Investments can be unpredictable, but not so with these five winners, which we have handpicked to provide you with sound and secure appreciation — aesthetically, spiritually and financially.

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Investments can be unpredictable, but not so with these five winners, which we have handpicked to provide you with sound and secure appreciation — aesthetically, spiritually and financially.

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INVEST In Timeless Classics

Investments can be unpredictable, but not so with these five winners, which we have handpicked to provide you with sound and secure appreciation — aesthetically, spiritually and financially.

Edward Green Berkeley in antique oak

‘Classic with a twist’ has become one of the most commonly used phrases in luxury, but when the concept is executed with true délicatesse, it becomes clear why such a delicious paradox is the holy grail for apparel makers, shoemakers and watchmakers alike.

Named after the distinguished quadrangle in the heart of Mayfair, the Edward Green Berkeley features a 1930s stitch pattern re-introduced by the one-time Edward Green custodian John Hlustik, who studied shoe design at Arsartoria in Italy and purchased Edward Green in 1982. Its other distinguishing details include a punched toe cap and the brand’s signature swan neck facing detail (“If you see this on a pair of shoes walking through St. James’s, it’s more than a clue as to their provenance,” is how Euan Denholm, the Head of Brand and Business Development at Edward Green, puts it).

The Berkeley also has fine leather soles that have been tanned in Germany for nine months in a solution of oak, spruce and mimosa barks, giving unparalleled comfort and durability. There’s a difference with this new version, though: it has been made using the house’s Number 82 last, which is slimmer than the Number 202 — a classic, rounded, quintessentially English last — traditionally used for the Berkeley. “The 82 last, with its almond-toe shape, gives the Berkeley a particularly elegant and balanced profile,” says Denholm, adding that the model featured here is cut from antique oak, a stunning calfskin also introduced by Hlustik. “The handsome patina results from layers of handwork and creates a finish of remarkable depth and character,” Denholm adds. “You can develop the colour yourself as you care for it — either bringing out the richness of the colour or using black for a more toned-down formal shoe.”

For Denholm, the hallmark of shoe quality is how they withstand the effects — cultural and physical — of time. “Shoes are quite different from clothes in that, unlike cloth, leather is a material that can improve with age,” he says. “If you buy shoes made with real care and attention, from beautiful full-grain calf, and then maintain them well, you can be enjoying them in a quarter of a century from now. That’s why you should think about them as investment pieces — quality endures and pays dividends.”

And what’s unique about a purchase like this is that in a quarter of a century, they’ll still be ‘classic with a twist’.

    Ettinger Heritage Burlington briefcase

     

    They’re gloriously impractical, have a questionable cumbersomeness-to-storage ratio, and were manifestly designed for a time when all human interaction took place via mailbags or insulated copper conductors — but consider them obsolete at your peril. Like many things supposedly enjoying a ‘resurgence’, the old-school gentleman’s briefcase is just too cool, too elegant and too iconic ever to find itself in the zeitgeist’s slipstream.

    The briefcase’s oldest known descendant is the ‘loculus’, the goat- or calf-hide carriers clutched by Roman legionaries; more recent ancestors are the satchels held by Shakespeare’s “whining schoolboy” in the As You Like Itsoliloquy and the haversacks used by soldiers in the Napoleonic and American Civil wars.

    But it was leaps forward in textiles and metallurgy, precipitated by the industrial revolution, that made briefcases the sturdy, silhouette-bolstering artefacts they are today, an era in which they have greater cachet than ever. Mark Carney may have eschewed convention by turning up for his first day as the governor of the Bank of England carrying a soft-sided, grey affair, but let’s face it, if the receptacle containing Marsellus Wallace’s soul in Pulp Fictionhad been a man-bag, there’s serious doubt as to whether Quentin Tarantino would be the cult figure he is today.

    The Heritage Burlington briefcase before you is the perfect choice for the urbane gent who seeks the antithesis to the regrettable scenario whereby grown-up professional men opt for bags more suited to Silicon Valley neophytes who skateboard to work. Fashioned from traditional English bridle leather — which is not only durable but over time will acquire the kind of gorgeous patina that will enable you to recognise it among thousands — the briefcase, unusually, offers plenty of space for a laptop or other device, and has a reassuringly robust brass lock.

    The Burlington comes in hazelnut, nut and London tan as well as black, and even if you adhere to the ‘no brown in town’ adage with shoes (although whoever makes up hard and fast style rules surely sports a matching tie and handkerchief and square-toed shoes, and considers his golf-club blazer badge ‘a bit ritzy’), surely the most conservative of city slickers over the decades have carried their documents to the Square Mile ensconced in brown leather briefcases.

    It’s hard to think of a company that nails the tradition/ modernity dichotomy with more guile and finesse than the fine, heritage British leather accessories brand that isEttinger. Use the leather balm they provide with it, and this will be an investment you keep for life: to have and to hold, if you will, from this day forward...

    Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix with sepia brown-toned dial and matching calfskin strap

     

    Published

    July 2020

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