crystal.

9 8. Laura West works on the book that is printed on a traditional hand press then hand bound. The sculpted boards are covered with alum tawed cream leather.

10

9

9, 10. Calligrapher Sally Mangum uses antique 19th century steel nibs hand-dipped in iron gall ink, and a copperplate script based on an 18th century hand.

Jonathan Driver, Brand Ambassador, Diageo

My Job Is Of A Story Teller

J

onathan Driver is the brand ambassador for Diageo and travels around the world to create awareness about the brand. During his recent visit to India, we caught up with with him for a chat. He told Indulge about the nature of his job and the brand’s association with India. Tell us something about your job. What do you really do? I have been with Johnnie Walker for 25 years. The original Blue Label was my first project. When I joined in the late 1980s, I thought I will do it for a couple of years and move on and I told the same thing to my wife. But 25 years later, she also understands I am here to stay. In the old days, there used to be people in the business who were called travellers, and they were the original 19th-20th century part sales guys, part business guys, part entrepreneurs. I do something similar and there are not many of us left today. My job is to arrive in a market that is riddled with overdose of information and answer the questions of our customers, have a conversation with them, tell them the story behind products such as our super deluxes or Blue Label or Diamond Jubilee, which are complex works of art. Tell us about the brand’s association with India. We will have to look back to history. Around 1970s and 1980s, we kind of lost some contact with the past and in that history, we kind of ignored a big part that had to do with India. When we launched

What are the hurdles in the whisky business? Like every other business, there are some hurdles in this business as well. In order to bring in more customers you need to reach out to more people. It was easier at the time when there were no TVs and all. Outdoor advertising used to be such a big event. But in the time of information overdose, it is kind of difficult. Everyone is trying the communication technology platform. It is getting down to how you do it better and think of innovative ways.

the Johnnie Walker Blue Label globally in Delhi last year, everyone asked why in India? It’s interesting to go back to history because back in 1924, India was the biggest export market for the company. We sold around 250,000-300,000 cases worldwide and 65,000-70,000 cases of them were sold to India. People have sort of forgotten about that. There is another great paradox about India and that is when you come here, you realize everyone here knows about Johnnie Walker more than anywhere else in the world. I have never come to a place with such as level of knowledge and the sincerity. Why was India such a big hit back then? There is work to be done to get to the skin on how it worked (in the 1920s)… I guess it’s just about being at the right place at the right time. Johnnie Walker always makes very full-bodied, massively flavoursome whiskies, which kind of seems to really fit the palate of the Indian consumer. Which is your largest market now? In a year’s time, it will be Brazil. There are a lot of people in that country who have been drinking Johnnie Walker for a long time. One per cent upwards movement, and there is a boom for the business. And with the Brazilian economy on the rise and confidence growing, the business can only go up. How do you see the growth in India? Good. Last calendar year, we launched

the Johnnie Walker Blue label globally in Delhi. We launched the Johnnie Walker Double Black, Johnnie Walker Platinum, we launched the Porsche design with the Blue Label and now we bring the Diamond Jubilee—in 12 months, that’s an incredible amount of activity. How do you see the markets growing? Markets will be more sophisticated. With the evolution of whisky as a category, there is a lot of potential for growth in the future. Lot of upward movement as people start experimenting with the brands. More confidence will come in terms of purchasing as people will learn about the brands and will buy more up the scale to find something better. The health of the entire category is very strong.

Why is innovation such a key aspect? In our business, there is a greater chance of getting outdated very soon compared with some other businesses. So it is imperative that we remain innovative. We keep moving forward, both in terms of design and blending and reaching out to people. Keeping in mind what you are and still making it relevant for the people of the time. What do you love most about your job? The travelling. Though it is more than one should generally do. I still just love the feeling I get when I step out of an airport in the middle of the night in the anticipation of being at a new place meeting new people. I can be sitting with someone in South Africa and drinking whisky on the ground, and the next day I can be sitting in the Campbell Apartment at Grand Central Station in New York drinking the Blue Label with some extraordinary people. May 2012 |

INDULGE

21


interview

We Don’t Want To Deviate

From What We Have Done Angelo Bonati is chief executive of Officine Panerai, a watch brand famous for its Italian heritage, signature brutal style and clutter-free dials. Indulge spoke to Bonati in Geneva recently, on the sidelines of the SIHH watch fair, about the brand’s future, its Italian DNA and innovation. Edited excerpts: By SIDIN VADUKUT

H

sidin.v@livemint.com

ow is business right now? What are your dealers and retailers telling you? Right now, it is fantastic. It seems as if there is no crisis around the world. Excellent. Things are as they used to be. We were worried, you know. Things were not all that well, economically speaking, in Europe or in the US. But business does not seem to reflect (that sentiment). At the end of the day, the market’s absorption is what matters to me. But did you have trouble in 2011? Not at all. In fact, we did very well. If you look at the numbers for the group as a whole, we’ve done very well. How important is India in your global portfolio? Let me be frank. It is important for us in terms of potential and in terms of the future. But in real terms, right now, not very important. Right now, we are trying to build up distribution and the brand inside your country. However, we should do more exciting things in the near future. I want Panerai to work more in India. How do you see the brand going forward? Panerai has a very easily recognizable signature approach towards making watches. Are you tempted to tamper with it anyway? Try new things? The destiny of the brand has been traced. We know exactly what our vision for our brand is. We do not want to move from this or deviate from what we have done till now. In fact, I think there is much more we can do with our existing two case designs. There is a lot of potential. And there is a lot of potential in the long term. We need to stay focused. We want to continue to follow this path, this coherence of design, the authenticity of the brand and products. Why upset everybody? Is there a risk? Maybe. People ask me: “Why are you not entering the ladies segment?” Because we are not male or female. We are a big watch. Finished. You want a big watch, you buy Panerai. In fact, the identity that we have is what many other brands are looking for. Why should we change? We see a lot of brands making smaller, softer designs. Purportedly for the Asian markets. Surely you are tempted… Let me tell you something. Many years ago, we were worried for the Japanese market. Some 12-13 years ago. So when we launched in Japan, we arranged for 40mm cases. Why? Because we thought Japanese people have smaller wrists. It was bullshit. First of all, it is not true that Japanese or Chinese

22

INDULGE | May 2012

people have smaller wrists than the Italian or the French. There are big people in Japan. And small people in Europe. Secondly, the funny thing was that, while we sold the 40mm and 42mm watches in Europe, the Japanese started asking for 44mm watches. This is why I am confident that the right way is to stay coherent and honest. Does this mean, in terms of innovation, you are worried more about what is inside the watch than what you are doing with the outside? Both! We are doing innovations with movements inside the watches. And outside, we are innovating with materials such as ceramics for the case as well. Where we can, we try to use

We are not male or female. We are a big watch. Finished. You want a big watch, you buy Panerai.

alternative metals and materials so that people know that our research is continuous. So that people know that we are constantly changing the product. And in terms of movement? Every year we work on new movements. We have a programme for the next 10 years in terms of what we want to do with our movements. And we update this 10-year plan annually. Give us an idea of this 10-year plan. No! (Laughs) What makes Panerai Italian? Is there an Italian DNA in the brand? What makes me Italian? Tell me! (Laughs). Panerai is Italian. No question about it. Everything about it is Italian. The design, the way we approach the market, the communication. The sophistication of our communication is typically Italian. Nobody else in Europe does it like that. It is the sum product of so many small details. And you can identify it immediately as an Italian brand. Could you point out one or two of those details? For instance, the quality of finishing

of our sports watches is something extremely unique. We want to continue to work in the same way. For us, it is an obsession. Our dials are also unique. They also come from Italy. The simplicity and minimalism of our dials are also, I think, extremely Italian. Today, everyone is doing simple and minimal dials. But it is originally an idea born in Italy. Does having invested so much in a particular design, that is so successful, make you wary of taking risks with the brand? Has it ever occurred to you, one day, to, say, try a round watch or a Tonneau case? No. We will waste time. We will waste time doing all that. Look at my watch. Look. It is so beautiful. So strong. Why should we change? Why? If I make a round watch, and then I put it on a table, you will not recognize it as a Panerai. Why would I want that to happen? That is not Panerai. (Points at his own watch.) This is Panerai. Of all the watches you’ve launched this year, which one is your favourite? The Tuttonero. With the black ceramic. But now please don’t ask me what makes the Tuttonero Italian! I



Indulge for May 2012