Hotelier Arnaud Zannier on the calming properties of motorcycles and why 45 is the ideal age

The founder of Zannier Hotels talks fast cars, slow fashion, and the freedom of going analogue.

By Jackie Caradonio 06/12/2018

Though Arnaud Zannier comes from a family of fashion and wine, his own interests lie in something less tangible: travel. The 45-year-old hotelier—whose father, French businessman Roger Zannier, is known for his ready-to-wear brands and vineyards—opened his first hotel, an exclusive chalet in the Megève, while he was still in his thirties. He has since created a second-generation empire for the Zannier name, with Zannier Hotels properties in Namibia (where he also established a wildlife animal hospital with pal Angelina Jolie), Cambodia, Belgium, and soon Vietnam. Robb Report caught up with the always-exploring entrepreneur on a layover in Bangkok, somewhere around midnight local time, to talk fast bikes, slow fashion, and the freedom of going analogue.

How often do you train?

I have a personal coach that comes to my house at least four times a week at six o’clock in the morning and trains me for an hour. I have a home gym. I’m ageing slowly but surely, but I love sports and I always want to be able to jump at the chance to go golfing or waterskiing at a moment’s notice.

What do you do that’s still analogue?

Read the newspaper. I’m quite classic in certain aspects of life. I like touching the paper; I like the smell of it. There are some things that the digital world can’t replace. Feelings and emotions are very important, and for me digital is killing a lot of that.

What in your wardrobe do you wear most often?

A very good pair of shoes from the brand that I created 15 years ago called NDC. They were very well-made shoes—probably too well-made. And they weren’t about trends at all. They were more classic in terms of technique and using leather from the best Italian tanneries, but had a contemporary twist in the way they were finished. It’s not my brand anymore—I sold it earlier this year—but I still have quite a big stock of my own.

How do you find calm?

I ride my BMW GS on a daily basis. I find it very calming. And working on motorcycles calms me even more. Every winter, I buy an old vintage bike, and I spend the next six months rebuilding. I’ve been doing this for the past five years now, so I have five so far. It’s very meditative to build something.

What song is currently in your head?

Tupac’s “Are U Still Down,” which is a bit bizarre and old-school, but I have been listening to that song a lot lately.

What’s the most recent thing you’ve added to your collection?

It’s a small thing, but I just changed the dial on my Rolex Daytona. I got my first Daytona from my mother for my 20th birthday, and when she passed away last year I decided to start wearing it again. It’s an iconic watch and I wanted to do something with it after owning it for 25 years, so I changed the dial from a white dial to a black dial.


Zannier’s Oomaanda Safari Lodge in Namibia
Photo: Courtesy Zannier Hotels

If you could stick to one age, what would it be, and why?

I like the age that I am at right now. At 45, you reach a certain maturity. You have enough experiences and you also have sharpened your skills, but you’re still young. So you can do anything you want. We’ll see though—maybe 46 is even better.

When was the last time you completely unplugged?

Last weekend for three days while motorbiking in Spain. I was in the mountains north of Barcelona.

What’s your favourite cocktail, and how do you make it?

Whiskey sour. I like it made very classically. A whiskey sour is not a difficult cocktail to make, but having the right balance is not easy. I prefer it made with a beautiful single-malt whiskey.

What’s your dream car?

I’d love to buy a Porsche 911 from my birth year, 1973. I’m actually looking into it at the moment.

What have you done recently for the first time?

I just visited Mexico for the first time for a potential project, and I discovered a beautiful country, with very rich culture. I was in the Pacific Coast visiting a potential site with some investors to create a hotel.

What, apart from more time, would make the biggest difference to your life?

To be able to talk more to my kids without them being on their screens. It makes me crazy the way the younger generations are just so focused on social media.

What apps do you use the most?

Most importantly is probably the phone, and then the next one is email. I’m not a big technology junkie. I’m very simple. If I could drop my phone in the ocean and never look at it again, I would do it.

Do you have any personal rituals?

Fitness in the morning—that’s the only thing I could say that’s a real ritual. My day starts, and it’s off to the office or travelling. This month is mostly travelling. Mexico, Namibia, Asia—all in one month.

What advice do you wish you’d followed?

I can say one: When I started in this business and I was working on the design of my second hotel—my resort in Cambodia—I tried to meet as many people within this industry as possible. I had lunch with Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman, in Singapore, when I was working on the design of this property, and I asked him, ‘What would you do in terms of number of keys?’ He told me to build 60 rooms, but I was scared that I would not fill the hotel, and it was all so new and felt so big to me, and I didn’t know much about the hotel industry. So I only built 45. Today, the hotel is packed and I wish I had 15 additional rooms. That was good advice that I didn’t follow.

What’s your most annoying quality?

I suppose it could be annoying that I cannot stand still if something that needs to be done hasn’t been not done yet. I have to do it. It is very difficult to rest, and that might be very annoying. Sometimes always being ‘on’ is a quality that gets annoying—even for myself.

What’s your spirit animal?

A dog, they are honest.

Do you have a uniform for certain occasions?

Not really. I change a lot. When I am motorbiking, I wear my rolled denim and my big pair of my boots from my old label NDC. Some days it could be rolled denim, another day a suit, another a smart casual look.

What kind of conversation do you tune out?

None. Anything can be interesting to listen to.

Favourite websites?

Zannier Hotels’ website.

What do you most crave at the end of the day?

A good meal, a good glass of wine, and some rest. When I have had a good hard day at work, I really need rest. Food and wine is very important to me.

Who is your guru?

My father is a very successful businessman so naturally I have learned a lot from him. In my industry, though, I have really been learning from myself, creating my own brand from scratch.

What’s the most impressive dish you cook?

All sorts of eggs in the morning for my ids. I have three kids, and most of the time they all want different eggs. One wants scrambled eggs, the other wants an omelette, the other wants eggs Benedict, so I am a master at cooking eggs.

How do you get to sleep?

I’m tired enough that I don’t need to do anything. I go to bed and I fall straight asleep. I wake up early and work out and work hard. That’s the best routine to help yourself sleep. I don’t go to bed late either.

What does success look like to you?

I think success is when you really enjoy what you do and it makes you happy. That is success.

If you could learn a new skill what would it be?

I would like to be able to play the piano.

How much do you trust your gut instinct?

Quite a lot. When I interview someone I want to recruit, it’s more about feeling and not thinking too much about what is written on paper.

Which are your favourite stores right now?

For fashion, I would say at the moment in Belgium, it’s Frans Boone. They’ve got an incredible selection of small labels and jackets. It’s where I get a lot of my clothes. And I like the Porsche store.

Do you know how many air miles you have?

No idea. I don’t even look at the report when it comes to my office. Because, anyway, you don’t do anything with it. It’s useless. Every time you want to use them, you can’t. You can’t bring your family because it’s never the right time. I don’t even bother with it.

What’s your favourite seat on a plane?

Window.


Next year, Zannier will open Sonop a sister lodge to Oomaanda.
Photo: Courtesy Zannier Hotels

What do you most regret?

Not studying architecture. If I knew I would end up doing what I do, I would have tried to go for architecture. Today, I work a lot on the concept and design of my hotels. I am really into it. If I had some studies in architecture, it would have helped me a lot today.

Drive or be driven?

Drive. I hate being driven.

What are your regular tables in London, New York, or LA?

I try not to have a regular table anywhere. Discovery is part of my job. I am trying to always find new hotels and restaurants and bars, so I try to avoid going to the same places. It’s important to see what’s new.

How many watches do you own?

Too many.

What’s your favourite hotel?

The next Zannier Hotel, because that’s the one my head is into the most. I have been working for more than a year on Sonop (which means sunrise in the Afrikaans). I am so excited to see it. When you work hard on a project and imagine it, you just want to see it finished.

Who do you admire most, and why?

I don’t really admire anybody.

Last piece of advice you gave?

To my youngest son: ‘Stop looking at Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat!’

The last advice you were given?

It’s too personal to tell you. Sorry.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I’m in the middle of an airport in Asia right now and it’s midnight, so home.

What is your email etiquette?

It depends. If it’s internal, I’m short and to the point. And if it’s important people, I will spend a bit more time. But in general, I’m not too formal.

What’s always in your hand luggage?

My laptop.

What’s worth paying for?

Travel.

Wine of choice?

Rosé from my family’s vineyard, Château Saint-Maur, in the St Tropez region.

Do you still write letters?

No.

Movies or theatre?

Movies.

Bowie or Dylan?

David Bowie. Because he’s European! Joking—his music is better.

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A Michael Jordan Logoman Patch Card Just Sold for a Record $2.9 Million at Auction

The one-of-one piece is now the most expensive Jordan card to ever cross the auction block.

By Tori Latham 06/06/2024

Michael Jordan was a record-breaking athlete—and the legendary hooper is continuing to set records more than two decades after his (final) retirement from the game.

A one-of-one signed and game-used Jordan Logoman patch card just sold for an eye-popping USD$2.9 million, making it the most expensive Jordan card ever sold at auction. The 2003 card was part of the Goldin 100 auction, where it received 38 bids before finally hammering down for that multimillion-dollar total.

Goldin

The rare card, which was included in an Upper Deck Ultimate Collection, is the very first signed Logoman patch card with Jordan in a Chicago Bulls jersey. The patch itself is from Jordan’s peak with the Bulls, a team he led to six NBA championships. The bold blue autograph on the bottom of the card, meanwhile, was graded PSA 10. It’s unclear where the card was before 2022, when it was submitted to PSA for grading, and this is the first time it’s been offered in a public auction. Altogether, it’s considered to be the most exclusive Jordan autographed Logoman card in the world.

While Jordan is perhaps most well known for what he’s done on the court, the baller is no stranger to making waves on the auction block, too. Earlier this year, a set of his NBA Finals–worn sneakers achieved a bonkers $8 million during a Sotheby’s auction. Even then, that’s not the most someone has paid for Jordan memorabilia: In 2022, the athlete’s game-worn “Last Dance” Finals jersey hammered down for a whopping USD$10.1 million.

The recent card sale may not match those numbers, but almost USD$3 million is still a hefty sum to pay for a relatively compact item. And the card easily swept the rest of the Goldin 100 auction. The highest following lot was a Kobe Bryant jersey that the late Los Angeles Laker wore during a 2013 game. That piece of sports history ended up going home with someone for USD$1.2 million.

As the richest basketball player ever, with a net worth of $3.5 billion as of a year ago, Jordan himself is far outearning his card’s value. But it’s unlikely that he would have ever made that much money without paving the sort of path that makes his memorabilia so desirable when it hits the auction block.

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You Can Now Buy and Sell Luxury Watches and Jewellery on eBay’s Consignment Service

The e-tailer is making inroads on being a major marketplace for high-end goods.

By Tori Latham 06/06/2024

eBay is continuing to make inroads into the luxury industry.

The website on Tuesday expanded its consignment service to include high-end watches, jewellery, and footwear. Among the brands being accepted by the program are Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton for shoes; Chanel, David Yurman, and Neil Lane for jewellery; and Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, and Jaeger-LeCoultre for timepieces.

eBay’s consignment program debuted at the end of last year for handbags, and it added apparel to the mix in March. The service is meant to make selling high-end goods easier for those looking to offload their pieces, and more trustworthy for those hoping to buy them. The e-tailer has partnered with the company Linda’s Stuff to streamline the process: A seller fills out a simple intake form, then receives a prepaid and insured shipping label to send in their items. eBay and Linda’s Stuff photograph, price, and list the item, with the seller receiving a commission based on the final sale price. If a piece sells for $5,000 or more, for example, the seller receives 80 percent.

Since launching its consignment service, eBay has seen that items listed that way are selling for more than similar pieces listed on the website in the more traditional way. In just one example, a small quilted Chanel 19 flap bag consigned in December hurdled past the average sales price for the same purses sold on eBay by 45 percent.

In recent years, eBay has been training its efforts on making high-end, pre-owned items easier to sell and buy on its platform. It has implemented programs like Certified by Brand and Authenticity Guarantee to ensure that users feel confident when buying and selling luxury items on the website. And those sorts of used and refurbished items now compose 40 percent of eBay’s gross merchandise volume.

While it may seem a bit strange to sell your luxury items on eBay rather than a designated site like the RealReal, the e-tailer might be breaking out as the next big luxury marketplace, especially when it comes to pre-owned pieces.

 

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Four Seasons’ Private Jet Trips Will Take You to Asia, Africa, and Beyond in 2026

The six 2026 itineraries range from 13 to 21 days and cost between USD$159,000 and $229,000 per person.

By Rachel Cormack 06/06/2024

It’s never too early to start planning a vacation. Just ask Four Seasons.

The hospitality giant just unveiled its private jet itineraries for 2026, giving travelers a chance to book their next adventure a good two years in advance. Designed by a team of experts, the six journeys allow jet-setters to explore far-flung destinations in five-star luxury. You’ll fly the globe in the fully customized Four Seasons Airbus A321neo and stay in lavish Four Seasons hotels along the way. More importantly, guests can partake in curated experiences a cut above the typical tour.

“Our goal is to create connections with travelers of this generation and the next, fostering a legacy of transformative experiences that extend far beyond the journey,” Marc Speichert, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Four Seasons, said in a statement.

Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Four Seasons

The itineraries cater to a wide range of travelers, with differing lengths and routes. The 16-day Asia Unveiled trip, for instance, takes guests on a deep dive into the East, with stops in Tokyo, Bali, Angkor Wat, Hoi An, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Bangkok. Other adventures, like the 21-day International Intrigue journey, cover many global destinations from the African savannah to the city of Paris.

Wellness enthusiasts can indulge at Four Seasons Resort Maldives.
Four Seasons

Similarly, the experiences on offer are designed to appeal to a myriad of personality types, from culture vultures and history nerds to thrillseekers and gourmands. On the African Wonders trip, fitness buffs can join a Maasai guide for a nature walk in the Serengeti and then chill out in a meditation session led by an expert yogi. During Timeless Encounters, explorers can take a submarine scooter to Bora Bora’s renowned diving spots. With International Intrigue and Asia Unveiled, wellness enthusiasts indulge in lavish treatments at the Island Spa within Four Seasons Resort Maldives. Asia Unveiled also allows foodies to embark on a sushi masterclass with a Michelin-starred chef in Tokyo, while International Intrigue gives gluttons the chance to craft six courses with celebrated chefs in Mexico City’s local markets. In addition, history connoisseurs can visit famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal on Timeless Encounters. That is just a taste of the experiences on offer, too.

The 2026 itineraries range from 13 to 21 days and cost between USD$159,000 and $229,000 per person. To start planning your trip, visit the Four Seasons website or email the team at fourseasonsjet@fourseasons.com.

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Audemars Piguet Just Dropped a Bevy of New Watches—Including a Mini Royal Oak

From the new Royal Oak Mini to skeletonised 37 mm versions and a wild asymmetrical reissue, AP just slayed the spring watch season.

By Nick Scott, Paige Reddinger, Allen Farmelo 06/06/2024

Audemars Piguet isn’t resting on its laurels and that’s likely just how former longtime CEO, François-Henri Bennhamias, intended. The colourful head honcho left his post at the helm this past December, but he certainly left his mark by taking the brand to USD$2.7 billion in sales by 2023 before handing over the reins to newly minted CEO, Ilaria Resta, who was hired from global perfumery company, Firmenich. (Resta is the latest female addition to AP’s top brass following the appointment of Ginny Wright, who came from L’Oreal, as the CEO of North America.)

Given the lead time of R&D in watchmaking, the latest watches are certainly the mark of Bennhamias’s direction, and the watches are anything but wallflowers. You have wildly innovative new materials like a Royal Oak prototype proposed in Chroma Gold—a new technique blending white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold into a camouflage pattern—and a funky new “Crystal Sand” finish on the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding 34 mm model. Meanwhile, Code 11.59 gets decked in an extraordinarily challenging arrangement of sapphires and diamonds, and the latest [Re]Master02 comes in a funky 1960s tv-shaped case with beveled sapphire crystal glass.

Here’s a look at how Audemars Piguet is flexing its craftsmanship muscles with these daring new timepieces.

Audemars Piguet

At 23 mm across, these are not the smallest Royal Oaks ever produced: a 20mm iteration was launched in 1997, alongside a 44mm Royal Oak Grande Complication, to celebrate the model’s 25th anniversary. They’re also not the sparkliest Royal Oaks: any number of abundantly gem-set models are all vying for that crown.

But the frosted gold trio before you are definitely amongst the most attention-grabbing Royal Oaks to date, residing as they do in the intersection of two Goldilocks zones: they’re well suited to slender-wristed wearers, but not so small that they invoke outmoded notions of femininity; and they’re mischievously sparkly, but packing only carefully measured flamboyance.

Audemars Piguet

Built from 18 carat yellow, white or pink frosted gold, the new pieces’ shimmering diamond-dust effect contrasts beautifully with the polished bevels. The case, bezel and bracelet have been created using a Florentine jewelry technique first applied to a Royal Oak in 2016, and again in 2018 with the help of Carolina Bucci. The frosting involves hand-hammering the metal using a diamond-tipped tool, and the effect is uniquely elegant and understated.

The dials—like that on Gérald Genta’s original steel game-changer—are uncluttered bar the petite tapisserie pattern. Unlike Genta’s original (a major counter-offensive salvo from the mechanical watches camp during the quartz crises) the beating heart for this trio is calibre 2730, a quartz movement with a seven-year battery life and easy-to-use deactivation mode.

Audemars Piguet

The smallest selfwinding Royal Oaks ever made remain Calibre 2062, a 29mm piece – created by former head of Audemars Piguet’s design office Jacqueline Dimier – which retained the codes of Genta’s original model created in 1976, and the gem-set derivative released shortly afterwards.

“These mini creations pay tribute not only to Audemars Piguet’s long tradition of miniature and jewellery watches, but also to the women who have left their mark on the history of the brand, including Jacqueline Dimier to whom we owe the first Royal Oak for women, and Carolina Bucci, the mastermind behind the Frosted Gold finish,” said Ilaria Resta Audemars Piguet’s Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.

Audemars Piguet

Sébastian Vivas—the maker’s Heritage and Museum Director—added that the three pieces “demonstrate the extraordinary plasticity of the Royal Oak collection, which transcends decades, gender, trends and dimensions.”

Size: 27 mm
Material: white, yellow and rose gold
Price: $51,700

Audemars Piguet

AP’s frosted gold Royal Oaks have been a hit for the brand since it debuted as a collaboration with Italian jeweler, Carolina Bucci in 2016. There have been several versions, including one with a mirrored dial, and now the nouveau classic is sporting a “Crystal Sand” finish.

Audemars Piguet

The 34 mm model’s dial offers a magnified and dramatized interpretation of the hammered case and surface of the bracelet. Made from embossed ruthenium crystal, the dial is then adorned with a stamping die via electroforming, a process that forms or grows metal parts onto a model. The color is achieved through a galvanic bath of both rhodium and gold coating to accentuate its 3D form.

Audemars Piguet

Size: 34 mm
Material: frosted gold
Price: $93,250

Audemars Piguet

Since 2010, Audemars Piguet’s Openworked Royal Oak models have been offered in sizes ranging between 39 mm (e.g., reference 15305) and 41 mm (e.g., reference 15407). Something about skeletonizing watches seems to cause many brands to reach for its larger cases: Perhaps it’s the larger dial for skeletonizing, or perhaps it’s a tendency to assume that men who like big watches will also prefer openworked dials. To be honest, I’ve long shared the latter assumption, though I’ve never had much reason to examine it before now.

Audemars Piguet often challenges our assumptions (consider the Spider Man Royal Oak, for example), and this new Openworked Double Balance Wheel Royal Oak at 37 mm in white or rose gold disregards assumptions about gender and watches while also underlining the small watch trend for men.

Audemars Piguet

Thirty-seven mm is pretty much the perfect “unisex” size. Many brands (for example, Grand Seiko, Lange, Rolex, Zentih) offer 37 mm watches that serve as a bridge between their men’s and women’s collections, and sometimes these brands will point that out. However, in its typical avant garde manner, Audemars Piguet is way ahead of this shifting norm—especially when compared to its counterparts in the Horological Holy Trinity, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, both of which offer 37 mm watches steered more obviously toward men or women with gem setting, or the lack thereof. By offering the Openworked Royal Oak at 37 mm, Audemars Piguet cleverly sidesteps that old-school his/hers conundrum.

Audemars Piguet

This watch is going to resonate with men who are continuing to lean toward smaller watches, and it’s going to resonate with women who are looking for a larger and more daring timepiece that won’t overpower (or simply overhang) their wrists. And this Royal Oak does all that gender bending by simply shrinking its skeletonized watch. In this regard alone, I think it’s a brilliant offering—and I’m not a big fan of openworked dials.

The dual balance wheel mechanism of caliber 3132 helps stabilize the balance staff in its ruby mount, which improves precision.
Audemars Piguet

With all that said, what’s really driving this watch’s avant garde nature is the movement, known as caliber 3132. The dual balance wheel is a unique approach to minimizing the tilt of the balance staff (the axil on which the balance wheel oscillates). When the balance wheel swings back and forth (like a pendulum), there is a tendency, due to inertia, for it to slightly tilt within its ruby mount. When the balance staff tilts (however slightly) gravity has its way with it, causing timing discrepancies in different positions (known as positional variance). By adding a second balance wheel (not just a second spring, as found in some movements), Audemars Piguet has added stabilizing mass to the mechanism, as well as a counter-force that further stabilizes the balance staff as it changes direction. Theoretically, this reduces tilt of the balance staff and reduces positional variance.

It also looks very cool, and you’ll get a good view from both the front and the back of this watch.

Size: 37 mm
Material: pink and white gold
Price: $147,300

Audemars Piguet

If you’d told me a few years ago that brutalism—a minimalist, institutional architecture style of the mid-20th century rendered with massive concrete slabs—was going to be a catchphrase of watch design by 2024, I’d have declared you an iconoclastic crackpot. But, you’d have been right.

Audemars Piguet has picked up on the recent nostalgia for that strangely appealing architectural style. Reaching into their catalog from the 1960s, when brutalism was peaking globally, they’ve found a very cool watch to recreate—or, as AP insists, to “[RE]Master.” Audemars Piguet has borrowed the term from the recording arts: Remastering is generally a slight modernizing of a recording for current markets, so the analogy holds here, as this watch slightly modernizes vintage model.

Audemars Piguet

Crafted from Audemars Piguet’s proprietary sand gold, the case will shift between white and pink gold hues, depending on ambient lighting. Using the trusted time-only only caliber 7129, this auto-winding mechanical movement is on display through a circular window in the caseback.

Audemars Piguet

Sébastian Vivas, AP’s Heritage and Museum Director, states that “Between 1959 and 1963, Audemars Piguet created more than 30 asymmetrical models, most of which were produced in less than 10 pieces. [RE]Master02 is a fantastic opportunity to revive this forgotten golden age.”

Audemars Piguet

Despite the wildly brutalist case, it may be the dial that steals the show here. Created using a dark blue PVD treatment over beautifully brushed surfaces, the 12 individually crafted dial segments cleverly help time telling without relying on applied markers. These dial segments are separated by galvanized sand gold partitions, and each segment sits on miniscule legs attached to a brass dial plate beneath. All of this geometric precision is accentuated by the beveled sapphire crystal.

Size: 41 mm
Material: sand gold
Price: $70,900(limited to 250 pieces)

Audemars Piguet

The Code 11.59 is getting all dolled up this year in a splash of gem-set models. Two 38 mm iterations come in either 18-karat pink gold or white gold set with 533 brilliant-cut diamonds and colored sapphires.

Audemars Piguet

What is notable here is the pixelated-looking setting. The pink-gold version comes with an array of navy, baby blue and yellow sapphires on the dial, while the white-gold version comes in pink and purple sapphires. Both look as though the colors were shaken in a glass and poured onto the dial so that the pattern is haphazardly arranged. It’s a fun take on a gem-set dial, one which we can’t recall seeing before and is, no doubt, extraordinarily difficult to arrange to achieve the right balance of hues. Each piece is set with the three-hand selfwinding caliber 5909.

Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet

One of the coolest pieces in the new lineup is just a prototype for now, but it offers a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. Chroma Gold is a patented innovation blending yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold via Spark Plasma Sintering technology. Each gold variation is melted before droplets are atomized into powders. They are then combined in their respective pattern in a circular graphite mold which is then sintered via an electrical current. It is a first for the watch industry.

Audemars Piguet

Even in jewellery it is notoriously difficult to work with multiple types of metal in one piece due to the variations in consistency and that’s without trying to blend them together. The only time we have seen the blending of two different types of gold before is in American jeweler Adam Neeley’s proprietary SpectraGold, which is currently pending a patent. AP’s Chroma Gold follows the debut of a similar method with ceramic that debuted in a prototype earlier this year allowing the company to blend various hues of the material. Camo isn’t for everyone, but the multi-hued gold version certainly makes a compelling case for the machismo pattern. On the right hands it will be irresistibly cool.

 

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Watch of the Week: IWC Ceralume Pilot’s Chronograph

The concept watch hints at the future of IWC’s proprietary luminous ceramic technology.

By Josh Bozin 31/05/2024

Did you catch Lewis Hamilton rocking a new IWC Schaffhausen timepiece at the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend? We did too, and as curious watch fanatics, we couldn’t help but speculate on what exactly this stark-white timepiece could be. A new iteration of the 2022 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN “Lake Tahoe” edition, perhaps?

Sort of.

Earlier this week, IWC took to Instagram to reveal what its experimental engineering division, XPL, has been working on over the last few years. Introducing the new IWC Ceralume Pilot’s Chronograph—a ceramic watch, albeit a prototype, that completely glows in the dark, from case to dial to strap!

IWC

Such wizardry is thanks to a proprietary luminous ceramic technology that IWC calls “Ceralume.” This technical feat has allowed IWC watchmakers to produce their very first fully luminous ceramic watch. Building on its 40-year journey as true pioneers of engineering ceramic material within watches—ceramic is notoriously difficult to work with, you see—IWC is no stranger to such technical feats.

Thanks to the homogeneous mixing of ceramic powders with high-grade Super-LumiNova pigments, IWC has fashioned a luminous material that acts like a battery for storing light energy. Utilising the new Ceralume technology, this fully luminous concept Pilot’s Chronograph emits a bright blueish light that lasts more than 24 hours.

“With the first fully luminous ceramic case rings, we underscore our role as a pioneer and innovator in ceramic watches. The development of Ceralume took several years. The main challenges we faced were producing watch cases with maximum homogeneity and meeting our exacting quality standards,” says Dr. Lorenz Brunner, Department Manager Research & Innovation at IWC Schaffhausen.

“To achieve these goals, we engineered a ground-breaking new manufacturing process – tailored to the unique combination of ceramic powders and Super-LumiNova pigments.”

If we’re to get extra technical, the ceramic material absorbs light energy from sunlight (or artificial light), stores it temporarily, and then emits the absorbed energy as visible light—the luminous “glow” that you see below. According to IWC, this cycle is infinite and will never cause the material to age or diminish its light storage capacity.

IWC

Developed completely in-house by IWC and its Experimental Engineering Division (XPL), the patent-pending Ceralume technology will undoubtedly form the foundation of future developments and releases, with a broader commercial release imminent.

To learn more, visit iwc.com

 

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