Investments can be unpredictable, but not so with these two winners, which we have handpicked to provide you with sound and secure appreciation — aesthetically, spiritually and financially.
Globe-Trotter Centenary cases in olive & charcoal
Imagine if Karl Benz had unveiled his ‘Motorwagen’ in 1866 with no wheels on it, instead expecting users to carry it like pallbearers. Ridiculous? Yes, but no more so than the fact that, having invented the earliest progenitor to the suitcase for use in the Crusades, human itinerants spent another seven centuries lugging* their possessions around in chunky rectangular carriers before the American Bernard Sadow came up with the idea of attaching wheels to them in 1970.
All of which we mention to illustrate how slowly luggage has advanced. The progression from weevil-blighted coopered chests packed with chainmail, lances, maces, axes and biblical manuscripts being hauled down the Jerusalem Road to polycarbonate bullet- stoppers with laptop compartments and RFID blockers has involved giant evolutionary steps, centuries apart — Louis Vuitton realising in the late 19th century, for example, that a flat-top trunk would stack more easily on ships. Hell, there was even a further two-decade wait between Sadow (who is surely to hernias what Alexander Fleming is to pneumonia) rocking up to the patent office and the first extendable handles being invented.
So hats off to Globe-Trotter for doing more to move luggage forwards, so to speak, than any other organisation on the planet. And
they have done so with an artisanal flourish. Globe-Trotter suitcases famously involve 98 different processes, and the most famous of all is the vulcanised fibreboard carapace, a secret conceived by Thomas Taylor in 1859, in which 14 layers of specially formulated paper are bound together, weighted and heated, then dyed. The result is cases that are as robust as leather but as light as aluminium.
Now, Globe-Trotter has introduced olive and charcoal options to its signature Centenary line, a nod, the brand says, to the early 20th- century photography and advertisements they found in their archives. Rather than chic in an avant-garde kind of way, like the Golf Le Fleur collection conceived with the rapper Tyler, the Creator, or indeed the Snoopy-and-Woodstock-emblazoned Peanuts collection, these are for travellers who prefer their modernism a bit more understated.
The Globe-Trotter craftsmen at the firm’s factory in Hertfordshire are unapologetically old-school in their methods, but also not afraid of pushing the suitcase further along the evolutionary timeline. Hence each suitcase is now furnished with a new ergonomic leather-capped trolley handle with a side-button mechanism and co-ordinating leather details.
* This, of course, is the root word of ‘luggage’.
Breitling’s redesigned Avenger collection
The reasons pilots of yesteryear, faced with such rudimentary cockpit instrument panels, needed their watches to depict both elapsed time and current time — navigation and fuel consumption to name but two — are manifold. So it’s little wonder that chronographs have been crucial to any aviator’s mission from the outset.
But it was Gaston Breitling, the son of Léon — the Swiss watchmaker and entrepreneur who founded his eponymous company in 1884, and devoted much of its output to the role chronographs had to play in industrial, military and scientific scenarios — who, having taken over the company in 1914, created the first wrist-worn chronograph with a separate push-piece above the crown. Just 15 years later, the maker’s chronographs would be installed in the cockpits of RAF bombers and fighter aircraft.
From there, Breitling’s relationship with aviation went from strength to strength. It flourished in the 1930s thanks to the third- generation family owner Willy Breitling forming the Huit Aviation Department (which made pilot’s chronographs and other precision aircraft instruments), and really took to the skies with the birth of commercial aviation. Its airborne timeline since then has seen the Co-Pilot (1953), Navitimer (1954), Aerospace (1983), Emergency
(1995) and Avenger (2001) lines grace the pilot’s watch canon. It’s the last of these, arguably, that well-informed watch enthusiasts have most marvelled at (pun intended) over the past couple of decades, and a set of new updates to the catalogue will surely bolster the Avenger’s place in aviation horology’s history.
The three new formats are a 44mm chronograph, a 44mm automaticGMT,anda42mmautomatic,whoseblack,blue,green and sandy dials are a nod to the hues found on military uniforms. The piece gracing this page is the BO1 Chronograph in black, with a bezel in stainless steel and baton indexes affording greater prominence to the red-tipped chrono hand (detail devotees will also clock the grip pattern on the crown and bezel and the new square pushers).
The 364-component Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01 found within has a 70-hour power reserve — roughly a third of which it would take a fighter jet to circumnavigate the world. And that’s a challenge all the new pieces would relish, according to the Breitling Chief Executive, Georges Kern. “The Avenger was created to stand up to the punishing conditions of a fighter jet cockpit and to support pilots in extreme aerial exploits,” he says. “Its redesign demanded nothing less.”
Discover the full story in Issue 91, available now.