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G A D G E T S

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A U T O |

L U X U R Y

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UIs of the future Bend ‘em, wear ‘em, imagine ‘em! Page 4


WHAT’S HOT this week

Team Smartbuy Editorial Anushya Mamtora anushya@thehindu.co.in

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala ketaki@thehindu.co.in

Mahananda Bohidar mahananda@thehindu.co.in

S.Muralidhar muraliswami@thehindu.co.in

Design Bryan Gaughan aqua@thehindu.co.in

Balakrishnan designkbala@thehindu.co.in

Advertising Contact R.Diwakar ramdiwakar@thehindu.co.in

Web Advertising Contact N. Amarnath amarnath@thehindu.co.in

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Mutant gaming ASUS

Become a fan of our Facebook page: BL Smartbuy

G74S 3D

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The cover picture is for representative purposes only. The image copyright belongs to Walt Disney Pictures.

This 3D gaming laptop from ASUS is associated with X-Men: First Class. It is powered by the latest Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics for great 3D performance. It features 16GB DDR3 RAM and 1.5TB storage with two hard drives. Connectivity options include a Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 port, HDMI 1.4-out and digital audio-out. A full 3D screen makes it a gamer’s delight. Rs 1,24,990

The world in your hands

Samsung GALAXY S II With a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor under the hood, the Samsung GALAXY S II is one of the fastest smartphones you can flaunt. With probably the slimmest form factor among its rivals and the unmatched Super AMOLED Plus screen, the latest from Samsung, provides fast web browsing and multi-tasking comparable to a PC-like environment along with supreme graphics quality and instantly responsive 3D graphics on the large screen. The Samsung GALAXY S II has been equipped with an 8-meg, high-profile camera and camcorder with 1080p Full HD recording and playback. Rs 32,890

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May the Force be with you

Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Keyboard This gaming keyboard is part of a Star Wars: Old Republic product line being launched by Razer. It features a full-colour multi-touch LCD panel, and incorporates ten adaptive tactile keys. The interchangeable gold backlit faction symbols let you show your allegiance to the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire. And if you’re a die hard fan, you can even convert the entire keyboard from alphanumeric to Aurebesh. $199.99


The star at home

LG Cinema 3D TV With its new range of smart tellys ranging from 42 inch to 55 inch, LG is set to bring the third dimension right into your living room. Loaded with the Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology, these TVs give clear 3D pictures with less crosstalk, dizziness and eye fatigue. These tellys have earned the ‘Flicker Free’ certification making them the world’s first 3D TVs to receive the tag. Improving the picture quality is LG’s 3D Light Boost, a thin film that ensures 3D images are shown at their full brightness. Rs 94,990 onwards

More than inspired!

Dell XPS 15z Dell has introduced the latest in the XPS series, the 15z that offers Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors with a 15.6-inch Full HD (1080p) display for great entertainment and web-browsing experiences. The laptop sports a backlit keyboard and gives you over seven hours of battery life – all housed in a luxurious, eye-catching and elegantly crafted case, less than an inch thick. Rs 69,900 onwards

On the go sound

Logitech Z110 This pair of USB-powered stereo speakers is the perfect accessory for your laptop. It connects to any source that uses a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can plug in your MP3 player and enjoy music instantly. Its compact size allows it to fit into your handbag when travelling. Eliminating a power cord removes the hassle of a cluttered desktop. Rs 625

The Acer Iconia Tab A500 reviewed in Smartbuy last week was sourced from online electronics shopping website www.letsbuy.com. Smartbuy

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FUTURE trends

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Touch the future. Or not!

Mahananda Bohidar oday, almost all personal tech gadgets work on touch-based input. Like every innovation in technology that seems to be a rage at present, this too will probably become redundant in a couple of years. But does that mean we regress to the old-world physical keys and keyboard interface? Far from it!

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Look ma, no hands Based on a technology called Mimesign (developed by Elliptic Labs), your next trick to manipulate your brand new touch screen tablet, handset or even your Smart TV could be to make simple gestures in thin air. It’ll be possible to operate devices by touchless gestures. Earlier this year, an iPad dock unveiled by Elliptic Labs at CES 2011 displayed a touchless sensor based on ultrasonic technology that lets you change tracks with just a swipe in the air. The Microsoft Kinect has already brought motion-sensing devices to our homes but what might make the experience much more immersive is something along the lines of SixthSense, a natural, gestural user interface that lets you integrate and manipulate information within the physical space around you. The $350-prototype is a bundle of a pocket projector, a mirror and a camera. These are integrated in a pendantlike device with the projector and camera hooked up to your mobile phone. Any application on your mobile device can be projected on any surface around you. You can play around with the interface as the camera tracks your gestures and physical objects using computer-vision based techniques.

Holographic delight

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Those of you who’ve seen the Robin Williams-starrer Flubber might remember the curvaceous holographic avatar that his pet robot ‘Weebo’ takes one fine night! Well, you might not have a virtual femme fatale walking about your room but in a couple of years you might certainly own devices that project holographic displays to serve the function of a mobile phone or even a laptop! All you might need is a device capable of projecting a mobile application - Phone dialer, Skype, messaging client, Sudoku…you get the drift – on any surface available. An Israeli visual

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SixthSense by Pranav Mistry

Microsoft Corp.’s touch sensitive Surface: Bloomberg

communications designer, Ivan Tihienko, had come up with a concept holographic UI called Ringo that could even let you play Air Hockey by projecting it on your bedroom floor or on the streets. This kind of user interface opens up tons of new ways to interact with your digital devices. If you’re looking for directions, your mobile device could just project it around you on to the road and guide you till your destination, you could send messages SWPYE-ing across your bedroom wall or even play Angry Birds on Page 2 of your science textbook without your folks ever finding out!

The real transformer Imagine tapping a thin layer of plastic by your bedside to hit snooze on your alarm-clock, pull out and stretch the same to read the morning news and retract it to make a call to your boss telling him you’ll be late for work just because you wanted to finish that episode of South Park, right on the same display! All this and more could be possible with OLED/ AMOLED displays that can be more flexible than Natalie Portman in Black Swan! Less than a month ago, the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University and Universal Display Corporation released a full-colour, flexible AMOLED display prototype for use in thin, lightweight, bendable and unbreakable devices capable of displaying full-colour, full-motion video. Funded by the US Army, the research resulted in 3.8-inch diagonal QVGA displays that could potentially be used in ultralight portable devices. Sony had been the first one to showcase a flexible OLED ultra-thin display three years ago, but is yet to launch a commercially viable product. With lots of research and attention going the flexible display way we might not have to wait for too long till we get our hands on one.

Time for mind games Think. That’s all you might have to do to execute any task you want to on a system in the future. Suppose you want Mario to jump on

the Koopa Troopas coming his way, all you have to do is think of it and your user interface will make it happen on screen. Emotiv Systems, a company that has been working on brain-computer interfaces has a designed a headset, Emotiv EPOC, that lets you do exactly this. A bunch of enthusiastic hackers hooked up an Emotiv EPOC headset along with a software hack and tried it with the PC version of Angry Birds and Voila! The birds definitely do hurl themselves at the pigs when all the player did was just sit and will it to happen! Designed with 14 electrodes, the EPOC can recognise four mental states - excitement, boredom, meditation and frustration – as well as rotations, movement and facial expressions like laughing, smiling etc. Now, this is just being marketed as the $299 gaming headset, but imagine the possibilities of a neurotechnology-based interface! All computer peripherals might become redundant when you can type on-screen as you think of the letters, click when you wink and start Skype-ing with your best friend with just a smile!

Mirror on the wall Remember Tom Cruise magically leafing through photographs and videos on an uber-cool transparent glass wall with his bare hands? Well, it won’t be just a case of special

effects on the silver screen anymore. One of the science advisers who was invited to work on the interface shown in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, John Underkoffler, has designed the ‘Spatial Operating Environment’. The interface that works like the real-life version of the film’s amazingly impressive, “tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface” could possibly be one of the most exciting interfaces that could be available in the future.

Concept cellphone by Mercator

Insisting that using a mouse, a screen and a keyboard to interact with a computer system seems rather unnecessary, Underkoffler has done away with these peripherals and build an interface that can be “transferred” from one surface to another. For example, if you are browsing through your summer vacation pics on a display, you can pass it on to a second one with a swipe of your hand when you are done with it. Notwithstanding the increased chances of carpal tunnel syndrome, this interface can let you interact with multiple screens and more than one person within the workspace.

Get naughty with see-throughs No, we aren’t talking about Liz Hurley’s saree drapes. The glass on your bathroom flashing your POA for the day, the bottom of the car’s windshield with directions or traffic updates is the kind of freedom that transparent displays might provide in the future. We’ve already seen sneak previews of what’s coming with devices like Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness with its transparent monochromatic screen and Samsung IceTouch PMP with its transparent AMOLED screen. But instead of a miniature, semi-transparent screen Samsung has given us a peek of its new 22-inch transparent AMOLED displays. These could find a fit in advertising, heads-up displays for automobiles, aircrafts and probably even deepsea divers or hardcore gamers coupled with a 3D display. And this is just the beginning of the revolution; all of us might be cooler versions of the Terminator or Robocop walking down the street about 10 years from now. mahananda@thehindu.co.in

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LAPTOP peripherals You can have the most powerful PC in the world, but without the right controller it would be like having a Bentley with a broken steering wheel. We’ve investigated ‘mice’ for every business need, but which ones are worth a place on your desk - and which should you lay some Manchego on a trap for and wait patiently round the corner?

Mice even To

BASIC OPTION

Belkin Retractable Comfort Mouse This light, comfortable, budget mouse does feel a little cheap in certain respects, with a loose and shaky scroll wheel that’s nowhere near as sturdy as the others. It performs fine, but doesn’t fill us with confidence about its longevity. The Belkin’s retractable cable can be lengthened or shortened to suit your working area, and feels fairly durable. The Comfort Mouse isn’t going to revolutionise how you work. However for a pittance, you can’t really ask for much more, plus the fact that it’s USB rather than Bluetooth means no subsequent battery costs. Love: Low price, retractable USB cable Hate: Dodgy scroll wheel, not wireless Rs 699 PERSONALISED PERFORMANCE

Logitech Performance Mouse M950 An exceedingly customisable device, this mighty mouse is built like a tank and should take years of hammering. The scroll wheel is fantastic. You can press a button to let it run on after you let go or go notch by notch and it’s the comfiest on test, with a separate thumb space. You can charge it from both the mains or your computer via USB. Mac owners have to install Logitech’s software to make this work, and it’s not cheap. But it is the best of a strong bunch on offer here. Love: Great build quality, customisable Hate: Slightly pricey, extra software required for Mac users Rs 6,995

This material is translated or reproduced from T3 magazine and is the copyright of or licensed to Fu


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uture Publishing Limited, a Future plc group company, UK 2011. Used under license. All rights reserved

PROFESSIONALLY ADAPTIBLE

Kensington SlimBlade This portable wireless mouse comes with a tiny receiver that plugs into your laptop. Its scroll wheel is sturdy, and if you press it left or right you can scroll sideways as well as up and down. It’s so responsive you can actually use it on your trouser leg as opposed to a desktop or train table – it’s ideal for presentations, as a result. You’ll need some strength to move the stubborn on/off switch on the back, and it takes two AAs – lasting six months – rather than having a rechargeable cell. Overall performance is very solid for the price, however. Love: Solid and versatile scroll wheel, very responsive Hate: Power button isn’t user friendly Rs 2,799 LOOKS AREN’T EVERYTHING

Microsoft Arc Touch This unusually attractive mouse is curved for use, but you can also snap it flat to power down, so it fits better in your bag. It comes with a tiny receiver too, and lasts for six months on a pair of AA batteries, according to Microsoft, but it’s otherwise slightly disappointing. The buttons are tough to depress, making clicking more of an effort than it should be, and the scroll pad between them is hard to find with your fingers. With speed dependent on how hard you push, making it work seems based more on luck than skill. Love: Folds flat, long battery life Hate: Stiff buttons, uncomfortable to use Rs 3,600 TRAVELLER’S CHOICE

Swiftpoint Mouse You hold this tiny wireless mouse like a pen. With the wheel on the side you use your middle finger to scroll; right click is below the left button and you can also hold the left button and scroll to zoom in, which is very handy. Once you get used to it, the compact size is great if you’re travelling; the palm rest of your laptop is a big enough flat surface to use it. It has a rechargeable battery built in and lasts three weeks between charges. It also cleverly docks magnetically on a tiny USB receiver to power up. Love: Absolutely tiny, great zooming function Hate: Unusual form takes a little getting used to Rs 3,600 <<< Also consider

Apple Magic trackpad A MacBook-style trackpad that connects via Bluetooth. Set it to right click with a two-fingered press or a prod of the bottom right corner. Brush three fingers across to navigate web pages, pinch to zoom and rotate pics with a twist. It’s intuitive, but a handy addition rather than a replacement for your full-time mouse. Rs 4,000


AUTO focus

Photos: N. Sridharan

Mercedes Class, family size S. Muralidhar reating new segments within the category of luxury automobiles has been a Mercedes-Benz tradition of sorts. But, when the R-Class was first introduced, there was a lot of speculation about whether this was going to capture a new niche. A luxury family tourer? Will there be takers for a crossover-like, individual buyer oriented seven-seater? And isn’t the buyer going to have to be older for a family van that can best be the second luxury car in the family? These are questions I sought answers for when I took the R-Class for a long-term test drive. Here are my experiences with the new generation R350 4MATIC.

C Design

by. Aside of its chunky, heavy front that offers it some distinctiveness, the R-Class’ design is a combination of strong, simple strokes like the heavily creased belt-line and the crossover-like gradually sloping-to-the-rear roofline. The rear of the R-Class is the tighter, more cohesive part of the vehicle, which can best be described as a luxury family van. Gathered together at the rear, the trademark MercedesBenz design elements are all there. The classic tail-lamp design, large rectangular twin exhausts peeping out of the oversized rear bumper, and the LED/ reflector strips on the bumper are all classic SUV traits. The only thumbs-down feature at the rear is the rather compact rear glass on the hatch door. Combined with a

Exterior design is clearly not the best feature to remember about the new R-Class. Looking like an over-grown, yet muscular version of what is intrinsically an estate or weekend Merc, the seven-seater R-class’ size will be more often than not the reason why heads will turn rather than any exclusivity in its design. The Mercedes-Benz character is all together easy to see in its design language, though, there is no kink or crevice that can be called an R-Class signature to be remembered

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thick C-pillar and the absence of a rear camera, it makes reversing the R-Class a bit of a pain in the neck (literally) even though you get some assistance from the proximity sensors that start shrieking as you get uncomfortably close to any object. Mercedes calls this system PARKTRONIC and it can get a bit annoying at times while driving in peak hour traffic. Talking of SUV traits, it is pretty clear where the RClass’ size and features come from since it is the larger sibling of the M-Class and the GL-Class. Built on the W251 chassis, the R-Class is one unique ultra-luxury behemoth from the Mercedes stable. The wheelbase of the (long wheelbase version) R-Class is more than ten feet…imagine a Nano sitting between the two wheels of the R with a few inches to spare! The raised stance, the headlamp and bonnet grille design, the door mirrors, the tall seating position and the large steering wheel are all features that again make you refer back to the Merc SUVs. The standard 18-inch alloys shod with broad 255/55 tyres fill out the wheel arches nicely and further the R-Class’ impression of size and strength. Despite the R’s bulk and its nearly two and half tonne kerb weight, its Cd value (co-efficient of drag – measure of aerodynamism) is


an impressive 0.32 – as much as the Ferrari California!

Interior Grab the handles, pull open the heavy doors and step into the R-Class and your immediate reaction is likely to be “Wow!”. The interior of the R 350 4MATIC that I test drove is as precise and as pleasing as most Mercedes vehicles can get. Giving me the impression of being even more plush and well-matched than the Merc SUVs, the R-Class’ cabin is no compromise in both space and luxury. It is a bit of a haul-up to get into the driver seat (very SUV-style), and then you are surrounded by plush black stitched leather seats and trim, wood veneer inserts on the dash and doors, a Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, a rear seat (second row) entertainment system that includes two 8-inch LCD screens, a sliding panoramic sunroof and three-zone automatic climate control. The spaciousness of the R-Class cabin is evident in every one of the three rows of seats. The middle or second row gets the potential for the most legroom, almost as much as in an S-Class. The third row (two seats) will feel more cramped, but atleast they get individual air-con vents located on the side panels. Sitting on the driver’s seat the third row looks like it is so far back that your conversations might take a while to reach occupants there. But at least you won’t need to raise your voice since the cabin is as quiet as any other car that bears the threepointed star.

Engine and performance One other reason for the rather quiet interior of the RClass is probably also the choice of engine/ powertrain. Featuring the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that is very refined and adequately powerful, the R350 4MATIC also features the famous Mercedes 7G TRONIC automatic transmission. The 3,498cc, V6 engine generates a peak power output of 272 bhp at 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 350 Nm between 2,400 to 5,000 rpm. Stepping on the gas in the R-Class pumps up the engine, but the hulking luxury van as a whole takes just a brief while to get into a fleet-footed mode. The 7TRONIC transmission offers the choice between fully-auto mode and the steering mounted paddle-shifters manual mode. There is also a choice between Comfort and Sport suspension settings. The R350 4MATIC’s top speed is 230 kmph and the 0 to 100 run comes up in a fairly respectable 8.4 seconds. The V6 engine’s forte is refined performance and extreme levels of reliability. But, fuel efficiency is not one of its specialties. During my long term test drive it consumed an average of 15.2 litres of petrol per 100 kms while in city driving conditions and about 10.9 litres per 100 kms on the highway. The best part about the R-Class is of course, its ride quality. Soft and ‘soaky’ is the feeling you get about the suspension, especially at the rear seats. The R350’s AIR-

MATIC suspension easily deadens potholes and speedbreakers alike giving you the impression of gliding over these undulations on the road. Put it in sports mode, take on the paddle shifters and stomp the throttle and the R immediately seems to crouch and get more road grip as it readies to get into nimbler shoes. The steering is delightfully precise and it gives the driver the ability to point the R-Class to the right spot on the road, though the steering wheel feels just a tad bit over sized to hold. Cruise control and other similar bells and whistles that are Mercedes trademarks are all there. So is the case with the focus on safety – PRE-SAFE, airbags, ESP and daytime driving lights are all there.

Bottomline The R-Class is best suited for existing Mercedes car owners, who are looking to buy another family tourer style vehicle to accommodate seven passengers in the same level of luxury and comfort that they are used to in the brand’s sedans. But, the R-Class will be severely hamstrung by the absence of a diesel engine in its range. The only powertrain on offer is the petrol and that makes it a thirsty beast. There is no official word on whether a diesel powertrain will make it here any time soon. muraliswami@thehindu.co.in

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Interior shots: S. Muralidhar

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MELANGE luxury redefined

Go Bohemian Quirky prints and floral blasts make Fossil’s new collection of bags, belts and clutches a cheerful accessory to add to your wardrobe. Available across select Lifestyle and Shopper’s Stop stores. Rs 1,300 to Rs 6,750

Make a note William Penn has launched the Defi Grill ball point pen from S.T. Dupont, which draws inspiration from sports car design and is crafted in a composite carbon fibre body with a palladium-plated metal frame. Available at its stores. Price on request

Manly tip-toe The new range is out. Viavero gives the men some classic and dapper looks with its latest collection of Oxfords crafted in Nappa leather. Check out its stores across India for more. Rs 7,850

Lilies to the rescue Adding two more sea lily extract products to its White Plus range, Clarins now offers a Whitening Repairing Night Cream and Gentle Brightening Exfoliator. Available at select lifestyle stores. Rs 1,800 (exfoliator) and Rs 2,900 (night cream)

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Seeing red Crafted in red leather and embossed lizard-skin motif, Montblanc wins some hearts with its Boheme Red wallet with soft orange lambskin inners and brown jacquard lining. Available at its boutiques. Price on request

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LUXURY collectibles

Lalique

Crystal chrysalis Wrapped around our finger, kissing our wine, shining through the curio case or gracing the office desk- we all covet crystals. But the joy of possessing a heritage piece of your own is unparalleled. Here are five of the best crystal brands you can ever lay your hands on. A glorious past, an eclectic range, a promising future and loyal fans, they have them all, and much more, says ANUSHYA MAMTORA THE GUIDING LIGHT: BACCARAT The Maharajah of Gwalior ordered a very large chandelier, weighing a ton, to decorate his new palace. The Czar Nicolas II’s St. Petersburg Winter Palace shimmers with a few too. Baccarat’s exquisite chandeliers crafted in exclusive crystal have lit up the most prestigious of palaces, royal and presidential residences, famous cathedrals and mansions. The company that was started way back in 1764 by the Bishop of Metz is the oldest crystal brand that has stood the test of wars and revolutions. It’s not just lighting products Baccarat is famous for, its tableware and paper weights are also world renowned. The best way to relive its history is to visit the small town by the same name in Paris and see your crystal hand-blown to life.

Design mainstay: French inspirations, Bohemian-Venetian techniques and interesting use of red, amethyst and green colour blocks. What’s on sale: Lighting and furniture, decoration, tableware, figurines Lust list: Zenith Midnight Chandelier, After Nine clear, amethyst and olive green crystal, Lucky Butterflies in olive green crystal

THE SCENT OF GLASS: LALIQUE 1885. The period when Art Nouveau was at its best. So were Rene Lalique’s creative juices. A renowned jeweller, he took the art of the era to dizzy heights with his spectacular jewellery. But his true calling as a master glassmaker of the Art Deco movement took the form of exotic crystal,

Smartbuy

which soon became synonymous with his brand, Lalique. And apart from flora and fauna that are inspirations for many artists, it was the female form that became the recurring theme in most of his masterpieces. The most iconic of the lot is the Bacchantes collection, which elegantly captures the sensual feminine form in the form of vases. However, what sets Lalique apart is its exquisite perfume bottles. Elegant, painstakingly precise and a delight to hold. Design mainstay: Realist depictions, yet stylised at times, with nature and its beauties being the most prominent motifs What’s on sale: Tableware, lighting, desk accessories, perfumes, figurines, jewellery Lust list: Tourbillon Vase Cap Ferrat blue, Amethyst Crystal Flacon perfume, Limited

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Edition 1998 “Ondines” perfume

THE KING OF SCULPTURES: STEUBEN GLASS If you glance at the simplistic depiction of the ‘Arctic Fisherman’, the sheer lucidity of the crystal, the bent Eskimo, the pretty fish and the clear water beneath the ice swarms you with its charm. That’s the magic of Steuben Glass. Founded in 1903 by Thomas.G. Hawkes and Frederick Carder at Corning, New York, the brand became a pioneer in fine glass products of cut, engraved and free-blown design. To Steuben’s credit is the Aurene and Intarsia speciality of glass that has become its trademark. While the former has an iridescent translucent finish, the latter is fascinating with its overlapping colour inlays,


and can be seen across its collections. Design mainstay: Collaborating with contemporary artists and churning out masterpieces What’s on sale: Barware, tableware, decoratives, figurines, sculptures, desk accessories, hand coolers Lust list: The Arctic Fisherman, African Twilight and Light House sculptures,

the eye-catching decanter of the Tortoise collection and the pretty frog on the lily pad.

QUALITY IS STYLE: WATERFORD Rolls-Royce. Bentley. Bose. Harley-Davidson. Waterford Crystal. In a research survey report published a decade ago, the crystal major rubbed shoulders with an elite clique, for brands famous for their unmatched quality. So much is the expectation of excellence from a champagne flute! Waterford was the brainwave of two brothers, William and George Penrose, who set up the company in 1783 in the heart of the Irish harbour town, Waterford. Despite economic turbulence and a century-long hiatus, the brand revived in 1947, dipped into its famous heritage and once again made ten-course meals, luxurious. Design mainstay: The traditional cutting pattern of Waterford is evergreen and used across their products

What’s on sale: Dinnerware, drinkware, home décor, collectibles, lighting, pens Lust list: Museum Serving Plate with Dome Cover, Martini glass sets, Ballet Ribbon Essence champagne flute

THE FASHION ICON: SWAROVSKI The iconic swan logo is perhaps the most recognisable among crystal collectors and fashionistas alike. But not many know of the interesting history behind the famous brand. It started with the invention of a revolutionary crystal cutting machine by Daniel Swarovski in 1892, followed by sew-on crystal studded ribbons, and precision optical instruments, before making a grand entry into decorative crystals. The best part about the brand is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to start your own little collection. Whether in the form of a little cat or a quirky pendant, the brand is for all to experience. Design mainstay: Quirky touches, fun play of colours, simple designs. Its animal figurines are a hit What’s on sale: Jewellery, fashion accessories, watches, home accessories, figurines, fragrances Lust list: Duck J figurine in blue violet crystal, Simba, the optimistic lion cub

Swarovski

anushya@thehindu.co.in

Steuben

Glass

Steuben Glass

Lalique


TASTER’S choice

Ocean bed to auction table Richard Vines wo bottles of the world’s oldest Champagne, which spent about 170 years at the bottom of the ocean, sold for €54,000 ($78,400) at an auction in Finland today. The second lot, containing vintage Veuve, fetched €30,000, which the auction house - New York-based wine specialist Acker Merrall & Condit - said was the most paid for a bottle. “The important thing for this event is that this was a world record for an auction,” Richard Juhlin, an authority on Champagne, said in an interview after the event. “I’m a little surprised the bidding didn’t go higher. If you had speculators bidding against each other, it could have skyrocketed.” Collectors have been paying higher prices for Champagne, especially for prized vintages, said Juhlin, who had forecast that the bottles might fetch €100,000, 10 times the minimum price of €10,000. Bidders applauded at the Veuve price, given by the same Singapore-based Internet bidder who minutes before gave €24,000 for a bottle of Juglar. The bottles were sold in Mariehamn, capital of Aaland, a Finnish-controlled archipelago of 6,500 islands in the Baltic Sea, where divers discovered the precious cargo in a previously unknown shipwreck.

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Photos: Bloomberg

Madame Clicquot Stephane Baschiera, president of Veuve Clicquot, said in a statement before the sale, “We have worked closely with the government of Aaland since the discovery of the shipwreck to help salvage and protect the precious wines, which we know now were tasted by Madame Clicquot herself.” About 145 bottles were found intact, including Veuve

Clicquot, Heidsieck - today made by Vranken-Pommery Monopole - and Juglar, which became part of Jacquesson. Veuve also offered 15 rare bottles from its own cellars and was a partner in the sale.

Christmas Cake Two bottles were cracked open in November and I got to taste the Juglar, which was remarkably fresh. The fizz had almost gone and it was too sweet for today’s palate, yet it retained a distinctive smell of orange and raisins, like a Christmas cake. It might still be served as a dessert wine. The Veuve was lighter and more floral, with layers of complexity. The original destination of the Champagne isn’t known. Anders Naasman, one of the divers, said it may have been headed for the Tsar’s court in St. Petersburg. It was well preserved because it lay horizontally, under pressure, at a low temperature in the dark, 50 meters below the surface.

Porcelain Plates While the exact age isn’t yet known, marine archaeologists estimate the twin-masted schooner on which the bottles were found is from the second quarter of the 19th century. Plates on board were manufactured by the Rorstrand porcelain factory between 1780 and 1830. When one of the Champagne bottles was brought to the surface, the pressure change caused the cork to pop. One diver took a swig from the bottle expecting it to taste of seawater and realised that it was good. The team drank some from plastic beakers, resealed it and took it to a local sommelier, Ella Grussner Cromwell-Morgan, to taste the next day. And what a discovery it has been! (The author is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)


WATCH collection

The ‘bronzo’ effect

For the rainy day In a brand new khaki dial and matching rubber strap, Tag Heuer Formula 1 gets a makeover for the splishy splashy monsoons. Available:Tag Heuer boutiques Price: Rs 53,000

From Panerai’s stable is this Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo. With a brushed bronze case and bezel, green dial and leather strap, it makes for a classy wear. Available: Select watch outlets Price: On Request

New L.U.Cs Chopard’s 150th anniversary celebration model L.U.C 1937 gets two new looks. One with a porcelain-type white dial, the other with a satin-finished silver-toned dial. The heart is the new L.U.C 1.010 movement. Available:Chopard boutiques, New Delhi and Mumbai Price: On Request

Overseas delight

Sexy in white

This Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar ‘Boutiques Exclusive’ is impressive in its titanium bezel, sunburst satinbrushed slate grey dial and black vulcanised rubber strap. Available: Vacheron Constantin boutiques New Delhi and Dia Store, Mumbai Price: On Request

Pristine yet glamourous, Rado’s latest is the True Jubile store special that is crafted in fresh high-tech ceramic, with the just the right hint of sparkle on the dial. Available: Rado stores Price: On Request

Smartbuy

15

June 15, 2011


Smartbuy issue dated June 15, 2011  

Smartbuy issue dated June 15, 2011

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