Six Nations of Luxury Assets


With the Six Nations getting underway, I thought it would be fun to put together some of the most famous luxury assets from each nation. Without further ado, here they are:

England

Land Rover 2000000
Land Rover 2,000,000

This Land Rover features contributions from a host of celebrities including Bear Grylls and Virginia McKenna. Made in celebration of the Defender’s history, this model sold at a Bonham’s charity auction for a record £400,000 in December 2016.

France

Dom Perignon 1959 Vintage Rose Champagne
Dom Perignon 1959 Vintage Rose Champagne 

This champagne is so exclusive that two bottles of it sold for an astounding $84,700 at a New York City auction in 2008 – that’s almost £57,000! Up until then, this year had never been available to the public.

Ireland

Dragon’s Chair – Eileen Gray
Dragon’s Chair – Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray’s chair sold at Christie’s for roughly £19,000,000 in 2009 in a sale dedicated to the collection of Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge.

Italy

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinette
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinette

A classic amongst classics, it is considered one of the best sports cars of the 1960’s. One of these Ferraris is coming up for sale at Retromobile in Paris on the 4th of February, with estimates of £1.4m – £2.5m.

Scotland

Macallan M Whiskey
Macallan M Whiskey

This is the most expensive whisky in the world selling for £381,620 in January of 2014. Only four of the special Lalique decanters were produced, and this was the only one offered to the public.

Wales

Above Carneddi, No.2, Kiffyn Williams
Above Carneddi, No.2, Kiffyn Williams

Kiffyn Williams is one of Wales’ most famous artists, known for his immediately recognisable paintings of Welsh landscapes. Williams joined the RA in 1975, in the middle of Welsh rugby’s second Golden Age.


RM Sotheby’s Achieves £43.6m


RM Sotheby Review

(photo credits: Ben Majors © 2016 courtesy RM Sotheby’s)

The 17th annual Arizona Biltmore sale in the U.S. was 28-29 January. RM Sotheby’s kicked off the 2016 auction season in fine style with £43.6 million in total sales and an impressive 85 percent of all lots sold. Pre-event buzz was around the headlining 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster which on the day achieved £6.9 million making it the most valuable motor car ever sold in Arizona Auction Week history.

In all, 17 lots achieved more than £500,000 results, setting various new benchmarks for models along the way. It was also notable that bids were attracted from 20 countries around the world for the two-day sale of 149 cars.

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster

The undisputed star of the event was a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster, chassis no. 130894, which crossed the stage during Friday’s sale.  An original U.S. car with well documented history from new, the highly desirable “high door”, “longtail”, factory left-hand-drive Special Roadster was offered fresh to the market, following 26 years in single ownership.

As expected, bidding opened at £3.5 million before rapidly climbing to a record breaking £6.9 million. This gorgeous car broke the previous Arizona sale record also set by RM Sotheby’s in 2015. The Special Roadster is now ranked as one of the most valuable pre-war automobiles ever sold at auction.

1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe

RM’s 2016 Arizona catalogue was impressively diverse and included a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe, one of just six original examples built, which sold for £2 million and a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 6.0 AMG ‘Wide Body’ presented in excellent original condition, sold just beyond its upper-estimate at £107,000.

Below are the top ten sales from Arizona.

 

1.       Lot 242 – 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster (Chassis 130894) £6.9 million

2.       Lot 133 – 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe (Chassis 2199) £2 million

3.       Lot 140 – 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra (Chassis CSX 3010) £1.6m

4.       Lot 145 – 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB (Chassis 07053) £1.5 million

5.       Lot 132 – 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV (Chassis 4912) £1.4 million

6.       Lot 232 – 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS (Chassis 07935) £1.2 million

7.       Lot 149 – 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II (Chassis 2153 GT) £1.1 million

8.       Lot 148 – 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder (Chassis WP0CA2A13FS800804) £1.1 million

9.       Lot 126 – 1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe (Chassis AM103 040) £1.1 million

10.     Lot 254 – 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe (Chassis 536253053) £992,000

There’s little time to catch our breathes from Arizona as we move over to Paris, France where RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Artcurial will all have sales over the next few days. Borro will be reporting on the Retromobile auctions with previews and reports of the key events.

About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.

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The Lasting Impact of the MOMART Fire


Momart Art Storage Fire
Note: No assets in Borro’s care were stored at MOMART during the time of the fire.

On the 24th of May 2004 a fire raged through the MOMART art storage facility in Leighton, South London, destroying hundreds of works of art.  Significant works by artists including Patrick Heron, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, were lost.  So much of the work was destroyed, that the The Guardian reported the fire under the headline ’50 years of British Art lies in ashes’.  Most tragic was the loss of works by artists who had died.  Katherine Heron, who only lost her father, in 1999, described the loss of her father’s works from her private collection as another bereavement.

So what effect did this tragedy have on the UK art storage market? The answer is surprisingly little. Though the fire was significantly damaging to the genre of Modern British and Contemporary Art, it did not start in the MOMART warehouse itself, rather in another unit in the same complex. So while the fire hit their unit, it was not ultimately their fault, which is perhaps why their reputation has not suffered in the long term.  It is also noteworthy, that while the fire itself was very destructive, it took place over a decade ago, and there hasn’t been a significant fire at an UK art storage facility since. Naturally, afterwards, there was a general review of fire safety in the industry, but there was no keynote change.

In an ideal world, Art Storage facilities would be on their own grounds, set back from any other buildings.  The reality of the situation, is that even for large companies, building new custom designed facilities are restricted by the cost of and lack of space in London.  For this reason, they are often built on the outskirts of the city.  Many companies gravitate to the South East of London, such as MOMART and Constantine, as this is close to Hoxton, which was the epicentre of the so called ‘Brit Art’ movement in the 90′s.  Cadogan Tate are based in Acton, and Aston Spinks, an Art Transport Company which evolved from a shipping company, is based near Heathrow airport.

The danger that most concerns art storage companies is not fire, but theft.  All fine art storage facilities will have large fences, air lock gates, security guards and cameras.  Security also helps keep the staff and any visiting clients safe from harm. It is not that fine art storage facilities feel they are likely to be singled out as potential targets, they merely use air freight extensively.  This means they must maintain the same air tight security standards in their warehouses that airports adhere to, to prevent the threat of terrorism.  Any staff working in an art transport facility on a permanent basis are required to undertake specialist training to identify and handle suspect packages.

It is perhaps due to the vigilance of the companies themselves, that the artwork stored in these facilities is so safe from fire, or any other peril.  Which may be why the MOMART fire continues to fascinate people so many years later.

About the author:  Huw is an experienced art storage and shipping professional with an art history background.


RM Arizona Auction Preview


Nissan Skyline GT-RNissan Skyline GT-R
Photo Credit: Karissa Hosek ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is a car that the ‘Gran Turismo’ generation holds in very high regard. It’s a common mistake to think that the R32 was the first GT-R from Nissan, but in fact the GT-R’s origins go right back to 1968 with the third-generation Skyline’s top of the range 2000GT-R model, a car that can be associated with the birth of the sport drifting thanks to the racing style of Kunimitsu Takahashi. Fans had to wait 27 years until 1989 before the mighty GT-R name was once again used. The R32 became an instant legend, winning races all over the world and showing marques like BMW and Mercedes that they were a serious rival. Godzilla had arrived!

This car is exactly as you would want, the perfect colour, low mileage – just 14,000km, completely original, with just a set of official floor mates differing it from the car that left the factory. So many of these cars have been tuned to within an inch of their lives or destroyed. A car as perfect as this doesn’t come along often and with the lowest estimate at £35,000, it represents a shrewd investment.

BMW M1
BMW M1
Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sothebys

This is the first ever BMW M car. Given the sharp rise in values of German cars in recent years it’s fairly safe to say that the M1 is a great investment, long or short-term. Just 399 road examples were made, far less that the E30 M3 that has been enjoying a meteoric rise in values. Built to go racing, the car sadly didn’t receive homologation until 1981, by which time the Group Five race series had substantially moved on and the car was no longer deemed to be competitive. As such a deal was cut with Formula 1 legend Bernie Ecclestone for a one make Procar series that would see top F1 drivers going door to door in identical machines. Sadly, other F1 manufacturers kicked up a fuss and the series was swiftly cancelled after just two seasons.

This car is in great condition with just 25,000km on the odometer, there has been a new engine installed and the car has had a few modifications to make it legal for use in the United States. Here we have a ready to use, road legal car that will appreciate in value at a steady pace, its Californian life means the car has led a privileged and dry life, at £275,000 as its lowest estimate this M1 is a sound purchase.

Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe
Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe
Photo Credit: Patrick Ernzen ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

How about a British icon, ready to be driven just how a car should? This gorgeous Jaguar XK120 has been subject to some subtle rallying modifications making it the perfect weekend car for spirited drives and the odd competition. In 1952 the XK 120 was the fastest production car in the world, and the 3.4-liter engine was to be the basis of engines in the Jaguar range for nearly 40 years.

For ten years this car raced extensively in the hands of two enthusiast owners. As such, this car has certainly had a busy life but has also received the care and attention to keep it all in order. The lowest reserve of £62,000 offers an exciting step into the historic motor sport world as well as a car that will happily tour the finest roads in the world.

Ferrari Dino 246 GT
Ferrari Dino 246 GT
Photo Credit: Robin Adams ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Finally we have of course, a Ferrari, a 1973 Dino 246 GT by Scaglietti. What really makes this car stand out though is the stunning and unique colour combination of Marrone Dino Metallizzato over Sabbia. In the last year this car has been carefully restored to as-new condition spending almost £156,000 in the pursuit of perfection. The inside and the engine bay are equally as immaculate as the exterior making this car almost too good to use. But not sharing this wonderful car with the world would be a crime.

The previous owner had the car for 30 years but sadly there is no history prior to that which, will impact the price. Although, we do know that the car was delivered new to the United States.

£275,000 buys you a classy, usable Ferrari that is just about as fresh as they come. Happy bidding.

About the Author:  Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.


The Paul Newman Daytona – A Watch On Radar


Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Cosmograph

Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Cosmograph

The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona is arguably the most iconic and sought after watch by watch collectors today. Purportedly coined by vintage Rolex enthusiasts sometime in the 1980’s the term ‘Paul Newman Daytona’ became synonymous with the Rolex Daytona watch variety that is defined by its distinct dial, commonly referred to as the ‘exotic dial.’

Over the past 30 years, the value of these Paul Newman Daytonas has been on an aggressive rise, with a general starting auction estimate of £42,000-£62,000. Recent auctions are seeing record-setting numbers, with some Paul Newman Daytonas soaring well north of their high estimates. But why? What makes this Paul Newman Daytona, a watch that has no mechanical difference from its vintage Daytona counterpart, so popular amongst watch collectors?

It has most to do with its rarity. According to watch experts, only 1 out of every 20 vintage Daytonas produced have a ‘Paul Newman’ dial. Further to this, each of the 6 references that were produced with this dial have their own subtle nuances, such as color combination, material, and caliber type that only add to their appeal.

One of the most remarkable examples of a Paul Newman Daytona sale at auction was on November 10th, 2013 at Christies’ ‘Lesson One’ sale in Geneva, where a 6263 model Paul Newman sold for £692,000 – the highest price ever achieved at public auction for a Daytona. As stated by Christies, this watch remained in a Swiss retailer’s vault for many years before being sold in 1978, which indicates that the watch was unworn and therefore in excellent condition.

In addition, there were so few 6263 models with black dials that had the word configuration that this watch had. Typically on normal dials, the wording reads “Rolex Oyster Cosmograph”, while on this particular dial, the wording configuration is “Rolex Cosmograph Oyster”. Adding to that was a low serial number, suggesting that this dial may have been limited to a small number of watches as a ‘first series’ production.

So what does the future of the Paul Newman Daytona look like? Are we experiencing a peak in the market, or will prices continue to rise? Some experts believe that following the success of the November 2013 sale at Christies, there has been so much hype surrounding the market which has caused a temporary upswing in popularity and value. On the other hand, the more optimistic enthusiasts predict that as we learn more and more about these watches and become progressively adept at spotting inauthentic dials, the value for genuine Paul Newman’s will increase. It’s difficult to predict, but that’s the excitement of the watch market – with passionate collectors, anything is possible.


Fintech in the Bridging Finance Market


fintech in the bridging finance market

Banks Abandoning Property Lending

Over the last seven years, as banks and other traditional lenders have moved away from property lending, and lending in general, new companies have taken their place offering new ways to borrow. These lenders fall into the broader category of ‘Alternative Finance’ – companies providing businesses and individuals with new ways of accessing credit. These ways are faster, simpler, and more convenient than going to a bank for credit. The European Alternative Finance sector grew by 144% in 2014.Some alternative finance companies are using technology to focus on a single aspect of a transaction and make it better for clients. This has, in turn, led to the rise of ‘FinTech’ – the specific category for companies focusing on using technology to improve financial transactions. At Borro, we did this in 2009 by using technology to allow client to use luxury assets like watches and cars to raise capital, and have provided over £160m in lending to over 10,000 clients. Since then, FinTech has exploded: in 2008, approximately £650m was invested in FinTech companies, by 2014, it was £9.3bn.

Looking for Speed in the Bridging Finance Market

But where is Fintech in the bridging market?  Consumers continue to look for lenders that can provide funds faster than the 50 day mortgage industry average. Yet the bridging industry is beginning to lag behind. The most obvious sign of this is time to close: in an industry that promises speed, the average closing time is now 46 days, nearly the same as the wider mortgage industry.

There are some companies innovating in bridging. FinTech companies like Lendinvest, Wellesley, and Landbay are leveraging peer-to-peer funding to give borrowers access to a new source of capital. They have created a new process that allows borrowers to access a whole new funding source. But significant opportunities remain in the market. Securing a bridging loan is still cumbersome. It involves too much waiting – and there are too many potential places for loans to be held up: This isn’t good enough. As I said before, the average time to close is creeping and this is because the process as it exists now is too complicated.

Borro’s Innovative Platform

This is where Borro is innovating, since we launched our bridging loans in September 2015, we have been developing a new platform for our partners. The platform will make it easier to refer, manage, and check the status of deals. Real time tracking gives partners and Borro the ability to see where a client is in the process, where they are going next, and most importantly, what is required to keep the case moving.  The current process of phone calls and emails can be replaced with a single online portal. This will make it simpler and faster for everyone involved to manage their bridging lending.

But there is still space for much more in the market. FinTech in other markets often focuses on underwriting – creating new ways of assessing and understanding risk. This will be key part of the bridging market in 2016. Record investments in commercial property are expected to continue in 2016 and despite increased regulation, most are positive that bridging will continue to grow. At the same time, Borro is seeing increasing enquiries for development finance, a trend we hear echoed by partners across the industry. More and more lenders focus on development and commercial properties in order to drive growth. Doing so will require lenders to develop competency very quickly, and FinTech is on hand to help!

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Movements in the Traditional Clock Market


Lonsdale Tompion clock

 Source Carter Marsh & Co.

The sometimes staid market for English horology ended 2015 on a high with the dispersal of two major collections – one sold via a successful trade exhibition, the other at auction in London.

The £15m collection of Golden Age clocks formed by Channel Islands businessman Tom Scott (1944-2012) was arguably the finest of its type – boasting 47 items with direct links to the ‘father of English clock making’ Thomas Tompion (1639-1713) and his successor, George Graham (1673-1751). Christie’s proposed to disperse it from the rostrum but instead the Scott family chose dealership Carter Marsh and an innovative pitch to sell across a five-month period beginning with Masterpiece London in July and then at exhibitions in the quintessential English cathedral city of Winchester.

When this, the best British trade exhibition of the year, closed in late November, the final numbers made impressive reading. Of the 110 items in the collection, only 14 will be returned to the client. Invoices were issued to buyers from the UK, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. 

A trio of grande-sonnerie Tompions

Medici Tompion clock

 

The Medici Tompion, an ebony and gilt-brass mounted grande-sonnerie table clock presented by William III to Cosimo de Medici, sold for a price in the region of £4,5m by Carter Marsh as part of the Tom Scott collection. Source: Antiques Trade Gazette

Certainly some of the clocks in the softer middle market were priced to sell. However, in other cases the Scott dispersal has gone some way to redress the disparity between the sometimes modest sums paid for early English clocks and the huge figures commanded by the best 20th century wristwatches.

The centrepiece of the Scott collection was an extraordinary trio of grande-sonnerie table clocks striking both the quarter and the hour (or 4992 chimes a week). Tompion made just 13 of them across his career.

The Medici Tompion, an ebony and gilt-brass mounted grande-sonnerie c.1696 presented by William III to Cosimo de Medici, was last sold in 2007 when the asking price was £2.25m. Ticketed this time at £4,5m, it sold to a US collector.

This is the sort of price inflation few traditional European furnishings can claim, but there is new blood buying at the top end of the clock market. Also sold were a second grande-sonnerie made for Leopold I c.1704 priced at £2.6m and the Lonsdale Tompion, a miniature table clock c.1683, for a price in the region of £1.35m. Just 7½in (19cm) high, it is one of a harlequin pair of metal case table clocks (its twin being in the Fitzwilliam Museum) and it may not be fanciful to speculate the pair was made for Charles II and Nell Gwynn. 

Happy returns for Ramsay

David Ramsay 17th Century Astronomical verge watch

Source: Sotheby’s

Last on the market in 1995 when it sold for £25,000 at Sotheby’s, an early 17th century astronomical verge watch by David Ramsay (c.1585-c.1653) fetched a quadruple-estimate £989,000 when it returned to the same rooms on December 15. It was part of a private collection formed over the past 20 years charting the history of British watchmaking. Signed David Ramsay Scotte Me Fecit, it is one of two timekeepers (the other in the V&A) thought to have been made for James I c.1618. The movement includes provisions for the months and signs of the zodiac, the day with ruling planet, the lunar planet and the planet hour while the engraving to the covers by Gérard de Heck (fl. 1608-29) includes a portrait of the Stuart king.

Another notable sale, the Lonsdale Tompion, a miniature table clock with blued steel and brass case c.1683 – sold for a price in the region of £1.25m by Carter Marsh as part of the Tom Scott collection.

About the Author: Roland Arkwell (LinkedIn) is the Deputy Editor at ATG Media.  For almost two decades, Roland has been writing about the British and international art and antiques market for Antiques Trade Gazette, the leading publication for serious buyers and sellers of art and antiques


Mauboussin: Defining Art Deco Jewellery


mauboussin

Source: Bonhams

Established in the early 1800s, Mauboussin is known for its art deco jewellery. Through the years, the company has become an esteemed global jewellery brand.

Founded by a Family of Jewellers

Founded in 1827, French jeweller M. Rocher and his cousin, Baptiste Noury established a retail store in Paris. In 1850 the business was taken over by Noury. Georges Mauboussin, Noury’s nephew, began his apprenticeship at the age of 14 and became his business partner in 1922. They opened a new retail store in Paris, under the name ‘Mauboussin, Successeur de Noury’, the following year.

Embracing the Fashion Revolution

After The Great War women took a new place in society. Having done men’s jobs during the war, the sense of equality was stronger than ever. They came out of the shadow and could finally express themselves and celebrate their new found freedom. Stepping away from delicate attire and jewellery of the Belle époque era, short hair “à la garçonne” and Coco Chanel style suits were de rigueur. Cartier had created the wristwatch and Paul Poiret dressed women in new uncomplicated outfits with shorter dresses, giving them a more masculine but still sexy look.

mauboussin jewels and jadeite

Source: Sotheby’s

Jewellery had to follow as an art of its own. With long travels came new discoveries in the 1920s and 1930s, such as Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Far away cultures became the source of inspiration for artists, fashion designers and jewellers. Exploring the joie de vivre of the 1920s, Mauboussin was one of the key and most prominent jeweller of that era.  Well established by then, Mauboussin was free to work in the uncensored cosmopolitan environment of the Ville Lumière.

Fashion, decorative arts and high society all came together in this revolutionary society of endless parties and expansion of the mind through new media. Cubism and fauvism were at its peak and some of the most influential women were on the front line to bring about new fashion and new art. Tamara de Lempicka is probably one of the most representative Art Deco female artist and embodied empowerment of women in her self-portrait Autoportrait, Tamara in green Bugatti. Women’s jewellery became “simpler”, flowers and garland became geometric and stylised designs.

Taking Top Honours

Between 1924 and 1931 the jeweller participated in 18 exhibitions: including Milan in 1923 and 1924; New York in 1924 and 1939; Strasbourg and New York in 1924; and Paris in 1925, 1931 and 1937. In 1924, Georges Mauboussin was awarded the Grand Prix at the French Exhibition of New York and the Gold medal at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1925. He was then awarded the French Legion d’Honneur, the highest decoration in France, for his exceptional contribution to the world of joaillerie.

“Jeweller of Colour”

Platinum, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and Diamond Pendant-Watch, Mauboussin

Source: Sotheby’s

With international recognition and high profile clientele, Mauboussin was considered an innovative leader in the market and nicknamed the “jeweller of colour”. The jewellery firm used strong contrast materials from all over the world: jade from Far East Asia, pearls, coral and turquoise from Egypt and the Middle East. Mauboussin epitomised the international mood and desire to break from traditions.

Mauboussin dedicated three consecutive exhibitions to three gems: emerald in 1928, rubies in 1930 and diamonds in 1931. During this period, Pierre Mauboussin, Georges’ son, joined the firm and drove the company into even more creation and innovation using worldwide magazines as a medium to promote its exclusiveness. Mauboussin jewellery was often featured in artistic photos published in Vogue and Harper Bazaar.

Global Expansion and Innovation

18 Karat Gold, Emerald and Diamond Cuff Bracelet, Trabert & Hoeffer MauboussinSource: Sotheby’s

Following their success, Mauboussin opened stores in Buenos Aires, London and New York. Mauboussin’s presence in international fashion magazines and in the USA, brought them the attention of socialites such as Charlie Chaplin who is said to have offered his wife a Mauboussin emerald-set gold cuff when she missed the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the wind. A similar example was sold by Sotheby’s on 5Th December 2012 in New York for £62,745. 

The crash of 1929 meant the firm had to merge with American jewellery Trabert & Hoeffer. The company expanded under the name Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin and opened stores in Atlantic City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Palm Beach. This collaboration ended in 1953.

Mauboussin had captured the essence of the Roaring Twenties, and their most daring creations have become their most unique and popular designs. Mauboussin has been able to reinvent itself whether through the materials used, media or design. To the extent that Pierre Mauboussin continued innovating and moved on to the aeronautical world. He went on to create a plane: the Fougia Magister, used by the Patrouille de France (the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force). Mauboussin’s innovation has never ceased and transcended all aspects that was the Art Deco movement.


The Rebirth of the Pocket Watch


pocket-watch1

To what degree does the emergence of wearable technology threaten the future of luxury watchmaking? Although the watch industry has faced extinction before, this new assailant is attacking from a different angle. The software for wearable technology may well be basic now, but it is highly likely to develop apace and could feasibly become essential to daily life. Additionally, it is possible that the software and usage of wearables will evolve in a multitude of ways, enhancing their appeal and increasingly their potential personalisation, which is bad news for the traditional wristwatch.

pocket watch

Luxury wristwatches and smartwatches are barely comparable items, but you can only wear one at a time. In spite of this territorial clash, it seems likely that incredibly high-end watches will escape the contest as their role is incredibly specific and its application far less common. It is the quartz beater and entry-level luxury brands that should feel threatened. According to Deloitte’s 2015 study of the watch industry, it seems they do.

The study showed that 25% of industry executives now see smartwatches as a serious threat to sales. That might not seem stratospheric, but it represents a huge leap from 11% in 2014. On top of that, 39% of the surveyed executives stated that the release of the Apple watch made them more aware of the burgeoning threat to the status quo. So what can this segment of the luxury watch market do to combat the rise of the smartwatch?

Pioneering Pocket Watches of the Present

Because the wrist is the most popular place for wearable technology, it seems luxury watches might be primed for a return to the pocket. Traditional tailoring has returned to the extent a pocket watch is in line with current fashions. Although the most vulnerable echelon of brands has not yet explored this avenue, some of the high-end heavyweights have produced some pretty amazing examples of the sort of thing we can expect from a luxury pocket watch in 2015.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument.jpg

Examples such as the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument, with its four, gravity-defying tourbillons, the titanium Richard Mille RM-020 that updates the classic round case shape to something blunt and edgy, and the Urwerk UR-1001, which perfectly straddles the divide between wrist and pocket by incorporating a strap attachment on the backside of its mammoth housing. Seeing these new machines, rendered in futuristic materials and in an avant-garde style, really legitimizes the possibility they could return. If owning a smartwatch becomes a necessity, their affordability could push the cost of entry to the luxury wristwatch market out of the reach of regular people, leaving a gap in the market for entry-level luxury pocket watches.

Detractors will remind us horologists that a smartwatch is plenty smart enough to tell them the time (and they’d be accurate in every sense of the word). But a luxury timepiece hasn’t really been about the time for years. Luxury watches are status symbols, objects of personality, manifestations of belief systems and cultural preferences. Such an artefact would do just as well in the pocket as on the wrist. With any luck, the new location might even enigmatize the piece and make it all the more desirable. For now it seems only time will tell.

Rob Nudds is a watchmaker and freelance writer based in the UK.


Rarest Porsche Models


Vintage Porsches are some of the rarest cars in the world and have become classics over the years that have defined and refined the aesthetics and engineering of a modern sports car. The winning Porsche racing heritage has led each model and year to be carefully examined and weighed along with the drivers who raced their cars to victory or occasionally to spectacular wrecks. With cars as rare as many vintage Porsches, values have gone through the roof as collectors have sought to own particular cars as status symbols or to have the bragging rights of owning a piece of automotive history. Below are some of the rarest Porsche models, selected by the number of cars built, along with a bit of history about each.

5. The 1964 904 GTS

Porsche 1964 904 GTS

This beautiful racing car is also known as the Carrera GTS. It was built by Porsche in 1964 after Formula One losses in the early 1960s and featured a ladder chassis and a lightweight fiberglass construction that were both firsts for Porsche. Boasting a highly-complex air-cooled 198 hp DOHC flat four engine, the car achieved class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Spa, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Nürburgring and an amazing first overall at the Targa Florio. With a very low weight, the car can go from zero to 97 kph in less than six seconds. Just 116 904s were built, largely to satisfy racing homologation rules. The average price for a 1964 904 GTS is an impressive £968,150.

4. The 1953 – 1955 550 Spyder

Porsche 550 Spyder 01

The 550 was purpose-built for auto racing, as opposed to the earlier 356 model, which had only been entered in races as an afterthought. It featured a mid/rear-mounted air-cooled 1.5 litre flat four-cylinder engine that could produce 108 hp. With a sleek aluminium body and minimal windscreen, the car won its class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for 1954, as well as in the Carrera Panamericana for that year. A production run of 90 cars was completed for customers, including movie actor and racing enthusiast James Dean, who had the words “Little Bastard” painted on his car after the moniker Jack Warner gave him for not vacating his trailer during the making of East of Eden. The average price of a 550 Spyder today is £844,595.

3. The 1969 – 1973 917 K/L/PA/10

Porsche 917 02

One of the most classic and powerful race cars of all time, the 917 was raced at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Sporting a 4.5 litre flat 12 engine with a four-speed gearbox, the car could achieve more than 354 kph. In 1970, a distinctive wedge-shaped tail was added to increase stability, and the car went on to win the World Championship that year and in 1971. The car also won the 1970 Daytona 24 Hours race with Leo Kinnunen and Pedro Rodriguez at the wheel. The ‘K’ model features a shorter tail; the ‘L’ model features the famous long one. The ‘PA’ model was the first 917 entered into the American CanAm races whereas the ’10′ model was purpose-built specifically for them. In 2012, one of the 917/30 cars sold for £2,953,813 at auction.

2. The 1992 Carrera 2 Cup Car

Carrera 02

In 1992, the Carrera Cup racing series sponsored by American Porsche was cancelled before it started, and the 45 cars Porsche had built for it were sold through dealers as street-legal vehicles. Looking nearly identical to a white Grand Prix Porsche 911/964, the car is different under the hood, with a seam-welded chassis, modified suspension and luxury features stripped out to boost performance and strength. The car’s weight is 200 pounds less than a stock Carrera 2. With a 3.6 litre six-cylinder engine, it boasts 256 hp. In concours condition, this Porsche model has sold for £150,376.

1. The 1948 356 Prototype

356 Roadster 02

mounted 50 hp engine, it was built in an old sawmill in Gmünd, Austria, where Porsche’s engineering staff had been relocated to avoid the strife of war-torn Germany in the final days of World War II. This single-copy prototype has a body designed by Porsche engineer Erwin Komenda; internally, however, the engine and suspension were based on those of the VW Beetle, created by Ferdinand Porsche. Still, historians consider it the first official Porsche vehicle. Currently on exhibit at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, it has never been sold, and, therefore, does not have a listed price.

The total value of the cars on this list is £5,067,310, with the exception of the 356 Prototype, which remains priceless. The cars on the list are part of a selection of Porshes curated by internationally-known Porsche historian Lee Raskin.

Matthew Young is a freelance automotive journalist and blogger hailing from the U.S. He is passionate about everything on 4 wheels and new, emerging tech in the industry.