'What does it really mean to create "forever" products?'

If anyone knows, it’s Asprey, who have been leaders in bespoke luxury for nearly 250 years, and who count among their former clients Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria. John Rigas, the Chairman, talks to The Rake about the house’s mythology.
'What does it really mean to create "forever" products?'

When it comes to luxury destinations, few houses can top Asprey. Founded in 1781 by William Asprey, the company began as a silk-printing enterprise before expanding into all manner of luxury goods, from the rarest and most intricate jewellery to leather bags and watches. Asprey was the place for those seeking only the finest “articles of exclusive design and high quality”, as early adverts put it. Anyone who was anyone shopped there, from Queen Victoria (who bestowed the brand with its first Royal Warrant, in 1862) to Frank Sinatra, Ian Fleming and John Lennon. The world may have changed since the house’s founding, but Asprey haven’t. Always ahead of the luxury curve, they were quick to embrace the digital world. They adopted e-commerce before many of their competitors, and more recently entered the NFT sphere through a collaboration with Bugatti.

Asprey has always been an opinion leader in luxury, innovating and re-interpreting luxury decade after decade and generation after generation. In the process, it has created an almost mythical heritage, and continues to do so today.


The house has a unique set of mission and values, always striving for the best possible in every aspect of the creation of luxury, whether materials, techniques, design, focus or technology. The end result is the ultimate expression of luxury, defined as quality, innovation and refinement. It is at the connoisseur level. Those who know know to recognise and appreciate it.


There have been three main changes in the business since I came on board. We have narrowed the number of products — concentrating primarily on jewellery, leather and home, down from more than 10 categories — while at the same time contemporising design. This has allowed us to focus further on developing unique, differentiated products that nobody else has. We have greatly expanded our famous workshops and our ecosystem of artisans and artists that we work with around the world, in the process making many of them economically viable and establishing a strong conservation and preservation ethos. As we say, we make products that will last forever. And finally, we have introduced modern technology to the whole business. ‘Asprey 100 per cent digital’ is a project that is still unfolding, but the idea was to digitise all processes of the company. This year we launched industry-leading digital luxury products, such as the Asprey Bugatti and Asprey Studio Club collections, both of which were massive successes.

Numerous kings and queens, maharajas, politicians, famous actors, musicians and artists, athletes and sports heroes, writers - practically any person of note and sophistication has been through our doors. For reasons of discretion and confidentiality, I can’t speak about customers who are alive today, but from Winston Churchill to Elizabeth Taylor, from Vivien Leigh to Ian Fleming, and Frank Sinatra to John Lennon, our customers have contributed to the company’s mythology with their requests for bespoke products that we created and which became part of their lives. There was Ringo Starr’s chess set [modelled on his hand] that Asprey made, or Churchill’s famous Asprey cigar holder that he had with him in Yalta when he was negotiating the future of the world.


The sense of discovery and the Asprey quality of service cannot be replicated online. Customers will always want to visit and have a physical experience, especially when buying a luxury product. This is why we launched Asprey 240, a new concept store that is inspired by both the British outdoors and a London mansion. It draws the visitor in with all five senses and immerses them in the brand, offering an experience which is cinematic in nature, more like visiting an exhibition than a luxury retail store, and where the product is king. As with anything that Asprey does, it is completely different from other luxury retail stores and has been tremendously well received by our clients.



Read the full Asprey story in Issue 84 -, available to purchase on TheRake.com and on newsstands worldwide now.


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