Tag Archives: United States

Web Roundup: Engagement Ring Etiquette, Etsy & Easter

This week’s post brought to you by indignance. I would say “irateness” but a. I’m not sure if that’s a word and b. these are strangers. I need to reserve my spiciness for personal affronts. Nonetheless, I’m kicking off web roundup with the bad news first (so the good news can cheer you up!) That’s how I’ve always done it. The good news/bad news thing, not web roundup. Web Roundup is usually a place for butterflies and bunny rabbits which we’ll get to, because it’s Easter weekend. But first: the wrath of D&D.

W. T. Actual. F. Etsy Vendor! You shall remain nameless (until this click through.) However, you get a slap on each wrist for allowing Tech Crunch to write the sensationalist headline “Buying an Engagement Ring Online Spoiled the Surprise.” There’s got to be a better way (perhaps numerical?) to designate reserved listings. Or just mark them as sold and note who the customer is, you know, offline. That being said, the cardinal rule of #hinting is to not follow up. The laws of engagement ring wish listing are simple and finite: do not check to see if your dream ring was sold. I didn’t even go on the side of the showroom with the bridal cases for the last three months before I got engaged. I certainly didn’t check the online listing (hard, because it’s part of my job). If I can avoid that kind of temptation, so must you, hopeful brides. And if it really needs to be said: no, buying an engagement ring online won’t ruin the surprise. If you don’t inadvertently ruin it your own self.

This guy. Ohhhoooo this guy. He’s an interminable d-baguette, no doubt, but I always relish an opportunity for the civilized debate of broken engagement etiquette. The only correct answer is: consult your state law or an attorney. It varies across the US, and there’s no hard and fast rule based on decency i.e. “Thou who called off the wedding shalt not keep the rock.” Typically, An engagement ring is largely considered a “conditional gift” given in good faith that the engagement will result in a marriage. If the marriage never happens, the conditional gift legally should be returned. However, some states contend that if groomy broke off the wedding, he doesn’t get the bauble back. Although some brides have been known to turn profit and sell the engagement ring, they might be forced to pay back the cash value if things get nasty/litigious. I tend to think that no matter who called it off, the ring should be given back to the giver. Especially if it was a family heirloom. Either way, I’d feel weird juju about keeping it. This girl though? Take the money and RUN honey, especially since you’re well within your legal rights. Use it for a celebratory trip to thank the LAWD you didn’t marry that schmuck.

Ok, now onto the fluffy stuff. but no Peeps. I hate Peeps. Give me a Reese’s Egg any day.

If this doesn’t scream easter IDK what does.

Yes, I’m aware I linked to a Lilly Pulitzer dress last week also. What of it? I might have a Lilly problem. And that problem is that there’s no Lilly store in Chicago (how did I get here?!) Picking up something in this foxy pattern, in honor of Ruby the foxy puppy, next time in in Boca.

Finally, This should come in handy this weekend. And every weekend.

Paleo Booze Guide - Paleo Alcohol and Smarter Drink Choices

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Breguet Pocket Watch Sells for $1.2 Million – To Breguet

Anyone that knows a thing or two about pocket watches knows that these small, compact, and often intricately decorated timepieces can go for thousands at auction and can end up costing buyers far more than they may have been worth when they were created. Just such a watch was sold earlier this month at a Sotheby’s auction. The watch was purchased not by a private collector as some might assume, but rather, by the Breguet Museum. This stunning gold pocket watch that tells time, moon phase, and date based on chronometer principles was originally owned by Lord Henry Seymour.

Breguet buys $1.12 million pocket watch

via Born Rich

The watch that fetched $1.2 million at auction today was bought in 1831 for $7700, a far cry from its estimated $1 million dollar value today. The watch was then given to the brother of Lord Henry Seymour, Richard Seymour Conway 4th Marquis of Hertford. The watch was then handed down to his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace. The watch was then auctioned off as part of his estate. This owner of the infamous ‘Wallace Collection’ was the last owner until he died in 1890.

This beautifully understated time piece is at once stunning and practical. Though one would assume a watch of this value would be encrusted with diamonds and other precious metals, the watch is simply designed and belies an elegance that shines through despite its simplistic design. 2013 marks the 190th anniversary of the death of Breguet, the famous watchmaker for which the museum was named. The watch itself was made by Breguet and is a testament to the powers of truly skilled watchmakers. This watch is of the finest quality and is a fantastic example of what the famous watch maker was capable of producing.

Watches today pale in comparison to the antique watches of yesteryear and though beautiful and flashy, are nowhere near as fantastically made as the fine watches that belonged to the well off and the gentry of the past. Other watches that are housed in the museum reflect the versatility of Breguet as a watch maker and illustrate his talent overall as a skilled craftsman. Though Breguet is no longer with us to create these brilliant pieces, his legacy will live on through the beautiful pieces that are left behind. CEO of Breguet Museum Mark Hayek gushed about the brilliant timepiece after its purchase.

The piece will become part of the permanent display of pocket watches and other fabulous timepieces created by the watchmaker in the museum. Though some might see the purchase of a watch for $1.2 million as somewhat insane, the watch is a testament to a time passed and is well worth the money spent. The watch not only tells the story of Breguet but also the story of the men that owned it. This piece is rich with history and has a past all its own. Though most individuals do not have the resources to purchase a watch of this grand scale, these pieces are all on show in the museum. To date, Sotheby’s is one of the largest sellers of antique watches in the United States.

Best Luxury Watches for Men 2013

Time Will Tell When it Comes to Luxury

The concept of wearing a timepiece on the arm began to gain in popularity among the upper classes by the end of the 19th century. Although slow to replace the reliable and ubiquitous pocket watch, luxury watches such as those pioneered by Breguet were already beginning to catch the attention of a growing group of discriminating buyers. While the category of haute horlogerie for these items was still in the future, a solid foundation was in place by the early 1900s. Today, the demand is truly global, with the United States consumption comprising less than 31 percent of the global market.

At the other end of the timepiece market, it was a little less than a century ago that the wristwatch was in the process of becoming a common accessory for the average man. The looming World War and technology were to make the watch a standard item for officers fighting in the trenches. Its proven practicality and affordability made it a mass consumer product by the early ‘20s, and the pocket watch was largely relegated to the status of historical curiosities by the end of World War II.

Time has, indeed, been kind to the growing market for luxury watches. Even during the recent worldwide economic malaise, the global interest in these tokens of success grew by seven percent in 2012, which was the third consecutive year for such an increase, according to a preliminary report by the Digital Luxury Group.

This category of luxury products even has its own trade organization and magazine, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

Any effort to rank and select key players in such markets raises the issues of which metrics are most important, as both subjective values and objective factors enter the equation. However, general interest and market revenues tell us that there are less than two dozen designers and manufacturers of truly high-end luxury watches. The principle players include brands such as:

According to the study’s data, the following luxury brands occupy the top ranks based on total market sales. However, there is evidence of shifting within these rankings, with newer brands such as Richard Mille and Vacheron Constantin recording the fastest rates of growth. The current leaders by market share are:

  1. Patek Philippe – 23.6 percent
  2. Jaeger-LeCoultre – 12.7 percent
  3. Vacheron Constantin – 12.6 percent
  4. Audemars Piguet – 9.2 percent
  5. Breguet – 7.7 percent

Below, we’ll take a brief look at just ten of these manufacturers that are admired and coveted by many of those considered to be in the highest-end of the luxury watch segment.

Vacheron Constantin Skeleton Minute Repeater

Vacheron Constantin Skeleton Minute Repeater
via The Hour Lounge

With a retail price exceeding $600,000, you won’t see this market leader on many arms hoisting a working man’s brew. The workmanship of this timepiece requires thousands of hours of the finest watch artisans. It boasts a 30-jewel movement with a 34-hour reserve. Its clean design is reflected in the lack of complications. Of course, this is not a watch worn during a marathon. Here you find a piece that provides definitely proof that the watchmaker’s skills are not a lost art.

Girard-Perregaux Opera Three

Girard Perregaux Haute Horologie Opera Three
via Extravaganzi

Another of the watches that will cost more than many fine homes, this option also comes in at a little over $600,000. The supply of this timepiece that plays two separate personal tunes with its miniature carillon will be in greater demand than the supply, which is how the manufacturer that positions itself as the maker of “watches for the few’ likes it.

Bulgari Ergon

Bulgari Ergon
via Amazon

With a price of $15,000 that is more attainable for many, the Egron has clean, curved lines focused on function and regular use. This is reinforced by its stainless-steel case and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and crocodile band. Here is another luxury watch that eschews fancy complications, offering only hour, minute, second, and date functions.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique Grande Automatique

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique Grande Automatique
via Go Top 10

Still more affordable at $8,200, this entry is nonetheless an exceptional product by a leading luxury brand. Known for its innovations, this timepiece has the ability to swivel or reverse its stainless-steel case. The design has a bit of the retro look, with a rectangular case and prominent numerals. You may not use the reversible feature very often, but it is one way to protect the crystal on this 30-meter water-resistant classic.

TAG Heuer Kirium F1

TAG heuer Kirium F1
TAG heuer Kirium F1

At “just” $3,000, this timepiece fits its manufacturer’s goal of being a favored selection of the active luxury watch buyer. Whether racing in the Le Mans or sailing on the bay, this is a rugged and practical everyday watch that has a total of seven functions, including both analog and digital displays. The other complications, such as dial backlighting and second time zone, are useful to some that compete or conduct business internationally. The water protection will take you to 200 meters.

Richard Mille RM 002-V2 Turbillon

Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 002 V2 Red Gold
via Luxury Bazar

Moving back up the price range, this Turbillon will command just under a quarter-million dollars if you wish to add it to your collection. The look and feel of this striking entry shows why Richard Mille is such a rising star in the luxury watch universe. This model uses carbon nano-fiber construction and its lines reflect that advanced technology. There are a number of functions and complications shared among the separate models and provide the buyer a challenge concerning which to prioritize. This is a watch that will be worn for more than special occasions.

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 370

via Exquisite Timepieces

Priced just a little higher up the luxury chain at $274,000, the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti is still reasonable compared to what you would pay for its automotive inspiration, the Veyron by Bugati. Interestingly, the crystal and face are slanted as an acknowledgement of that source of design, and the angle allows a driver to check the time without moving his hand from the wheel of the presumably fast-moving auto. The movement wheels are even replicates of the early Bugati wheel rims. The white-gold case lends a simple elegance to the final product.

IWC Grande Complication

IWC Grand Complication
via IWC

Coming in at $215,000, the IWC Grande Complication is limited to production of no more than 50 timepieces a year. The device earns its name with numerous functions that are supported by 659 parts in the 75-jewel watch that is also self-winding. Of course, you’ll find a chronograph, as well as a perpetual calendar and moon phase display. Multiple settings are available for the watch to chime, from on the hour to every minute.

Patek Philippe Celestial

Patek Philippe Celestial
via Luxist

Some will consider this entry, the Patek Philippe Celestial, a bargain at just under $200,000 simply because it is made available by the leader of the luxury watch market. Another watch in the grand complication category, it includes an innovative sky chart to track more than most of us can appreciate about celestial movements. With 301 parts and 45 jewels, this watch reports a 48-hour battery capacity.

Breguet Double Tourbillon Classique Grande Complication

Breguet Double Tourbillon tournant
via The Watch Quote

With a retail price of $329,000, this design by the grandfather of luxury watch makers is both classic and innovative. The rotating center plate is turned by hand and it has a case of platinum, protecting a total of 588 parts in a 69-jewel movement. A nice touch is the solar system hand engraved on the movement’s back.

Even if these watches are out of your current budget, you’ll enjoy stopping in and viewing them at your favorite retailer of fine and luxury watches.

Celebs With Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Yellow gold is one of the most beautiful materials used in jewelry. Its natural color is ubiquitously known around the world as one of the most precious metals ever discovered. Every year, jewelers must compete with technology companies for gold, as it is as versatile as it is beautiful. Up until relatively recently, yellow gold was not commonly used in one of the most important pieces of jewelry anyone will ever wear: engagement rings. However, thanks to some high profile celebrities bucking this trend and getting yellow gold engagement rings for their spouses, this trend is beginning to change.

While platinum and white gold were the metals of choice for Hollywood stars in the 80s and 90s, the new millennium has proven much more favorable to yellow gold. Halle Berry was one of the most famous celebrity women to start the new trend in yellow gold engagement rings. Halle Berry’s yellow gold ring is topped off with an enormous emerald ring that stands out and looks incredible when worn.

Halle Berry engagement ring

Jessica Simpson is another famous actress that made headlines with her yellow gold engagement ring. Her ring, quite extravagant by almost any standard, was given to her by her finance Eric Johnson in 2010. The ring contains two large diamonds on either side of an even larger ruby in the center. Jessica’s ring made headlines, and has had a dramatic impact on the number of couples getting yellow gold engagement rings with gemstones.

Jessica SImpson ruby engagement ring

via Just Jared

Although Katy Perry’s relationship with Russell Brand didn’t last very long, they still made waves with their engagement hardware. Katy Perry’s ring was made of a yellow gold band and an enormous diamond in the middle. The ring was estimated to cost over $50,000.

Katy Perry Engagement RIng

via Buy Me a Rock

The slew of yellow gold engagement rings on celebrity fingers hasn’t been limited to just the stars of Hollywood. There are a number of business leaders that have adopted the yellow gold trend and made their engagement ring choice accordingly.

GIA Certified round diamond engagement ring with yellow gold setting

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, is known for his idiosyncratic way of doing things. The Facebook founder has long chosen to buck trends and desire to customize his environment. These personality traits were on fully display when he give his wife, Priscilla Chan-Zuckerberg, a yellow-gold engagement ring with a fairly small ruby in the middle. Mark Zuckerberg is known to dislike flashy shows of wealth, and this can be seen in the engagement he gave his finance. However, Mark said he designed the ring himself. It is certainly possible to argue that this show of time and care is far more valuable than a large diamond ring.

While the yellow gold engagement ring is not for everyone, there is without a doubt a resurgence of this style in households across the United States. While it seems as though this trend originally started with celebrities, it has since taken on a life of its own, and it is becoming more common with everyday men and women.

Why Yes, This is a $900,000 Custom Blinged Out E-Cigarette

Think jewelry is just something that goes on a neck or a wrist? Think again! Accessories don’t begin and end in traditional media; and it takes the element of surprise to really make a statement. Sparkle and shine can be at home anywhere and perhaps best speak from unexpected places.

Shisha Sticks Sofia $900000 blinged out e-cigarette

It’s hard to argue with the current statement of the millennia: the custom-made vaping device that a mysterious Russian billionaire recently ordered from UK-based company Shisha Sticks. Shisha Sticks has made its name producing electronic shisha vaping devices (or, as we call them here in the United States, “e-cigarettes”).

What is an “e-cigarette” anyway?

Your run-of-the-mill e-cig consists of several basic components: an LED indicator light situated on the device’s tip which turns on when the e-cig is being “pulled” (or inhaled from), a long shaft that houses battery components, a tiny atomizing device through which liquid nicotine and flavoring pass (the dosage amount is controlled by a smart chip in the device), and an inhaler which goes in the user’s mouth. Standard models range in appearance from sleek black, to something resembling a conventional cigarette. Standard starter kits (that is “permanent” rather than “temporary” versions) are priced anywhere from $40-$70.

But not this luxury model.

Designer Anthony Mixides from Shisha Sticks claims that building the custom piece, “was a dream brief for us. We were asked to design the ultimate shisha vaping device for class, style and luxury. We were told that, within reason, money was no object on the project. Once the design was approved we set about sourcing the finest diamonds, yellow crystals, glass and gold available. It took over four months to design, but this is without doubt the finest shisha stick ever produced.”

The Price Tag

We’re not certain who determines that “within reason” means, but we do know that at £550,000($890,000) this little baby had better be something special. Features of the final design include 246 two-carrot diamonds (each worth $2,889); a body made of sleek, authentic hand-blown Italian glass from the Venetian Island of Murano; a 24 carat gold button and clearomiser base; 46 yellow Swarovski crystals; and (the piece de resistance) a six carat oval diamond tip (valued at $73,830). It has been confirmed that this Cadillac of the e-cig world is currently the most expensive e-cigarette in existence. She even has her own name: Shisha Sticks Sofia.

Why Would you Do That?

The device was ordered as a birthday gift for said billionaire’s girlfriend. Though the piece’s commissioner prefers to remain anonymous, one can only imagine that it will quickly become impossible to stay out of the limelight due to the extremely recognizable one-of-a-kind device that he has unleashed upon the world.

How do I get one?

If you are interested in ordering a custom e-cigarette (though perhaps one that will make slightly less of a splash at your next garden party), contact Shisha Sticks at bespoke@shishssticks.co.uk.