From Private Parties To Paperwork: Here’s How The Luxury World Really Treats Its VIPs

There are very important clients, and then there are very, very important clients. Here’s how to know where you rank in the worlds of wine, watches, cars and jewellery.

By Jill Newman 21/11/2022

On a warm July evening, an intimate group of elegantly attired guests roamed the gilded halls of the Palace of Versailles, sipping Champagne while being serenaded by violins. The unforgettable party included a candlelit dinner prepared by Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut, a display of rare diamond jewels and a fireworks display that illuminated the sky above the palace while an orchestra played in the famed gardens below. If not for the fact that many of the guests jetted in courtesy of their host, Van Cleef & Arpels, one could be forgiven for thinking they’d time-traveled back to the 17th century, when the merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier presented the Sun King, Louis XIV, with jaw-dropping jewels from his trip to India in the very same rooms.

This fairy tale was a quintessentially private affair (strictly no photos) for the company’s top clients, who were invited to celebrate the unveiling of the collection, the Legend of Diamonds—and to indulge in three days of meticulously organised culinary and wine experiences. Before the first cork popped at Versailles, the guests were ferried to private tours and specially prepared menus at Château Margaux one day, followed by lunches at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and Champagne Perrier-Jouët.

“The story behind the collection is always at the centre of the experience,” says Nicolas Bos, Van Cleef’s president and CEO. In this case, that story revolved around the 910-carat Lesotho Legend, the fifth-largest rough diamond ever mined, which the French jeweller had turned into a glittering array of high jewellery.

For big spenders, these money-can’t-buy experiences have become the norm: This past summer, Cartier flew its premier clients to Madrid for three days of carefully planned activities, including tours of art collections, Michelin-star meals, a gala in the 18th-century Liria Palace where Rita Ora performed and, of course, a first look at its Beautés du Monde high jewellery. Louis Vuitton unveiled its 125-piece jewellery collection at an extravagant dinner at the Dar el Bacha palace in Marrakech for clients, as well as Kylie Minogue and Chloë Grace Moretz. Gucci’s higjewelleryry took pride of place at the 18th-century Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome, which contains one of the world’s premier private collections of ancient and Renaissance art. At the dinner, British singer Sam Smith wowed the small group in the garden.

There have never been more millionaires and billionaires and, consequently, the global smorgasbord of luxury products has never been more in demand. But because what defines this increasingly attractive corner of the economy is a sense of exclusivity, the makers of high-end wines, cars, watches and other collectables have had to up the ante. Just as airlines have their silver, gold and platinum status, luxury houses employ similar, if more discreet, rankings for their most dedicated customers—and the kind of attention (and scrutiny) said clients get depends almost entirely on where they are in that VIP pecking order. In one industry, that might mean strolling down the red carpet for a once-in-a-lifetime event. In another, it may translate to being allowed to apply to purchase a new product, once it has been released.

In any luxury industry, though, the payoff for securing VIP clients, who can spend millions of dollars a year with a single company, is astronomical—and some sectors invest fortunes in wining and dining their heaviest hitters. From the upper echelons of wine collecting, for instance, Cardinale, the Napa Valley winery that produces a single (and much sought-after) Cabernet Sauvignon each year, takes a networking approach to VIP relations, hosting private dinners at the homes of its best customers. These insiders are encouraged to invite friends who may be interested in acquiring rare vintages for their own cellars—a little like a high-stakes Tupperware party.

The wine world is intrinsically convivial, so much so that executives sometimes open the doors of their own homes for private events, too. Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of a winery that produces bottles in Napa, Sonoma and Burgundy, has been known to invite his top collectors to dine at the California hilltop manse he shares with his wife and children. The house centres on an indoor pool illuminated by Baccarat chandeliers, and synchronised swimmers, aerialists and magicians have all been brought in as entertainment. At Boisset’s 50th birthday party in 2019, Joseph Minafra, the lead for innovation and technical partnerships at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, presented the host with a meteorite. Boisset later had chunks of the space rock affixed to bottles of a wine called the Surrealist-Meteor, produced in an edition of just 250, which he offered first to members of his JCB Collectors society, who bought all but a handful of the available bottles, which then sold out in a JCB tasting salon.

So how does one make the journey to Boisset’s hilltop—or any other wine-world apex? Start by landing a coveted spot on a winery’s allocation list. That first rung of the VIP ladder itself requires a certain display of largesse, but once you’re on, you have the distinct privilege of buying cases of wines months before other customers—and at lower prices than you’d pay via your local agent. In some instances, it also means you have access to special bottles that are never made publicly available.

Marcin Wolski

But in the jewellery world, a realm in which the biggest houses produce only dozens of unique pieces annually but the pool of serious collectors is likewise more limited, keeping the VIPs happy takes on heightened importance. “A small number of customers can have a major impact on a jeweller’s business,” explains Robert Burke, a New York–based luxury consultant.

“These houses are doing everything to make their customers feel special and be excited to buy their collections.”
-Robert Burke

“We are in the business of emotion,” says Mercedes Abramo, CEO of Cartier North America. The house’s elaborate high-jewelry presentations for VIPs in glamorous destinations around the world are designed to forge a far deeper connection with clients than a mere boutique visit might achieve. When a client purchases a piece at one of these events, Abramo explains, “they will remember the moment every time they wear it.” Put another way, a bracelet may be far more meaningful when it comes with a personal story—and bragging rights that you bought it as one of a handful of elite guests at a Spanish palace or a château in the South of France.

But what if you’re just getting started on your climb up the ladder of luxury shopping? An entry-level VIP experience might be an exclusive local party. Last fall, Tiffany & Co. took over a $75 million art-filled New York townhouse to showcase its new designs, loose gemstones and the trophies it creates for the NFL, the NBA and the US Open tennis championships. Even the historic Tiffany yellow diamond was on display—and the company invited many elite customers in the Americas to take a look.

You know you’re moving up when you get face time with a chief executive. In September, Tiffany CEO Anthony Ledru hosted around 65 VIPs in São Paulo, Brazil, where guests previewed the newest high jewellery in one-on-one meetings. It was there that Tiffany sold one of its most expensive Bird on a Rock brooches to date. Typically, these pieces, which follow a 1965 design by Jean Schlumberger, are set with large citrines or aquamarine stones—and as a result are relatively expensive (this fall, 1stDibs was offering one for $140,000). But as the São Paulo example featured a fancy intense yellow diamond, its price was in the seven figures.

“I believe the future is more about intimacy, and it’s very hard when you have a very large setting,” Ledru says of the smaller events he stages higher up the VIP food chain. “We believe in small groups where you can truly interact with the clients and really spend time with them.”

Those targeted individuals are treated not only to fabulous trips but also to claims on the most rarefied pieces, which never find their way to the boutiques; they’re presented only to clients with demonstrated buying power and interest. During a Tiffany trip to this year’s Venice Film Festival, one couple made a major purchase—which may be why they were subsequently invited to a high-jewelry event in Dubai, where they happened to acquire an extremely rare red diamond. While Tiffany wouldn’t reveal its price, a similar stone sold for nearly $4.5 million at Christie’s two years ago. The couple met with Tiffany’s design team to turn the stone into a bespoke piece.

The highest echelons of VIP treatment are often marked by this level of collaboration between customers and craftsmen—because there’s nothing quite so exclusive as a one-off you helped design. In most cases, there’s an expectation of privacy around these elite transactions. The automotive world, which generates breathless speculation about who may have commissioned its unique editions, is famously tight-lipped about how it treats its best customers. Bugatti, which produces some of the most expensive cars in the world, makes paying a visit to its headquarters in Molsheim, France, an exercise akin to a papal audience. “We are not a museum and don’t offer tours,” says Cedric Davy, COO for Bugatti of the Americas. “You are only able to visit the factory if you are a customer, and we only receive one customer per day.”

Rolls-Royce isn’t quite so rigid. In the past, it has brought groups of VIPs to its factory in Goodwood, England, where in early 2022 a small gaggle of customers was invited to place orders for its forthcoming electric vehicle, the Spectre, months before the public even knew it existed.

But its top rung is reserved for the likes of car collector Michael Fux. By some accounts, the Cuban-born, New Jersey–based mattress magnate owns over 120 rare cars and has purchased 15 from Rolls-Royce. That devotion has earned him a direct line to the company’s design department and an entire palette of proprietary colours named after him, from Fuxia—his own shade of fuchsia—to Fux Jade Pearl. According to Martin Fritsches, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America, Fux and others of his ilk receiving their commissions warrants “special occasions like Monterey Car Week for public delivery.”

Some high rollers may shy away from such overt displays but still appreciate being courted in an ultra-personalised way that taps into their passions. Boucheron, the French jewellery firm that counts the British royal family among its customers, recently hosted a client and family with an affinity for astrology for a private dinner under the stars at the Côte d’Azur Observatory in France. “To me, there is no point of living a lavish life and dying rich,” says Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, Boucheron’s CEO. “It’s only about gathering extraordinary experiences and loving memories.” Another example in the house’s bag of tricks: an overnight stay in the apartment above Boucheron’s historic Paris flagship store (from the bathtub, you get sweeping views of the Place Vendôme), a privilege bestowed by invitation only five nights a year.

Intimacy on this order grew in relevance in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, when most big events had to be cancelled. In response, Cartier invited select groups of VIPs to Jackson Hole, Wyo., (with the option of flying in on your own plane) for three days in October 2021 to view its Sixième Sens par Cartier high-jewelry collection staged in a modern house. Guests stayed in nearby homes and hotels and followed personalised itineraries that included fly-fishing, a fancy picnic and a horse exhibition. “It was exclusive but still down-to-earth,” explains Abramo, the North America CEO, who spent one-on-one time with each guest. “We were able to engage with clients who don’t want to go to a black-tie gala because it’s not their style.”

These types of elite events are reserved for the VIPs, the ones who spend seven figures on a single piece—and Abramo’s team makes sure the guest list is a mix of people who will be open to meeting others on a similar level. Those not keen on socialising receive a private after-hours showing at their local boutique instead, or a curated selection of jewels brought to their home or office.

Some invitations may be too good to pass up. Earlier this year, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin threw a serious celebration at the Italian Embassy in Paris. Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were there, and Carla Bruni sang. Babin says such events underline the house’s connection to stars of the silver screen, including Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, who were notable Bulgari clients in their time. And having their contemporary counterparts at the dinner table with clients is akin to a live-action marketing campaign. When a celebrity “is wearing a high-jewelry necklace across from you,” Babin says, “you can identify yourself as a potential owner” of the same piece.

Jewellery houses are also adept at determining a client’s spending potential and will take pains to do what’s needed to facilitate the progression to the next level. Lucy Guo, a Miami-based start-up founder and venture capitalist, was a guest at Cartier’s jewellery exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art in May and said the trip gave her a deeper appreciation of the brand. “Cartier really takes care of you and makes you feels special,” she says. Guo and a guest were given a driver for two days to take them to personalised activities, including the gala museum dinner. She returned home having bought a new diamond animal bracelet. Win win.

Marcin Wolski

But while many luxury industries go to significant lengths to cultivate relationships with their best clients, at least one tends to take a contrasting psychological approach: Rather than offering cushy perks or throwing lavish fetes to flatter their best customers, watch companies make them jump through hoops to land the most exclusive products—and convince those clients that the process is an honour. Thanks in part to extremely limited production and an exponential increase in the horologically inclined, very few can waltz into a boutique and skip back out again with something new on their wrists.

You have to work for it: For the crème de la crème of watchmaking, a cross between a college application and an IRS 1040 may also be required.

To get hold of the latest Patek Philippe complications, clients must submit applications. Even being asked if you would like to apply is something of a feather in one’s cap: To be considered for the gatekeeping form, one must start with the brand’s entry-level Calatrava model and climb the ladder to more important pieces over the course of years to prove one’s fealty. The questions on the application can range from why you want to buy the watch to your job title (aka your means of income), and there’s even said to be a contractual promise not to resell it within a certain period.

For its most coveted releases, Panerai goes so far as to evaluate a client’s personality and fitness. To get one of the brand’s five-figure Xperience timepieces, you have to go on the affiliated high-octane adventure trip. One recent model, which included a climbing excursion with renowned mountaineer Jimmy Chin, had collectors clamoring for the chance to pay its $60,000 price tag—but North American brand president Philippe Bonay played hardball.

“We knew that one element [for a successful trip] was a certain level of fitness,” he says. Hear that? It’s the sound of more doors shutting.

On the flipside, in a bid to lure in fresh clientele, Audemars Piguet in 2022 started promising a reserve of Royal Oaks, its best-known and most-coveted model, to newcomers only. But with demand ultra-high, who gets on the first-timer list? “The right way to do it is actually very simple: create and develop a relationship with us,” says outgoing CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, making the catch-22 sound laughably straightforward. “When you don’t know anyone, you have to get known by our people, and eventually things happen.”

So the answer to becoming a VIP seems to be… time. Well, time and connections and taste and money and…

Additional reporting by Mike DeSimone, Jeff Jenssen, Viju Mathew and Paige Reddinger


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Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille Just Dropped Another Watch Collab. Here’s Every One They’ve Made Together.

The duo has launched 11 models in less than 15 years, including the brand new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon.

By Cait Bazemore 30/05/2024

Rafael Nadal really needs no introduction. He’s arguably one of the best tennis players of all time, notching 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, including a record 14 French Open titles. Thanks to 81 consecutive wins on clay (the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era), he’s more than earned his unofficial title as the King of Clay. His first major title came in 2005, and for more than 15 years, he never slowed down, clenching yet another French Open win in 2022. However, the tides turned for the star player last year when injury knocked him out of the second round of the Australian Open at the start of the 2023 season. As a result, he exited the Top 10 for the first time since 2005 and later declined to enter the French Open. After a year of recovery, the beloved Spanish player announced his triumphant return to the ATP tour at the end of 2023. However, after withdrawing from the season’s first major, the Australian Open, and losing in the first round at the French Open to Alexander Zverev, it looks like it may be Nadal’s final season before retirement.

Watches and tennis have long gone hand in hand ever since Rolex became the official timekeeper of Wimbledon back in 1978. Since then, countless players have landed partnerships with watchmakers or served as brand ambassadors. If you look closely, you’ll often notice one of the first things that players do upon exiting the court is strap on their favorite timepiece. But Nadal is one of the few pros who actually wears his watch during the match. Most timekeepers aren’t fit to withstand the force of a tennis swing, but Nadal teamed up with one of the few brands able to deliver a truly performance-driven timepiece that’s up for the challenge, Richard Mille. The duo has been developing watches together since 2010, resulting in 11 exceptional models including their latest collaboration, the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon, which just dropped over Memorial Day weekend. Here, we take a deeper look at the evolution of Nadal and Richard Mille’s partnership and the wild watches they’ve created.

Richard Mille

Richard Mille

Richard Mille created its debut model for Nadal in 2010 with the RM 027. This tourbillon thoughtfully optimizes both form and function for the court. It features a carbon composite case and flexible polycarbonate strap, keeping it ultra-lightweight. However, the real genius comes in the design of the movement, which is made of titanium and a unique alloy called LITAL. The combination of materials from the inside out results in a timepiece weighing less than 20 grams, including the strap, making it the lightest watch ever produced at the time.

Richard Mille

A year later, the duo switched things up with the launch of the RM 035. While the model lacks the tourbillon functionality, it’s anything but a simple timepiece. The initial RM 035 features a skeletonized dial with a similar lightweight build, this time thanks to a magnesium and aluminum alloy. In addition, it marked the first Richard Mille Chronofiable-certified timepiece, representing a new milestone in the quest for long-lasting performance under extreme conditions.

Richard Mille

We wouldn’t see the next collaboration for another two years. In 2013, the pair unveiled the second generation of the RM 027, and somehow, they managed to make it even lighter than the original, now weighing just 18.83 grams. In addition, the RM 27-01 features a new system that can withstand up to 5000 Gs of force.

Richard Mille

In 2014, Nadal and Richard Mille released the second generation of the RM 035. This model features more subtle updates from the original, with a more ornate case and dial design. Here you’ll note pops of Rafa’s signature colors, red and yellow, as an homage to the Spanish flag. In addition, the RM 35-01 gets an upgraded movement, replacing the original caliber RMUL1 with the RMUL3. The RMUL3 offers a slightly more lightweight build (a mere 4 grams down from 4.3 grams) and a power reserve of 55-hours provided by a double-barrel system.

Richard Mille

The following year, we got the next generation of the model that started it all. With the RM 27-02, the pair continued upping the ante on bolder styling with a red-clay colored strap. However, the major headline for the RM 27-02 was the introduction of the very first skeletonized baseplate known as the “unibody.” The idea is that the case and baseplate are fused into a single piece, resulting in greater impact resistance on the court.

Richard Mille

In 2016, Nadal and Richard Mille went back to developing the RM 035 line with the next evolution: the RM 35-02. The model comes in two variations, one in more classic black and one in bright red. The red iteration marked a major departure to the lineup, not only in its color scheme but also in its functionality. For the first time, we see an automatic caliber powering the model.

Richard Mille

A year later, the pair announced not one, not two, but three new additions within their partnership. The first was the fourth generation of the RM 027. With the RM 27-03, we see the loudest model yet in terms of styling with an attention-commanding yellow and red case and strap. The boldness of the model continues through its technical achievements thanks to a totally new tourbillon movement that can withstand shocks of up to 10,000 Gs, which marked an industry first.

Richard Mille

In addition to the RM 27-03, 2017 ushered in two models exclusively for the American market, perhaps in response to Nadal notching his third U.S. Open title that year. The RM 035 Black Toro and RM 035 Gold Toro both nod to another one of the player’s nicknames, “The Bull.” Stylistically, the Black Toro pays homage to the design of the original RM 035 with the upgrade of the new automatic caliber RMAL1 found in the RM 35-02. As the name suggests, the Gold Toro offers a new aesthetic to the lineup with an 18-karat rose gold case.

Richard Mille

The introduction of the RM 27-04 in 2020 marked the 10-year anniversary of Nadal’s partnership with Richard Mille. For the occasion, the duo debuted a brand new case material called TitaCarb, a carbon fiber reinforced polyamide with the strength of steel while remaining far more lightweight. The resulting design was totally unique with a dial featuring metal mesh “strings” reminiscent of those of a tennis racket. The RM 27-04 also boasts upgraded functionality with a new caliber able to absorb 12,000 Gs in shock.

Richard Mille

In December 2023, on the heels of Rafa’s announcement to return to the game, Richard Mille unveiled its next model for the King of Clay’s comeback: the RM 35-03. The all-new timepiece is available in three versions: one in blue Quartz TPT with a white Quartz TPT caseband, one in white Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT with a Carbon TPT caseband, and one in full Carbon TPT. Of course, the RM 35-03 also showcases new technical achievements with a butterfly rotor that allows the wearer to directly interact with the rotor’s geometry, controlling the movement’s winding speed based on lifestyle and activity levels.

This article was originally featured in Robb Report

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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.


Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

Purpose-built for people who own at least two residences and have homes to spare valued at over $2 million, all applicants are vetted and assessed, before being allowed to join. With a global portfolio across 100 countries and 2500 destinations, Shealy is now focusing on Australia.

“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

“We know there’s an extremely healthy appetite for Australians with second homes wanting to become members, who love to travel and want to enjoy exclusive access to the world’s more exceptional stays for a fraction of the price,” he says of his motivation for extending the network Down Under.  He notes that by cleverly utilising the downtime in their own homes, they can fund extravagant trips they may have never dreamt possible. Doing so in a gated community that values trust and respect.

Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

This raises the question of how to invest wisely in art and ensure the sound provenance of your investment. Jesse Jack De Deyne and Boris Cornelissen from A Secondary Eye are here to help art collectors. Conceived as a private gallery with rotating exhibitions, the space is designed to help serious investors confidently buy and sell.

“We offer access to some of the finest works entering the secondary market in Australia and operate with a stringent provenance framework in place,” says Jess Jack De Deyne from the company’s top-floor space overlooking leafy Queen Street in Sydney’s Woollahra.

De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

“We are most effective when a prospective client comes to us with a specific artwork in mind,” explains De Deyne. “They may have recently been to Canberra to visit the highly regarded exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia and there is a specific period of the artist that they are drawn to. Through our contacts, we may be able to help source available related works that would not necessarily appear at auction.” 

Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

While some may be intimidated by entering the art market, these art dealers say exposure to the art world is key to unlocking its potential. “Take the time to attend art fairs, exhibitions and auction viewings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. With time and experience, you will learn what you are drawn to and how the offered prices sit relative to other works in the market.”

In an art world overflowing with rules, customs, and jargon, De Deyne is quick to clarify the key difference between dealers and advisers for newbies. 

“An art dealer helps collectors buy and sell artworks and therefore has a commercial incentive in selling a work. The best art advisors work independently, often on a retainer, and don’t profit from the transaction, which means they can give their clients honest advice. 

De Deyne and Cornelissen are well-placed to help people get a foot in the market, no matter how experienced they are. Ultimately, they preach to the choir, appealing most to fine art collectors searching for a specific work. 

“We work in a niche area and ultimately attract people who share our interests. Art collectors, particularly on the secondary market, often follow the art, rather than the person selling it.”

Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

Now, fans down under will finally get a taste of the collection that made headlines, with the official Australian unveiling of its Chronograph Collection. Representing precision engineering, extraordinary craftsmanship, and audacious design, this collection, now in its fifth generation, continues to redefine the chronograph category.

Roger Dubuis Australia welcomes the Excalibur Spider Collection to the market, featuring the exquisite Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, as well as the Excalibur Spider Revuelto Flyback Chronograph (a timepiece made in partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse). Each model speaks at lengths to the future of ‘Hyper Horology’—watchmaking, as Roger Dubuis puts it, that pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.




Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000

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