So You’ve Bought a Supercar…

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So you have bought a supercar, what’s next? Well, sadly the bills don’t stop after purchase, however there are ways to ensure the bills are less regular than they need to be!

Servicing the Car

Firstly, get online, look on the owner’s websites and forums and find a good specialist nearby that has had a number of recommendations. A good specialist can save you thousands. Try to find one that is a specialist on your particular car. This is harder when buying modern hypercars. They typically require very specialised skills that often only manufacturers have but for cars from the 80s, 90s and 00s there will often be a technician with factory training offering identical services, at a lower rate and with a more personal service.

Secondly, how by the book do you want to be? If you are handy with tools, some basic procedures can be tackled yourself. Oil changes, spark plugs and basic servicing need not cost thousands. Parts are often a fraction of the cost bought privately. Do consider that if your car has a full service history these cost cutting measures should be avoided so as to protect the value of your car.

Taking Care of the Engine

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So you have bought a supercar, what’s next? Well, sadly the bills don’t stop after purchase, however there are ways to ensure the bills are less regular than they need to be!

Servicing the Car

Firstly, get online, look on the owner’s websites and forums and find a good specialist nearby that has had a number of recommendations. A good specialist can save you thousands. Try to find one that is a specialist on your particular car. This is harder when buying modern hypercars. They typically require very specialised skills that often only manufacturers have but for cars from the 80s, 90s and 00s there will often be a technician with factory training offering identical services, at a lower rate and with a more personal service.

Secondly, how by the book do you want to be? If you are handy with tools, some basic procedures can be tackled yourself. Oil changes, spark plugs and basic servicing need not cost thousands. Parts are often a fraction of the cost bought privately. Do consider that if your car has a full service history these cost cutting measures should be avoided so as to protect the value of your car.

Taking Care of the Engine

Regular use is vital, cars do not like to be left parked up and can quickly develop problems through lack of use, especially those big V12 engines! Ideally, you should start the car at least once a month and take it for a short drive to bring the engine to full operating temperature. This also helps the rest of the car stay lubricated and free moving.

Even in the winter, leaving a cherished car unused can do more harm than running it through the winter as long as you make sure the car is kept clean and dried off after wet use.

Cleaning Your Supercar

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For cleaning, the best thing you can do is get the car professionally valeted and get them to care for your car on a regular basis. Wherever you are based you should have no problem finding one that can clean your car at your home or place of work. Don’t just opt for a simple clean. Go for one of their detailing packages which should include paint protection.

If you are cleaning the car yourself in-between valets, wash the coachwork, spray-clean the underside and leave the car to dry in the open air or if the weather is good and roads aren’t dusty, take the car for a drive to dry it thoroughly. Then polish the exterior and leave the wax on to help prevent paintwork deterioration. It is also worth considering pumping the tyres up to a higher than recommended amount to prevent flat-spotting when parked for over a month.

Fuel and Battery Maintenance

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Modern fuels are very good, but tend to go off very quickly. There are a number of fuel preservatives on the market that can help to slow corrosion, oxidation and keep the fuel in good condition.

If the car is going to be parked up for a few months, then make sure to leave the battery attached to a trickle charger. Any longer than a few months and I would recommend removing the battery. Just make sure you know the security code on your stereo!

Where to Store Your Supercar

The best place to store your car is in a dry, airy barn or a wood/brick garage. Concrete units can sometimes “sweat” in very cold conditions causing damp and fungi. An inflatable plastic tent, with fans to keep air moving inside is the most preferential option when storing your car on your own property.

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THE TRUE VALUE OF AN OLYMPIC MEDAL

 CREDIT: REUTERS

CREDIT: REUTERS

For the last several months we have been hearing all about the athletes competing in their respective disciplines at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games to win one of three medals – bronze, silver or gold.  One can imagine that for these athletes winning one of these medals is invaluable, representative of the commitment, sacrifice and dedication that goes into their training.  But that’s the symbolic value. Let’s take a closer look at the true monetary value of these medals.

THE MEDALS AND THEIR INTRINSIC VALUE:

This year, The Mint of Brazil produced a total of 2,488 medals for the 2016 Rio Olympics – 812 gold, 812 silver and 864 bronze.  Each of these medals will weigh a total of 500 grams, which is the heaviest these medals have ever been.

Based on the current metal market values as of August 23 of this year (obtained from Kitco.com) here is a breakdown of the composition and value of each of the 3 medals given:

 

THE GOLD MEDAL:

Gold Content: 6 grams

Silver Content: 494 grams

(6g x £32.50/g) + (494g x £0.46/g) = £195 + £227.24 = £422.24

 

THE SILVER MEDAL:

Silver Content: 500 grams

500g x £0.46/g = £230.00

 

THE BRONZE MEDAL

Copper Content: 475 grams

Zinc Content: 25 grams

(475g x £.05/g) + (25g x £.02/g) = £23.75 + £.50 = £24.25

When you add it all up, the total intrinsic value of all 2,488 medals based on today’s metal market prices is approximately £550,000.  Though as a collective this seems like a large sum of money, individually the numbers seem quite small compared to what they represent to the athletes who earned one.

THE MEDALS AND THEIR MARKET VALUE:

©Heritage Auctions

©Heritage Auctions

It turns out you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to own an Olympic medal.  Today, you can find Olympic medals from years past come up regularly in worldwide auctions. All you have to do get one is outbid your competitors. The prices realized for these medals run the gamut. In general, a typical auction estimate for a common Olympic bronze, silver and gold medal are between £3,500 and £7,500 depending on condition, sport, athlete, and medal won.  There are instances, however, where extreme premiums are paid for certain Olympic medals.  One example of this is was Mark Wells’ gold medal from the USA’s 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice” hockey team. The medal was initially sold by Wells in 2012 to a private buyer for £30,000, and resold in 2010 at auction for £235,000 – almost 8 times the previous sale price.

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Another example (and possibly the most notable) is 1 of 4 gold medals won by Jesse Owens, the African American track and field athlete who dominated in the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, during Hitler’s reign. This achievement, as one could imagine, was a particularly significant moment in history. The medal was auctioned off in 2013 and sold for £1,107,722, which is the highest price ever paid for a piece of Olympic memorabilia.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Hollywood Movie PropsHow Do Investments in Guitars Compare to Investments in Classic Cars?

Top 10 Most Expensive Hollywood Movie Props

The effort that goes into your average Hollywood movie production is often of a bewildering scale. After years of toil, involving thousands of extras, hundreds of locations and months of CGI editing, the red carpets are laid out to reveal the magic of the movies to an awaiting public. But what happens to all the items that made the story come to life, the costumes, the cars, the props and signs so beloved by movie fans?

Read more

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS – A RETROSPECTIVE

Van Cleef & Arpels’ reputation in the jewellery world is founded on its unyielding commitment to craftsmanship, beauty, and innovation. Through the marriage of Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef, two prominent jeweller’s families came together to establish Maison Van Cleef & Arpels at Place Vendome in Paris in 1906. By seeking out the most magnificent stones and working with extremely gifted jewellers, the firm would quickly gain international acclaim among the wealthy – from aristocrats to maharajas and celebrities. Not long after their inception, they opened branches in many French cities and resort towns of Nice, Cannes, Deauville, Lyons, Vichy and Dinard. By the 1940’s they had a presence in other international hot spots, including New York City.
WWI Shapes Artistic Trends
Stylistic trends evolved rapidly in the 20th century, particularly after the many hardships of
World War I subsided. The war drastically changed the role of women in society – with their husbands away at battle, they became single heads of the household, taking on the dual role of
caretaker and provider, and in many instances assuming the work of their husbands.

When the war ended, the pace of change was accelerated by newfound joie de vivre defined by uninhibited creativity and freedom of expression. Women were at the forefront of this, celebrating their post-war emancipation and prosperity by cutting their hair and their hems, darkening their make-up, and lowering their waistlines – a look known as la garconne, or ‘the female boy.’

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This big move in fashion in the 1920’s inspired jewellery houses to take exciting creative leaps, and Van Cleef & Arpels’ formal and material experimentation brought them an enormous amount of attention amongst the elites in Europe, placing them amongst the small group of esteemed jewellers – alongside firms like Cartier and Mauboussin.  Mirroring the gallant times, their pieces began to take on a more geometric and linear shape, and combined the intensity and boldness of coloured stones such as onyx, rubies, emeralds and sapphires with brilliant colourless diamonds, most often set in platinum.

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In addition to wearable jewellery, they made cigarette boxes, lighters, and vanity cases, all magnificently crafted functional works of art. They pulled from multiple sources of inspiration, including the cubist movement and Egyptian motifs such as sphinxes, and scarabs. One example of this affinity to Ancient Egyptian art is the flexible band bracelets from a 1924 collection, each decorated with ruby, emerald and sapphire pharaonic motifs.

Crafting a Distinct Style

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As the company’s distinct style evolved and they gained acclaim throughout Europe, they began to enter exhibitions and in 1925 won the grand prize for “The Roses” bracelet at the ExpositionInternationalle des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The platinum bracelet, complete with diamond and ruby rose motifs, accented by yellow diamond centres and green emerald stems and leaves was a true masterpiece. It incorporated modern design techniques while paying homage to the order and more delicate styles that marked the turn of the century. This type of design embodies the true artistic genius of Van Cleef & Arpels: its ability to adapt to the ever changing tides of artistic trends while remaining faithful to those characteristics that defined their brand from the start – femininity, nature and elegance.

The stock market crash of 1929 revolutionized jewellery in an unpredictable way. Shapes became softer and more delicate, while the size and scope of the jewellery grew quite dramatically. During the 1930s, we begin to see large and bold brooches and earrings, and wide bracelets worn on each arm in multiples. The experimental multi-coloured combinations that were so popular in the 1920’s segued into a more monochromatic colour scheme of all diamonds or a single coloured stone, with emphasis being placed on the cut of the stones as well as the three-dimensionality of the pieces.

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One of the great examples of this is Van Cleef & Arpels “mystery setting” or “Serti Mysterieux” patented in 1933.  This unique gemstone setting technique takes distinctly chosen gemstones, custom cut to fit together side by side in a very precise way, and places them on a carefully formed metal grid-like structure which follows the curves and contours of the gemstones.  The visual effect is that the gemstones appear to have no structure holding them together. This was primarily done with calibre-cut rubies and sapphires.  This type of setting technique was such a remarkable advancement in jewellery, and these pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels are so coveted by collectors, they bring enormous premiums at auction today.

Expansion to the U.S.

 In the late 1930’s Van Cleef & Arpels expanded their business to the United States, opening stores in Palm Beach and New York City. World War II in Europe was hard on the jewellery industry, and the Arpels family relocated to New York City to escape the war and take advantage of the economic prosperity that was growing in the U.S. Their firm, along with many others, would once again modernize their repertoire. Jewellery of this time is characterized by its substantiality and contrasted materials.  During the war platinum was mainly used for military purposes, so the metal of choice in jewellery was yellow gold, and often-times rose gold, which was yellow gold mixed with copper.  Common design themes from previous eras such as bows, flowers, and ribbons were reworked to reflect a more masculine wartime fashion sense with the bigger and bolder design sensibilities. With women wearing heavier fabrics that were often dark in colour, brooches became the jewel of choice, as they could be showcased on clothing.  Many of the Van Cleef & Arpels brooches of this time combine their previous design successes, such as the Mystery Setting, with the softer curved lines of the period.

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Since the gravitational centre of the arts was beginning to shift from Europe to the U.S., Van Cleef & Arpels’ New York atelier became the production centre for many of their new designs.  Along with the more audacious pieces, we see production of other popular motifs as well, including ballerinas, fairies, and flowers – all of which shared an underlying theme of light-heartedness and optimism.

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Because of the many different influences in jewellery at the time, it is worth pointing out another major inspiration for jewellery houses for the era spanning the 1930s and 1940’s – the

Machine Age – where elements of mass production were reinterpreted in yellow and rose gold.  Perhaps the best example of this was exhibited by Van Cleef & Arpels with its ‘honeycomb’ or “Ludo” bracelet, which was essentially a wide flexible band of repeated hexagonally-shaped links, often set at the centre with coloured precious gemstones, finished with an elaborate clasp.

Expertise in Collectable Designs

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Of many things that Van Cleef & Arpels did really well during the 20th century, one that stands out in particular is its ability to make jewellery that is extremely ‘collectable’, producing designs that catered to many different types of collectors, which included extremely high-end pieces as well as more commercial pieces. In fact, Van Cleef & Arpels were the first among the high-end jewellery houses of the time to come out with a ‘boutique’ collection, which offered jewels that were both fashionable and reasonably priced. By the 1960’s their boutique line, which incorporated pearls and semi-precious stones in necklaces and earrings, as well as the more playful animal motifs in brooches, was highly successful. Other jewellery houses would follow suit not long after.

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Alain Bernard, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels North America said it best when he stated, “There is truly an elegance that surrounds the house. They have the uncanny ability to go back into their archives and reimagine pieces that are perfectly in keeping with the modern woman.”

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Alain Bernard, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels North America said it best when he stated, “There is truly an elegance that surrounds the house. They have the uncanny ability to go back into their archives and reimagine pieces that are perfectly in keeping with the modern woman.”

Today, we see these twin values of innovation and classicism live on through designs, such as the trademarked ‘Alhambra’ necklace introduced in 1968. Through its continued dedication to impeccable craftsmanship paired with a touch of whimsy, Van Cleef & Arpels continues to win over the hearts of jewellery collectors both on the retail and secondary market levels. They have produced some of the most iconic collections of jewellery and stand today as one of the most tremendous and well-respected houses of the industry.

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The Future of Watches is Bright, the Future is Green?

There’s been a rumour whispering its way around the watch world for the past few months. In a surprising twist, the colour green is supposedly primed to overtake blue as the couleur du jour, but is this supposition realistic, or just grist to the gossip mill?

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When I was first approached to discuss this topic, I dismissed it offhand. As a watchmaker, I understand that the colour blue is not only prevalent for traditional reasons, but also for practical ones. Blue is a colour that can be created naturally, by heat-treating steel to 290 degrees Celsius. With the exceptions of anodised aluminium, oxidised copper, and PVD coatings, the colour green cannot be made to appear naturally. None of those techniques are pure; none of the results elegant.

Blue gives off a sense of tranquillity and harmony in the context of a watch movement. This is, I believe, down to its natural origin. Green elements in watches often look forced, or invasively manipulated. But things are changing. With the advent of new materials in watchmaking, achieving a green that is as comfortable in appearance as a blue is now evermore feasible. In addition to that, brands who are keen to harness the green buzz, but don’t have the capacity or inclination to create a new-fangled material to carry the colour, are exploring its application in more sympathetic areas of the watch – the dial or the strap, for example.

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Image supplied courtesy of Meistersinger

And although I don’t believe for a second that green will ever overtake blue, it does seem to be the flavour of the week and is likely to establish a much more accepted position in the watchmaking spectrum.

One retailer that has given us more than their fair share of green watches is Harrods, London. Harrods’ traditional colours are gold and green, with many brands desperate to feature on their world-famous fine watch floor creating limited models for exclusive sale in the Knightsbridge store. Smaller brands like Meistersinger and NOMOS Glashütte have offered up dial and strap variants that are only available in Harrods, while bigger brands have pushed the boat out even further with watches built from the ground up to evoke the reputable style of this famous fashion outlet, with my personal favourite being the Hublot Big Bang Unico Italia Independent Watch in green. Made of Hublot’s own ‘texalum’ material, this model takes the show-stopping appearance of the Italia Independent model, and adds a splash of camouflaged cool to the range.

Other notable examples are the Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 Titanio with green dial and Harrods-engraved case back, and the Rolex date-just that sports a green dial with gold applied Roman numerals, encircled by a diamond-studded bezel that replaces the normal fluted style with aplomb.

With Harrods’ current showcase of 23 exclusives, many of which exclusive to the store itself, the exposure of the colour green in high-end horology has never been easier to appreciate. Head down to their Knightsbridge store and check out the Made with Love exhibition and the Brompton Road window displays to learn more.

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market.

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Gooding & Co.’s Pebble Beach Auction Set to Make Headlines

11965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT

A truly gorgeous Alfa Romeo and still painted in its original Bluette colour, not much more need be said on the matter. It really is a no-brainer! At such a tempting estimate is there any other car that can feel so special for such a low price? So many have been tampered with, modified and changed back to red. This is a glorious early production car which has been sympathetically restored in the last year. Pick up a bargain that won’t look out of place anywhere in the world.

Estimate: £45,000 – £65,000

21960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione

Some cars really do come with a ‘golden ticket’ and this is one of them. A stunning SWB with Le mans provenance, period correct and lovingly maintained through its life. Yes, you can buy cheaper SWBs, but this car will open doors quicker than the concierge at the Four Seasons! Imagine a historic race, rally or tour and this car will no doubt gain your entry, not to mention the invites to some of the world’s most famous car events. An original NART team car with a 7th overall at the 1960 Le mans 24 Hours, it is of course also matching numbers!

Estimate: £12,000,000 – £14,000,000

31979 Porsche 935

Provenance, a word so often misused but in the case of this wonderful Porsche 935, it is absolutely spot on. Winner of the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours and raced to second place by Hollywood legend Paul Newman at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1979. The car is iconic in its original Hawaiian Tropic livery and is still recognised and raced worldwide. It also famously raced in computer giant, Apple colours, the only race car known to be sponsored by the then fledgling brand. Most recently, the car could be seen on display at the 2016 Classic Le Mans.

This is a historic car with a very desirable racing history that will surely set the auction room alight with excitement, do not be surprised when this car smashes through its estimate!

Estimate: £3,500,000 – £4,500,000

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1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

Group B really is the stuff of legends, a time in motorsport history where cars were free to become monsters, sadly, the cars really were monsters and after a series of major incidents in 1986 the class was disestablished. To gain approval, manufacturers had to build 200 street going versions of the proposed rally car. There is considerable doubt from many that Lancia ever produced 200, in fact figures below 100 have been passed around over the years!

The main thing you need to know is that Lancia combined supercharging and turbocharging in the S4 to reduce the considerable turbo lag other manufacturers were suffering from by running huge turbos on their cars. On its first competitive outing at the 1985 Lombard RAC rally in 1985 the team scored a 1st and 2nd making it one of the most successful debuts in rallying history.

This car you see here was previously finished in Verde York and known by many as ‘the green car’. While it looks truly stunning in the more classic factory red, one would be inclined to return the car to its original hue. Apart from that the Straddle specification is a hugely important car in motoring history and far rarer than is documented.

Estimate: £370,000 – £425,000

1961 Ferrari 250 GTE Series 1

The 250 GTO, SWB and California, are the cars that often capture the headlines and the big money, but it’s a lesser known fact that the 250 GTE is an increasingly rare car. This is down to the fact that many have been converted to SWB and GTO specification over the years. It’s no surprise that there are more racing nowadays than in the past! As such, an original GTE is now a car that is still very good value and very similar to its richer family. This particular car is LHD, not as rare as the RHD models but LHD is as these cars were envisaged from the factory so for the purist that’s a big tick.

Sadly, this car is not in its original colour and any serious collected should consider reverting back to its original Grigio Argento paint with Rosso interior. I would personally say that these classics also look so much better in any colour other than Rosso Corsa unless it’s a period racing Ferrari.

Estimate: £450,000 – £425,000

Copyright:

©2016 by Gooding & Company Inc.

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Semi-Commercial Property Used for £240k Loan

Borro received an enquiry at 3pm on Friday the 22nd of July from Kind Commercial whose client required urgent funds for their business. The client, a Birmingham based businessman, owned a semi-commercial property. Knowing their client faced a tight deadline, Kind brought the case to Borro who completed 5 business days later.

To meet the client’s need, Borro worked through the weekend to ensure a site visit the following Monday. Monday afternoon Borro received a verbal assessment and the written report the following day. 5 business days after the enquiry, funds were in the client’s account.

‘We take pride in the speed we offer clients,’ said Harriet Smith, Business Development Manager, ‘sometimes that means going above and beyond what’s required. When Sunny Panwar at Kind explained the urgency, I knew both we and our partners were up to the task.’

‘We work with many Bridging lenders who advertise fast completions but unfortunately they very rarely perform,’ Sunny Panwar, Business Development Manager at Kind Commercial commented, ‘this case was handled immaculately by the Borro Team, especially Harriet Smith who worked through the weekend with myself to ensure our client’s deadline was met. We completed in 5 days and that included a new valuation report too! Fast Bridging loans means exactly that with the Borro team. I will be happy to recommend them and will definitely be using them again!’

Driving the 2017 Honda NSX

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25 years ago Honda gave the world the NSX, a car that set the term ‘the useable supercar’. In a time when fast cars were unruly, fearsome and very tricky to drive fast, the NSX was designed to set a supercar DNA that so many manufacturers now follow. Borro headed out to Portugal to discover if the new NSX can still mix it with the big boys.

Give your parents the keys to supercars such as the Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo, Ferrari 458 or McLaren 570S and they will soon be happily driving along the road. Modern supercars are very easy to drive and this is thanks to the original Honda NSX, a car that rewrote the rule book on how a supercar can drive. Here we are in Portugal for the launch of the all-new Honda NSX to see if it can again disrupt the competition.

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From the outside, there is no denying the beautiful lines of the car, it is quite frankly stunning with a sexier form than the angular Audi R8 which most will compare it to. It feels very futuristic much like the original R8 did when it was launched.

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Inside, the cabin is nice, but there is no escaping that this is a Honda and while there are some nice touches, ultimately some buttons feel a little below par in a car at this price point. The seats don’t height adjust, but the position is good and you are sat low so it’s not a real problem. Just like the original, the scuttle is low and coupled with the super thin A-pillars the visibility is impressive. But the large dash area does give off bad reflections on sunny days that can be annoying when driving.

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The car has four modes: Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track. After a long day at work when you just want to get home, quiet really does fit the bill. Sport is for regular road use and the setting the car automatically defaults to, Sport+ makes everything come alive and the engine sound suddenly gets very serious. Interestingly this mode uses the battery power more than Track mode and Track mode just tightens everything a bit more and allows you to play around more on track sliding the car out of corners. If you are feeling really confident, everything can be turned off.

I mentioned battery power. This car is a hybrid but not in a sense that you can drive 100 miles in EV mode. The small motors aid the way the car accelerates, slows and steers. On track the car sucks itself into corners and then will launch out of the apex just as quickly as any supercar can. The 3.5-litre V6 twin turbo is mounted very low as are the batteries so the centre of gravity is impress and this really helps when pushing the car hard. The trade-off is weight, the NSX weighs 1725kg but unlike the Nissan GT-R you never feel that weight on track, direction changes and braking are effortless and communication is surprisingly good given all the trickery at work in this car.

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The car is ferociously quick off the mark thanks to the small electric motors, it certainly feels like it is on the cusp of 60mph in 3 seconds although Honda are not too concerned about providing official figures. But the car will go on to a top speed of 191mph, plenty!

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The ride is very impressive, both on a mixture of public roads and the race track, when you do finally find the grip limit, the car is very forgiving and drifts can be easily held as the car progressively breaks away.

At £130,000 the NSX is well into league of some serious competition. Priced more than a base Audi R8 but less than its old school rivals the Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari 488GTB the biggest problem will be brand image. Right now there is no natural stepping stone through the Honda range up to the NSX like there is for Audi owners. What Honda really need is an impressive year in Formula 1 to reignite that engagement with the brand they used to have.

Honda have made a fantastic useable supercar and if the Honda badge doesn’t put you off, you will be rewarded with one of the finest sports cars on the market.

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.

Image Credits © Honda 2016

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Are Event-inspired Watches Worth Your Time?

History, significance, and relationships play a huge part in the depreciation-resistance of a luxury wristwatch. If a watch was popularised by someone famous (like the Hamilton Ventura and Elvis, or the Monaco and Steve McQueen), it can fearlessly face down time; if a watch was the first of its kind, or a total aesthetic outlier, it will age gracefully (even if it is an objective monstrosity); if a watch is tied to a particular point in history, or inextricably linked to a feted event, it stands a pretty good chance of holding its value for generations to come.

Image supplied, courtesy of Omega

A lot of the value attached to watches associated with, or even specifically created for an event, is reliant on the congruity of the pairing – how much sense does it make? Another important factor is the level of collector interest in the event itself, irrespective of previous interest in watches. If a watch appeals to collectors from multiple fields, it is more likely to succeed.

Shooting for the Moon

Two of the best examples of event-inspired watches from history come from the same brand. Omega’s partnership with the Olympic games was seminal. It changed the face of luxury timekeeping forever. The games provide countless collectibles every four years. Museums and private treasure-troves the world over, are packed to the rafters with trinkets, curios, and knickknacks commemorating this quad-annual celebration of sport and culture.

OmegaImage supplied, courtesy of Omega

Not only did Omega step in to the sporting realm at the right time, they were also on the forefront of scientific exploration. In the 1960s, they produced the Omega Speedmaster, which became the first watch on the moon. Its Plexiglas crystal made it perfectly resistant to the constant bombardment of space dust while outside of the lunar module. What some on Earth would consider its weakness became its strength. Where even sapphire would shatter, Plexiglas could flex and survive. Omega has since released many watches commemorating the successful moon landings and other ventures into space. There is a huge pre-owned market for Speedmasters, driven by fans of astronautical and horological history alike.

Fashionable Friends Fall Short

 More recently, though, we’ve seen a lot of partnerships that are little more than billboards: An opportunity for some mutual back scratching that elevates neither the event, nor the special edition product. If you are a collector of either, then perhaps some merit can be found, but for the most part, these relationships are hollow, impermanent collusions that offer little in the way of long term investment.

BremontImage supplied, courtesy of Bremont

One of the most interesting recent collaborations is that of British brand Bremont and the America’s Cup race. Bremont, a brand renowned for its aviation background, cleverly justifies their involvement with the storied contest by reminding us the ‘pilots’ of these boats, actually take flying lessons to learn how to handle their craft.

What makes this partnership interesting, though, is the fact Omega has links to sailing, and even used to produce the America’s Cup watches (although Bremont is the official timekeeper these days). A multi-brand collection united by a single event is a rousing possibility. Were the America’s Cup to find itself a new timekeeping partner in the near future, owning the earlier iterations of the competition’s specially produced watches would be a real coup.

And I suppose that is the crux of any collection – one-offs are great, but it is context that creates true value. Owning many items within the same vein makes for a far more cohesive cache. But these kind of collections are rarely compiled by accident, and expensive to assemble deliberately. But then that’s all part of the fun, and why watch collecting is an endlessly enthralling, emotional rollercoaster that we all love to ride.

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market.

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The Evolution of Luxury Watches for Women

You may have noticed a significant increase in the number of high-end watches for women. Since the dawn of time keeping, fawning over the celestial dance, and agonising over how accurately each and every second has been recorded has been an idiosyncratically male pursuit.

Image supplied courtesy of Hermes

Image supplied courtesy of Hermes

The pernickety nature of watchmaking on all levels suits men perfectly. The creation of a timepiece requires the commonly male traits of single-mindedness and obsessiveness. But although that appears ‘obvious’ it is not, nor has it ever been, exclusively the case.

Women like watches too, and, quite crucially, for the same reasons as men. Even in these difficult times, it is the women’s sector that is growing the quickest. This is perhaps facilitated by the trend of larger watch diameters. This means that women’s watches are finally boast enough space to harbour a seriously complicated movement, while remaining fashionable. The advances in material technologies too have enable designers to shrink calibre that would once have required a six month gym membership to lift, into a wafer-thin engine suitable for use in a piece that is suitably elegant to appeal to modern, more gracile sensibilities.

Image Supplied courtesy of Bulgari

Image Supplied courtesy of Bulgari

Prior to this reassuring rise in ‘proper watchmaking’ for women, the major maisons would occasionally throw a bone to the fairer sex in the form of a patronisingly diamond-studded, quartz-driven, ambassador-bolstered billboard for their male collection. The big players in the watch industry wanted women to wear their watches, but only because it permitted the men they assumed would be buying them for their wives and girlfriends, to get clearance to buy more of their higher-priced, range-defining pieces. Pieces like the Hermes Le Temps Suspendu and the Van Cleef and Arpels Pont des Amoureux have set the bar very high, and this is only the beginning.

Candidly speaking, I’ve always thought the industry to be massively sexist and behind the times. Perhaps we have the global economic crisis to thank for this new dawn – the old guard of watchmaking have been forced to look closely at their consumer base and ask, what is it that people really want? And, for the first time in history, a huge proportion of the market is made up of self-sufficient, independent women, with means an inclination to buy a watch of their choosing that displays their character in the same dextrous way in which men have been able to do for decades.

Image supplied courtesy of Van Cleef and Arpels

Image supplied courtesy of Van Cleef and Arpels

Having worked at the bench for several luxury brands, it is apparent to me that the industry is still too reliant on men’s pieces. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that the difference in size between a woman’s and a man’s watch is lesser now than it has been in the past, but I think it is likely to shift further towards an even split. Although I do not expect the industry’s output to ever reach a true 50/50 divide, it is worth noting that the wealth of female watchmakers (which is a much higher percentage of the overall work force than the percentage of watches designed specifically for women) may have something to say about this in the future, as women continue to become a serious force in an industry that was once incredibly male. It’s only right their watches are taken seriously too.

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market.

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