This month's names, numbers and news of note.
The Black Book
The density of its complications makes this limited-edition timepiece by A. Lange & Söhne the Saxon watchmaker’s most exclusive and rare creation to date. Priced at almost €2 million (Dh10m), the Grand Complication was presented for the first time in the Middle East at an event held last month at the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in DIFC. Beneath the lucidly configured dial, the horological opus with the calibre designation L1902 incorporates lavishly finished parts, bringing to life some of the most elaborate complications that the art of haute horlogerie has to offer: a chiming mechanism with grand and small strike, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and flying seconds, as well as a perpetual calendar with moon-phase display. Limited to six pieces over the next six years, the watch is accurate to one-fifth of a second and comes with a perpetual calendar mechanism, which is tuned to display the 29th day of February in leap years. The multi-part white enamel dial that conceals the complex movement of the Grand Complication comes with Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute scale, and four characteristic, symmetrically-arranged subsidiary dials.
As a tribute to Ferdinand A Lange, who established Saxony’s watchmaking heritage in 1845, the watch incorporates a Glashütte lever escapement based on one of his early inventions. The lever and escape wheel are made of hardened 18-carat gold.
Epigenetics, the study of gene expression and protein synthesis – direct links to wrinkles and skin slackening – has progressed in the last 10 years, resulting in some remarkably effective anti-ageing products. What sets Chanel’s new Le Lift range of creams apart, then, is the rare edulis plant, which is rich in age-defying antioxidant molecules, backed by the work Chanel Research has done with the acclaimed biochemist Professor Melino, and using the latest extraction technology developed by Plant Advanced Technologies (PAT). The creams, which come in Fine, Crème and CrèmeRiche versions, set into motion “self-biology”, which controls chemical “switches” called microRNA that reflect the impact that external stress factors such as the sun, diet, smoking, fatigue, and positive and negative emotions inevitably have on skin. As a result, skin tissues are “rewoven” day after day, and Le Lift comes with the rather impressive promises to stimulate the production of youth proteins, redefine facial contour and even smoothen wrinkles that are already deep-set. Le Lift will be available from January and costs Dh590 for 50ml.
The brand is also gearing up for the launch of its 2014 spring make-up collection in January. Collection Notes de Printemps is dominated by hues of candy reds and joyful peach for the lips, delicate pinks and enigmatic mauves for the eyes and violet plums for the nails, as well as two new matte compacts – the rosy Chamade and the coral Intonation.
It is often said that more important diamonds have passed through the House of Graff than any other jewellery house in the world. In the 70s, this included the 47.39 carat Star of Bombay and the Idol’s Eye, which at 70.21 carat was the largest-known natural blue diamond in the world; in the 80s, there was the pear-shaped Imperial Blue and, more recently, there’s been The Sarah, the largest fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world, and the Letseng Legacy, the 18th largest diamond ever discovered. Since Laurence Graff established his eponymous company in London in 1960, he has excelled at creating unique statement pieces that showcase the artistic skill, meticulous attention to detail and design ingenuity of master craftsmen and talented designers. And now, some of the brand’s exquisite pieces are available in Abu Dhabi, following the opening last month of the capital’s first dedicated Graff store. Launched in partnership with Al Manara International Jewellery, the new store at The Galleria offers iconic Graff collections such as the Classic Butterfly, Graff Icon and Elegant Chandelier. “Graff is renowned for its exquisite brooches, necklaces, rings, bracelets and tiaras, designed to move fluidly with the wearer, showcasing the incredible gemstones to achieve maximum scintillation. Stones are sourced for their colour and quality, with only the very finest being selected to grace the final masterpiece that is Graff jewellery,” says Wajdi Hadi, the general manager of Al Manara International Jewellery. “These are the rare stones that include both noble, historic diamonds and astonishing new discoveries, destined to be the famous diamonds of the future. They carry with them magic and myths, stories that link the diamonds to kings and princes, maharajas, sheikhs and emperors; tales that tell of the stones’ mysteries, mystique and power.” Many of these stones were recently presented in a recreation of Graff’s striking Hair and Jewel coiffure (pictured), an elaborate showcase of 22 jewels with a total value of more than US$500 million (over Dh1.8 billion). The Hair and Jewel – first presented in 1970 and inspired by the royal hair fashions of 18th-century Versailles – was revamped to celebrate Graff’s 60th year in the industry and the brand’s 40th store.
Marco Bonapace, the founder of the Dubai-based Vision Eye Wear, has trawled through some of Europe’s hippest cities to put together a portfolio of unusual, high-quality boutique eyeware brands. The result? This is our new go-to source for all things optical. The newly-launched company cares little for big-name brands. Instead, the emphasis is on unique, sustainable materials, such as wood, aluminium, carbon fibre and leather, careful craftsmanship and irrefutably funky designs. Brands include the simple, contemporary Kilsgaard, which designs its products in Denmark and then produces them in Italy, and The Quiet Before, one of Italy’s most luxurious niche eyewear brands, which uses the finest raw materials, including exotic woods and Nappa leather. But our favourite is the Italian brand Feb 31st (pictured), with its vibrant frames made from sustainably harvested wood species such as bolívar and kauri. From the lightness of the frame, which weighs 21 grams, to the barely-there branding and artful interplay of wood and striking colour, they are as eye-catching as they are wearable. www.visioneyewear.ae