Robb Read: When Rare Is Not Enough

A bespoke timepiece is the ultimate for watch aficionados. One collector describes the long road from commission to big reveal.

By Mark Cho; Christian Klings Photography Nicolas Blandin; Mark Cho And Watch Photography Tsz Fung Chan 03/01/2022

What you’re looking at is one of the last watches that Christian Klings is likely to make. And, somewhat improbably, it belongs to me.

Christian, originally from East Germany, as it was known in his youth, is a watchmaker. He’s not a brand or a company or a team of craftsmen. It’s him, his two hands, some tools, synthetic ruby and lumps of stainless steel. This piece was designed by the pair of us, not chosen from a range of previous models. Christian has since semi-retired. Over a nearly 50-year career, he has made a grand total of 33 watches. Mine was the 30th. And it came into being through a fortuitous combination of connoisseurship, connections and not a little luck.

Back in 2018, Phillips auction house held a preview in Hong Kong that included an exhibition of independent watchmakers curated by Claudio Proietti of Maxima Gallery. The pieces were fabulous, brimming with beauty and ingenuity. One in particular caught my eye: a simple three-handed timepiece by Christian Klings. I asked to hold it and was struck by a sense of déjà vu.

My day job is cofounder of the Armoury, a men’s clothier in Hong Kong and New York. Part of my work involves representing and commissioning bespoke craftsmen from around the world—specifically Florence, Milan, Naples, Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka—for my clients. These artisans each have their own specialties, ranging from Florentine and Neapolitan tailoring to Japanese glasses and bags. What is common among all of them is extensive handiwork and the subtle imperfections that come with truly handmade things. I believe to own something lovingly crafted by hand is sublime. That day at the Phillips auction preview, Christian’s watch gave me the same awestruck feeling that I’d experienced so many times before when dealing with the best craftspeople for myself or my clients. I knew I was holding something very special in my hands. I have been collecting watches for 16 years, and while I have long entertained the thought of commissioning a timepiece of my own, I never felt the impetus to do so until I met Christian.

Christian was born in 1957 in Dresden, then on the Communist side of Germany. At age five he displayed the beginnings of the raw talent that he would later nurture: he amused himself by taking apart and reassembling alarm clocks and pocket watches. Fortunately for him, a friendly neighbour, who happened to be employed at a nearby metalworking factory, provided him with tools and guidance. Soon, along with a friend, he was dismantling, rebuilding and servicing motorcycles. (It’s a striking coincidence that motorcycles seem to be a shared interest among many of the watchmaking greats, including George Daniels and Derek Pratt.)

Upon completing high school, Christian became an apprentice watchmaker in Dresden, repairing and restoring countless complex clocks, pocket watches and wristwatches that had been brought into East Germany prior to the formation of the Communist state. He had a strong desire to see more of the world, and he eventually moved to West Germany and then California, where he lived for a decade and began creating his own timepieces while continuing with his by-then considerable and esteemed restoration work.

In 2000, a decade after the German reunification, he found himself back in his homeland, initially working almost exclusively with a single wealthy collector who commissioned a number of unusual and complicated timepieces. As always, Christian made them by hand. One of his passions within watchmaking is the escapement, the regulating organ of any timepiece, and he invented and realised several novel designs of this crucial element on his own. He settled in the sleepy town of Saalfeld, south of Weimar, and quietly made watches, signing them “C. Klings”.

Dealing with craftsmen is not always a straightforward matter, a stark contrast to how easy commerce has become in the internet age. A commission is an undertaking that is done together; it’s about forging a relationship and creating a product out of that connection. You reach an understanding of what can be achieved, but it can often be hard to predict what challenges may arise as the item is being made.

I initially met Christian over e-mail, introduced by my friend Jiaxian Su, who runs watchesbysjx.com, and we discussed ideas I had for my own piece at length. I’d taken some watchmaking classes at the Horological Society of New York, which helped with the process. Christian and I communicated almost exclusively via e-mail. While he speaks fluent English, it was sometimes a struggle for both of us to make ourselves understood. Thankfully, Christian drew a lot of diagrams, and I annotated a fair number of photos. It was also very useful to have a written record; otherwise, I would have forgotten some of the specifics that we’d previously discussed.

Starting with the dial, I wanted it to be similar to the original piece I saw in Hong Kong, but with chapter rings (decorative tracks under the markings for hours, minutes and seconds) that were slightly offset from one another. Pocket watches often have such a layout, whereas wristwatches rarely do because the rings might become illegible. My dial’s sub-seconds chapter ring dips slightly below the hours and overlaps with the minutes ring at six o’clock. Sometimes Christian would construct the same part twice, each with a slight variation to make it easier for me to visualise how it might look when the dial was complete. For instance, he presented me with two sub-seconds chapter rings, each in a different width; I chose the narrower.

Artisan watchmaker Christian Klings in his Saalfeld atelier on 26 Sept. 2021 © Nicolas Blandin

I specified Breguet hands. This style, named after its inventor, the great Abraham-Louis Breguet, is difficult to balance aesthetically. It requires an appealing, curvy shape to the main, long part, followed by a ring with a slight glimmer on its interior edge to catch the eye and, finally, a purposeful, sharp tip to identify the time precisely. Christian’s hands were initially a little too bulbous, so he carefully thinned them to pair better with the fine Roman numerals. The subtle, symmetrical texture on the dial, known
as guilloche, is carved by hand with the help of a lathe, akin to a very intricate spirograph. It’s incredibly arduous, slow and delicate work. I liked what I saw on the original piece and requested mine be done in the same way, a barleycorn pattern for the majority of the dial and a sunburst for the sub-seconds.

The dial is a distinct salmon colour and a rather last-minute addition. As it was being constructed in 2020, Christian and I were in frequent contact to make small design decisions. At this stage, the dial had no hue. The markings had not been filled in with ink, and the hands had not been treated to have colour yet, either. I wanted to explore a salmon dial and mocked it up in Photoshop, adding the shade to the main parts of the dial and creating a two-tone effect.

It generated an enthusiastic response from Christian, who e-mailed in his typically charming, if spell-check-free, manner: “Thanks for the design. It looks great. The dial with the slender chapter ring and outside section in rose gold looks fantastic. Exaxtly my taste. I did a similar design with Nr.6 with the powerreserve on my webside, and like to continue this idea. Makes me feel good.”

The colour was added by galvanic plating (a type of electroplating), one of the few things Christian cannot do himself. Imagine the anxiety he must feel when sending a dial with its completed guilloche off to a third party, hoping it comes back unscathed. I left it to Christian to select the precise shade of salmon and was quite pleasantly surprised to see it in the metal, with its bright pink-yellow peaks of the guilloche pattern but darker, more saturated pink-red in the troughs. I’m glad I trusted him.

The watch case is Christian’s own design, replete with gentle curves. It has a broad, very softly rounded bezel with short, downward-turned lugs that are widely spaced. The overall effect is slim and pebble-like, reminiscent of a pocket watch from a bygone era. Christian shaped the case by hand, which allowed him to continuously vary the radius of each curve in a very organic way.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the movement was the greatest challenge. In Christian’s words, “It was as hard to make as a tourbillon.” I was always keen to have an “open-worked” movement. Typically, movements will be a combination of plates and bridges holding the wheels together. Plates are more stable but also hide a greater area of the technical details. An open-worked movement, which is visible on the finished watch, does away with most of the plates and instead relies primarily on bridges: small arms anchored by screws to secure all the wheels. It’s a tremendously difficult balancing act to fashion the bridges by hand with an aesthetically pleasing shape, to bevel and polish them to a beautiful shine and then install them perfectly parallel to the main plate. As you can imagine, the wheels of the movement need to mesh precisely—were the bridges to be even slightly askew, the watch would simply not function. There’s a reason most brands choose not to make their movements in this manner.

What compounded the difficulty for my piece was its size. I like smaller watches, typically 34 mm to 37 mm in diameter. I enjoy how discreet they are and how they feel on my wrist. In today’s world, there are only a handful of modern watches that are less than 38 mm. Indeed, Rolex is the only major manufacturer making 36 mm watches in any significant quantity. So it was a pleasure to be able to commission a “small” watch from Christian. Given my request for an open-worked movement, the watch could not be any less than 36.5 mm, as the movement parts simply could not be miniaturised any further. He worked at the physical limits of his eyesight and muscle control.

A friend asked me if commissioning a watch is like commissioning a suit, and yes, there are similarities. You start with a rough idea of what you would like and then discuss how it might be realised, keeping some plans and discarding others. Over the years, I have come to deeply appreciate other people’s taste and experience. I’m always happy to pay for that benefit. The finest artisans will give their customer a gentle nudge when an idea goes beyond the pale. It’s a comfort to know that when I’m in doubt about a choice in the detail of a commission, I can defer to them for sage advice. I have seen time and time again, with my own items and those of my customers, that the commissions that turn out the best are based on a good relationship with the craftsperson and a willingness to listen.

I am fortunate that Christian and I have quite similar tastes. At one point, he wrote me: “I would like to disguss something with you. I hesitate to fill the roman numbers with the same dark colour, like the hands. I think, it looks overpowering. I don’t like to loose the delikate look, graceful look of the dial.” I was glad he highlighted this issue to me. I had originally anticipated using black markings by default, but Christian suggested anthracite, which was a subtle but very welcome improvement.

People like Christian, who make every part of the watch bespoke, from scratch and by themselves, are exceedingly rare—he’s one of the last few who even attempt this extraordinary art. There are many outstanding watchmakers who, having come up with a great concept, will produce it in a small, limited series with little to
no deviation in the design and often with a team of artisans. And there are, of course, excellent makers who offer bespoke watches, but the individualised elements are restricted to certain fixed parameters: a change in colour on part of the dial or of the hands, for example. The watchmakers who choose to work in these ways are sensible and wise. Limitless possibility can result in a very confusing design and production process and potentially a dud of a final timepiece. Working by yourself can be lonely and stressful. Watches are delicate and unforgiving. A screwdriver tip in the wrong place or a part that’s one one-hundredth of a millimetre too thick will shatter weeks of progress. Why would anyone want to take on this sort of endeavour and also do it alone?

I posed exactly this question to Christian over the phone one day.

“This is a talent I have,” he told me. “I’ve been doing it since I was a small kid. I have a good, fine touch—I knew this all the time. I was raised by a very calm and gentle old lady, and she taught me a lot of patience and discipline. I spent quite a bit of time by myself, and working with my hands on mechanical things was a way to keep myself occupied. The way I do it, nobody else can do it for a long time. It’s too crazy.” I asked if that perseverance is useful in other areas of his life. “I am retiring because I have decided to spend more time doing social work with my church,” he replied. “Many years ago, when I was still in the USA, I joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church and it became a big part of my life. Having great patience and discipline is so important in social work.”

What I admire most about Christian is his self-reliance. In his solitude, he reminds me of Olympic competitors toiling for years in preparation for a decisive moment that can define their legacy and that depends on their effort alone. The world is filled with wonderful things that came into being from the combined contributions of many people. The creation of a single product by an individual carries a very different energy. One person can never execute every detail faultlessly, but it’s thrilling to see them try. The best will come close to perfection, as if nearing the divine. If you look carefully at the photos on these pages, you might notice there are some flaws in the watch. How could there not be? Like so many of the truly finest things, it was made by hand.

This piece is from our new Car Of The Year Issue – on sale now. Get your copy or subscribe here, or stay up to speed with the Robb Report weekly newsletter.

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Wake Up To World Martini Day 19 June

Cocktail legend Dale de Groff talks Grey Goose, World Martini Day and getting wet.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 18/06/2024

Dale de Groff knows his way around a bar. Back when late nights and heavy drinking were a badge of honour, he presided over one of New York City’s most legendary venues, The Rainbow Room, and is credited with reviving the classic cocktail across Northern America.

To promote World Martini Day on June 19 he’s teamed up with vodka company Grey Goose, for which he has served as a brand ambassador since 1997, to make a winning case for the classic Martini everywhere. He is even lending a hand at the opening of Le Martini bar at Crown Melbourne. 

We asked de Groff about his time serving stars like Michale Douglas, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood and, of course, how he likes his martini.

Dale for the uninitiated, please describe the Rainbow Room.

In the 1980s Rainbow Room was situated high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Back then, it was just the pinnacle of glamour.

It has stunning views of the city from way up on the 65th floor. Being situated in the same building as NBC Entertainment, still pretty synonymous with late night TV,  it was and still is the home of Saturday Night Live. You can imagine the kinds of people we’d be getting in each week—from celebrities, musicians, even governors, you name it. 

Robb Report ANZ: What was one of your favourite memories from that time?

Dale de Groff: In ‘88 we held the 30th anniversary Grammys afterparty at the Rainbow Room which I’ll never forget. The event took place over multiple floors, but in the bar itself, the three tiers that go up from the dance floor were taken over by the who’s who of the time. I remember roping off a zone just for music legends like Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Madonna—who was no stranger to the bar during those times. Not bad for a Wednesday night.

RR: What role do cocktails play in making a good venue truly great?

DD: A venue’s popularity ultimately comes down to the bartender or team behind the bar. How they interact with people, size them up as they walk through the door, talk to them over that three feet of mahogany, I mean, it’s everything.

RR: What’s the trick to becoming a great bartender, one who can easily impress guests, friends and family?

DD: Knowledge behind the craft. Let’s face it, understanding how to create a really high degree of deliciousness is required, but getting deep into how beverages are made is a massive skill in drink making. The research and innovation behind it is just mind-blowing.

RR:What three cocktails should every sophisticate know how to make?

DD: Well, a martini obviously! I personally like mine 50/50—equal parts vodka and vermouth. I used to drink my martinis for the power, but now I prefer a wet martini. Then I think a classic spritz is a must—always effervescent, lower in alcohol, really it’s the preprandial libation. Then thirdly, it’s gotta be an Old Fashioned.

RR: How do you make a solid martini at home?

DD: If I’m making a classic martini at home, I’m adding Grey Goose, vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass with ice, stirring then straining into a chilled glass. Garnished with lemon twist of course.

Le Martini, the world’s first standalone Grey Goose bar, is now open and will welcome guests in time for World Martini Day on 19 June. You can follow:  @LeMartiniBar 

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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Can Italy’s Lake Garda Finally Compete With Como—or Will It Become a Victim of Its Own Success?

Crowded, cacophonous Lake Como is overflowing, filling its nearby villages and lakes with new luxury hotels and savvy, in-the-know travellers.

By Jake Emen 17/06/2024

The sun is shining down and your wooden Riva Aquarama boat is slicing through the lake. The crowd is beautiful, well-tanned and they like their spritzes. Sound like Lake Como? Almost. You’re about 150 kilometres southeast on the larger, yet less frequented, Lake Garda.

As the popularity of Lake Como has grown thanks to non-stop celebrity endorsements filtered down via social media, an in-crowd is discovering that Garda offers the same glitzy perks of its neighbour with far fewer headaches.

“Giorgio Clooney is to Como what Tom Hanks is to Garda,” says Katie Parla, author of “Food of the Italian Islands” and a tour leader across Italy. “Sure, Como is beautiful and charming, but Garda is equally talented, and some would say, more versatile and well-rounded.”

Grand Hotel Fasano, which turned 135th anniversary, is welcoming a new crowd.
Grand Hotel Fasano,

Long the preferred destination for Italians and other continental families, the secret of Garda has now well and truly been leaked. Investment is pouring in at Ferrari speeds.

On the hotel front, historic, legendary properties such as Grand Hotel Fasano (from USD$470)—which celebrated its 135th anniversary in 2023— are joined by a flock of newcomers. There is the new family-owned spa hotel Cape of Senses, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member (from USD$628). Conti Thun (from USD$225) debuted as an on-vineyard wine resort last year. And this spring, Borgo Tre (from USD$640) opened a small collection of luxury apartment suites in a converted 18th-century farmhouse. (If you haven’t noticed already, a stay here is still considerably cheaper than say, Lake Como’s Passalacqua at USD$2,660 a night).

The region’s established properties are doing their best to stay ahead of the new arrivals, too. The mountain-top wellness haven Lefay Resort & Spa (from USD$460) is famous for encouraging its guests to wear their plush robes across the grounds from morning to night, as the saunter from treatment to treatment. It’s just unveiled a new, elevated room category dubbed Sky Suites that will speak to Como expats. These top-floor units are 1,500 square feet and come with a terrace hot tub, a private in-suite sauna and, of course, unimpeded views of the lake, mountains, and valleys beyond.

Lefay Resort & Spa is drawing wellness activists to the region.
Lefay Resorts

But change like this always comes at a cost. Locals and long-time visitors worry that the region’s newfound popularity puts it in danger of losing its distinctive atmosfera. Ironically, even the new guard hotels are concerned.

“We don’t want that, we’re not a mass tourism product,” says Cape of Senses general manager Alina Deutsch of any attempt to clone Como at Garda. “What is luxury today? It’s what people are missing from their lives, and that’s space and time.”

“Locals, like me, really hope that our beautiful destination will remain as authentic as it is now, even if international tourism is booming and new luxury properties are going to continue opening in the next couple of years,” added Alice Lancini, Grand Hotel Fasano’s sales and marketing manager.

But the scene in Lake Garda’s is already shifting. Lancini says that in the last three to four years, U.S. travellers have made the lake hotel the brand’s second strongest market after Germany. “Lake Garda is becoming more popular in the States as it’s much cheaper than Como, less crowded—still, for now—and it’s a completely different experience than Lake Como.”

Parla adds that the 50 kilometre-long Lake Garda has a natural protection from “becoming a Disneyland” overnight: its massive size makes it feel more like a sea than a lake at times.

“Como the town, Bellagio, and all the fancy hotels are beyond overcrowded and have become the playground of influencers generating their FOMO-inducing content,” she says. “I don’t see a way to enjoy the lake if you stick to those two towns, which most do…Lake Garda is so much bigger.”

Its other protection? Garda isn’t a first stop for first timers. After all, would you tell someone to skip the Eiffel Tower on their first trip to Paris, or forgo the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco? Icons are icons and that includes Lake Como.

The new family-owned spa hotel Cape of Senses just opened on Lake Garda.
Cape of Senses

“Lake Como is for romance and honeymoons, and lounging around on a boat and never leaving the confines of a luxury hotel,” adds Parla, noting that other lakes and villages attract a more active, creative and adventurous crowd.

So will Garda ever become Como? Lancini thinks it’s likely, and that’s why you should get there sooner rather than later. “Lake Garda is going to boom as a destination in the next three to five years,” she says. “Now is the time to take advantage and come to this beautiful destination before it becomes too crowded.”

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Kyoto Has the Most Michelin Restaurants per Capita: Report

There are 100 Michelin-starred spots in the Japanese city, serving some 1.5 million people.

By Tori Latham 17/06/2024

The residents of Kyoto, Japan, are positively swimming among Michelin-starred restaurants.

The Japanese city is home to the highest density of eateries ranked by the French tire company, including five three-starred restaurants, according to a new report from website Chef’s Pencil. With 100 Michelin-ranked spots and a population of almost 1.5 million, Kyoto has one restaurant for every 14,637 people.

Coming in a close second is—unsurprisingly—Paris: The city’s 122 Michelin-starred restaurants serve 2.1 million residents, resulting in one spot for every 17,235 people. (Paris also has the second-highest absolute number of Michelin-starred restaurants, behind Tokyo.) Third place may come as a shock: Washington, D.C., has ranked highly, with 25 restaurants for 690,000 residents, or one for every 27,582 people.

Of course, there are some caveats for the Chef’s Pencil report. The website looked only at cities with 500,000 or more residents. And the restaurants had to be located within the city limits, rather than the larger metropolitan area. The Michelin Guide itself often includes eateries in a broader region, so this list may be slightly more abbreviated than the official selection.

To address some of that disparity, Chef’s Pencil has also released a ranking of Michelin density in midsize cities, those with 100,000 to 500,000 residents. At the top of that list is Nara, Japan, which has 23 starred restaurants for a population of just 367,000 (one restaurant for every 15,972 residents). That’s followed by Maastricht, Netherlands (six Michelin-starred restaurants and 120,000 residents, or one restaurant for every 20,038 people), and Geneva, Switzerland (eight starred eateries and a population of 204,000, or one spot for every 25,494 residents).

And while France is the country with the most Michelin-starred establishments, Switzerland actually has the most starred spots per capita. The country’s 134 Michelin-starred restaurants serve a population of almost 9 million, or one for every 66,872 residents. The much smaller Luxembourg, with just 672,500 residents, comes in second for this metric: With 10 Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s one for every 67,250 people.

While many people travel to the areas with the most Michelin-starred restaurants, they may be better served by going to the areas where they’re the densest. Neither Kyoto nor D.C. may be called its respective country’s culinary capital, but both are teeming with Michelin-ranked spots relative to their size.

 

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Tyler, the Creator’s Golf le Fleur Teamed Up With Parachute for a New Bedding Collection

Available from today, the new line includes sheets, duvet covers, and even plush slippers.

By Rachel Cormack 17/06/2024

Tyler, the Creator is bringing his signature golfer style from the streets to the sheets.

The two-time Grammy-winning artist’s luxury brand Golf le Fleur has teamed up with U.S. outfit Parachute on a new line of bedding and accessories. The collaboration may not seem as natural a fit as, say, Tyler’s collab with Pharrell and Louis Vuitton or Globe-Trotter, but it did come about quite naturally. Apparently, the rapper walked into the Parachute headquarters in California unannounced and then spent hours with company founder Ariel Kaye. The two talked about dream bedding and the new collection started to form.

The limited-edition Parachute for le Fleur range is fun, whimsical, and a little unpredictable, just like Tyler’s own highly distinctive fashion. The curated pieces showcase an unexpected palette of pastels and le Fleur’s signature camo print, making more of a statement than the boring white sheet. Parachute says the designs are made of “the softest linen you’ll ever touch.” Crafted in Portugal from the finest European flax, the buttery material is also garment-washed for a perfectly lived-in feel from the first night. Linen is fit for both warm or cool sleepers, with an insulating quality that keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The light and airy material is also naturally eco-friendly, antimicrobial, and durable.

The duvet set in Geneva Blue with sheets and pillowcases in Blonde.
Jessica Schramm

Starting at USD$69, the linen bedding is available in the elegant hues Geneva Blue, Jade, and Blonde. The Blonde is adorned with a subtle leopard print, too. The sheets, sham sets, duvet covers, and pillowcases come in a range of sizes, from standard to king.

The Shearling Slippers.
Jessica Schramm

The line also includes statement pieces such as a striking spherical pillow (USD$109) made from 100 percent shearling wool and a cozy throw woven from baby alpaca wool for extra fluffy softness (USD$299). The star of the collab has to be the plush slippers (USD$109), though. Made from 100 percent shearling, the wool clogs are “like fluffy clouds for your feet,” according to Parachute. Available in multiple sizes, the unisex kicks feature sturdy foam soles and are comfortable enough for all-day wear.

You can shop the collection now on the Parachute website.

 

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