Monthly Archives: May 2013

Longines Partners with Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Longines

The royal meeting at Ascot Racecourse, one of the most prestigious and traditional events on the British racing calendar, has signed its first ever official sponsor in Swiss watchmaker Longines.

Royal Ascot, a five-day meeting which takes place each year in early- to mid-June, has never previously allowed such clear-sut sponsorship.

Longines has provided timing services at the course for six years, but the new deal, under the official designation of ‘official partner of Royal Ascot’, is likely to be worth a seven-figure sum annually.

There will be a branded chronometer close to the winning post and an elegant clock in the Parade Ring throughout the year, including at Royal Ascot and on QIPCO British Champions Day.

This year’s Royal Ascot will run from Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22nd June and is expected to attract some 300,000 spectators.

Source: sportspromedia

Longines at Royal Ascot

restaurant tipping

Who are the world’s best tippers?

In a worldwide poll that aimed to gauge tipping habits around the globe, Germans have emerged as the most likely to leave a tip while traveling, while Italians emerged as the stingiest of tippers.

restaurant tip

In a TripAdvisor poll of more than 9,000 respondents across eight countries, 69 percent of German holidaymakers said they always leave a tip while traveling — out-tipping Americans, for whom tipping is ingrained in the service culture.

Rounding out the top five nationalities most likely to tip are Americans at 57 percent; Russians, 53 percent, Brazilians at 40 percent, and the French, 39 percent.

Among US respondents, meanwhile, helpful, friendly and polite service at both restaurants and hotels were cited as the primary reasons that drove Americans to tip.

The tipping rate also rises among US travelers to 59 percent when staff go the extra mile.

To educate themselves on the different tipping cultures around the world, the majority of American travelers said they consult travel guides (73 percent), online reviews (48 percent), and online forums (46 percent).

Here’s how countries rank when it comes to how often travelers from each country surveyed said they always tip on vacation:

1. Germans – 69%
2. Americans – 57%
3. Russians – 53%
4. Brazilians – 40%
5. French – 39%
6. Brits – 39%
7. Spanish – 36%
8. Italians – 23%

Meanwhile, CNTraveler offers a country-by-country guide of tipping etiquette for everything from hotel staff to restaurants, guides and drivers at http://cntrvlr.com.

woman drinking wine

50 most popular wines on Twitter

woman drinking wine

After looking at the number of mentions, retweets and followers among the world’s leading wineries, an infographic has classified the 50 most tweeted wine brands on social media into a single tidy list.

Coming out on top? Spanish winery Bodegas Muga @bodegasmuga, which, despite following only 41 feeds as of May 28, counts more than 4,220 followers.

Furthermore, according to Servilia’s infographic, despite a modest Twitter presence with just 270 tweets, the brand exerts a strong influence within the oenophile Twittersphere with a retweet rate of 99 percent and inclusion on 190 lists.

Of the 50 most retweeted wines, 20 come from the US, 8 from Argentina and 8 from Spain, followed by 5 from Canada, 3 from Australia, 2 from Chile and 1 from Italy.

Rounding out the top five most popular wines on social media are brands Oasis Wine in the US, Chateau d’Yquem in France, Le Quattro Terre in Italy and Keint-He Winery in Canada.

Check out the full list at http://visual.ly/50-top-engagement-wines-twitter.

Sake

Paris’s first sake salon set for June

Sake

Paris is poised to get its first sake tasting salon in a bid to demystify the Japanese rice wine that is still relatively unknown to Western consumers.

Owners of Japanese restaurants Sakebar and Sola – which holds a Michelin star – will be hosting what they’re calling the first Sake Salon in Europe in June, bringing in sake experts from Japan who will lead tastings for curious French consumers.

Sake producers, distributors, and sommeliers will help European palates understand the nuances styles and complexities of the fermented rice wine in roundtable discussions, workshops and conferences.

One of the roundtable discussions, for instance, will center around sake and French gastronomy, and food pairings possible with the unexpected dinner companion.

The arrival of a sake salon in Paris comes as little surprise, given the city’s love affair with Japan’s culinary heritage. Rivaling the number of bistros and cafés in the city is the number of sushi restaurants in Paris that have popped up in response to the ever-growing demand.

The Sake Salon will be held June 21-22. Tickets are €10.

China May Start Taxing More Luxury Goods

burberry accessories China

China may start levying taxes on an increasing number of luxury goods as part of the country’s efforts to push forward economic reform.

More products might be taxed, as part of the country’s tax reform plans for this year, said Kong Jingyuan, a director-general at the National Development and Reform Commission.

The guidelines for tax reforms were published by the Central Government on Friday.

In the guideline, the NDRC pledged to “properly modify the rate and scope of consumption taxes”. According to Kong, the changes will be carried out both in terms of rates and structures.

Taking into consideration the increasing national income levels, some products that used to be regarded as luxury goods are now seen as daily necessities and thus will not be taxed as luxury products, he said.

In addition, he said, some goods that have become more common in recent years, such as luxury cars and yachts, will be subject to luxury taxes.

Heavier consumption taxes will also be levied on “heavy-polluting and excessive-energy consuming products”, according to the guideline.

An earlier report by China National Radio said that a 20 percent extra tax will be levied on cars priced at more than 1.7 million yuan ($277,440).

China’s luxury-goods market is likely to grow by a world-leading 20 percent this year, accounting for more than a quarter of global luxury sales.

Source chinadaily

The Chinese Timekeeper Year of the Snake timepiece

Chinese Timekeeper CTK17 watch

Luxury watchmaker The Chinese Timekeeper (CTK) has designed an amazing “Year of the Snake” luxury watch for the Chinese New Year.

This remarkable timepiece is boasting a majestic Snake all over its case & dial … literally encircling your timepiece in an outstanding way!

The tail starts on the back case and the Snake’s body goes along each of the 4 layers of the case structure. It comes on top of the watch where it is deeply engraved on the bezel before diving below the inner ring to reappear on the back dial.

Appropriately the strap is made of taupe color Snake skin to further celebrate the 6th animal of the Chinese Zodiac! The CTK17 Special Edition is priced at HK$32,800.

Official website and online boutique: www.thechinesetimekeeper.com

1931 Leica camera sells for 528,000 euros

1931 Leica camera

A 1931 Leica camera has sold for 528,000 euros ($683,000) at an auction that included rare photos and the camera that snapped an iconic shot of an American sailor kissing a nurse the day World War II ended.

The rare Leica, which belonged to German winemaker Karl Henkell, fetched more than three and a half times the expected price at the Vienna sale held by auctioneers Westlicht on Saturday.

Other models by the famed German camera firm also fetched far higher prices than expected. A prototype Leica M3 estimated at 70,000 euros sold for 432,000, and a prototype Leica Reporter 250 estimated at 30,000 euros fetched 240,000.

The camera used by German-born American photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt to shoot his famous picture of a US sailor bending over and kissing a young nurse in New York’s Times Square during victory celebrations after Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945 sold for 114,000 euros.

A signed print of the photo itself sold for 24,000 euros. A 1949 photo by American photographer Irving Penn of his wife, “Woman in Chicken Hat”, went for 66,000 euros.

sailor kissing nurse

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S pic

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The new range-topping Aston Martin V12 Vantage S draws on the company’s race car technology to create an extreme, track-focused supercar.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The car, which Aston Martin claims plays second fiddle only to its One-77 hypercar in terms of performance, is capable of hitting 205mph (330kph) and is the first vehicle from the British company to feature its new seven-speed Sportshift transaxle and gearbox, derived from its racing car technology.

Developed for performance in any driving conditions, the V12 Vantage S offers drivers over 500bhp (573PS) of power and plenty of torque across the rev band from idling to red line, so that power and acceleration are always there, no matter at what speed the car is traveling or in which gear.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S photo

Also helping the Vantage S to deliver when needed is the new gearbox — essentially a hydraulically assisted automated manual transmission — which ensures the smallest possible gap between gear changes and therefore loss of torque.

And while this will no doubt make the car incredible on the track or in straight-line drag races, a paddle-shift gearbox will never replicate the delicacy and control that a manual gearbox and a clutch give the driver.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S pic

It doesn’t matter how fast a car can go if it can’t be parked at the end of a hard day’s racing. Reverse parking without a clutch pedal is not for the faint-hearted, especially when the car being parked costs over $200,000.

But this is clearly a car focused on speed. Much of the aluminum bright work usually associated with Aston Martins — such as on the air intake grilles — has been replaced withcarbon fiber, while inside, the now familiar dashboard layout has a new addition — selector switches for engaging the car’s active damping system to tailor performance for Normal, Sport, and Track conditions

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S interior

For example, switching to Sport mode opens the exhaust, increases the speed and timing of gear changes, firms the suspension and backs off the sensitivity of the power steering. All of which makes the V12 Vantage S one of the most hardcore road cars the company has ever developed.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S top

Aston is yet to confirm pricing, but expect the V12 Vantage S to retail for €175,000 before optional extras when Aston Martin starts taking orders.

Ramsay and Beckham opening a Vegas restaurant?

David Beckham and Gordon Ramsay

Update: David Beckham’s rep has confirmed to E! News that news of him opening a restaurant with Gordon Ramsay is not true.

Newly retired soccer superstar, David Beckham, revealed his plans to team up with the acerbic chef Gordon Ramsay to open up a sports bar and grill in Las Vegas.

According to The Sun, hotelier and business tycoon Steve Wynn, who owns the Wynn Las Vegas, is wooing the pair to help him open a sports bar and grill along the strip.

And while the city is already saturated with restaurants, including a trio of Ramsay-branded eateries including BurGR at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Las Vegas hotel, and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace, Wynn is hoping the complementary star power of one of the world’s biggest soccer players combined with Ramsay’s international fame as a chef will help bring in foot traffic, says the Sun.

The timing is likewise ideal, points out the paper, given Beckham’s plans to retire.

Vertu Ti comes to India

vertu ti

Just three months after its European release, the exclusive handcrafted Vertu Ti smartphone is officially on sale in India.

Priced at an eye-watering Rs 649990, (€9000) the titanium-bodied Android phone is targeted at celebrities and VIPs and is therefore built more around features than performance — chief among these being its Vertu Key lifestyle services.

These services include a 24/7 concierge, exclusive editorial content, city guides and special, exclusive events and experiences, curated for the user based on his or her passions and preferences.

The phone is, at its base, an Android smartphone that runs Ice Cream Sandwich, a version of the operating system that is already nearly two years old and therefore isn’t optimized for the latest apps. Still, it does have one or two standard specifications to make other smartphone owners envious including its use of sapphire glass to protect its display, rather than Gorilla Glass.

The strongest substance currently available for glassmaking, it is virtually scratch-proof and is so tough it is used in the manufacture of body armor. However, it is still too expensive for mainstream smartphone manufacturers to use in large quantities.

The Vertu TI also offers 64GB of internal storage, meaning that it has been designed for the long term — there will always be space for apps and photos no matter how large they continue to get.

MiuMiu Eyewear spring 2013

Miu Miu Spring 2013 Eyewear Video

Miu Miu Spring 2013 Eyewear

Miu Miu‘s moody effort was shot by fashion photography legends Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin and continues the aesthetic the pair has used in the label’s Spring Summer 2013 campaigns.

According to Miu Miu, the film represents “a dreamy web of closeness and interpersonal relationships” and stars supermodels Malgosia Bela, Bette Franke, Martha Hunt and Arizona Muse as well as a pair of Victoria’s Secret angels in the form of Doutzen Kroes and Adriana Lima. The 20-second clip is soundtracked by Biosphere’s “Cloudwalker III.”

Vintage Apple computer auctioned off for $668,000

Apple 1 Computer

An extremely rare, working example of Apple’s first PC has sold for $671,400 in Germany. It is believed to be one of only six working examples of the Apple I, the computer that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak conceived and built in a garage.

The fledgling PC was little more than a circuit board to which the owner needed to add a power supply, monitor and keyboard.

Yet despite being minimalist in the extreme, it retailed for $666.66 back in 1976 and Jobs and Wozniak estimate that they built and sold 200 in total and, in doing so, kickstarted the personal computer revolution.

The computer’s new owner is described as an entrepreneur from the Far East who wishes to remain anonymous. The Apple I had belonged to Fred Hatfield, a retired electrical engineer living in New Orleans who had owned the device from new.

According to the New York Times, he sold the then-broken computer earlier this year for $40,000 to an unnamed businessman. He subsequently had it repaired and got Steve Wozniak to autograph the circuit board before entering it in Saturday’s sale.

When he was informed that the now-functioning computer had set a new world record, Hatfield is quoted as saying: “My God,” before adding: “Best to him. He’s the one who fixed it up and figured the best way to sell it for all that money. Evidently, he’s very good at this.”

GapKids 2013

The world’s best restaurant booked until next spring

El Celler de Can Roca

History is repeating itself at El Celler de Can Roca, which only one month after being declared the best restaurant in the world is booked until April 2014.

The Girona-based eatery about an hour’s drive outside Barcelona has officially become one of the toughest tables to secure in the world and is fully booked for the next 11 months, reports popular food blog Eater.com.

Even before topping the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, announced last month, the head of reservations Manel de la Rubia told the blog that weekend reservations had to be made nine to 10 months in advance.

It’s yet another sign that the ranking, hosted by “Restaurant magazine”, has become a powerful, influential benchmark among the culinary elite and foodie gourmands rivaling the authority of longstanding gastronomic bible the Michelin guide.

Topping the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is a major coup for restaurants, filling up dining rooms months in advance and turning chefs into household names.

El Celler de Can Roca, meanwhile, will begin taking reservations for May 2014 and out on June 1.

If you can’t wait that long, the Roca restaurant brand, helmed by brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi, also extends to Roca Moo, a one-Michelin-starred restaurant, and Roca Bar, both at Hotel Omm in Barcelona.

tri-colored crocodile Hermes Birkin bag

Birkin handbag sells for record $83,000

tri-colored crocodile Hermes Birkin bag

A crocodile-skin Birkin handbag made by luxury goods firm Hermes has sold for a record 63,800 euros ($82,600) at an auction in Paris.

The bag, manufactured in 2006 and marked by its unusual combination of orange, red and pink colours, was sold at above its estimate of 40,000-50,000 euros at the auction on May 21, , auction house Artcurial said on Monday.

The previous record sale price for a Birkin bag was 61,000 euros, during a 2011 auction in Paris.

Named after French actress and singer Jane Birkin, the Birkin handbags are one of Hermes’s signature designs and have become iconic in the fashion world.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé combines all of the engineering know-how and driver-focused technology that has made BMW the company it is today with the design excellence that has made Pininfarina Ferrari’s designer of choice for over 50 years.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

A long wheelbase two-door, four-seat coupe with a low roofline and a huge V12 engine, the Gran Lusso manages to retain all of the physical design cues and indicators of the current BMW range while at the same time offering something entirely new — a vehicle that could conceivably compete head to head with a Bentley Continental GT or Porsche Panamera in terms of comfort, performance and looks.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

No performance figures have been released regarding the engine’s output or top speed, but the way that the controls ‘wrap’ around the driver’s seat suggests that if the car did go into production, it would be more than a little sprightly.

bmw gran lusso concept

As well as a driver-focused console, the cabin benefits from the best wood, leather and wool that money can buy — for example, the use of 48,000-year-old Kauri wood, which is sourced from fossilized swamps in New Zealand and which can be cut and polished like fresh timber.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

Its natural grain has an iridescent quality, meaning that the wood appears to change color as light hits it at different angles. The entire cabin is finished from a single piece of Kauri wood to ensure the grain, grade and color are a prefect match.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

Added to the fossilized wood is Foglizzo leather in tobacco and black adorning the four seats and an embroidered roof liner of the finest virgin Italian wool.

Cutler & Gross to open NYC store

Cutler and Gross Toronto store

Cutler and Gross has been at the heart of London’s luxury eyewear scene since the company was first founded in 1969 by Graham Cutler and Tony Gross.

Each pair of the spectacles is handcrafted at the brand’s factory in northern Italy, and can take up to four weeks to manufacture using a combination of traditonal techniques and cutting-edge materials.

This May the brand will be opening its first American store in the heart of SoHo in NYC. The shop will host a permanent exhibition containing the 4,000 plus handmade Cutler and Gross frames including the collaborations with designers including Giles Deacon, Maison Martin Margiela and Martyn Ball.

It’s not just about luxury shades though — customers will also get access to full optometric and prescription services and, at the heart of the store will sit a private showroom with bespoke service allowing customers to choose their own custom color, frame and lens combinations.

The boutique was designed by Mani Mani of Fishtnk Design Factory and there’s a minimalist concept behind the space with a 1960s New York Arts Movement twist.

To celebrate the launch the brand has created a New York Style Collection, a set of limited edition handmade frames, which have been designed with the helping hand of some Big Apple Icons.

Mercer Street Map by Cutler and Gross

Loewe

Loewe Collaborates With Junya Watanabe

Loewe Junya Watanabe

Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe showed off his latest collaboration with Loewe in Tokyo.

The famous Spanish luxury brand Loewe is celebrating 400 years of Hispano-Japanese bilateral relations with a new capsule collection of bags and ready-to-wear, created with Japanese designer Junya Watanabe of Comme des Garçons.

Loewe creative director Stuart Vevers and Watanabe of Comme des Garçons held a presentation at the Spanish embassy in Tokyo on May 21, where models with spiked and dyed punk hair showed off 24 looks which featured Spanish leather, and Japanese denim.

Watanabe told WWD that he was able to express himself fully with the collection: “basically I asked them to let me do whatever I wanted. Our relationship was like an adult accepting child’s play.”

A video released by Loewe shows models strutting their stuff, dressed in a mix of vintage Junya Watanabe and Loewe pieces and the new capsule collaboration.

“I came up with the idea of combining the essences of each other’s icon. The combination of leather and denim. This is a combination of luxuries and casualness, and also the combination of the fashion agriculture of Spain and Japan.”

The collection will go on sale first in Japan in August where it will hit Dover Street Market concept store in Ginza, Tokyo, before later being unveiled at around 40 locations around the world in September, including Loewe boutiques and online at Loewe.com.