The Yamasá Line


After months of anticipation the prestigious companies latest launch, ”Davidoff Yamasá” stays true to its prolific hysteria. The new line, which debuted at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, takes inspiration and tobacco from Yamasá, a region in the central Dominican Republic located about 20 miles north of the capital, Santo Domingo.

Total palate invigoration has been Hendrik “Henke” Kelner’s doctrine since he first made cigars over 30 years ago. The philosophy holds true with their latest launch, the Davidoff Yamasa, a premium 20 years in the making luxe cigar. Traveling to the ideal climate and mineral-rich land of the Yamasa region in the Dominican Republic coupled with the expertise of the exceptional master blender, Henke, Davidoff Yamasa is one exceptionally fervent experience.

The last three launches from the Davidoff umbrella have showcased tobacco sourced from diverse regions. Starting with the Nicaragua, then the Escurio (Brazil), and now the prestigious Yamasa (Dominican Republic). It took 20 years of Henke Kelner’s and his team’s expertise, of nurturing and cultivating soil that was reluctant to change. The development of the Yamasá is a classic example of men who confronted the impossible in the pursuit of their dream.

For the Yamasá soil to deliver up to its true potential, Henke Kelner and his team- Eladio and Manuel Perlata, had to first foster nature. To raise the pH levels to those that best suit the growing of tobacco. They worked on the soil by adding calcium carbonate, dolomitic lime and agricultural lime every two months. It was done by trained professionals to every single tobacco plant. Henke Kelner relied only on his own expert intuition, defying the laws of science. Prelimniary seed selection saw the selection of just three out of thirty samples, only the best in terms of colour, shine and lamina were selected. The site in Yamasá covers 100 hectares, but only 21 are currently being used. They would rest the land between each harvest to let nature take its course, and to ensure that the unique quality of the Yamasá leaf is maintained for years to come.

Once the leaves turned pale yellow, Henke and his team selected the point where it could be conditioned that the “wrapper” would live up to its true potential.

Entirely new climate controlled curing facilities were developed to ensure this.

The technical expertise attained over the years by the Davidoff team in refining the wilder predispositions of Nicaraguan Estelí and Condega tobaccos has helped to create a unique Yamasá blend with all the intensity, enhancement and complexity aficionados would expect from Davidoff.

Interview with Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG

So tell me about yourself. You’ve been holding very high positions and many varied entities, there’s the Timex Watch brand, Guerlain which is cosmetics. We take Davidoff which is cigars and I get the impression that you are doing something you love?

It’s a good point. I’ve always enjoyed what I have been doing, being in the luxury and premium market. But its true that the environment of premium cigars is something that I enjoy even more, because it is extremely personable. It is a luxury, but it’s also affordable in the sense that a lot of people can enjoy it. It’s something that you could say democratizes a little bit of luxury because there are affordable price ranges.

Were you looking for a challenge?

Absolutely. You know what I like about leadership is being able to make an impact. And if there is a challenge in front of me or a turnaround situation, not necessarily financially but brand wise or equity wise or consumer wise, I find that extremely stimulating. In the first part of your career it’s all about me it’s all about you. And now it’s about everyone else. Now I enjoy putting a team together.

So what is the plan for Davidoff. I mean when you started off you had something in mind. You had a vision, are you coming down that path?

Absolutely and the vision was very clear that we needed to move from products to brand to experience. And then, five and a half years into this journey, we’re clearly tapping into the search piece. We have made fantastic progress on establishing the brand on the cigar front.  Now we are moving into that experience piece which our consumers are seeking. You must be more than the brand; you must be more than the product; we are part of that movement.

You are working with distributors and lounges.

With Davidoff we have our own set up in all key markets including here in Dubai. Sometimes you need a logistical set up and support, in terms of lounges it’s usually operated by the hotel. We get into a partnership with them. We aim at becoming an indispensable business partner because we have a concept. We have an idea. We have a program.

What is the life cycle of something like this? How long does it take for you to conceptualise, design, package and roll it out in the market?

The life cycle depends on the size of the project. We are a luxury product from nature. It’s fundamentally an agricultural commodity. So typically, the project takes about eighteen months from idea to execution. But that means that before that you already need to have three, six or ten-year-old aged tobacco that can go into the product. Once you have that blend the concept, packaging and everything takes place within eighteen months.

Is there anything else you want to add into the mix?

I think Yamasa is obviously the most complex project we ever had. And also a very complex blend, we have a Yamasa wrapper, we have a binder, even in the filling tobacco we have five different origins three Dominicans and two Nicaraguans.

In terms of complexity. it’s a masterpiece. Which is where we are unique compared to our competitors, we always have this very high degree of blending.

The Master Watchmaker


From childhood to world watch domination, we encapsulate the life and laurels of the legendary Gerald Genta. The man who designed more iconic models than anyone else in the history of horology, his design genius is embedded in several watches that we see every single day.

Mr Charles Gerald Genta was a prolific inventor and possibly the most influential watch designer of the century; his name is deeply rooted in the veins of horology history. Well known for his eponymous line of time pieces, Gerald’s collaborative work with acclaimed brands like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Universal Genève amongst others, gives him an inestimable repute in the watch making trajectory. Christie’s auction house called his work “the Fabergé of watches”, reinstating the Swiss domination of the luxury timepiece industry. In a glorious career spanning 50 years, Genta earned the laudable distinction of being the only designer whose name singularly sells watch models worldwide.

The lean and elegant Genta was described by those who knew him as a true gentleman. Born in 1931 to a Swiss mother and father of northern Italian ancestry, Genta had an early ambition of becoming an artist. After facing fierce opposition from his parents against pursuing this career, he finally finished jewelry and goldsmith training and earned a Swiss federal diploma. It is said that once he graduated from his apprenticeship, he made two promises to himself.  One was that he would never become a goldsmith and the second that he would never work as someone’s subordinate. He never broke either of the two oaths.  There was no arrogance or conceit in Genta’s vow, he simply picked and chose clients that suited him.

The 1950’s and 60’s was not a time when independent watch designers were thriving, it was not seen as an occupation for a specialized professionals.   Designing was primarily done by in-house artists. Genta got his first assignment with Universal Geneva SA (A Swiss luxury Watch Company), which was gaining international acclaim for its chronograph models. He went on to make several astounding inventions like the Polerouter Microtors  as well as the Golden and White Shadows during the 1960s. The shadow was a result of the “Quartz Crisis” – the introduction of quartz watches which largely replaced mechanical watches during that decade.

His work with Universal laid the foundation of future collaborations with prominent brands throughout Europe. It is widely known that his wife, Evelyne Genta who was Monaco’s Consul General in London back then, confirmed that he contributed to the creation of the Omega Seamaster and the Constellation – the bulk of successful sports watches that are sold today. In the early years of his career, Genta also designed Patek Philippe’s hugely popular model, the Golden Ellipse.  He went on to collaborate with iconic brands like Chopard, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet, Seiko along with his much lauded association with the Confrérie Horlogère of Mathias Buttet. He designed approximately 100,000 different watches, including some of the most celebrated timepieces of history.

There is an often-told legend about the creation of the Royal Oak model. Genta drew the idea for his design model after being inspired by a diver wearing a traditional helmet which was attached to his suit by eight screws. This was rendered into the design of the iconic watch which features an octagonal shape with eight screws on the bezel. The notion was bold for those times, a house that was known for their delicate gold watches producing a steel watch that was more expensive than the gold ones. Audemars Piguet’s CEO, Georges Golay had stated, “Royal Oak is not an Audemars Piguet. Today, it has become our identity.” Genta later said that the Royal Oak was the masterpiece of his career, and its arrival evidently changed the dynamics of the watch industry as seen today.

Another interesting anecdote is the inspiration behind the first Bulgari Bulgari, an ancient Roman coin on which an image of the Roman emperor was engraved in a circle. Genta experimented with this design element on the watch’s bezel which displays the two “Bulgari” illustrations.  Over its 36 years of existence, the Bulgari Bulgari has only undergone minute modifications to suit contemporary aesthetics and remains one of their most popular models of our times.

Genta also executed specially commissioned pieces for members of the royal families including Prince Rainier III of Monaco, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and King Hassan II of Morocco. The Queen of England and King Juan Carlos of Spain were also often seen wearing his creations. Apart from royalty his clients also included well known musicians, professional athletes and movie stars. He has also designed the most extensively sold watch – a Timex, which sold a record number of 30,000,000 copies.

In the latter half of his career, Genta began focusing on time pieces that were created under his own brand name. The Quantieme Perpetual and the Jumping Hour models are a classic example of his brilliance. Throwing light on his design philosophy Genta stated that “many of my watches represent the rupture between a brand’s past and its future.”

He also distributed a capsule collection of Disney character watches which were designed in Le Brassus, Switzerland. The dials consisted of images of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge and Goofy. In 1994, he designed the world’s most complicated watch – Grande Sonnerie Retro and priced it at approximately $2 million. Employing no external assistance, he often hand-designed the mechanics of his timepieces. Back then it took approximately 5 years to make a watch.

After his brand was bought over by Bulgari in 1999, Genta created a new enterprise called Gerald Charles. As of 2010 all of his models were marketed by Bulgari which was later acquired by the French conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) in 2011.

For the watch making world, Gerald Genta remains an ambassador of contemporary Haute Horlogerie, his legacy will enrich the creativity and vision of watch makers for generations to come.


The Omega Legacy

Omega’s Vice President and International Sales Director, Raynald Aeschlimann, gives insight into the brand’s prolific heritage and future plans.



There is plenty to celebrate this year with Mr Raynald Aeschlimann completing a milestone of two decades with Omega. Mr. Aeschlimann has been a Member of the Extended Group Management Board at Swatch Group AG., since January 1, 2013. Omega’s pioneering spirit and state-of-the-art mechanical watch making has enabled collaboration with important sporting events like the Olympic Games and the recently concluded Desert Design Classic 2016. The golf tournament is held every year at the Emirates Golf Club’s Majilis Course and attracts some of the biggest names in the industry.


In an interview with Signé, Mr Aeschlimann shares details from the brand’s success story.

You started at the age of 26 and you’ve been with omega for two decades, how have things changed personally and in terms of the brand?

Personally you will see a lot of grey hair, the evolution of the brand has helped me evolve into the person that I am today. When you are working hard, not to make a fairytale out of it, but when you get the opportunity to take a leading position 15 years ago as a Vice President, it’s something that becomes a part of your life. I think that the energy that we have put into the brand, with the support of Mr. Hayek (Nicolas Hayek) has made Omega what it is today.

It’s like when you take an heirloom jewel that was very important to your father and grandfather, and you polish it. You see that the more you polish it, the more its value increases, it becomes more attractive and you realize that all the effort that went into polishing it was worth it. That is the feeling of elation and satisfaction that we derive from working with Omega. There isn’t one day when you don’t feel this innate pride. What sets us apart is our value system, achievements, precision as well as strong relations.

It is amazing to have somebody like Mr. Hayek – who invented Swatch, and brought in the master chronometer we have today 12 years ago, with the certification of the Swiss Confederation, precision about magnetism and the water proof technology.

We don’t fall into the number game. We focus on the character. That’s what makes a difference to us and that’s why we’ve been with Cindy (Cindy Crawford) since almost 15 years.


Cindy has been your longest running ambassador

Yes, she was in Mumbai recently at the palace. All the socialites came in with their daughters and she was just amazing! People know her for being her. If you had to name 10 top models that have that kind of attraction, and look as good as her, you will not be able to do that. That’s why she remains with us; she is a part of the evolution of the brand.

From 1996 to today the challenges of the watch industry are different? And if you look at your role 20 years ago did you imagine the type of challenges that you’re looking at today?

The challenges we face today as opposed to 20 years back are definitely different. We never imagined the challenges we are facing now, but that’s what is amazing. Think about Dubai. I came here first in 1999. I remember that we had only three points of sales back then. So of course the challenges were different. I was travelling to Saudi Arabia and we faced challenges with the local production of diamond base, and how to talk to customers because there was no Internet or we-chat. We had an ambition to make Omega the market leader. So we worked on the product and at the same time the world gradually changed. It became what it is today in terms of ease of accessibility – there are billboards and advertisements everywhere. Today’s Omegas- they are not only better, but they are the real Omegas.

We are an over connected generation. There is a lot of new material; there are a lot of new composites that you look at like ceramic etc– so that’s technology that is being pushed. If you look at the next generation of omega customers do you think at some point in time Omega will step into the “connectivity” aspect?

I cannot talk about the future, because for me connectivity has to be a bit different from the watch itself. So already by saying that I don’t think the two things will combine for Omega. For most people there is an emphasis on the emotion and the relationship you have with your watch, maybe embracing it with connectivity would be good, but in our pricing I don’t see a big connected market for it.

If you look at the watches that companion with, you have basic time keeping and you’ve got all these functions and stock promotions and photograph. Which is your next step in terms of development?

It is not like we don’t have the correct opportunities or engineers. For me, there is still this whole evolutional curve we made in terms of our own movement. The certification that we have now from confederation, in terms of the precision of movement, the anti magnetism – it is also very important. When we are talking about connected watches, connection makes a world surrounded by electricity, a world surrounded by magnetism, which is not good for health.

We did not increase one penny price of our watches. It cost us a lot to have all these tests, to create all that we did because our customers need the best. You don’t buy a watch only for time. It represents you.

There have been rumors about an anticipated crisis ahead. Despite all this Omega had a strong 1st month performance in this region. What do you attribute that to?

Its chance, no no it’s the hard work. It’s the marketing and distribution as well. When we distributed 10 years ago it was difficult. Today there is not one shopping mall in Dubai that doesn’t have an Omega boutique. So when there is turmoil, we survive because we have emotions. You know emotions are close to religion and ammunitions are close to problems.

I am no priest and it’s not Sunday that I am trying to give good words. But emotion is what makes the difference between human beings and animals. The true value of a product always shows. We definitely gained market share last year because of this.

The other thing that I am scared about is the ability to go down. There are factors like the stock exchange and oil prices, but for me, this whole thing about insecurity and terrorism that makes people travel less is not good. That’s my biggest fear. We are not made to stay at home. We have to connect with people.

When you were talking you looked like you mentioned that Sunday has a religious aspect to it, there is a person there. It’s not always Omega. How do you disengage?

I don’t think you can, it is difficult to separate. It’s a big part of my life. But I think the value and the brand is at the same level as I am. When I take 3 weeks of business trips, I dream about being at the breakfast table at home with my son and daughter. My kids are getting crazy. But if you think about it, this is a good life.

You are wearing the Clubmaster, which watch do you usually wear?

I like the Planet Ocean Chronograph black dial and gold watch.  I have been wearing it since a long time. I consider that the watch brings me luck and I have a personal relationship with it.  The customer will have 20 watches to select from, but they will pick the one that they have a relationship with, the one that they see value in.

20 years forward, you have legacy. What is at the end of it? 

That’s a good question. I think first of all you’ve got to have the passion for life, compassion for what you are doing and for this brand.

In terms of accomplishments for the brand

Accomplishments within the last 20 years are in terms of the rate and structuring – like when you are building a house, it’s dusty and you have to go and clean it. Now we are building the next level of the house. There are good days and bad days.

We still have a lot of places where we can improve, also typically in the States where we are far away from the market, we are steadily gaining market share there. We opened 35 boutiques in the last 3 years, but there are still plenty of things to be done.  We have a heritage from the past; we are celebrating 60 years of the Seamaster. Most brands don’t have that.

What can we expect from 2016, the very hard core technical aspect. 

It’s going to be a year where we invest a lot in technology and chronometers, real assets and improvements in technology for chronographs. We are looking at getting newer technology in a difficult country like Brazil, so that the customer can enjoy it while watching the games at the Olympics. We are there for the athletes, and for them it’s the time of their life. They have been training for so many years for the games- that is also a big focus for us.          

Imperiali Genève unveils the Emperador Cigar Chest

Thousands of hours of work, several international patents and copyrights, 2,675 premium components and the introduction of state-of-the-art machinery make the Emperador the most celebrated cigar chest in the world. Imperiali is a brand that has become synonymous with art, elegance and extravagance, routinely blending cutting-edge technology with high-tech mechanics, luxurious indulgence and Swiss made ingenuity. The Cigar chest – created in limited edition, carries a price tag of over $1 million, but for those in the know, it actually may be a bargain. It comes with 24 Grand Cru cigars, aged for 48 month, enfolded in real gold leaf, replete with a nine-digit code needed to open it.


A cigar is not only a cigar. It represents the finer things in life – success, opulence, perseverance and prosperity. No true aficionado can undermine the brilliance of the magnificent Imperiali Genève Emperador, a cigar chest that combines elaborate flair with superior technology to give each cigar its fitting respect.

Imperiali Genève is a company constantly recreating superlative products by transcending the boundaries of reason. The brand is driven by a love of splendor and an aspiration to innovate by trouncing the cryptic laws of physics. The precise convolution of their creations – which are entirely hand-crafted in Switzerland – is only matched by the measure of attention paid to their every element.


David Pascuito

Born in Geneva in 1979, David Pasciuto, the founder of Imperiali Genève, is earnestly committed to hard work and technological innovation. Graduated from the Haute Ecole de Gestion (HEG) in the district of Geneva, he went on to obtain a degree in Business Economics.  Taking pride in his Italian roots, Pasciuto imbibes traditional values and principles so rarely seen today, along with a strong resolve and an insatiable desire for success.  The enterprising Pasciuto stood out from his colleagues during the two year period he spent at Publigroup as a technical salesman, winning tremendous adulation and the title of the “Best Salesperson” in French-speaking Switzerland. He went on to work as a Corporate Manager in a family owned enterprise. He worked there for six years before committing himself to his own entrepreneurial projects. With an obsession for technology, cinema and culturally immersive travel, David Pasciuto is an adventurer who loves challenging conventional boundaries. Approximately three years ago, friends and partners David Pasciuto and Stephane Nazzal, inspired by a conversation with a fellow cigar lover, conceived the idea of creating the ultimate cigar. Deciding that a regular cigar box would not do justice to their own creation, they set out to make the most prestigious cigar chest in the world.


Emperador — a cigar chest like no other

The exquisite Emperador is the latest product of Pascuito’s brilliant imagination. Produced in Switzerland, using only the finest materials, it measures 70 cm long, 45 cm wide and 30 cm high. Taking expert artisans a record number of 18,000 hours of labor, the Emperador makes for an elaborate humidor for your finest Cuban smokes. Featuring 2,675 components, it includes a complicated mechanism that securely safeguards your prized collection and comes with a power reserve of 80 hours. It is protected with a password and a series of planetary components, which revolve around a tourbillon timepiece that triggers a mechanism that opens up the chest. The centerpiece, featuring 323 components made in the Swiss Jura, is scrupulously adorned with Clous de Paris guilloche.


Opening the crest will expose twelve 24k gold plated cigars arranged in singular glass tubes, a further twelve are placed beneath the top row. The Emperador cigars replicate the sumptuousness, density and equilibrium of the best cigars in the world. Several combinations of tobacco cautiously chosen by the blender were required to achieve the suitable alliance. The Jamastran Valley and the Jalapa Valley are the fertile soils chosen for the Imperiali plantations.

It effectively blends the traditional art of Swiss watch making with the refined skills of experts from 27 different trades. It’s meant to be appreciated by all the five senses and the Emperador doesn’t fall short of this ambitious goal. The box sports three accessories which are significant for yielding the best cigar experience – namely a cigar cutter, a table lighter and an ashtray. Usually, you just have these placed on your table separately seated in a cluttered manner. The engineers worked meticulously to make these accessories fit inside the chest to enable long-lasting fluidity.

The most industrial of the accessories is the cigar cutter which slices either by a guillotine mechanism or by perforation like a cigar punch. The table lighter and its three nozzles offer a perfect flame when the cigar is brought close to it. These complex mechanics require six coordinated movements to function effectively.

The ashtray is another clever device; it only opens when it detects the cigar nearing its mouth.  It is efficiently motorized and lit by LEDs just in case you decide to light up a cigar under dim lights. As expected, its movements are remarkable and exceedingly precise.

Perhaps what makes it even more fascinating for horology fans, is its extraordinary movement which taps the power from all of its moving parts which is further regulated by an electronic arrangement so as ensure that the tourbillion does not catch fire. Its technical computation surpasses modern-day innovations to a remarkable degree – harmonizing each functional movement with the assistance of microchips responsible for automating the cigar chest’s complicated mechanisms.

This cigar box manages itself effectively almost without any human involvement. It features the world’s first self- regulating humidity system. It ensures a consistent humidity level of 70% and a temperature of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, regardless of external environmental conditions. Apart from the excellent temperature control mechanism it also processes information about the number of cigars left, after all, this is a cigar chest topped with an implausible timepiece for an unmatched cigar experience. Accessible to a fortunate few, only a limited number of pieces will be created every year.

The Emperador is available in a limited run of 12 numbered units per year for one million Swiss francs (US$1,048,000).

The Bespoke Experience



The world of bespoke tailoring revolves around sharp suits, clean cuts and a flawless fit, but it doesn’t have to end there. Luxury couturier Ascots and Chapel’s “Enhanced Shirt Experience” redefines the world of customised tailoring, delivering an experience faultlessly akin to buying a high end luxury car.

With an illustrious history of catering to gentleman’s every sartorial need that dates back to London in 1847, Ascots & Chapels has established an eminent name for itself as a celebrated bespoke tailoring brand. With the skills of master tailors that are famous for their quality proficiency, they offer unmatched service, coupling refined quality with the individuality of their custom made pieces to suit every man’s unique sartorial needs. This season they set a new benchmark in the creation of hand-crafted clothing through the much lauded “Enhanced Shirt Experience”.


We are certainly not alone in our sartorial ambivalence. A sudden surge of interest in bespoke suiting, especially among younger men, has rapidly developed in the recent years. For the first time in generations, many gentlemen have become new traditionalists, obsessing over the minutiae of their wardrobe: structured versus unstructured jackets, the best knot for your tie, and where pants should break over the shoes.

Ascots & Chapels, with a 130-year old heritage in creating high-end bespoke garments, has recently launched one of their most ambitious projects – “The Enhanced Shirt Experience”.

Nothing can truly match the effect and appeal of a well-fitted shirt to make a man stand out, and the Enhanced Shirt Experience ensures just that. The collection consists of three hand-crafted shirts finished with Mother of Pearl buttons, engraved cufflinks, along with three cuffs, three collars, three pocket squares and a pair of metal collar stiffeners. A first-of-its-kind for the region, the collection has been designed with considerable attention to detail to ensure that they deliver a ‘Shirt for Life’.


The luxury couturier’s keen focus on personalisation is also expressed in the use of trims such as inner linings, contrasting handmade button holes and the option to include custom monogramming. They have included a special iron-on name tag for the shirts – to prevent wear-and-tear from laundromats

To ensure that their customers benefit from their rapidly growing international foot-print, they also allow suits to be ordered in Doha, Dubai or Abu Dhabi and picked up or altered at their boutiques in Mayfair, London as well as New York.

The brand puts a significant emphasis on deft craftsmanship and personalisation- they believe in delivering luxury through exclusiveness. A product is blatantly luxe when it is handmade and tailored as per your requirements, thus we can rightfully call the Enhanced Shirt Experience a status symbol for modern-day couture luxury.


The Towering Inferno


When one thinks of style icons, movie stars and all encumbered philanthropists few gentlemen come in the same league as Mr Paul Newman. The Winter Soldier star proves that a closet filled with suave well-cut basics is as potent today as it was 50 years ago.

If Marlon Brando and James Dean stereotyped the quintessential American lad as a brooding, angry young man, Paul Newman defined him as a congenial renegade. An extraordinarily handsome figure of striking high spirits and blue-eyed  honesty whose charismatic charm was almost impossible to resist.

Tall, blond and ocean blue eyes, Paul Newman emulated a physical appearance resembling a modern day Adonis, with none of the vanity. He was so attractive and charismatic that his work as an actor was occasionally unjustly overshadowed. A perennial movie star whose career encompassed the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. He gained notable stardom for starring in blockbuster movies like The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. For us, it was his off-screen persona that exuded an insouciant magnetism unlike any other celebrity seen today. Observe any image of Newman, and you’ll notice how he simply will never look anything but effortlessly fresh and suave, regardless of his attire or bearings. This nonchalance combined with his Greek-god good looks made quite the combination behind the camera, but Newman proved to be way more that just an actor.

He starred in over 65 movies in a career spanning over 50 years, displaying an incomparable physical grace, unassertive intelligence and a great sense of humour that made it all seem effortless. Apart from being an ambitious actor he was primarily an ardent slave to his craft. He successfully achieved what most of his peers found impossible due to his inimitable passion.

As Butch Cassidy, Fast Eddie Felson and Luke Jackson, he personified anti-establishment cool. In real life, he was less maverick outsider than being the core pillar of the community. A quintessential family man with a remarkable ability to make sombre formalwear seem as cool and stylish as the rugged workwear he often wore in cinema.

During a particular high-speed driving training for his 1969 film Winning, Newman became smitten with motor racing and attempted to pursue a career on the track. He was mostly successful, he started out with the Bob Sharp Racing team in the Trans-Am Series, and later finishing second in 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans. Perhaps even more remarkable was that at the age of 70, Newman finished second in his class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona. He even participated in the 2005 24 Hours of Daytona, at the implausible age of 80.

He was also a well known philanthropist, raising and donating millions for charity through his non-profit organisation Newman’s Own. His fashion game was unmatched for years to come.  He had men lining up to drape themselves in sleek denims to envision themselves as tough and as cool as the stylish man they saw on the silver screen.

In the late ’70s, Newman and his close friend A. E. Hotchner came down to his basement – an eclectic former horse stall – assorted some specialty oils, seasoning, and condiments in an old washtub and circulated the results as Christmas gifts. His neighbours, either too gracious to say otherwise or genuinely ecstatic with the concoction, called out for more of the salad dressing the next day. And this is how the definitive celebrity food brand was born.

With Newman it’s the complete package. The comedian, the philanthropist, the non-conformist, the splendid young buck, the ashen tomcat, the crunchy cuss who still sets it all down to sheer luck. The beer-swilling old coot who married a bona fide beauty like Joanne Woodward and stayed married to her. He knew a one in a lifetime kind of woman when we saw one. That attractive lad, stranded in a sea of nobodies, willed his immortality into being. The last class act in America who etched a commemoration as the greatest movie star of all time.

When the star died on 26 September with his family by his side, his daughters described it as being “private and discreet as the way he had lived his life”, his death was grieved far beyond the boundaries of Hollywood.

His most fitting eulogy came from George Clooney, who said: “He set the bar too high for the rest of us. Not just actors, but all of us”.

MONT BLANC pays an artistic homage to Marco Polo


Emulating the extravagance and artistry of the Mongolian imperial court, Montblanc’s tribute to Marco Polo “Il Milione” Limited Edition 1 is an astounding display of gem-setting brilliance on one of the most fantastic collection every created by the Maison.


The detailed chronicles of Marco Polo introduced Europeans to the civilization and cartography of Central Asia and China and became a testament for many travelers including the great Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci. Esteemed artistry brand Montblanc, pays tribute to one of the most significant pioneers of our time with the Marco Polo Limited Editions, commemorating a life of innovations and inventions that continue to encourage generations of adventure-seekers


Marco Polo, the legendary merchant explorer, born in 1254 spent over 24 years away from his native Venice on an ambitious voyage across Asia. Traveling with his father and uncle, the intrepid adventurer went along what is now known as the Silk Road to the isolated Mongol Empire where he served in the court of the daunting Kublai Khan. Not just an adventurer hoping to discover mysterious territories, Marco Polo was a charming and proficient storyteller, recording his epic explorations under the title of Il Milione (or The Travels of Marco Polo). The detailed account introduced Europeans to the culture and cartography of Central Asia and China and became a yardstick for many future travelers including the great Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci.


The years Marco Polo spent trading precious stones while serving the great King Khan, the most powerful and feared king of that time, plays muse to the Homage to Marco Polo “Il Milione” Limited Edition 1. The vibrant hues and the silhouette of the extended cap, draw inspiration from the distinctive Coromandel lacquer folding screens made by the best craftspersons in the Orient. When detached, the cap set with a full pavée of rich red rubies designed with cognac tone diamonds displays a barrel that features a diamond-set world map inspired by Marco Polo’s voyages. The instrument’s clip is sculpted like the golden pass given to him by Kublai Khan that promised he would get safe passage throughout the Khan’s extensive empire. The cap ring showcases various creatures from the fierce and fantastic world he experienced as told in Il Milione. An homage to one of his most significant navigation tools, a compass rose, is designed into the cap top under the famous Montblanc emblem, displaying itself due to a unique mechanism. On the other side of the pen, the skeletonized gold cone is designed with an exquisite  6,12ct diamond. The Au750 solid champagne gold nib shape is an illustration of Marco Polo’s passage of the vast desert, taken from the most integral map of the medieval period: the Catalan Atlas.


He crossed Bactria in Afghanistan, home to the world’s first known lapis lazuli mine. One of the first references of the lapis lazuli in modern literature, the fine stones found there made a deep impression on the Explorer and its incomparable beauty is the stimulus behind the tribute to Marco Polo “L’azzuro” Limited Edition 3.  With analogous design elements as the first edition, the cap is crafted from blue sapphire displaying a delicate barrel underneath with the world map created from a sheet of diamonds, blue sapphires, and exquisite rubies. The ocean blue theme extends to the cone of the writing instrument with its patent blue sapphire. In a third distinction on the collection with its Coromandel extended cap and valuable gems, the limitation number of the tribute to Marco Polo “Great Khan” Limited Edition 9 pays homage to the nine gates of Dadu, today’s Beijing. This was where Marco Polo first encountered the great Khan when he initially arrived in China in 1266. At that time, Dadu was the dogmatic and economic center of the illustrious Mongol Empire, and the gates of Dadu represented the social and economic trade between the West and the East. For this version of the limited edition, an atlas of the world on the barrel syndicates intricate “Tremblage” hand engraving with gem-setting, with the Au750 solid gold delicately set with rubies. The prized ruby ball inside the skeletonized champagne gold cone embodies the globe. Crowning the cap of the collection, the Montblanc emblem is crafted with a pave of diamonds.

Driven by an unmatched revolutionary spirit since 1906, Montblanc transformed the culture of writing with several invention innovations. Today, the Maison persists in pushing boundaries and recreate the expression of fine craftsmanship across each of its product categories: the zenith of extravagant writing instruments, eyewear, accessories, timepieces, leather goods and fragrances.  With every product launch, Montblanc offers exciting features and radical designs imbued with the Maison’s legacy of superiority and crafted to the highest standards.  This is done through the superior skills of its artisans in each of its manufacturing units whether Hamburg, Germany for its writing instruments or Italy for its leather goods.  Exhibiting its enduring mission to create excellent lifetime companions born from the most imaginative ideas, the iconic Montblanc Emblem has become the decisive seal of performance, revolution, value and expression of elegance. With its heritage deeply ingrained in the philosophy of handwriting, Montblanc continues to champion its cultural commitment around the world with the development of wide-ranging enterprises to promote fine art and culture in many forms, while celebrating patrons who support the progression of the arts.


L`Envol de Cartier



Few haute parfumiers offer the eminent luxury of a rare niche fragrance. We explore the allure of Cartier’s latest launch, The L’envol.



L’ENVOL DE CARTIER is the new captivating cologne for men. It’s a rustic and juxtaposed eau de parfum, an exceptional oriental-transparent scent. An amalgamation of both robust and mellow, it pulses with freshness before becoming more stable, stimulating and elevating to all who experience it.

Over the past eras, perfumes have been produced in nearly every scent, shape, and form, from engraved pots in ancient Egypt to delicate Lalique illusions, to transient sculptural flavors from the 1990’s. But a launch that stands out from the Haute periphery is the L’envol De Cartier.

Inspired by ambrosia, the honeyed wine recognized as the sweet nectar of the deities as they strolled above the clouds on Mount Olympus. Illustrious perfumer Mathilde Laurent has concocted a revolutionary composition labeled as oriental-transparent. An eau de parfum of dichotomies, L’Envol is both firm and soft with sweet resins set against a blithe musk. The scent is Cartier’s sixth major launch for men, the first release since 2008. The cologne highlights accents of honey, wood, patchouli, and a whiff of aromatic musk.

The exceptional and striking bottle is a capsule enclosed within a detachable glass cupola. The capsule is attached to an elegant container filled with exquisite honey colored nectar with golden phosphorous yellow passion, which can be carried independently. The bottle reaffirms with the ultimate sophisticated Cartier legacy with its celebrated guilloché motif on the bottle stopper while the dome exhibits Cartier’s unique glasswork expertise.

A timeless yet modern object with dual functionality, thus assimilating the expertise required for the virile, mechanical movement for both intertwining and detaching the capsule. Its trail is unadulterated, lustrous and airy.

The perfume pays tribute to the longstanding friendship and relationship between  Louis Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont, was one of the most celebrated aviators of his time, one of the first men to take flight and a vital figure in the illustrious history of Cartier.  He was known for navigating one of the first motorised flights in history. In 1906, Santos-Dumont’s aircraft flew five meters above the ground for a record distance of 60 meters in Paris. He later set the world record by The World Air Sports Federation on 12 November 1906, for flying a distance of 220 meters for 22.5 seconds.

Santos-Durmont became a reference point for the new fragrance. In 1904, he had complained to Louis Cartier about the struggle of checking his pocket watch mid-flight and requested his friend to create a timepiece that would allow him to keep both hands on the controls while flying. The outcome was the launch of the world’s pioneering wristwatch, Cartier’s Santos-Dumont.

Contemporary, both in terms of the way it is used and the way it was formulated, the L’Envol de Cartier is something of an enchanting exposé, a scent that is novel and unexpected, but still alluring and accessible. Its enchantment lies in its rounded, mellow, timbered overtones, its characteristic warmth, and its captivating glamor.


Emerald’s Envy

We celebrate the prolific union of artistry and luxury as emerald miner; Gemfields joins hands with the renowned jeweler to the tsars- Fabergé.  The collaboration embodies opulence in its truest form, commemorating an era of indulgent possessions for luxury connoisseurs across the globe.


Fabergé has gained global acclaim as a jewelry brand with unmatched heritage and legacy. Gemfields, an AIM-listed company that undertakes mining excavation in Zambia and Mozambique, has bought Fabergé with an aim to increase global demand for jewelry featuring exquisitely designed colored gemstones. Celebrating the concept of artistry in today’s world of extravagance, Fabergé traces its enigmatic legacy of creative excellence and combines it with the rare sustainable opulence that Gemfields provides to launch a collection that embodies ‘The Art of color” in all its glory.



HISTORY OF FABERGÉ: From artisan to imperial jeweler


The world’s most iconic artist jewelry brand, Fabergé has created a reputation extraordinaire of creating exquisite jewels, timepieces and objects d’art as well as bespoke commissions for an exclusive international clientele. Few jewelers have been as successful in mastering the perfection of their craft spanning several generations, as Fabergé. Peter Carl Fabergé, with his French-German ancestry, ruled the world of precious jewels for over four decades before the outbreak of World War 1. Founded in 1842, at St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia, the firm deftly gained a cult following amongst Russian royalty for designing jewel encrusted timeless pieces which include the famous series of “Imperial Easter Eggs.” Fabergé is renowned for its exceptional use of color, making the most of each gemstone’s unique characteristics and creating a brilliant enamel palette. Their artistry was celebrated across royalty, nobility and industrialists of Paris, Moscow and London along with America and the Far East making them the ultimate gift connoisseurs.


In 1917, the devastating Russian Revolution brought an abrupt end to the thriving House of Fabergé; subsequently, the company was nationalized, and all production was closed when the Fabergé family escaped Russia. After the death of its founder in Switzerland, the heirs lost their rights to the company name. History came full circle in 2007 when Fabergé, under new ownership was unified with its heirloom family. This merger commenced a new chapter in their illustrious empire, and set a precedent for a renaissance of the company name and philosophy, in harmony with its fundamental values and spirit.



A series of priceless Easter eggs created by the company for the Russian Imperial family is regarded as their greatest achievement. They are the most celebrated of all Fabergé creations, inextricably bound to their legacy. It is believed that the Russian Emperor Alexander III decided to give a gold Easter egg to his wife, Empress Maria Fedorovna to celebrate their betrothal. The object was said to have captivated the imagination of a young Maria during her childhood days. Thus, the first imperial egg known as the Hen Egg was created. It was crafted from pure gold, the thick white shell opened to reveal a matt yellow gold yolk. Which in turn, showed a multi-coloured gold hen that further opened to display a diamond model of the imperial crown from which a delicate ruby pendant egg lay suspended. This commenced the beginning of a yearly tradition that continued for three decades with the most intricate and captivating Easter eggs the world has ever seen. The emperor had only one pre-requisite, there must be a surprise hidden within each creation. The surprises ranged from a miniature replica of the coronation carriage through a mechanical swan and ivory elephant to a heart shaped frame on an easel with 11 miniature portraits of members of the royal family.

One of the most expensive was the Winter Egg created in 1913 which was carved from rock crystals, embellished with engravings and ornamented with platinum and diamonds to resemble frost.  The flowers were crafted from white quartz, nephrite, gold and demantroid garnets set on a base of moss made of green gold. The egg was sold in 2002 for US$ 9.6 million.  Of the 50 egg Fabergé made for the Imperial family, 43 have survived till date.



No conversation about luxury and lineage is complete without partaking into the eclectic world of colored gemstones. For over centuries, gemstones have been synonymous with wealth, power, and royalty. Before the onset of expensive purses, fast cars, and paintings, luxury was defined and demarcated in the form of precious stones. After centuries as the world’s forerunning luxury asset, colored gemstones appeared destined to become an overlooked specialty item. That is, until recently.

There has been a slow but steady revitalization of the colored gemstone industry and it has been spearheaded by only one name: Gemfields.

One of the world’s leading miner and distributor, Gemfields owns a majority stake in the Kagem mine in Zambia which produces emeralds and a mine in Mozambique for ruby. Emeralds from Kagem are by far the company’s biggest product.

They have bought the majority stake of Fabergé in an all-share deal valuing the historic brand at approximately $142million. Building on Fabergé’s status as a global brand with a notable heritage, Gemfileds is set to create an unmatched status of being an internationally recognized colored gemstones champion and all encumbered luxury enthusiasts.



An exceptional product of this collaboration is “The Art of Colour” collection. It displays the finest jewelry creations, highlighting precious gemstones (emeralds, sapphires, rubies, spinels, and tsavorites), designed by amalgamating modern influences of the current times with classic pieces.

Each Fabergé jewel is a bold and daring object of art that manages to surpass the boundaries of contemporary design. An explosion of vibrant colors that captivates onlookers. The campaign targets women that shop jewelry for themselves. Through this campaign, Fabergé’s aims to celebrate the superior quality of their gemstones.



Gemfields prides itself in being the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced colored gemstones. They are the pioneers of the morally transparent marketplace where mining and ethics form the foundation of the brand. The aim is to set a benchmark for the world’s best practices for sustainable gemstone trading, making it a fair trade, environmentally-sound, and safe in all aspects.

They oversee the entire process from “mine to market” which translates into supplying professionally graded, uncut colored gemstones to the main markets through a series of private auctions, where Gemfields themselves carefully handpicks the buyers.

The brand is highly selective about who they supply to; the focus is not as much about controlling supply, as about putting these precious stones in the right hands, and ensuring that the gems go down as the true heirlooms of history.

Fabergé’s captivating creations are retailed out of exclusive boutiques in London, New York, Geneva and other select locations across the globe.




The Smoking Hot Tuxedo

From LBD to the mini, several once-scandalous women’s garments have melded into the fashion industry seamlessly over the past decades. In a celebrated league of its own however, is ‘le smoking’, the first tuxedo for women, designed half a century ago by the iconic Yves Saint Laurent.

Of any androgynous fashion staple, it’s tough to imagine one that has gained as exalted a position on the runways (and everywhere else) as Le Smoking. Since its 1966 debut, Yves Saint Laurent’s epicene suit has been reinvented by just about every designer in the business, immortalized by Helmut Newton, and still remains a red carpet favourite of many. It is one of the most enduring and powerful fashion creations of the last century, and on its 50th anniversary, it continues to inspire one and all.


In a season of hi-luxe virile womenswear, there is only one celebrated piece that comes to mind: the tuxedo jacket, or to use its decidedly chicer French appellation “Le Smoking”. Introduced in 1966, Yves Saint Laurent presented a revolutionary tuxedo-style suit during a time when women wearing pants was frowned upon by all, the iconic style has now gained a cult status symbolising confidence and female sexual empowerment.


Born in 1936, Yves Saint Laurent lived his entire childhood in Oran, Algeria. At the age of 17, he travelled to Paris where his drawings were presented to Michel de Brunhoff, director of Vogue, who published several of them immediately. Following a stint at fashion school, Saint Laurent was introduced to Christian Dior by de Brunhoff and he went on to work with the legendary fashion house for several years to come.
After taking over as art director for Dior, Saint Laurent launched his first collection for the company, the Ligne Trapéze. It was a booming success and won him a Neiman Marcus Oscar. In 1960, he created his radical “Beat Look” collection which used couture techniques to polish street style fashion. However, his designs proved to be too bold for the house of Dior and a year later they lifted bars on his national service. In 1962, Saint Laurent set up his own fashion house, deftly continuing his reign in the couture world.


His most radical and celebrated couture collection was in Autumn Winter 1966-67 called “Pop Art”. It comprised of a jacket and trouser in black grain de poudre, the first with four button down pockets and the second cut straight, piped in satin, cuffed and worn short over Spanish heeled boots – for the first time in the history of haute couture a women came out in the catwalk wearing a smoking suit. Fast-forward 50 years, and it’s clear that what was unveiled that day at 5 Avenue Marceau, Paris was one of the most significant and powerful designs in 20th century fashion history. Fashion had witnessed a major event and French newspaper Le Monde congregated the suit as an emblem of the 60’s.

By appropriating male apparel and allowing women to wear it, Saint Laurent had effectively transferred attributes of power from one gender to another – at that instant he successfully crossed from the aesthetic domain to the social one. It pioneered long, minimalist, androgynous styles for women, as well as the use of power suits and the pantsuit in modern-day society. Le Smoking became a controversial statement of femininity – a sexuality that did not rely on ruffles or exposed skin, but instead lingered beneath the sleek silhouettes of a perfectly cut jacket and trouser.


There is an enigmatic fascination about a woman in the most masculine piece of clothing. Marlene Dietrich, with her love of on- and offscreen cross-dressing, embraced it. Offering a sophisticated new attitude, Le Smoking, with its sharply tailored, understated lines, became the pioneer to the power suit. Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Charlotte Rampling, Lauren Bacall and Faye Dunaway figured among the constellation of strong women contributing to its legendary magic.

Fashion photography further echoed the influence of this suit at the vanguard of feminine modernity and liberation, in shoots that featured androgynous models with slicked-back hair and mannish three-piece suits, a style that was first popularised in photographs by Helmut Newton.


It was Newton who elevated Le Smoking to its iconic status with his shot for French Vogue in 1975, taken in a dusky Parisian alleyway–Rue Aubriot–in pure elegant simplicity that became the epitome of panache. In a crisp white cravat, cigarette, entwined with a model dressed only in black stilettos in stark monochrome simplicity, Newton created a piece of iconography that to this day has never gone out of fashion.

The Saint Laurent women adapts to masculine silhouettes to highlight her femininity. As a result, the fashion house emphasised on couture as a social phenomenon that is aimed at the widest possible audience. It reflected life and not a fantasy world. So, dressing in a YSL trouser suit declared that the wearer was irreverent, daring and on the cutting of fashion, whilst suggesting their alliance with escalating feminist politics—it successfully demanded: “If men can wear this, why can’t I?”

Le Smoking remains as relevant today as it was in 1966. Reinterpreted again by current creative director Hedi Slimane, the Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket is sold in 10 variations, from the single-breasted classic through to the full coat. Saint Laurent himself attributed the enduring appeal and iconic status of Le Smoking to the fact it encapsulated an attitude or mode, rather than any particular details of the garment.

“For a woman, le smoking is an indispensable garment with which she finds herself continually in fashion, because it is about style, not fashion. Fashions come and go, but style is forever.” – Yves Saint Laurent