MAGAZINE   Luxury News & Reviews

Apr 12th

Bugatti Veyron Black Bess Limited edition

By Skorpyo

As with each model in the company’s six-part Legends Series, the fifth and penultimate car — called Black Bess — will be limited to three examples and is based on a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse.

However, in honor of the Type 18 — the historic Bugatti that is serving as inspiration for this very special edition — the car will feature an exterior of painted carbon fiber with gold accents and a special set of alloy wheels.

Inside the cabin is finished in different contrasting leathers and racing motifs are embossed on the door panels.

One of the most famous Type 18 owners was French aviator Roland Garros who bought an example in 1912 hoping it would be as fast as his plane.

As with all Bugattis in the Legends Series, the car will boast an 8-liter W16 engine, 1184bhp and a top speed of 254mph, making it the fastest production convertible in the world. It will also come with a €2.2 million price tag.

The car will go on public display for the first time at the Beijing motor show, which opens its doors to the press on April 20.

Apr 1st

Rare Diamond Pendant Debuts at a Fabergé Easter at Harrods

By Skorpyo

This Easter, Fabergé will debut a limited-edition Spiral Tassel Pendant (price available upon request), which will be available only at Harrods in London from April 1 to 21 for the exhibit A Fabergé Easter at Harrods.

The necklace features a gemstone tassel that can be finished with vibrant amethyst, tsavorite, or spinel trickling down from diamonds set in a spiral to form the shape of an egg. The pendant, whose spiral design is meant to symbolize transformation, is Fabergé’s modern-day interpretation of its iconic imperial Easter eggs.

From 1885 on, as the Russian imperial family’s goldsmith, Fabergé created 50 opulent gemmed eggs for the czars. For decades, the eggs were ceremonially gifted within the Alexander Palace for the Easter holiday. Other aristocratic families, including six generations of the British royal family, have also been loyal followers of the jeweler.

For the three-week exhibit, Harrods will have a trompe-l’oeil window display facing Brompton Road to illustrate Fabergé’s opulent history. Harrods, which had a more humble beginning as a grocer and tea merchant, will dress the window display in Fabergé flags and exhibit the Apple Blossom Egg, an original egg from 1901 made of gold, diamonds, and nephrite.

Mar 29th

New Rolex GMT Master II White Gold with Pepsi bezel

By Skorpyo

Finally the doors have opened at the Basel World 2014 and Rolex sure knows how to make a stunning entrance.

At the Baselworld luxury watch and jewelry show, Rolex has showcased one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year, the new Rolex GMT-Master II with a ‘Pepsi’ red and blue Cerachrom bezel. This comes just one year after the watchmaker released a blue and black version of the same watch which received rave reviews at last year’s show.

Dedicated to the original GMT-Master timepiece from 1955, this latest iteration comes in white gold. The Pepsi GMT is arguably the most iconic watch from Rolex’s history, and its distinct red and blue bezel is often referred as the ‘Pepsi Bezel, but true Rolex aficionados will know that the color combination is attributed to PanAm airlines who Rolex worked with during the development of their two-time zone GMT sport watch.

The red and blue bezel GMT-Master II watch has been revived several times over the past few decades since the early 50s but it was missing from the Rolex family for quite a few years now and few had anticipated that the brand will revive the iconic watch this year.

Rolex moved all GMT-Master II collection watches to Cerachrom ceramic bezels from aluminum ones, which was definitely an improvement, but it took them a few years to produce two-tone bezels.

The technical specfications of the new ref. 116719 BLRO are relatively similar to the Black and Blue GMT-Master II, including the use of the cal. 3186 movement with a Parachrom hairspring with Breguet overcoil, but instead of steel it comes in solid 18k white gold. The addition of white gold makes this particular GMT-Master II very expensive as compared to the steel Master II watches.

If you want buy one, you’ll need to spend 36,500 Swiss Francs, which approximately comes to about $41,000.

Mar 27th

Van Cleef & Arpels Pierres de Caractere Spring 2014

By Skorpyo

chose Chinese models Du Juan and Bonnie Chen for the shoot of the Spring/Summer 2014 jewellery line.

The S/S 2014 line of jewelry is photographed by Richard Ramos and features the pair wearing the elegant gems with clothing styled by Denise Ho.

Mar 18th

Inside The 2014 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts And Figures

By Skorpyo

The ranks of the world’s billionaires continue to scale new heights–and stretch to new corners of the world. Our global wealth team found 1,645 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year ago. We unearthed a record 268 new ten-figure fortunes, including 42 new women billionaires, another record. In total, there are 172 women on the list, more than ever before and up from 138 last year. Bill Gates is back on top after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of world’s richest person from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked No. 1 for the past four years.

Gates, whose fortune rose by $9 billion in the past year, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years. Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega (best known for the Zara fashion chain) retains the No. 3 spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over Warren Buffett, who is again No. 4. American gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who added $11.5 billion to his pile, makes it back into the top ten for the first time since 2007. Another first: A record net worth of $31 billion was needed to make the top 20, up from $23 billion last year.

The year’s biggest dollar gainer was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune jumped $15.2 billion, to $28.5 billion, as shares of his social network soared. Tech, and more specifically Facebook, helped propel numerous fortunes lately. The company’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, joins the ranks for the first time, as does Facebook’s longtime vice president Jeff Rothschild. Also, thanks to a $19 billion deal (including restricted stock) with Facebook, WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton join the ranks of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest for the first time. They are 4 of 26 newcomers whose fortunes come from technology, 10 of whom are American, including Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Workday cofounder Aneel Bhusri.

Thanks to the tech boom, and strong stock market, the U.S. once again leads the world with 492 billionaires, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111. But wealth is spreading to new places. We found billionaires for the first time in Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda. Also for the first time, an African, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, breaks into the top 25. Worth $25 billion, he moves up 20 spots.

Roughly two-thirds of the billionaires built their own fortunes, 13% inherited them and 21% have been adding on to fortunes they received. Other notable newcomers include World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon, fashion king Michael Kors and Denise Coates of UK online betting firm Bet365.

Still not all countries–or tycoons–had good years. Turkey lost 19 billionaires due to soaring inflation, a sagging stock market and a declining value in its currency. Indonesia, whose currency tumbled 20% against the dollar, now has 8 fewer ten-figure fortunes. Altogether 100 people dropped out of the ranks, while another 16 passed away.

[ Source ]

Mar 13th

Cartier Unveils its New Triple-Complication Watch

By Skorpyo

Cartier’s newest triple complication, the Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon, made its global debut last month at the Salon Internationale de Haute Horlogerie.

The watch’s vibrant lapis lazuli dial is overlaid with roman numerals in chamfered white gold, lending a three-dimensional appearance that has become a hallmark of Cartier’s fine watches.
The first of the watch’s three complications, a 24-hour disk that can track a second time zone, is found at the top of the dial and can be set via a pusher positioned at 2 o’clock on the titanium case.
Located just below the disk is the watch’s second complication, a tourbillon visible through an aperture in the dial. The third complication (and the watch’s namesake), a moon-phase indicator, is unapparent until the wearer engages the pusher at 4 o’clock. A small disk then swings down and partially obscures the tourbillon. The section of the mechanism that remains visible indicates the portion of the moon that can currently be seen in the sky. A sapphire crystal on the back of the case allows observation of the movement, which features semi-skeletonized bridges arranged in the shape of a star.

In addition to the standard Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon, which is priced at $271,000 and limited to just 50 examples, Cartier will create 10 pieces priced at $665,000 that feature a bezel set with baguette diamonds.
Mar 11th

Remy Martin XO Excellence decanter is exclusively made for the Cannes Festival

By Skorpyo

Continuing an eleven year tradition, Remy Martin has once again been named one of the official suppliers to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Last year saw the release of a limited edition VSOP and this year Remy Martin has pulled out all the stops to create a decadent yet fitting tribute to the glamorous and star studded film festival in the form of their stunning new XO Excellence decanter.

The decanter has undergone an impressive transformation, we see it in an opulent gilded form adorned at the neck and label with sophisticated film reels. The decanter bottle is presented in a golden, sparsely adorned case. On the inside however, the allure of Hollywood is rendered through the rich red carpet and stairs that represent the Cannes Film Festival’s famous red carpeted steps that are always packed with flashing cameras.

Available in the 70/75 cl format as well as in a series of 22 jeroboams, the bottle demands celebrity status in its own right!

Remy Martin’s status as one of the leaders in cognac the world over, remains undisputed. They are well known for using grapes from only the most prestigious regions of the Grande and Petit Champagne. XO Excellence further cements this status with its spicy, floral and fruity aromas and brilliant mahogany color. It is priced at 200 € ($280).

Mar 2nd

17 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Do Great Things

By Skorpyo

Sometimes, no matter how experienced we are or how much we have accomplished, we all can use a little help to keep going, a bit of motivation if you will.

In the face of the inevitable obstacles we are going to encounter, here are ideas that have worked for me, my friends who run both entrepreneurial and micro businesses, and others I talked to.

At the end of this post, I am going to ask you to tell me what motivational techniques have worked for you–just click the “comment button; if I get enough good ideas I will do a subsequent blog crediting you, of course–but first the list.

Some of these will resonate with you.

1. Necessity. A lot of my friends are incredibly literal. When asked what keeps them going, they point to the mortgage that has to be paid or an elderly parent’s medical bills they are responsible for. Says one, “John Wayne got it right. ‘A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.’ And that applies to women, too.” (I have to admit I could relate to this response. At one point, three of my kids were attending private colleges simultaneously. During that period, I took to saying “I can’t afford either writer’s block or sloth.”)

2. Quotes. Inspirational quotes were cited by many, but how they used them were as unique as they are. Some literally had a wall or white board filled with quotes they had discovered through the years, while others took to putting a particular favorite (such as “just keep swimming,” from the kids’ movie Finding Nemo, taped to their monitor or they used a favorite quote as a screensaver. For a great list of quotes, see my Forbes colleague Kevin Kruse’s recommendations.

3. Employees are relying on you. This is related to the necessity argument. An extremely high number of entrepreneurs I talked to mentioned all the people who could be potentially out of work, if the entrepreneur did less than their absolute best and their company suffered. Feeling responsible for their employees’ economic future kept them going.

4. Personal pride. It was hard to get people to admit to this one until they had a second (or third) glass of wine. But although they rarely talk about it publically, many entrepreneurs are extremely proud of what they had accomplished and take (usually quiet) satisfaction in keep the enterprise going no matter what problems arise.

5. A mission to change the world. Not everyone was evocative as Steve Jobs (who used to tell Apple employees ”we are going to make insanely great products”) but a significant number of the entrepreneurs and business people I talked to truly believe their offerings will make the world a better place. It is the deeply help belief in that mission that keeps them going.

6. Support groups. This provides benefits in one of two ways (and it was possible for one group to supply both.) Either the entrepreneur met periodically with other entrepreneurs who could offer words of encouragment and advice when they were stuck, or even if they didn’t ask for advice, simply being associated with other successful people made the entrepreneur work harder. He didn’t want to fall behind his peers.

7. They have a chip on their shoulder. More people than I would have thought say they keep going no matter what to prove to all the people “who told me I would never be successful, that they were wrong.” Intriguingly, that chip didn’t go away once they were successful.

8. Consider the alternative. This one, too, took two forms. To keep themselves going, some entrepreneurs either thought back to the days before they started their companies and recalled how unhappy they were working for someone else. Or they pictured what it would be like to once again have a boss. Either image, they said, was enough to keep them plugging away.

9. A legacy. Knowing that their company may be the only real thing they are remembered for, or hoping that their kids will take over the business someday, keeps many entrepreneurs going, when times get tough or they simply get tired.

10. Create Momentum. This one was cited by just about everyone I talked to. Goals like: $1 million in sales within the first year can sound awfully daunting from a standing start, i.e. you are beginning with no revenues. But, if you say, “let’s get $83,333.33 coming in this month; and $83,333 next month,” the numbers don’t seem as big, and you get a chance to celebrate 12 small wins, as well as the one big one, when you hit $1 million in sales.

11. Get a Diagnosis. Here’s how one entrepreneur described this one for me. “You know when you are physically feeling lousy and know it is more than a cold or the flu, but you don’t know what it is? Simply not knowing is worrisome. Once you get a diagnosis—even if it something bad like pneumonia—you actually feel better because you know what it is and what you are up against It is the same for me in my business. If I feel bad but I get a friend—or even a shrink—to tell me what is going on, I feel better once I have a name for it. That, in and of itself, is enough for me to come up with a battleplan to keep going.”

12. Visualization. This one has never worked for me, although several of the people I talked to swear by it. They say focusing on what success will ultimately look like keeps them going. I worry that having fixed image of success could keep you from pursuing other opportunities that you could encounter on the way, but I am including this one here because it seems to work for so many.

13. Exercise. Think. Sometimes being tired, depressed and wrung out is “simply” a matter of over-work or being out of shape (or both.) Taking a break—at regular points–could be enough to keep you going. And at the very least, if you get into shape you will have more energy—even if your exercise program doesn’t do a darn thing to improve your company’s performance.

14. Learn from your mistakes. Having things go wrong—you don’t get the sale; the client hates your solution to their problem—is enough to get anyone demotivated (if that is a word.) You are going to feel bad. Accept that. And give yourself a SHORT period to wallow. Then learn from what went wrong. That way you will be turning the rejection into something you can benefit from going forward. It sounds simplistic and cliched, of course, and it is extremely difficult to do. But it is true. And more importantly, it does work.

15. Don’t Get In Your Own Way. There will be enough circumstances beyond your control which could take the wind out of your sails, as my grandmother used to say. Don’t make your life harder than it has to be. Simplify everything you can. (Leaving yourself 10 minutes less than you need to get to the airport is never a good idea.) Delegate the stuff you are bad at. And become as organized as humanly possible. Stress is the enemy of creativity. And creating more stress than you have to for yourself is simply dumb.

16. Keep score. This one is for all the hard charging, Type As out there. If you are keeping a running tally of the jobs completed, clients landed, sales recorded since you first opened your doors, seeing the numbers increase–and wanting them to increase further–can be a great motivating force. Just looking at the scoreboard, and knowing that you need to get the numbers higher, can keep you fired up.

17. Keep telling yourself the best way to predict the future is to create it. And then go create it. That’s my list. What’s yours? What is the one thing–or things–that helps keeps your motivated?

[ Source ]

Feb 27th

A smartphone that is more secure than a Swiss bank vault

By Skorpyo

Even if we like it or not, we all are living in a hyper-connected where we have to rely on electronic devices to go through the majority of our daily tasks.

The whole NSA episode that exploded last year has put serious questions on our privacy which has hit the panic button for many a people. The section which is fretting the most is the business community for whom keeping their private data away from surveillance is crucial. So is there a smartphone that is really surveillance proof or rather NSA-proof as some might want to know? Till now, businessmen were mostly using iPhone as their choice of smartphone but it’s really not as pro-privacy as it seems despite the finger-print reader on the iPhone 5S which is more or less useless. But finally there is one option tailor-made for those looking for top-notch mobile privacy; at least that’s what the company or rather companies that have come up with the smartphone are claiming. The Blackphone which has been brought into existence by Silent Circle and Geeksphone is being touted as the most secure smartphone there is.

The Blackphone was first teased in January but most of the details were not made public until now. The two companies together unveiled the device at the Mobile World Congress on Monday and if the claims are true, this device can very well become the first choice for businessmen and all those who are looking for a privacy-focused smartphone. The device runs on PrivatOS which is a modified version of Android that has been specially designed to keep user data secure and also comes with Silent Circle’s suite of privacy apps, which encrypt and secure users’ calls, text messages and address books. How hack-proof and secure the phone and the apps are yet to be tested although. Much like other premium smartphones, the Blackphone packs mostly the latest hardware which includes a 4.7-inch HD screen, a 2 GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera and 16 gigabytes of storage. The smartphone has been priced at $629 for an unlocked version and if it really can do what is claims then the device isn’t expensive. But if it doesn’t, then it’s just another fancy Android smartphone with a big price-tag. Those who wish to buy one can pre-order the Blackphone from its official website and the company will start shipping it by June.


Feb 13th

Ferrari unveils new California T

By Skorpyo

Ferrari is switching to a turbocharged V-8 engine in its California coupe-convertible to help cut fuel consumption.

The Fiat-owned supercar maker will debut the California T, which replaces the current California, at the Geneva auto show on March 3. The company added the letter "T" to the model's name to emphasize the turbocharged engine that replaces the naturally aspirated V-8 unit in the current car.

Ferrari today released details and pictures of the California T. It said fuel consumption is reduced by 15 percent in the car in typical daily use compared with the current model despite an increase in performance. The company also said it has achieved "virtually zero turbo lag" in the California T.

The car is powered by a 552-hp, 3.9-liter direct-injection engine. It has a top speed of 316kph (196 mph) and accelerates from 0 to 100kph in 3.6 seconds.

Ferrari says it cut fuel consumption to 10.5 liters per 100km (22 mpg U.S; 27 mpg UK) and CO2 emissions to 250 grams per kilometer. The current car, which has a 483-hp, 4.3-liter V-8, uses 13 liters of gasoline per 100km and has CO2 emissions of 299g/km.

The California T has a hardtop roof that closes in 14 seconds.

The California T has a new steering box, a new suspension set up and the latest evolution of the company's F-1 Trac traction control system. It is also fitted with a new infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen.

Just like the current model, the front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive California T is a 2+2 seater with a retractable hardtop that closes in 14 seconds. The new model keeps the same overall dimensions as the current car but its body has been redesigned by Ferrari's styling center and Pininfarina.

The California T is 4570 mm long and has a dry weight of 1625 kg.

The California T will go on sale in Europe in the summer. U.S deliveries begin in the second half.

Ferrari sees turbocharged engines as a way to cut fuel consumption without reducing performance. Its last turbocharged production car, the F40, was sold in the 1980s.

The company has not yet disclosed pricing for the California T. The current California is Ferrari's entry model with prices starting at 186,723 euros in Italy. The California T likely will continue to be the brand's lowest priced model.