Is there anyone not enchanted by studio-grade music, or an investment-worthy timepiece?
November 5, 2021
The occasional luxury item is often very comforting and enjoyable, but everyone has a different idea of what luxury means. Some people enjoy drinking vintage champagne or whisky while listening to exquisite music. Others may choose to splurge on a lavish vacation or an exceptional timepiece.
Though the luxury market has been around for centuries, the relationship between luxury and investment did not emerge until the 18th century. That’s when households began to purchase high-value goods, such as art and timepieces, according to Dr Seán Williams, a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield’s School of Languages and Cultures. People began to consider luxury an economic and social asset during the period of European Enlightenment (with a particular emphasis on France) from the 17th to 18th centuries.
Nowadays, luxury is associated with authenticity, substance, and sustainability, principles embraced by haute couture brands like Bang & Olufsen and Richard Mille to a significant degree. These marques have created a powerful digital presence while attracting consumers through their aesthetic, luxurious, and environment-friendly products.
Bang & Olufsen, for instance, understands how music can bring people together, not only as entertainment but also as a source of passion and happiness. Its latest wirelessly connected speakers, such as the Beoplay A9 Fourth Generation and Beolab 28, combine noble finishes of oak or walnut, and sleek materials, such as aluminum and Kvadrat fabric, representing the future of home audio.
Looking like minimalist pieces of art, these speakers are easily upgradeable, repairable, and exchangeable. A touchscreen or smartphone allows audiophiles to stream their favorite music, and seamlessly connect to other speakers, televisions and digital apps.
Luxury transcends from high-performance music to high-performance timepieces. Richard Mille’s unapologetically bold watches are hailed as the ultimate expression of excellence, thanks to complex horological innovations, exceptional engineering, and hi-tech applications. Since its launch 20 years ago, the demand for the Swiss watchmaker’s timepieces consistently outstrips production.
As investment-worthy as its other premium timepieces, the new RM 72-01 Automatic Winding Lifestyle Flyback Chronograph and RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph herald new heights in haute horology. The former displays the company’s first proprietary flyback chronograph that took 30 months to complete, while the latter is the most complex timepiece ever created in its fabled Les Breuleux, Switzerland workshops.
It is easy to acknowledge such extraordinary achievements when you know you can count on being presented with the best-ever creations of sound and time that are as amazing and inspiring as they are exciting.
Richard Mille’s Transformative Take On The Classic Chronograph Transcends Time
Bringing exquisite, precise order to a world in flux, the RM 72-01 Automatic Winding Lifestyle Flyback Chronograph and the RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph take haute horology to new heights.
As the world stood still in the past two years, commerce, creativity and craftsmanship have been sidelined as humanity struggled to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Could something truly monumental be created during such a tumultuous period?
Defying expectations, pretty much as it has every day since its launch 20 years ago, Richard Mille—that most admired of high-end watchmakers—has emerged with not one but two true standard-bearers of horological innovation and precision engineering. This has seen the RM 72-01 Automatic Winding Lifestyle Flyback Chronograph and the RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph widely acclaimed as apt testimony to the company’s peerless craftsmanship and its ability to deliver highly complex timepieces destined to be new industry-wide benchmarks.
The RM 72-01 seems to almost deny the stillness of the pandemic-induced global lockdown wilfully by being Richard Mille’s most flawless paean to motion to date. Created to be a true nexus between haute horology, dance and music, this is a timepiece perfectly honed to celebrate the unity of movement between time, bodies and scintillating rhythms.
A very special addition to the 20-year-old brand’s portfolio of premium timepieces, RM 72-01 keeps time in its own unique fashion, with three beats to a measure, and a rhythm leading the numbers three, eight and 11. This triple beat resonates across the watch’s three cardinal time scales: the blue-hued seconds hand, the striking orange minutes indicator and the green hour marker, all of which are exquisitely orchestrated by a six-column wheel.
It’s a timepiece distinguished by the inclusion of the marque’s first proprietary flyback chronograph, a milestone that took 30 months to achieve.
Available in a choice of four liveries—5N red gold, titanium and black or white ceramic—it boasts an automatic winding movement, a 50-hour power reserve and a remarkable thickness of just 6.05 millimeters, packing an epic 425 precision components.
Seen as a timepiece that heralds the brand’s future direction, partly through its wider embrace of the world of the arts, lifestyle and culture, it has already been celebrated by leading proponents of those very disciplines. The singular aesthetic and terpsichorean channelling of the watch have inspired a symphonic work—performed by one of London’s leading orchestras—which was, in turn, the cornerstone of a truly cinematic celebration of dance, the passage of time and the indomitable vitality of humanity.
“This is a lifestyle chronograph designed to bring that rarefied concept very much into the mainstream,” Alexandre Mille, the brand’s Commercial Director, says. “The conceit was to convey the notion of measured time as an expression of music, movement and tempo and, in that, we have succeeded even beyond our own expectations. At the same time, we have also created a chronograph that transcends its expected utility in the sporting and scientific arenas, announcing itself as a truly immaculate everyday wear timepiece that is destined to appeal equally to the most discerning of men and women.”
By contrast, the RM 65-01 is a far more cerebral offering. The undeniably impressive outcome of five years of intensive development, this automatic split-seconds chronograph is indisputably the most complex timepiece ever crafted in the company’s fabled Les Breuleux, Switzerland workshops.
Complementing its extremely high-end aesthetic, it seamlessly integrates a high-frequency balance with variable inertia—5Hz or 36,000 vibrations per hour—that guarantees ultra-reliable timekeeping even for extended periods, while delivering precise 1/10th of a second stopwatch measurements. In a first for the brand, it also incorporates a split-second hand for the calculation of intermediate times, an innovation that ensures its admission into the most exclusive and fastidious racing circles.
Fashioned and refined in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, the renowned Swiss supplier of precision high-end mechanical movements, the RM 65-01’s six-column wheel architecture and vertical coupling represents a new gold standard in terms of horological consistency. Functioning as a veritable mechanical brain, this exquisitely castellated array—viewable via its transparent base—comes mounted on a grade five titanium chassis supported by correspondingly sourced bridges, all driven by an eminently reliable 60-hour power reserve.
The RM 65-01 also incorporates the brand’s first in-house patented rapid winding mechanism, an innovation triggered by an 8 o’clock-set push-button. It takes just 125 presses to prime the barrel and ensure any impending event is timed to the utmost precision.
“Overall, it is very much an embodiment of the philosophy behind our longstanding RM 011 collection, a portfolio of timepieces that has gone through many iterations since its inception in 2007,” Mille says. “As you might even say it is a collection that has become emblematic of our overall identity, this spurred us to go in a very different direction with the RM 65-01, in line with our commitment to keeping the brand perpetually fresh and surprising.”
While very different in both concept and execution, the two timepieces, in their own highly individual fashions, are a truly united manifestation of the brand’s fiercely curated DNA. Each pushes the boundaries in terms of being a triumph of technology, while neither has been compromised as the marque stays true to its ceaseless commitment to innovation and quality of the very highest order.
Paying tribute to the legacy values so clearly commemorated in these eminently contemporary chronographs, Mille says, “Beyond being exclusive, these watches are clear precursors of future horological excellence. Each one is very much at the cutting edge, the point where new materials, finishing and technical movement design intersect, while also embodying an uncompromising approach to ensuring even the smallest components are precise and perfect. Add into the mix our flair for ergonomic case design and you will not find anything like it in the market.”
Bang & Olufsen’s Connected Speakers Sound Better Together
Timeless and expertly crafted, Bang & Olufsen’s connected speakers—Beolab 28, Beoplay A9 Generation 4 and Beosound Level—are aesthetically pleasing and revolutionary. Designed to last and be future-ready, they transform the room’s ambience and how people listen to music.
Sound is a delicate and complex element that has the ability to convey all sorts of emotions, and no brand understands that better than Bang & Olufsen, which celebrates its 96th anniversary this year.
“In a world of consumer electronics, most products are regarded as disposable commodities,” says Mads Kogsgaard Hansen, Senior Global Product Manager, Product Circularity & Classics Program. “Bang & Olufsen’s creations are built to stand the test of time, and beautifully embody what we want to build on in the future.”
Beolab 28, Beoplay A9 Generation 4, and Beosound Level reflect the Danish luxury audio brand’s dedication to timeless design, outstanding sound and performance in immaculate presentations that make the speakers instantly appealing to meticulous music lovers. The wirelessly connected speakers also make listening to music anywhere, at any time, a well-deserved luxury. Capable of linking to other speakers in seconds, it creates a seamless soundscape.
Featuring excellent, conversation-starting audio experiences, smart room calibration via Bang & Olufsen, iOS and Android apps, and other features, including multistreaming, each speaker allows you to enjoy music as you would at a concert, and even better as the technology can be upgraded.
As sound specialist Neo Kaplanis puts it, “Bang & Olufsen has spent decades studying the effect of room acoustics on human perception, which has led to the development of unique technologies in its flagship speakers.” Meet Bang & Olufsen’s most advanced connected speakers yet.
Great Sound, Refined Aesthetics
Probably one of the most unique connected speaker systems ever, Beolab 28’s cylindrical columns and conical bases, along with its subwoofers and custom drivers, demonstrate how great sound, and refined aesthetics can coexist. Once turned on, the mechanical curtains move to automatically adjust output.
“Beolab 28 is our most advanced connected speaker system,” says Christoffer Poulsen, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Management at Bang & Olufsen. “It includes cutting-edge, wireless connectivity and streaming features that allow you to enjoy music exactly the way you want.”
While easily fitting into any living room, the speaker is powerful enough to enrich larger spaces, making it perfect for entertaining guests. Due to its small footprint, the system’s conical bases can go on the floor or the wall, concealing cables for a neater, more streamlined setup.
Each Beolab 28 speaker has three full-range drivers, a tweeter, and a subwoofer, and is easily set up to play with Bang & Olufsen’s remote control. The wireless multiroom module keeps listeners connected from everywhere. The class D peak power of 625 watts also gives it customizable potential. Another plus: the built-in Beolink connection makes Beolab 28 compatible with Beovision’s Contour, Eclipse, and Harmony televisions.
Beolab 28 epitomizes the luxury materials that are a Bang & Olufsen trademark. It comes in Silver, Black Anthracite, and Bronze Tone anodized aluminum with knitted fabric in gray or solid light oak, oak, smoked oak, and walnut wood covers.
Sustainable Piece Of Art
The first audio product in the consumer electronics industry to be certified Cradle to Cradle® Bronze, Beosound Level is part of the Beosound family, which also includes Beosounds 1 and 2 as well as Balance. Designed by Torsten Valeur, it is a functional piece of art that could motivate people to pursue this luxury sound indulgence as a long-term investment.
To minimize its environmental footprint, it is cleverly designed with recycled polymer and modular components, including a repairable battery and multiroom streaming, which can be updated and upgraded over time, while integrating with the Bang & Olufsen and Google Home apps. Even the covers—gold tone aluminum with oak veneer grilles or dark gray Kvadrat fabric and a pearl blasted aluminum frame—can be switched when redecorating.
Weighing 3.3kg (7.28lbs), this sleek-looking music streamer also brings new meaning to the word “portable.” Thanks to a rechargeable battery that can last 16 hours, the Beosound Level can sit on a shelf, lie on its side, hang on the wall, and even go outdoors. Need another reason to treat yourself? The 105-watt speaker system with five standard drivers and Active Room Compensation technology virtually puts listeners in the studio with the artist.
Style Meets High Performance
Beoplay A9 Fourth Generation won’t go unnoticed, whether it’s standing or hanging on a wall. Its round form—chosen by designer Øivind Alexander Slaatto because sound travels in circles—on wooden legs is as captivating today as it was when it was first launched in 2012.
Two full-range drivers with separate backports provide excellent audio quality via enhanced signal processing and spacious ambience, thanks to Active Room Compensation. A touch sensor at the top allows listeners to turn the speaker on or off.
On top of its multistreaming technology, the new Beoplay A9 has Google Assistant—a first for the design. Apple and Deezer users can also stream music via the cloud while using other programs, or listen to live radio shows from over 70,000 stations with TuneIn. It also works with Bang & Olufsen’s built-in BeoLink Multiroom that allows music to play in different rooms or throughout the home.
The decor on the Beoplay A9 Gen 4 can be customized with a variety of textile covers and wooden legs. The all-black version features black aluminum bands, wool covers, and walnut wood legs. There is also one with a white cover and maple wood legs. In the Smoked Oak special edition, an aluminum ring, a dark gray Kvadrat fabric cover, and oak legs come together. With the variety of choices, the days of hiding your stereo speakers are over!
Experience Beolab 28, Beoplay A9 Generation 4 and Beosound Level at your local Bang & Olufsen store or at Bang-Olufsen.com