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The Peak guide: tasteful gifts for the modern man

Surprise that special someone this festive season.

Breguet’s new showstopper has everything horology buffs look for in a timepiece.

There are a few things that knowledgeable watch lovers most prize – technical and aesthetic mastery, certainly. But just as important is a sense of historical signifi cance – what a watch represents in the continuum of our quest to measure time. If you’re a savvy watch collector, Breguet’s latest blockbuster, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 – an ultra-thin tourbillon watch with a movement just 3mm thin – ticks all the boxes. Building a tourbillon timepiece (which has a structure that typically requires a good amount of space) that fi ts into an ultra-thin case is a skill that not many manufactures possess. But such know-how is embedded in this brand’s history, which was founded by renowned watchmaker Louis Abraham- Breguet in 1775.

Breguet

This ultra-thin, self-winding tourbillon watch blends a modern aesthetic with traditional know-how.

It was Breguet himself who invented the tourbillon, an accuracy- improving mechanism still beloved by connoisseurs, in the early 19th century. What is less known is that the watchmaker was also skilled at making ultra-thin timepieces. This is shown in the pocket watch No. 4691, a 7.7mm-thick half-quarter repeater model he sold in 1831. That timepiece has inspired the brand’s recent ultra-thin watches, powered by the calibre 581. The same calibre drives the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395. As if the 3mm-thin movement wasn’t fine enough, the brand has also removed half of the rose-gold movement through masterful skeletonisation. The airy construction gives this timepiece a modern, architectural quality that highlights its traditional, hand-executed finishing. These include the smooth, 45-degree bevels of the openworked movement’s many edges, and the hand-engraved hobnailed pattern on the remaining plate surface. Housed in a platinum case 41mm wide and just 7.7mm thick, and accented with the brand’s signature fluted edges, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 possesses all the features that the savviest collectors seek.

The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 in platinum with a rose-gold movement retails at $345,700. It is also available in a rose gold case.

 

Leica’s latest camera lets photography lovers maximise their creative potential.

While the market for cameras has shrunk due to the convenience of smartphone photography, the revenue for high-end brand Leica has been growing for the past five years. It’s a score for luxury niche products. Indeed, the German camera’s century of history, association with iconic images and legendary photographers, and supreme quality lend it a prestige that speaks as much about the equipment as the discerning taste of its users. Its latest model, the SL2, puts a powerful tool in the hand of photography hobbyists, with improved digital photography and videography features.

Leica camera SL2

The Leica SL2 is the second iteration of the SL model with enhanced digital photography and videography features.

Says famed lensman Steve McCurry, who trialled the camera in China: “To me, there was no comparison – the quality is unparalleled.” The SL2 ensures outstanding image quality in all lighting conditions with enormous dynamic range, an impressive colour depth and a sensitivity of up to ISO 50,000. It also delivers an unparalleled level of detail rendition and image quality, thanks to a 47 megapixel-CMOS image sensor in full-frame format.

In China, McCurry, who shot the haunting Afghan Girl image, photographed a variety of subjects, including sparring pugilists. Capturing mid-air kicks was made easy with the camera’s high-performance autofocus system – which enables a virtually lag-free shutter release – and a suspended sensor, which adjusts its position so as to quickly compensate for camera shake. If a situation calls for video, the SL2 records up to 60 frames per second in Cine 4K mode, and up to 180 frames per second in Full-HD mode, allowing for a vivid, clear capture of the action. While it’s true that a tool is only as smart as the person wielding it, in this age of fast improving technology, sometimes it’s the equipment that can take the credit.

Steve McCurry’s exhibition, China, is on at Leica Galerie Singapore, Raffles Hotel Arcade, until Jan 14, 2020. The Leica SL2 retails at $9,400.

(Related: Graffiti and photography comes together at Leica Galerie Singapore’s latest exhibition)

 

The search for the perfect gift for your deserving offspring stops right here.

Friends laughing at the P plates on your supercar? Or junior can’t park the limo without dinging the expensive rims? Being the doting parent that you are, a suitable gift of mobility for your teenager might be in order. Compact and agile, the Mini Cooper makes a great first car. It is quick enough for oodles of driving fun, but its go-kart-like handling renders it virtually impossible to get into trouble in. To mark the model’s anniversary, the brand has introduced the 60 Years Edition, which comes with all the bells and whistles.

  • Mini Cooper
    The car comes with digital features aimed at youth such as the Apple Car Play.

Like the anniversary logo on the maroon leather sports seats and steering wheel, and an LED light projection that reminds you every time you step out of the car that you were in something very special. Rounding off the package is Mini Connected, which comes with millennial-targeted digital features such as Apple Car Play. The 60 Years Edition is available with three or five doors, in two engine specifications and in several different colours. But you would be remiss if you did not pick the quintessential British Racing Green paintwork, which comes matched with the roof in Pepper White.

From S$141,888. Limited stock available at Mini Habitat, 27 Leng Kee Road, www.mini.com.sg

 

Montblanc’s new Meisterstuck Calligraphy Collection turns the act of writing into a sublime form of self-expression.

Today, the pen has come to symbolise grace, artistry and, importantly, a rare and beautiful form of highly personalised communication in our digital age. That form is taken to the next level with Montblanc’s new Flex Nib, which makes its debut in the renowned penmaker’s Meisterstuck Calligraphy Collection. Crafted from gold so that it bends and flexes with ease, this nib enables and encourages a more expressive writing style, with different pressures producing lines ranging from 0.3-1.4mm in thickness.

  • Montblanc notebooks
    Special matching notebooks have been created to let writers practise their penmanship.

The pens themselves are a tribute to the ornate illuminated manuscripts from medieval times and the Renaissance. Gold leaf is applied by hand to its black lacquer cap and barrel, then sealed under a layer of translucent lacquer, making each instrument one of a kind. To enhance the uniqueness of the pens, Montblanc has created three exclusive notebooks in black leather with gold, silver, or red metallic foil, each filled with prized Awagami paper. Each notebook traces the evolution of calligraphy in Western, Islamic and East Asian settings, so analogue folks can appreciate the penmanship of various cultures, before producing their own signature strokes in their next missive.

The Meisterstuck Solitaire Calligraphy Fountain Pen retails at $2,515; notebooks retail at $240.

 

Half the joy of owning timepieces is gawking at intricacies, and here’s a neat present to magnify that pleasure.

Introducing a gift for a watch collector to share his connoisseurship. Thanks to a mobile phone clip that accompanies Project LpX – an MB&F collaboration with Loupe System, which specialises in advanced magnifying lens – said collector can now show everyone in his social media circles the fi ner-than-fine details of his timepieces. The warm, tingling sensation he gets from the resulting digital affirmation? Mission accomplished.

  • Project LpX MB&F
    Project LpX enables users to take photos with their mobile devices.

At its core, Project LpX is two loupes, with 3x and 6x magnification, stacked into a rocket-shaped sculpture. Its display value means that the lens will always be on hand for collectors to indulge in hours of haute horlogerie appreciation. And who can blame them? The scopes remind them why they pay watchmaking maestros princely sums. It’s there in the intricate, hand-etched guilloche dials, the gossamer machinations of a dual-tourbillon set-up, all the facets of the 39 jewels in a watch movement that costs the equivalent of a mortgage. These delightful minutiae are inversely proportional in size to the attached price tag, and surely that’s why a loupe makes the heart leap with joy – it allows one to reenact the justification process again. And that’s almost as cathartic as shopping for a brand new timepiece.

Project LpX retails at $5,400. Available at The Hour Glass.

(Related: Gift guide: 7 bespoke gifts for the home)