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Special report from the world’s largest watch and jewellery fair Turn to page 15. . .


SOUND bytes

Absolutely ‘ear’gasmic! Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 Mahananda Bohidar itting daintily on our test bench, the B&O BeoSound 8 looks a little out of place. The bold, black, round speakers on either side seem imposing. The brushed aluminium fascia connecting the speakers housing the click wheel controls looks way too classy for our cluttered desktop. The Beosound 8 is another perfect example of Bang & Olufsen’s unique design philosophy – minimalist design, aesthetic appeal , extreme functionality, outstanding performance and environmentally-friendly. B&O’s products have been built out of aluminium long before the rest of the industry even thought of the option. The Beosound 8 looks somewhat like the number itself laid horizontally. When it comes to design, there is also an obvious harmony between the dock and the devices it has been created to support. In BeoSound 8’s polished aluminium, iPod-type click wheel and a surprisingly simplistic

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interface, there is a reflection of Apple’s product design principles too. The dock designed for iPods, iPad and the iPhone complemented the products well, even before we start playing a symphony. We can’t resist an opportunity to play around with the iPad, and it became the obvious choice to dock in to the port and jump to our playlist. We listened to ‘Black Star’ by Yngwie Malmsteen; the electric guitar solo riffs and percussions filled up the room. There was barely any distortion with tracks that were heavy on bass, even with the volume pumped up high. Listening to ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ by Edith Piaf, it was clear that the system handled high-pitched treble with almost the same alacrity. Peter Gabriel’s soulful, raspy voice seemed to come from right across the table as we listened to ‘Book Of Love’, as did Mark Knopfler’s as he crooned ‘Heart Full of Holes’ with just his lilting, soulful guitar playing in the background.

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We switched to the electro-rock song by No Doubt, ‘Hella Good’, and the system reproduced every little percussion beat and each of Gwen Stefani’s sexy sighs with excellent clarity. The acoustic prowess of the system was evident with compressed files on our iPod transformed into much better-sounding tracks when played through the dock. The spatial sound property that the two speakers seemed to bring to the tabletop was also amazing. Both while playing music and while watching a video – the movie ‘Avatar’ was our choice for the test – the spatial effect really brought the music or sound track alive. In the case of the movie, though the video was being played back in a miniature format due to the iPad’s portrait orientation, at least the acoustics was as good as that of a miniature home theatre system. All the while, we operated the BeoSound 8 with the cute little remote it comes with. A spitting image of the click


wheel on the dock itself, the remote feels unusually good to hold – not the kind you’d like to put down after you’ve changed the track or tweaked the volume.

to doze off and switches the music off for you at a preset time. The paid version of the app gives you access to more than 13,000 international radio stations.

Moving it around

Multiple connections

The BeoSound 8 wins a zillion brownie points for making the installation an absolutely hassle-free affair. All you do is plug-and-play, something even a simian can’t go wrong with. If BeoSound 8 looks like something you might want to show off in your living room, you can choose to mount it on your wall. Apart from aluminium spikes and a wall bracket, the unit comes with a room adaptation switch that orients the system according to the position it is set up in a corner, against a wall, or standing freely. The three switch positions will change the equalisation of the bass channel based on a large number of measurements taken in different positions in different rooms. You know that the company, a decade and a half away from being 100 years old, is definitely in tune with the times when you have an app offered to you for enhancing the B&O experience. The free BeoPlayer app lets you wake up to one of 20 internet radio stations and a sleep timer allows you

In the mood for a movie? The BeoSound can double up as speakers even for your PC or Mac. And in case you want to lounge on the sofa with your iPhone or iPad and want to listen to music without having to dock it in, just switch on Airport

Express. Another option for wireless playback is if you choose to play music from a Bluetooth-enabled device via a Bluetooth receiver. Enclosed within the removable back panel of the device, you have a mini USB port apart from the room adaptation switch.

We say With more than 25,000 units sold in the first six months of its launch, it’s no wonder that Bang & Olufsen terms it the company’s ‘absolute bestseller’, an indication that the Danish company has effectively hit the right spot with Apple-ophiles and audiophiles alike. With an elegant yet effective design and a simplistic interface, the BeoSound 8 is an absolute charmer. If you are hunting for a dock for your Apple music devices, this is definitely right at the top of the list of the most elegant, powerful, high-end sound systems right now. Love: Simplistic design, amazing acoustics Hate: Could burn a small hole in your wallet Photos: S.S. Kumar

Rs 65,000 mahananda@thehindu.co.in

Move with the music

Arcam rCube

rcam, the British manufacturer of hi-fi equipment, recently launched the ultraportable

ArCube iPod dock. The rCube uses KLEER technology to directly stream music from any

PC or Mac computer. The Arcam-designed amplifiers and unique speaker system deliver deep sound despite being smaller than a football! The rCube’s powerful battery eliminates the need for messy wires and is easy to charge, just like a mobile phone. Any rCube can wirelessly stream music to another rCube in the same vicinity, sharing music simultaniously with other rooms in a house. What’s more, you can stream music to up to four rCubes at the same time. You can also playback video from compatible iPod / iPhones via the rCube’s composite or component video outputs. Apart from playing music from your iPhone or iPod using rCube’s dock you can even stream music wirelessly using the rWand dongle. You can party till the wee hours of the morning, the rCube providing up to four hours of music at high decibels or up to eight hours of listening at more modest levels. Rs 40,500

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SMARTPHONE review

LG Optimus 2X Ketaki Bhojnagarwala he market is already flooded with and populated by Samsung’s Galaxy and HTC’s Desire series of smartphones. Do we really need another addition to LG’s Optimus smartphones too? When you consider that the Korean bigwig’s latest spawn is the world’s first dual-core smartphone, the answer is Yes. Powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, how different is it really from your run-of-the-mill smartphone?

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Understanding dual core Before we get into the details of the phone, let’s look at what you can expect from a dual-core smartphone. What the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip contains is two 1GHz Cortex A9 GPU cores, and 8 GeForce GPU cores. The two Cortex cores ensure faster web browsing, better response time and better performance. The GeForce cores mainly deal with 3D gaming, so you can expect an enhanced gaming experience on this phone. The cherry on the cake of course is 1080p playback – this means you can hook up the phone to your HDTV and stream hi-def content straight off it, without compromising on your battery life.

First impressions The Optimus 2X is no budget phone and this is evident from the body and build. The glass layer that covers the 4-inch IPS screen spans over the entire front side of the phone, with the exception of an angular ear speaker on top. Towards either side, the glass gently slopes down in an angle, accentuating the curves on the four corners. Below the screen are four capacitive touch Android buttons – the regular ones for Menu, Home, Return and Search. Connectivity wise, you get a mini USB port at the bottom and a mini HDMI port on the top. Other features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume rocker switch and power button. Stereo speakers are located at the bottom. You get a 1-meg front camera for video calls, and the back is endowed with a hefty 8-meg snapper. The chocolate brown rubberised panel ensures a firm grip and is fairly scratch resistant, and the metallic strip running down the centre holds the camera with the LED flash.

User Interface

Photos: R. Ravindran

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The Optimus 2X is an Android 2.2 phone, upgradeable to v2.3. Apart from a few modifications, there’s no distinctive LG skin over the Android interface. To unlock the phone you have to slide your finger up the screen, which brings up the Android home screen. There’s the standard dock at the bottom, with icons for Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications. You can have up to 7 home screens on the phone, to which you can add practically any widget or shortcut. There’s a nice default weather app with animations from AccuWeather.com which we found quite useful. Apart from the regular Android apps, you can also choose from LG widgets to add. There’s a Social Feed widget which will display updates from your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace accounts. It even gave us the option to add our Whatsapp account to the list, after we downloaded it from the Android Market. The capacitive touch screen on the Optimus 2X was extremely responsive, registering even the lightest of touches. It was really easy for us to type out messages on the QWERTY keypad even in portrait mode. You’ll have to make do with the default LG keyboard though, because the phone doesn’t give you an option to use the standard Android keyboard. Word prediction doesn’t work too well with LG’s keyboard, and it’s a pain to switch to the number mode when you want to do something as simple as put in a comma or apostrophe in your text.

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Prime pick Media Entertainment wise, the Optimus 2X is a virtual powerhouse of sorts. You can access your videos from the Android Gallery app, or view a handy list from the Video Player app. We played a couple of HD videos on the phone, and they played back beautifully, with details sharp and clear, and no dropping between frames. You can even change the resolution from 4:3 to 16:9, depending on what you prefer. If you pause a video midway and start working on something else, the phone will give you an option to resume watching from the point you left off, or start over from the beginning. All that’s missing is a little kickstand! We hooked up the phone to our HDTV via the provided HDMI cable, and it streamed full HD videos on our TV beautifully, without draining the battery life on the phone. LG’s email app allows you to set up virtually any account, and even gives you the option of a combined inbox. But if you’re a Gmail user, you can just stick to the default Android app, which will give you push notifications of any new emails. The Browser was neat and snappy, letting us zoom in and out of web pages using by pinching or tapping the screen. You can have multiple tabs and switch easily between them. LG has default apps for Twitter and Facebook, but we prefer the Android versions. The 8-megger camera gave us some decent results. It has a few scene, shot and colour modes to choose from. We won’t go over the details again because we covered them in our Top 5 camera phones story last week. The only grudge we had was the absence of a physical shutter release button. There’s a Tegra Zone app on the Market which you can download, to help you find Tegra 2-optimised games. We downloaded Dungeon Defenders First Wave Deluxe HD. There was a lot of detail in the graphics, and the gyro sensor made it considerably easier to navigate through the game. A big plus is the onboard storage – 8GB of internal memory, expandable by 32GB via micro SD card. That’s more than enough for all your media needs.

Performance Contrary to the belief that a dual core processor drains battery life, the Optimus 2X actually crossed the 24-hour mark. This was with 3 hours of talktime and some video playback, browsing and texting as well. Of course, the battery is heftier at 1500 mAh. Call quality was decent, however a little more volume on our end would have been welcome. The callers on the other side had no complaints though. The phone never crashed on us. We only once had trouble with Wi-Fi, but this was easily fixed by restarting the phone. When we were multi-tasking, applications ran smoothly in the background, and we never noticed any lag when browsing or using any of the apps we downloaded on to the phone.

Our Verdict If you’re not one to use your smartphone to the max, you may not notice the difference that a dual-core processor makes. However, you can expect less chances of the phone freezing and crashing on you, because of the new processor working in the background. And considering LG’s priced the Optimus 2X on par with the other high-end smarties in the market, it seems like a pretty competitive contender. Love: HD playback, good battery life Hate: Minimal changes to Android interface, no physical camera button Rs 30,000 ketaki@thehindu.co.in

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SPECIFICATIONS Dimensions - 123.9 x 63.2 x 10.9 mm Display - 4-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen (480 x 800) Sensors - Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Gyro sensor Storage - 8 GB internal, up to 32GB WLAN - Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot Bluetooth - Yes, v2.1 with A2DP Camera - 8 MP (rear), 1.3 MP (front-facing) Video - 1080p@24fps, 720p@30fps OS - Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo), upgradable to v2.3 CPU - Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 chipset Battery - Li-Ion 1500 mAh Stand-by - Up to 400 h Talk time - Up to 7 h 50 min

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AUTO

focus

Ferrari’s Indian homecoming

S. Muralidhar he onset of the monsoon may be delayed this year, but in the world of luxury automobiles it has been raining super sports cars already. After Maserati and Aston Martin, it is now the turn of Ferrari to finally land on Indian shores. Nearly three years after its famous Magic India Discovery Drive during which two 612 Scagliettis were driven over 13,000 kilometres across the country, the ‘Prancing Horse’ (Ferrari’s iconic symbol) officially kicked off its entry into India with the inauguration of the first showroom in New Delhi. The dealership is operated by the Shreyans Group, which is the official Ferrari importer for India. Prices for the Ferrari models start from Rs 2.22 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). Every wild dream of Ferrari fans in India can now turn to reality as this super luxury, super performance sports car maker throws open its entire range to aspiring buyers here. Ferrari essentially has about four models in its range currently and it simply classifies them under two broad categories – V8s and V12s. For Ferrari, performance is the bottomline towards which every other parameter is directed. Of course, cutting edge technology and sexy design go hand in hand with very demanding performance that every one of its cars is known for. But, this focus and its long history and tradition of being associated with motorsports reflect in its choice of classification. Here is a short profile of its four GT models.

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Ferrari California The California is like a new flashy kid in the Ferrari range, in a manner of speaking. This is one Prancing Horse model

that wealthy Indians are going to love. A four-seater grand touring (GT) sports car, the California is a two-door hardtop convertible. Designed by Pininfarina, this is a classy looking Ferrari. But, despite its more rounded, less aggressive looks, the California packs in fantastic performance. Powering it to a top speed of about 310 kmph, is its 4,297cc, front-mid mounted petrol direct injected engine. This 90-degree V8 engine pumps out a peak power of 460 PS at 7,750 rpm. The California is one of the most aerodynamic Ferraris ever made. It was also one of the first models to feature a front-engined V8 and one of the first to be paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Its retractable hard top, another first for Ferrari, can be opened or closed in just 14 seconds. In terms of top technologies on employ, the California’s dual-clutch transmission eliminates the acceleration gap, enabling it to match the F430 in terms of sheer acceleration, despite being 180 kgs heavier. It also features the F1-TRAC, an optimised traction control system inspired and tested by Formula 1.

Ferrari 458 Italia For fans of top performance, the 458 Italia will clearly be the choice. Said to be the replacement for the F430, which in turn was the successor to the 360 (remember the Ferrari Modena 360 that was gifted to Sachin Tendulkar by Fiat), the 458 Italia is a mid-rear engined sports car. The 458 Italia is a perfect amalgam of fantastic Pininfarina design and mind-blowing performance. It is powered by a more daunting 4,499cc, V8 engine. It generates a peak power of 570 PS at 9,000 rpm and a peak torque of 540 Nm

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at 6,000 rpm. Most of the torque, almost four-fifths of it, is available from as low as 3,300 rpm. Weight distribution is a balanced 42:58 front to rear. Fully loaded and tanked up the 458 Italia will still be just over 1.5 tonnes of gross weight. Its weight to power ratio is an amazing 2.42 kgs per PS. One distinctive feature of the 458 Italia’s design is the nose that sports small aero-elastic winglets, which generate downforce and as the speed rises, they deform to reduce the section of the radiator intake to cut drag. The 458 Italia’s top speed is over 325 kmph, and a 0-100 kmph comes up in under 3.4 seconds.

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Ferraris V12 engines are legendary performers and the 599 GTB (also called 599 GTB Fiorano) derives its name from the 5,999cc V12 engine and the Fiorano circuit, which was used by Ferrari for testing the model. This Gran Turismo model, said to be the replacement for the 575M Maranello, is Ferrari’s flagship two-seater. The 599 GTB Fiorano features a six-litre, 65-degree V12 petrol engine that generates a specific output of 103 PS per litre or a total of 620 PS at 7,600 rpm. The power is achieved without the use of turbo-charging or supercharging. Peak torque is a massive 608 Nm at 5,600 rpm, making it one of the most powerful and most torquey Ferrari engines. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual or F1 style shifters and top speed is over 330 kmph and the 0-100 run comes up in just 3.7 seconds. The experimental 599XX and its new road-going version – the 599 GTO – are based on the 599 GTB.


Ferrari FF The FF is almost meant to indicate a First for Ferrari, with the number of new features that this super sports hatch has. But, the FF stands for Ferrari Four, for the four seats and four-wheel drive features. First revealed just in January this year, the FF is the first Ferrari to feature what is called a shooting brake hatchback design and four-wheel drive. The FF also sports a 450-litre boot… unthinkable in a Ferrari till now! The FF replaces the 612 Scaglietti and is rumoured to have been inspired by the emergence of new markets for Ferrari like China and possibly India, and a new breed of buyers too. It is meant for a class of buyers who want to enjoy the feel and performance of a Ferrari with their family too.The FF’s engine is a 6,262cc petrol V12 unit that generates a specific output of about 105 PS per litre, a total of 660 PS at 8,000 rpm. Peak torque is also an equally impressive 683 Nm at 6,000 rpm. The FF features, for the first time, Ferrari’s patented, light-weight four-wheel drive system called 4RM and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. The new four-wheel drive system can be engaged when set to comfort or snow mode enabling it to be driven to its full even in difficult weather conditions. Top speed is a mind numbing 335 kmph and the FF, though heavier at 1,880 kgs (kerb weight), still manages to do 0-100 kmph in 3.7 seconds. There is no better way to announce that you have arrived in life than to acquire a Ferrari. Buying a Ferrari is more than buying a sports car… it is an Italian icon, a big meaty piece of automotive culture and history, a sports car nonpareil and a brand like no other all bundled into one. muraliswami@thehindu.co.in

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AUTO news

Blingy Maybach

It’s not just the silver screen debutantes that made heads turn at the Cannes Film Festival this year. What also had tongues lolling was a diamond-studded Maybach 62S Saloon by the German luxury car maker (part of Mercedes-Benz) in association with Swiss jewellery manufacturer and watchmaker de GRISOGONO. The sparkling diamonds are only studded in the rear centre armrest in the current model but the companies are also looking at more dazzling options for individualising the interior with other gemstones apart from the diamonds and adorning the steering wheel, shift lever or seats with them. The luxury car was unveiled in the presence of around 1,000 guests that included the who’s who from the film industry and show business.

To mark Bentley’s world ice speed record for a convertible car , the company unveiled the limited edition Continental Supersports Convertible ISR. The all-wheel drive system provides outstanding traction in all weather conditions. The new exhaust system with reduced back pressure benefits gas flow while delivering a sporty baritone note under hard acceleration. The 6-litre, twin turbocharged W12 engine, produces 640 PS (631 bhp / 471 kW) - the most powerful Bentley ever - and 800Nm (590lb ft) of torque. Paired with a Quickshift six-speed automatic transmission, it launches the convertible ‘Ice Speed Record’ model from 0-100 kmph in 4.0 seconds and reaches 160 kmph from a standing start in only 9.4 seconds The new Bentley convertible is available in three distinctive colours, reinforcing its muscular styling, while its leather and Alcantara-lined cabin features high-gloss carbon fibre with a unique red weave. For an even more extrovert appearance, customers may specify the ISR Mulliner design package (available at no extra cost) with its bold ‘Supersports ISR’ graphics and red-accented detailing. The Supersports Continental Convertible ISR is now available to order at Bentley dealerships and is priced at £1,89,300 (inclusive of VAT in UK).

Uber-cool Ice King!

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MELANGE luxury redefined

Pitter patter If you’re gearing up for rainy weather, stylish footwear is a must. These pink Wellington boots from Burberry are our favourite pick. You can also choose from thonged slippers, umbrellas and bags to complete the look. Available: Burberry stores Price on request

Aviator ishtyle They’ve got the look. They’ve got the appeal. These Oakley Plantiff gold plated aviator sunglasses will add some sizzle to your summer wardrobe. Available: Select lifestyle and optical outlets Rs 6,790

For the mantle Making a pretty picture on your curio, this Palace Covered Bowl from Jay Strongwater’s Venezia collection dazzles in its hand-painted enamel and hand-set Swarovski crystals. Available: The Right Address, New Delhi Price on request

A ‘Ray’ of crystal hope This Manta Ray figurine from Steuben Glass is gorgeous in its intricate dorsal fins and sterling tail. Hand-formed of polished crystal, it’s a fitting gift for the marine-life lover. Available: The Right Address, New Delhi Price on request

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Bath shimmer Jazz up your vanity space with Bathline Sensations’ Acquaviva AG “The Starlight Square Series” that includes mirrors, cotton ball jars and gel dispensers studded with STRASS Swarovski crystals. Available: Bathline Sensations, New Delhi Price on request


HOTEL review

Where chic meets contemporary Anushya Mamtora got ‘Bangalored’… and thoroughly enjoyed it! In front of me are colourful lanterns, little fountains, an infinity pool, comfy lounge chairs and a stunning view of a man-made lake and of course, the rest of the vibrant city of Bengaluru. Sheraton sure gets it bang on when it comes to giving guests an ambience and a view to flip for and some novelty too. Like the sky bridge stemming out of the hotel’s façade. I was at the new Sheraton property in Bengaluru at the Brigade Gateway, and it has not one, but two sky bridges connecting to a soon to be up mall and a corporate office hub. Letting guests heave a sign of relief for having escaped the crazy city traffic while going shopping or to work, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has chosen the venue for its newest Sheraton in its portfolio in the heart of

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an integrated lifestyle enclave, in the Malleswaram neighbourhood. The property is located strategically next to luxury apartments, the World Trade Center (WTC) office tower, Orion Mall, an international school, a premium hospital and a picture perfect lake. However, despite being in the midst of other complexes, the five-star business hotel stands out in its glass facade and a pretty water sculpture that forms a neat partition in the front. As Martin Wuethrich, the General Manager of the hotel puts it; every building here at Brigade Gateway supports the other, thus targeting office goers who just have to trot to work right from inside the hotel as well as patients who are receiving treatment at the hospital, apart from others who visit the Garden City.

Pleasing décor There are two design elements that are evident when you

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step into Sheraton’s new property. The extensive use of open spaces, especially in the lobby, and the interesting use of glass. Simple, nothing over the top. With a grand sweeping staircase, cascading waters, large glass partitions inlaid with gold patterns and lots of space to gather, the lobby reverberates with life. The 230 guest rooms are categorised into the city side rooms, deluxe pool/ lake rooms, Sheraton Club guest rooms, junior suites, executive suites and a presidential suite. Club guests have special access to the Sheraton Club Lounge where they can relax with a drink, grab a bite and meet up with friends. The décor in the rooms is classic – creams mixed with earthy tones, plush fabrics and wood to create a sense of warmth and bonding. Also commendable are the effortlessly chic interiors at the restaurants and the palatial setting of the Durbar restaurant, with oversized candle holders, large traditional paintings and huge Maharaja


chairs. It’s an enchanting change from the rest of the hotel, which revels in contemporary, modern furnishings.

Food haven When Executive Chef Gustavo Maurelli lifted the lid on his famous smoked poached pears, cooked in red wine and served on a bed of mascarpone, the aroma of the cinnamon was enough to have me drooling for more. Much like the rest of the food at Bene, the signature Italian restaurant at the hotel. Guests can either queue up at the Pizzaiolo, Pizza Bar to select their favourite pizza or savour some delicious spinach risotto, mushroom ravioli, and buffalo mozzarella topped with tomato caviar. Then there’s the multi-cuisine round-the-clock buffet restaurant, aptly titled Feast. While the Thai section was an instant favourite, the apple cinnamon mousse, glazed Persian beetroots and Churros (Spanish doughnut - thin and long fried dough, with a chocolate sauce dip) are worth a try. Also at the hotel is the Persian Terrace with an aura of Arabic exoticness and food to go with, not forgetting the shisha pipe to make circles in the air on a cool summer night and Durbar, a colonial styled restaurant offering royal Indian cuisine and fine beverages.

Feature-rich The Sheraton Bangalore has many new features to its credit. If you have been able to experience a night of sound sleep at its guest rooms, it’s all thanks to the signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed comprising of an all-white jacquard pillow and duvet ensemble with luxurious sheets. The hotel also offers the Sheraton Fitness Programmed by Core Performance, a partnership that gives guests a comprehensive health and fitness program. Ideal for those who want to follow their fitness regime when on the move. The Link@Sheraton is also a new initiative, which breaks free from the conventional business centre room and makes the internet zone a vibrant part of the lobby. The Angsana Spa will also be thrown up to its guests even as you are reading Smartbuy right now. Sheraton Bangalore has everything going for it. The 30km ride from the airport and travel to the city centre is compensated by its unique positioning and secure premises. And if your office is at Brigade Gateway, there is anushya@thehindu.co.in

nothing as relieving as taking a ‘sky walk’ to work.


LUXURY launches

VOYAGE ROYALE reguet’s Marine collection has rubber for easier handling and adds to

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always had its niche clique of aficionados and its continuous innovation is testimony to the enthusiasm around the watch. It draws inspiration from the original designs created by the master, Breguet, himself, for the French Royal Navy after he was appointed as Horologist to the Frnech Navy in 1815. The newest one to join the sea expedition is The Marine Royale 5847, which boasts of ground breaking design and comes equipped with an alarm device that reiterates the brand’s keen involvement in acoustics. Remember, they were the first to invent the gong 225 years ago! The alarm setting crown and on-off pushpiece in gold, are sheathed in

the sturdy yet elegant persona of the watch. It’s also equipped with the usual diver’s watch features, a date indicator, self-winding mechanism and is waterresistant to 30 bar. The watch scores on counts of legibility even in the murkiest waters, thanks to the white luminous superluminova that coats the minute markers and hands. The hour and alarm markers also glow blue, and power-reserve indicator is luminous too. The pictures here, show two versions of this marvel timepiece. One in pink gold with an 18k dial and black rhodium finish and the other in white gold with an 18k silvered gold dial. Both are embellished with the dedicated wave pattern and come with leather and rubber strap options.

Cocktail bash With this rose gold and diamond chunky ring from de Grisogono’s Tubetto range, one can skip the other accessories. This one will do all the talking. Available at its e-boutique.

Chopard’s pride

Flower power Faberge’s breathtaking version of the magnolia is this magnificent cocktail ring with curling, wayward petals of white and pink diamonds dancing around a bright pink sapphire. The curved shank of the ring is embellished with brown diamonds. A statement jewel, true to its word.

Part of the brand’s Animal world collection and part of every woman’s wish-list is this enchanting peacock bracelet. The gorgeous tail wraps around the wrist and is covered with 50 small tapering feathers. The bird is embellished with 7,500 stones, including Paraiba tourmillons, tsavorites and emeralds. Vanity isn’t always a vice!

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Anushya Mamtora t was that time of the year again, when jaw-dropping handcrafted, horological marvels were unveiled before a global audience. With 1,892 brands battling for eyeballs, BaselWorld 2011 went a step ahead and won the hearts of many a watch and jewellery lover. The 39th edition of the world’s largest and most popular annual watch and jewellery fair was a hit, just like its predecessors. While gliding through the magnificent venue and awe-inspiring stands is always a treat, being witness to the launch of the best luxury watches and jewellery the industry has to offer, is sheer indulgence. This year’s extravaganza had its share of path breaking innovations and has been a trendsetter to new styles and fashion. Here are some highlights and trends:

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Where time takes centre stage

TECH MARVELS Concepts and technological innovations in watch making have always been the highlight of the fair. This year was no exception. Breguet launched its revolutionary new model The Classique 5717 Hora Mundi, the first mechanical watch with an instant time-zone display and a memory featuring synchronised date, day/night and city indications. Mechanical precision took a giant leap with Tag Heuer launching its Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph, the world’s first mechanical chronograph to measure and display 1/1,000th of a second – 125 times more accurate than most existing mechanical chronographs!

MATERIAL MAGIC This year saw some interesting materials being used in watches. While ceramic found the pride of place in many collections, lacquer and carbon too made their presence felt. Rado added a feather to its cap by launching the world’s thinnest high-tech ceramic watch, Rado True Thinline. Seiko’s Ananta Automatic Chronograph Diver’s watch is a celebration of Japan’s artistry. The dial is made of the country’s traditional style lacquer by a world-renowned lacquer artist to make it ‘truly jet black’. Hublot’s Big Bang All Black Carbon was completely in sync with its trademark concept of ‘invisible visibility’, being made entirely from carbon fibre. The dial was eye-catching in its matte black carbon fibre with black nickel appliqué indexes. Romain Jerome on the other hand not only experimented with carbon fibre in its Basel creations but also went a step ahead to hand-sculpt the black dial of its Moon Dust DNA watch with a small amount of the ‘precious Moon dust’- of which only a few thousand grams have been brought back to Earth.

BLACK’S THE WAY The rich stark hue unanimously won the round for the most favourite colour among watch brands. The show saw a whole lot of launches in black, whether in the form of ceramic, lacquer, diamonds, crystals or carbon. From Hublot’s Big Bang Black Caviar that shone in polished black ceramic to Chopard’s Classic Racing model with black perforated rubber straps, black was a sure shot hit. In fact de Grisogono had a line called Black Forever which was unveiled at the show. The collection made of black diamonds and paired with colour coded straps stood out in the bling selection. Dior too did a black number with its Dior VIII 33mm automatic with black high-tech ceramic and stainless steel case, black ceramic pyramids on the bezel and black lacquer hand on the dial.

ROMANCE IS BACK If one were to point out one trend that ran across the different jewellery collections that sparkled through Basel this year, it has to be the underlying romance in design. Pink flowers, fluttering butterflies, subtle pastels, elegant designs… each jewel was like a saga of love. Whether it was Russian brand Faberge’s bright precious stones in large settings, Chopard’s nature-inspired motifs in the form of exquisite jewels, Mikimoto’s luscious pearls in ethereal patterns or Wellendorff’s simplistic designs, romance is the colour of the season.

Watches & Luxuriance - BaselWorld 2011 Special Editorial Anushya Mamtora , Ketaki Bhojnagarwala, Mahananda Bohidar, S. Muralidhar Design Balakrishnan Advertising Immanuel Raj kumar/ immanuel@thehindu.co.in


Blancpain’s Villeret Demi-Fuseau Horaire

Breguet Classique 5717 Hora Mundi

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde

Basel extravaganza, the Swatch way Team Smartbuy

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heir presence is unmistakable at Basel. Taking pride of place in the Hall of Dreams, the Swatch Group wove a web of magic around their brands with larger than life stalls and inspiring collections. Four of their brands that stood out amidst the other stalwarts were Breguet, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz and Omega. Each of them had an exclusive launch up their sleeve and treated watch lovers to specials from the other collections. Here are some prominent ones that caught our attention.

BREGUET’S CLASSIC’S IN NEW VERSIONS The hero of Breguet’s BaselWorld launches is the Classique 5717 Hora Mundi. The first mechanical timepiece with an instant-jump timezone display, it allows the traveller to easily display the time in two pre-selected time zones, changing instantly from one to the other by pressing a button, without disturbing the operation of the watch. Made of 18-carat red gold or 950 platinum, three versions of the dial are available, each representing one part of the world. The new version also features a gold dial, hand-engraved on a rose engine with a wave motif beneath a translucent lacquer

and is paired with an alligator leather strap. Breguet had some other spectaculars in their collection too. The Classique 7337 (red gold version), Marine Tourbillon 5837 wristwatch in platinum and new silvered dial and a red gold version of the Reine De Naples 8918. For women, the Reine De Naples is a sheer delight to hold. Crafted as a tribute to the wristwatch that the Queen of Naples ordered from Abraham-Louis Breguet, its soft ovoid shape and distinctive strap lug are iconic characteristics that are carried forward in the new version.

Grande Seconde. It comes in a white gold case with Cotes de Geneve dial or red gold case with a Grand Feu enamelled dial. The tourbillon carriage is crafted from sapphire crystal, an innovation from Jauqet Droz and the tourbillon is placed at the heart of the seconds subdial, inside the brand’s trademark figure-8 shaped ring, applied to the dial.

BLANCPAIN’S SMASHING NEW VILLERET

A reinterpretation of its 2010 Villeret collection, the Villeret Demi-Fuseau Horaire is Blancpain’s first Half-TimeZone watch that serves to adjust the second time zone in half-hour increments. This new 321-part self-winding mechanism is endowed with a 72-hour power reserve and a pusher located on the head of the crown helps to select fast correction or

A ‘GRANDE’ JAQUET DROZ It’s a tourbillon that was a winner for the brand this year in the form of two exclusive timepieces associating one of its most symbolic models – the Omega Ladymatic

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half time-zone adjustment mode. Housing the precious mechanism is a half-hunter case in red gold, fitted with a sapphire crystal caseback revealing the movement and the guilloche-work oscillating weight. The opaline dial is highlighted with red gold hour-markers and teamed with an alvazel-lined leather strap.

OMEGA’S OFFERING FOR ‘HER’ AND ‘HIM’ Omega had two interesting timepieces at this year’s edition of BaselWorld – The Omega Ladymatic and Seamaster Planet Ocean collection. The alluring Ladymatic is femininity personified in its fluid “wave” concept that takes the form of a relief wave pattern on the super-durable ceramic ring and dazzling diamonds. But beauty is within and Omega reiterates that with the Co-Axial calibre 8520/8521, said to be the best women’s mechanical watch movement in the world. The new Planet Ocean family is also set to take the plunge like its predecessors with unidirectional rotating bezels, helium escape valves and water resistance to 600 meters. The Seamaster Planet Ocean 45.50mm Titanium and Liquidmetal, calibre 8500 was a favourite with a blue ceramic bezel and matching integrated rubber strap.


Rolex adds five new Oysters Expeditions. Sailing. Motor racing. Art events. Rolex’s five new creations this BaselWorld are for the different personalities nestled in you. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the new Oyster Perpetual Explorer II has a 42mm case and is fitted with the latest-generation Rolex movement, calibre 3187. The new version of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona chronograph has a gorgeous chocolate brown dial and amply uses Everose (an exclusive 18k pink gold alloy patented and manufactured by Rolex in its own foundry). The Everose Rolesor (bringing together steel and 18k gold in a single watch) makes its debut in the Oyster Professional collection in the YachtMaster II and is the highlight of the range. Also stepping in is the DateJust Special Edition that wins hearts with the delicate gold motifs on its black or white mother-of-pearl dials and 12 brilliant cut diamonds, now offered in 18k Everose gold. But standing out is the elegant Lady DateJust that dazzles in its gem-set bezel and Gold Crystals dial.

When creativity meets watch making, it always spells double joy – like the triumph of science and art. The sheer thrill of wrapping a piece of art around your wrist that also houses a killer movement is what draws art and watch lovers alike to pick up exclusive limited edition pieces. This year’s Basel extravaganza too saw the inspiration of art, in small and large measures, gracing the dials of time pieces. Some pieces that stood out include Jaquet Droz’s Petite Heure Minute Relief that uses figurative motifs executed in relief in painted yellow gold and geometric patterning, borrowed from ancestral tradition. The golden birds stand out from the black onyx dial in true relief effect. It shows even better on the ivory Grand Feu enamelled dial. The brand has also used the Paillonné enamelling technique. The gleam of the gold, deposited in micro-particles, heightens the lustre of the blue and the density of the red in the transparent glaze of the enamel. Also interesting is the Art Deco inspiration for its Petite Heure Minute Art Deco piece, which uses Ramolaye technique to sculpt the mother-of-pearl dial. On the other hand, DeWitt’s Golden Afternoon is a continuation of the Pre-Raphaelites celebration of womanhood and their “honest artistic expression, with abundant details, intense colours and complex compositions”. The dials in delicate mother-of-pearl become an artist’s canvas with puffy clouds and water lily diamonds ‘to form a painting in which reflection is reality’. Another piece that fascinated us is Ulysse Nardin’s Alexander the Great Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts. The figurines on the dial depict the warrior in armour and engaged in battle. The five hand-crafted figures are prominent against the charcoal background of the manmade diamond dial, taking the association of art and horology to a distinguished level.

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Jaquet Droz

DeWitt

At the he‘art’ of the movement


THE SIXTH ELEMENT Stark in black is Hublot’s ‘Cathedra’ Minute Repeater Tourbillon and column wheel chronograph made in carbon fibre. What’s best? You can ogle at the three complications from the dial.

PERFECT PRECISION Yes, you are looking at the world’s first-ever mechanical chronograph to measure and display 1/1,000th of a second. Tag Heuer Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph, take a bow.

CHARMING IN CHOPARD In rose gold and steel, the latest entrant in Chopard’s Imperiale family is this elegant model in mother-of-pearl dial engraved with embroidered cushions.

IT’S ALL IN THE OPEN Baring its heart, Zenith’s El Primero Chronomaster Open Power Reserve charms with its open dial that reveals the 36,000 vibrations of its movement.

‘GRAND’ LAUNCH ENIGMATIC 8! A diver’s heart throb, Romain Jerome’s Titanic-DNA Octopus collection is rugged in its oxidised steel dial, eight side screws and black strap. Yes, it features its trademark ‘X’ too.

Dior VIII Grand Bal, 38mm is loaded with a generous dose of diamonds. Set on a black mother-ofpearl dial and a matching ceramic case, it houses an automatic movement calibre ‘Dior Inverse’.


Photo: irk99

BASELWORLD 2011 at a glance 1,03,200 visitors from 100 countries 1,892 exhibitors from 45 countries 3,055 journalists from 70 countries 1,60,000 m2 exhibition area

Photo: irk99

The latest from Carl F. Bucherer is the Patravi EvoTec Calendar. With the case made of high-grade steel or 18k gold, and black and silver dial options, its most interesting bit is the inner workings. The automatic CFB A1004 Manufacture calibre integrates the 53rd week next to the 52-calendar week indicator, which removes the need to reset the calendar week in leap years.

AN EVOTEC FROM CFB

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A brand new Alliance The Victorinox Alliance showcased at BaselWorld this year spell fluidity and dynamism in its design and style. The lyreshaped watch horns are elongated and the dials reiterate its essentialist design philosophy. So one can spot lacqured black minus the gloss, silver satin-finished with a sunray effect or slate grey and matte-finished. Other features of the latest Alliance series include a Swiss-made quartz movement and satin-brushed 316L stainless steel case. The timepieces are paired with three-row alternating-finish steel bracelet or black, charcoal grey and camel strap, depending on which dial catches your fancy.

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MORE FROM THE SWATCH GROUP. . . BRING DOWN THE MOON Longines has brought together day, night and the phases of the moon in a symphony of retrograde hands with its new timepiece, the Master Collection Retrograde Moon Phases. The timepiece is available in a diameter of 41 mm or 44 mm with a black dial and a black leather strap or a silver dial and a brown alligator strap.

THE NEW SIZE ZERO Rado True Thinline, the world’s thinnest high-tech ceramic watch features clear gold-coloured indexes, replaced by diamonds on the Jubilé version, all accentuated by the fully integrated sapphire crystal of the dome. The case and buckle, both in high-tech ceramics, fit perfectly into the sublimely integrated rubber bracelet.

INTO THE SEA Tissot’s Seastar 1000 is a diver’s automatic chronograph that performs up to 300 metres underwater. All models also have their own helium valve, which automatically depressurises the watch.The chronograph versions have a large, 48 mm case, making a bold style statement and simultaneously contributing to easy readability in and out of the water.


Weil’s Maestro stroke!

hen the Maestro collection was launched last year with the Tradition watches, it was the beginning of a new innings for Raymond Weil. It was not only an interesting shift from its sportier Nabucco and Freelancer ranges but it reinstated the brand’s enthusiasm to delve into its roots despite being just three generations old. The appeal was classic, the designs sober. Perfect round cases, silver or black dials, “clou de Paris” relief to add to the charm, steel bezel and black leather strap… a perfect companion to a well-groomed appearance. No wonder, when Raymond Weil decided to add few more pieces to its Maestro collection, it created quite a buzz among fans.

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OVER THE MOON Weil’s fascination with the moon took the form of Maestro Phase de Lune, its first moon phase complication with a mechanical movement. Apart from the RW4500 mechanical movement and elegant displays, what’s eye-catching is the moon phase indicator at 10:30, filled with a royal blue colour set in a black dial.

FOR ‘HER’ TOO This year saw a cheery and feminine version of the classic timepiece. Featuring white mother-of-pearl dials, glittering diamonds and guilloche effect in the central zone, it lends an elegant charm to the Maestro series. What won the attention of curious women onlookers was the bright pink full skin leather strap that was teamed beautifully with the diamond indexes and dial with openwork at 12 o’clock.

CLASSY CHRONO The Maestro introduces its third movement in a timeless chronograph version. The timepiece is equipped with a 41.5mm rose gold case, encasing a contrast silver dial with the ‘clou de Paris’ embellishment, rose gold tinted hands and a dark brown leather strap to match.

Seiko’s traditional affair he sound was pure, sweet and haunting. So chaste, that it brought smiles to the faces of enthusiastic watch lovers who were waiting to hear the chime. Seiko’s Credor Spring Drive Minute Repeater did receive a ‘sound’ welcome at BaselWorld 2011. But there’s more than what just meets the ear. The mechanism that produces the sound is not made of just any steel. It’s been specially forged by celebrated master Japanese steelmaker to resemble that of the famous Myochin wind bell. Yes, it’s one thing to delve into the history of watch making and churn out masterpieces, but a different challenge to blend in a part of your country into a timepiece. And Seiko seeks to do just that.

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THE FAMOUS JAPANESE BELL For 52 generations, the Myochin family of Japan have been master blacksmiths, making steel for over 850 years. The family’s steel forging tradition started in the late 8th century, in the Heian era, with the manufacture of armour for soldiers and then continued into others, like fire tongs called “hibachi”. They soon made wind chimes by letting two hibachi’s hang together on a string and the sound was said to be pleasing, thus leading to the creation of the famous Myochin Wind Bell. When the master craftsmen in the Micro Artist Studio at Seiko’s Shiojiri facility looked for a special material to use in the minute repeater bell gongs, Myochin steel was their natural choice. They got it specially forged by Munemichi Myochin, to match as much as possible, the sound frequency, volume and attenuation rate of the Myochin bell.

ART SPEAK While the Myochin family pitched in to create melodious chimes, Japanese artisans were the one’s who motivated the brand to make its Ananta Automatic Chronograph Diver’s 130th anniversary commemorative collection special. Seiko used not just one, but two traditional art forms for this timepiece. Firstly, the design of Ananta was inspired by ‘Katana’, the ancient Japanese art of sword making, an innovative skill, which originated more than 800 years ago. Secondly, to increase the legibility of the watch in dark waters, Seiko sought to get its perfect jet black dial by using the services of world-renowned lacquer artist, Isshu Tamura. The artist, a master of ‘Kaga Makie’ personally painted the dial, layer by layer and polished it in his personal studio in Kanazawa, Japan to the rich black. Now this is what we call a tryst with tradition!


Smartbuy issue dated June 1, 2011  

Smartbuy issue dated June 1, 2011

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