The year 2019 has a been a momentous year in luxury and as it winds to a close The Peak looks back at some of the very best in horology, cars, travel and more to emerge this year.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
Supercars are supposed to make you feel glamorous, powerful and just a little bit dangerous.
And that is how DBS Superleggera will pull anyone onto its side! Its sculpted body certainly looks the part, with eye-catching details and imposing muscle. Enormous tyres join 21-inch wheels and carbon ceramic brakes at each corner. The bodywork is finished in Diavolo red paint with carbon-fibre trim. Elegant doors swing out and slightly upward to reveal a cabin trimmed in leather, carbon-fibre, Alcantara and dyed ash veneer, befitting one of the most expensive coupes in our neck of the woods at RM2.88 million each! But since the DBS will be starring in James Bond’s latest adventure next year, perhaps the steep asking price would still be an investment worth considering?
Its enormous 12-cylinder powerplant puts out 715 hp at 6,500 rpm and 900 Nm of torque between 1,800 rpm and 5,000 rpm. This is channelled through an eight-speed ZF automatic with a limited slip differential, enabling a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.4 seconds, while top speed is rated at 340 km/h!
The suspension is tasked to forged double wishbones and a multilink setup for the front and rear, respectively, with adaptive dampers. Three dynamic drive modes – GT, Sport and Sport Plus – can also be selected for both engine and chassis.
A. LANGE & SOHNE
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon
The Maison celebrates 25 years of watchmaking with the grand finale of their Lange 1 series, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon “25th Anniversary” timepiece. Having created the world’s first wristwatch in 2000, the Lange 1 Tourbillon, , the 25th Anniversary timepiece was set to stun.
Using the original trademark accents such as the AB/AUF power reserve indicator, off-centre hours and minutes, the mechanisation aspect was where the modern updates were made to. The Lange 1 Tourbillon hosts a legendary one-minute tourbillon, an in-house manual winding movement called calibre L961.4, made from 381 parts with a power reserve of 72 hours, as well as the 2008, patented Lange stop seconds that immobilises the balance wheel within the tourbillons rotating cage. Trimmed with diamond end-stoned, screwed gold chatons and traditional German silver three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing, the Lange 1 signature timepiece is anything but just a pretty picture.
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59
Known for bringing to the world god-like timepieces such as the Royal Oak series, Offshore and Millenary, Audemars Piguet breaks its barriers with Code 11.59. Worked on by the Maison for half a decade, the series surprises with design elements such as, the octagonal case architecture the double-curved domed sapphire crystal and the six movements used across the thirteen references of the collection.
There are currently six watches a to the collection beginning with the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Self-Winding with a calibre 4302 movement. After which are the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Chronograph, Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar, Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 SelfWinding Tourbillon, Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked which operate on the movements Calibre 4400, Calibre 5134, Calibre 2950 and Calibre 2948 respectively before ending on the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Supersonnerie.
BELL & ROSS
Branching off from the family of BR 01 and BR 03, the BR 05 series features five variants of timepieces which share the iconic round-square case, an integrated case fused to the bracelet, the numeral typeface as well as the four screws that hold the upper and lower parts of the case together. Comfortable yet robust and easily adaptable to the average active lifestyle allows the BR 05 series to be used as daily wear despite the level of precision and technical excellence that it operates on.
In spite of housing a mechanical automatic movement of calibre BR0CAL.321 with a base calibre of Sellita SW-300, the BR 05 watch series is built smaller than its predecessor. Due to Bell & Ross’s affiliation with the aviation industry, carrying the title of the leading brand in the aviation watch market, the BR 05 shares a striking closeness to the regular aviation watches with slight updates to increase the audience reach to those beyond the world of aviation. With the steel version offering different models based on their dial treatments – anthracite black, sunray•brushed grey and a vibrant blue as well as the rose gold model, there will never be an event or festival that the BR 05 will not settle well into.
Super Avenger Chronograph 48
The name is synonymous with precision chronometers built for aviators, Breitling does not shy away from their powerful link to aviation and are always forward thinking on that frontier. In 2019 the brand updated one of their cult classics – apart from Aviator 8 and Navitimer – with the re-release of the Avenger collection. With over 10 variations of the series to its name from the Super Avenger Chronograph 48 to the Avenger Chronograph 45 Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition to the Avenger Automatic GMT 45 Night Mission, spoilt for choice is the name of the game.
Prepped for both air and sea, the Avenger Automatic 45 Seawolf, which also belongs to the classic pilot’s watch collection, has a lot more to show for it than a handsome face. The timepiece boasts a 45mm stainless steel case that houses a unidirectional ratcheted bezel alongside a self-winding Breitling Calibre 17 mechanical movement with a power reserve of 38 hours and a screwed titanium caseback. Water-resistant for up to 3000 metres and fitted with Super-LumiNova on the hands and indexes of the watch, be it a deep dive to the seabed or an early morning flight, the Breitling Avenger collection has you taken care of.
Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
A lightweight wear with hundreds of years of mechanical expertise weighing down on it, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 skeleton watch is as enigmatic as it is engaging. Boasting an extra-thin 581 calibre movement with the world’s finest self-winding tourbillon movements, it is no wonder the unique movement structure belongs solely to Breguet’s only series manufacturer. The entire tourbillon carriage weighs in at a maximum of 0.290 grams total with a power-reserve of 80 hours, due to the high energy barrel beating at a high frequency for tourbillon, at four hertz.
Due to the skeleton design of the timepiece, about 50 per cent of the material used in the movement had been removed to appropriately showcase synchronisation of the sum of the parts, without compromising on the build. A sophisticated wear for the minimalist in your life that appreciates beauty in the details, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is available with a grey movement in a rose gold case or with a rose movement with a platinum case, because why not mix things up?
BMW 850I XDRIVE
The new age supercar This is definitely a standout that’ll get noticed whoever it’s parked. Long, low and wide, the 850i convertible looks striking from every angle and has lots of presence – as it should for something nearly 5 metres long! Up front is a V8 displacing 4.4 litres with twin-scroll turbochargers, Valvetronic variable valve control, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and a sports exhaust system. With the-wheel drive, this coupe launches with the unyielding determination of a rhino and takes just 3.7 seconds to get from a rest to 100 km/h, to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
Exterior styling highlights feature an additional front splitter and boot lid lip spoiler. BMW Laserlight headlamps are fitted – the slimmest on any BMW model to date. There are also 20-inch M light-alloy Y-spoke wheels with staggered tyres – 245/35 at the front and 275/30 at the rear. Moving inside, BMW Individual Merino full leather trim sport seats feature. These are electrically adjustable and come with active ventilation to help driver and front passenger keep cool in the local climate.
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT
This two-door grand tourer is massive in more ways than one: In the engine bay is a 6.0 litre twin-turbo W12 engine driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. This produces 626 hp and 900 Nm of torque, tasked with shifting more than two tonnes. Yet the beast still manages 0-100 km/h time of just 3.7 seconds, and a claimed top speed of 333 km/h!
Inside, brushed metal adorns the canter stack and handcrafted wood and leather wrap the cabin. Adorable metal pulls control the vents, and machined knobs perform various functions. Yes, the amount of leather, wood, and metal inside one Continental GT might be the equivalent to how much is used in the entirety of the lineup of many other automakers! But there’s still plenty of in-cabin tech as well with a 12.3-inch infotainment display dominating, and contrasting with analog gauges displaying the exterior air temperature, the time, and a compass. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a digital gauge display that allows the driver to control most of the Continental GT’s functions using steering wheel controls.
Corum has expanded their famous Golden Bridge series with two new limited edition models to ring in the year. The most striking feature of the Golden Bridge Round 43 Art Deco aside from its trademark baguette-shaped movement are the brass wires framing either side of the golden movement within the case. These wires replicate the image of a bridge held in suspension and are available in both yellow gold wires and movement and rhodium-plated wires with a matching movement.
Encased within a sapphire dial and sapphire crystals on the back allowing for a transparent wear the main plate and bridges of the movement gleam in muted ostentatious lustre from the 18K gold build. The watches operate on the CO 113 manually winding movement which offer a power reserve of up to 40 hours. The timepiece may take a leaf out of the Art Deco movement with its sharp wires and high octane baguette movement but durability and daily wear is also incorporated into the design of the Golden Bridge Round 43 Art Deco with the timepiece being 30-metres waterresistant as well as a strap made from black vulcanised rubber
Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule
Poetry in motion best describes the Santos de Cartier line – Skeleton Noctambule. As one of the pioneer watchmakers to perfect the art of the Skeleton watch, the collection boasts nothing less than perfection. The solid rectangular framework of the Noctambule watch shows off the movements within the chronograph. All the movements are manually wound and customers have the option of choosing the 9611 MC, 9619 MC or the 9612 MC all of which hold a power reserve minimum of 72 hours.
Available in steel, yellow gold and pink gold, none is quite as interesting as the Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon steel coated watch (ADLC) in a stunning hue of black. With a fully blacked-out case, bezel and crown, the movement and hands are filled with Super-LumiNova pigments to allow anyone to read the time even in the dead of night. The Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule also comes with an Interchangeable QuickSwitch Straps system allowing for customisable looks that are apt for both the boardroom or the bar.
Recreated upon the behest of Karl’s grandson, Karl-Fritz Scheufele, the timepiece operates leagues beyond its predecessor with two sizes of 41mm and 36mm models operating on a 01.01-C mechanical movement and an automatic 09.01-C movement respectively.
Aesthetically the timepiece is breathtaking with the dials of both versions portraying a reflective design reminiscent of an eagle’s iris. With a 41mm timepiece housing a 4.95mm thick movement, to the sleek steel bracelets and faceted cases, the entire collection pays homage to Chopard’s greatness.Due to Chopard’s long standing ethical commitment to sustainability, the Alpine Eagle introduced a new alloy of stainless steel produced from 4 years of research called Lucent Steel A223. Partially composed from recycled stainless steel, Lucent Steel A223 is 50% more abrasion resistant and is anti-allergenic and furthermore was constructed solely for the Alpine Eagle series.
Vintage 2002 Plenitude 2
It’s always a pleasure to welcome one of Dom Pérignon’s Plénitude 2 expressions, and the one released this year, from its 2002 vintage, has been well worth the wait. After 17 years of maturation on the lees, the 2002 P2 comes filled with typical rare intensity and vitality. On the nose, the opening complexity is warm, toasty and bright, with a touch of Oriental exoticism, while on the palate, the mouthfeel is opulent and ethereal, energetic and sensual, dominated by fruit, before the voluptuousness gradually turns thoughtful and profound. More than mere bubbles, the Vintage 2002 Plénitude 2 is Dom Pérignon at its best.
EIGHT & BOB
The Original EDT
We can’t do a roundup of the year’s best in luxury without including one of the most impressive fragrance brands to hit our shores this year. The story of Eight & Bob starts with a fateful meeting between perfumer Albert Fouquet and a young John F Kennedy, which brought the otherwise exclusive blends of the French perfumer out into the market. With a restoration of Fouquet’s formula that was locked in time after World War II, Eight & Bob was born and the most discerning gentlemen can now own their own bottle of the fragrance that captivated JFK back in the late 1930s.
Throwing a wrench onto the path of seriousness is the Vanguard Crazy Hours Asia Exclusive timepiece released by Franck Muller. The contemporary watchmaker powerhouse has added to their Crazy Hours series that launched 16 years ago, with an audacious timepiece that dares to defy the archaic laws of the Haute Horlogerie world. Available in rose gold, steel or a lightweight black carbon case, the Crazy House Asia Exclusive watch is the first of its kind to house the famed Crazy Hours movement and hopefully keep the momentum rolling on future releases.
The contrast between the appliqué relief numerals strewn across the dial of the watch and the elegant lines and curves of the timepiece that reminisce of classic watches from bygone eras are truly whimsical in their differences. The complex nature and unique aestheticism of the Vanguard Crazy Hours Asia Exclusive add just the right amount of fancifulness to turn a hectic day into a happy one or to even keep the good mood ongoing.
Grand Vintage Malt 1991
Named after its Bonded Warehouse No 1, the largest of Glenmorangie’s traditional 19th-century warehouses, the whisky maker’s Bond House No 1 Collection celebrates it most prestigious aged whiskies. This year, the award-winning collection, which explores some of the distillery’s most prized parcels of aged whisky, added a new expression to its range, the Grand Vintage Malt 1991. The fourth edition of the collection takes its rich plum character from two parcels of whisky which, ordinarily, would never be brought together: one finished in oloroso sherry casks for sweetness and spice, and the other in burgundy casks for earthy and truffle notes. This incongruous union created a surprisingly mellow 26-year-old whisky that is ochre in colour and a mellow yet deeply intense nose. A peppery mouthfeel, followed by fruity flavours and milk chocolate, lead to a zesty citrus finish that echoes with sweet spices and fruit. This limited edition expression is bottled at 43 per cent ABV.
A throwback to the past with only the slightest alteration, Girard-Perregaux have revived their famous Laureato series for the next generation of watch aficionados with the Laureato Absolute collection. Featuring three variations of the Laureato family – the Laureato Absolute, the Laureato Absolute Chronograph and the star of the show, the Laureato Absolute WW.TC. Created for the traveller of today, the Laureato Absolute WW.TC diverges slightly from its siblings with a world timer that presents 24 different time zones, suitable for the frequent traveller on the go.
The family shares specific traits between them such as the 44mm black PVD-treated titanium case and display time, a white inner bezel ring and a graded colour scheme, all of which are powered by manufacture movements. The colour scheme of the trilogy of watches with the white inner bezel ring and luminescent accents against the matte black hour marks are a play on the 2019 new launches theme ‘Earth to Sky’ with the black case representing the universe, the blue topstitching as the sky with the white accents as clouds. The entire collection is water-resistant for up to 300 metres so be it a quick dive or a drive to Santiago, you will have the ideal travel partner by your side.
Upon celebrating their Platinum Anniversary the brand released a continuation of the classic series, the Elegance collection. The four watches from the series share manual-winding Spring Drive calibres with signature glide motion seconds hand, long power reserves and a second-a-day precision mechanism.
The collection itself hosts two teams to manufacture the watches with the Micro Artist Studio in Shiojiri producing the Spring Drive Calibre 9R02 and the Shinshu Watch Studio created the Spring Drive Caliber 9R31. New to the Grand Seiko scene are the movements with the Calibre 9R02’s movement using the Torque Return System that can hold a power reserve of 84 hours. Meanwhile, the Spring Drive Caliber 9R31 carries the same dual mainspring structure as 9R02 with a power reserve of 72 hours. Etched onto the Spring Drive Calibre 9R02 is a ‘Snowflake’ pattern, inspired by the snow of the Shinshu region, with 14k white gold on the hour and minute markers. Similarly, the Spring Drive Calibre 9R31 dress watches are available in 18k gold with a ‘Snowflake’ dial as well as in stainless steel.
GRAF VON FABER-CASTELL
Once again, Graf von Faber-Castell’s Pen of the Year presents a brand new exceptionally created pen for the most discerning fine writing enthusiast. Inspired by Miyamato Musashi, considered to be Japan’s greatest swordsman, and The Book of Five Rings which he wrote, the Pen of the Year 2019 Samurai combines the core aspects that make Japan’s most powerful warriors into an equally powerful writing instrument. The fluid, controlled movements of the samurai translates beautifully into the art of fine writing, making this pen truly as mighty as the sword. The pen replicates the samurai’s most prized possession, the sharp and robust katana, incorporating traditional materials used in its forgery. The rare tamahagane steel appears in the pen’s cap as an inlay, complete with an engraving of the Japanese character for samurai, while the magnolia wood of the sword’s handle appears on the Pen of The Year 2019 in the form of the dark-stained pen barrel, painted, sanded and polished to perfection. On the Black Edition, the metal barrel design is inspired by the samurai ō-yoroi, or armour, with 24k gold plating running across the barrel to recreate the look of the painstakingly crafted individual metal plates on the samurai’s armour. Engraved on each Pen of the Year is a quote from Musashi, as a reminder to the wielders of this honed instrument of the power of the mind, body and spirit. Graf von Faber-Castell’s Pen of the Year 2019 is limited to 400 fountain pens and 120 roller-ball pieces, while the Black Edition is limited to 330 and 100 pieces respectively.
Men’s Silks 2019
No one does silk ties and scarves quite like Hermès, which is why their Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter Men’s Silks are our best-of choice from the French fashion maison this year. From the colourful to the fantastical, the silks this year provided the perfect accessory for any occasion. In Spring-Summer ‘19, bright colours were key, with ties and scarves done up in pastel blues, greens and oranges of the season, capturing the sunny hues and moods that accompany the season. Design motifs were largely traditional, with the horse and carriage making an appearance on more than one occasion, as well as the iconic chain link symbol that Hermès is known for. In Autumn-Winter, the colours of the Men’s Silk collection are brought down to the deeper shades of navy and burgundy that are more suited for autumn, while the designs took a turn for the mystical, as dragons and faraway lands take centre stage. The navy heavy silk tie featuring a green dragon motif is a standout, evocative of flights of fancy that are just out of reach, while the dragon then appears on a losange scarf harnessed in Hermès equestrian tack. A whole collection fitting for the snow-covered setting of the Winter season.
HELI-SKIING IN KAMCHATKA WITH ACTION OUTDOORS
Tour operator Action Outdoors is most well-known for its good-value holidays in France, but now it has an infinitely more exclusive adventure tour to Kamchatka, a remote peninsula in eastern Russia. This very off-the-beaten track location (so off the map that up till the 1990s, the Russian military used to test their secret weapons here!) delivers epic off-piste terrain and is known as one of the snowiest places on earth, so fresh tracks are more or less guaranteed – especially on its several, still active volcanoes!
Relaxation is provided by natural hot spring stops while skiing trips are lead by skilled mountain guides and ski instructors – some of the latter usually with Winter Olympics competition experience – so participants definitely gain the best! Heli-skiing options include approximately eight hours of helicopter time. The touring option is longer and offers even more adventure, where more remote areas are accessed by snowmobile or dog-sled, after a helicopter drop off.