Rolex’s yellow-gold Meteorite Daytona
What is it about meteorite that makes it so captivating as a raw material? The romance of a substance being genuinely extraterrestrial — of having undergone an interplanetary journey since the formation of our solar system before crashing into some Namibian lake or Arabian peninsula — is certainly arresting.
Aesthetically speaking, it’s the irregular geometry of the criss-crossing lines (or Widmanstätten patterns) created by the cooling of the nickel and iron interiors (a few degrees Celsius every million years or so) beneath meteorites’ ashen, knobbly surfaces. Now, Rolex have used a meteorite dial on a ceramic-bezel Daytona for the first time ever, and time’s molecular tinkering of this alien material has given a trio of new gold Daytonas their own idiosyncratic charisma. Rolex might eschew limited editions, but buy one of these and it’ll be as unique to you as your fingerprints.
Expect the Daytona fundamentals with all three: 40mm case, sub-dials at three, six and nine, the familiar concert of pushers and lugs, and tachymetric bezel for measuring average speeds (few can wear a Daytona without feeling vicarious Newman-as-Capua delusions). Here, meanwhile, there are three options. One is in 18-carat white-gold, with a monobloc cerachrom bezel and Oysterflex bracelet (yes, bracelet: beneath the black elastomer exterior, small struts in titanium and nickel alloy give it structural integrity). The other two are in 18-carat Everose gold and — the one you see before you here — yellow-gold, both coming with matching metal bezel and Oyster bracelet. Everose gold, a mixture of gold mixed with copper and platinum, certainly has its appeal, just one of its benefits being its resistance to tarnishing, but the yellow-gold version is featured here because of the particularly arresting interplay between case and dial (check it out in bright light, if you haven’t already).
As ever with a Daytona, you’ll be investing in accuracy: the in-house self-winding calibre 4130 is a game changer thanks to its ‘vertical clutch’ chronograph coupling mechanism. You’re also investing in God’s own artisanal endeavours (watchmakers rightly express pride when a dial takes weeks to decorate... try 4.6bn years for size). As for emotional investment, slipping any of these on your wrist will make you want to move at a speed approaching that with which its dial penetrated the Earth’s atmosphere.
Private White V.C. suede safari jacket
Precisely zero safari jackets manufactured today will ever be used to suppress insurrections in far-flung, searingly hot colonial outposts, as their earliest descendants — garments in khaki cotton drill with four large pockets on the chest and waist, oversized revere collars, epaulettes, and belt around the waist — were during the Boer war. But then again, only a minuscule percentage of pilot’s watches have ever been worn by people reshaping the Sahara’s dunes while commanding a low-flying Lockheed Martin stealth jet.
The point is that modern-day safari jackets, like modern-day pilot’s watches, are fit both for their ostensible purpose as well as the function for which urban flâneurs will adopt them in these times of relative peace and prosperity. This is because, as well as being practical and lightweight, they also boast such an ineffably dashing silhouette and elusive charm that, paired with matching trousers, they have become tropical India’s equivalent of the formal business suit in the 1960s.
The five-button garment here, crafted in Private White V.C.’s Manchester factory from 100 per cent goat’s suede (which is just 0.4mm thick), is unlined and has an action-back pleat, making it even less constrictive than most jackets of its ilk: this factor, along with the four standard voluminous pockets (button-secured, with side entry on the lower, larger pockets), make it an excellent companion, especially for long-haul flights (aptly enough, the word ‘safari’ does, after all, derive from the Arabic for ‘journey’). Functional embellishments include a security button on the belt that prevents it from slipping; aesthetic details include the way the internal seams have been pared down and finished with elegant top-stitching on either side of the leather.
This quintessentially British label — which shares a Mayfair premises, 73 Duke Street, with the luggage purveyor Bennett Winch and the Avanzato Grooming Lounge (a visit to the gentleman’s club-esque basement floor and its cigar terrace is zealously recommended) — has vastly more pedigree than most when it comes to military apparel: it’s named after the world war I hero Private Jack White, a Victoria Cross recipient who became an apprentice at, then owner of, the factory whose door now bears his name. Other outerwear in the brand’s repertoire includes great coats and peacoats that would draw envious gazes in any officer’s mess.
Channelling Lord Kitchener’s militia at the Battle of Spion Kop when slipping this on, though, remains optional. Ernest Hemingway, Roger Moore’s Bond, Edward VIII, Winston Churchill and Prince Charles are also fair game when it comes to looking the part for one’s vicarious musings.