Santa in bling may be the favourite visitor this Christmas. Gold, precious gems and minerals, exotic foods and liquors and recherche clothes have fascinated the shopper through the centuries. The mission of the true connossieur has always been to acquire the rarest, create the exclusive, and collect the unshared. Limited edition history is always for sale, if the price is met—whether it be the feather of an extinct bird or a boat made with dinosaur bones. The oldest whisky ever to come from the Isle of Islay, a bottle of the Bowmore 1957 is expected to fetch around $250,000. The most expensive whisky ever to come under the hammer is a bot of 64-year-old Macallan in Lalique. Then there is sensational spending—the Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, got the world’s costliest haircut for more than $24,000; he flew down celebrity hairdresser Ken Modestou in a private suite of Singapore Airlines from London just to trim his hair. (The sultan has a haircut once a month.) Some items are stuff of legend; such as the $30-million watch that belonged to Marie Antoinette which was stolen by a burglar so thin he could slip in and out between bars—the watch was recovered by the Israeli police decades later. Indian maharajahs dazzled the British with their diamonds and thrones which were quickly looted and sent home; the vintage car collections of royals are still among the best—the Star of India, a Rolls Royce that belonged to the Rajkot royals was the world’s costliest car once. The spending never stops. Anyone got $25,000 to toast January with some Heidsieck Monopole 1907?
It’s no longer the Italians; the world’s most expensive car is currently the French-made Bugatti Veyron Supersport. In the good old pre-recessions days, the favourite hot rod of hedge fund playboys, it has a monster engine: 16 cylinders generating the power of 1,200 horses. Obviously, the top speed is 268 mph, hitting 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds. Other pricey road babies have burnt the tar as well: on March 31, 1998, McLaren F1 set the record for the world’s fastest car and in 2012 fetched $5.6 million. Then there is the $2.3-million Aston Martin One-77 limited edition; the $2.21-million diamond finished Koenigsegg Trevita; any one of the five $1.8-million Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadsters produced and other million-dollar babies like Koenigsegg CCXR and CCX, the Lamborghini Reventón Roadster Reventón and the original million-dollar car, the Bufori La Joya. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is the costliest car ever sold to a private collector at $35 million.
Meanwhile, Bugattis lovers may want to add the world’s most expensive model car—the $23 million Bugatti Veyron Diamond Limited Edition—to their collection; a 1:18 scale replica in 24k gold, platinum and 7.2 carats of single cut flawless diamonds. The steering works, and even the engine is highly detailed. In 2011, the 1:8 scale Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 built by Robert Gülpen Engineering holds three Guinness Book of Records— the world’s most expensive and most precious model car, the most secure showcase—a bulletproof cabinet and the most precious Lamborghini logo ever made. Such ritzy wheels need a lot of care: The Dubai-based car wash, named Monza Ultimate Detailing and Protection offers to make your car look as good as new for $16,500. Meanwhile, the world’s most expensive parking spot is in Manhattan and costs $1 million in an eight-storey luxury condo at 66 E. 11th St.
Speaking of million dollar wheels, the world’s most expensive motorcycle costs $1 million and is designed by Jack Armstrong, the world’s premier exponent of the Cosmic Extensional.style. Off the shelf, the FE Ti XX is the last of its Heretic series costing $300,000. It has a 2.4 L billet aluminum engine that can produce 225 horsepower. The rugged bike boasts ceramic Grade 9 titanium pipes, shot-peened finish, hydraulic clutch and a carbon belt drive. The $555,000 Dodge Tomahawk is also a motorbike, though. Then there is the custom-built Ecosse Spirit ES1 sportsbike which will be the only one of its kind in the world, at $3.6 million. Each one of the 10 Ecosse’s Titanium Series RR costs $275,000. Ducati’s Desmosedici RR is priced at $72,500. The world’s priciest bicycle—the Butterfly Trek Madone bike—designed by Damien Hirst, was sold for $500,000. It will get PETA angry because real butterfly wings were used in making it.
The great Swiss watch company established in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard released the world’s most expensive watch, and perhaps the gaudiest—the Haute Joaillerie from Chopard.
Three heart-shaped diamonds—a 15-carat pink diamond, a 12-carat blue diamond and an 11-carat white diamond—are adorned by 163 carats of white and yellow diamonds, totalling 201 carats of sparklies in all. Press the watch spring-loaded mechanism and lo! the three heart shapes mechanically open to show you the time on the yellow diamond-studded watch face. Its followed by Vacherin Constantin’s Tour de l’Ile at $1.5 million and is the world’s most complicated wrist watch. It took over 10,000 hours of research to create this limited edition of seven pieces.
Off the shelf, the Emperador Temple from Piaget is deemed the world’s most expensive at $3.3 million. Created with 1,212 diamonds, its design is pyramid style sporting twin watches. The Aeternitas Mega 4 made by Franck Muller can only be purchased in New York and Geneva and costs $2.4 million. Then there is the Parmigiani Fleurier Fibonacci Pocket Watch for $2.4 million. For the ladies, Hublot’s $5 million Big Bang Ladies watch is the most expensive. The Chopard “Super Ice Cube” with 66.16 carats of diamonds, including 1,897 brilliants, 288 trapeze-cuts, and a center case set with 16 squares is tagged at $1,130,620.
The most expensive drawing is by Renaissance master Raphael painted around 1519-20. Owned by the Duke of Devonshire, Sotheby’s London sold it to an unnamed buyer for £20 million. In 2009, Christies had sold Raphael’s black chalk ‘Head of a Muse’ for £29.2 million. The most expensive painting ever sold is Jackson Pollock’s ‘No. 5, 1948’, based on his famous “drip” style, for $140 million. Of course, at $120 million, Edward Munsch’s ‘Scream’ is the world’s costliest painting sold at an auction. The most expensive piece of sculpture to go under the hammer is Alberto Giacometti’s ‘L’Homme qui marche’—The Walking Man. Incidentally it is also the most expensive piece of art ever sold at an auction. The previous title holder was Picasso’s Garcon a la Pipe. Photographer Andreas Gursky’s Rhine II is the most expensive photograph ever sold. This grey image of the Rhine, according to the photographer “is an allegorical picture about the meaning of life and how things are.”
Topping the most expensive jewelllery list is a dress! The diamond bikini by Susan Rosen & Steinmetz is a short two-pieced woman’s swimming briefs. (It’s also the most expensive woman’s dress) The bikini consists of more than 150 flawless diamonds set perfectly in platinum seats. The White Diamond by Sotheby’s, mounted on a ring, weighs 100 carats and is priced around $23 million. The great Parisian jeweler Ch0pard corners the market in the world’s most expensive sparkles list. Chopard’s Blue Diamond Ring valued at $16.26 million is the second most expensive ring in the world—the first one being the Pink Diamond Ring sold by Christie’s at a Hong Kong auction for $10.8 million. Set with an enormous, oval-shaped blue diamond, this ring has diamond shoulders. Meanwhile, Chopard’s Blue Diamond sold at the price of $7.98 million. Its 18k white gold band has diamonds in pave setting. The Chopard superb Diamond and Emerald Necklace made of massive green Columbian Emeralds that weight almost 191 carats costs around $3 million. Diamond Drop Earrings by Harry Winston—the “jeweller to the stars”—consists of two 30-carat pear-shaped diamonds each in a platinum setting costs $8.5 million. The rare 40.63 carats heart shaped Burmese ruby—Heart of the Kingdom Ruby—is mounted on a 155-carat diamond necklace which can be transformed into a tiara. The 181 carat De Beers Marie Antoinette Necklace costs $ 3.7 million. It has a leading pink diamond at the top and two yellow diamonds directly below.
The 18,083-square-foot Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel, Geneva, is the height of luxury, offering a spectacular view of Lake Geneva. The suite has a near impregnable safe for any treasures you may be carrying. A close second is the Royal Villa at the Grand Resort Lagonissi, Athens at $45,000 a night which overlooks the Aegean Sea. Each guest is provided a staff of four —personal trainer, spa assistant, a butler and a limo driver. From here, you can fly to Athens by private jet. The Hugh Hefner Sky Villa at the Palms Casino & Resort, Las Vegas, at $40,000 a night swings in to be the third most expensive hotel in the world.
When do you realise that splashing out £1.92 million for the iPhone 3GS Supreme is a waste of money? Then you thought you owned the most expensive cellphone in the world, but now you have been downgraded by the iPhone 3GS Supreme Rose. British product designer Stuart Hughes took an iPhone 3GS, put in a rare 7.5 carat single cut diamond at the centre, a platinum bezel, 18 carat rose gold, a sprinkling of diamonds and four 2.5 carat pink baguette diamonds. That’s one expensive phone call, even for a billionaire.
The most expensive cigar ever made is the peaty Gurkha, Black Dragon—an exclusive Honduran blend with a medium body made with extremely old and rare tobaccos. It was introduced in 2006 with a hefty tag of $1,150 per cigar. Only five hand-carved camel bone boxes of 100 cigars each were created. A cheaper version was released later. The 100-box limited edition Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve is infused with Louis XIII Cognac and a box of 20 is for $15,000. Then there is the Stradavarius Churchill cigar, a box of 10 of which will set you back by $347.
While the Eagle Ski Club, Switzerland, has a waiting list of up to three years, this members only restaurant has a membership fee of $50,000. However, the formal title of the world’s priciest eatery goes to Aragawa situated in the world’s most expensive city, Tokyo, and famous for its Kobe beef. Dining here costs around $450 a head.
The Algonquin Hotel is one of the Big Apple’s legendary hotels where the smartest and brainiest of New York in the 1930s—Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, Truman Capote—hung out. Now the classic hotel has acquired a different sort of distinction of serving the world’s priciest cocktail—the Martini on the Rock at The Blue Bar at $10,000 a drink. It comes with a diamond ring in the glass, and is bought by men for prospective brides. The ingredients—apart from the ice— are Grey Goose vodka and dry vermouth, green olives.
It costs a bomb to smell good. The world’s most expensive perfume is Imperial Majesty Perfume from Clive Christian—a bot costs $435,000. An 18-carat gold round ring covers the neck of the bottle topped by a 5-carat diamond cap.