The Six Best Things We Told You to Buy This Year
Pursuits is a luxury-oriented vertical, which means the stuff we cover isn't exactly life-saving. In the past 12 months we’ve written about a $440,000 Ferrari supercar, a $660 bottle of face cream made from diamond dust, and an $11.4 million chateau in the Loire Valley. All of those are fun things. None of them are essential. We’ve also happily recommended that readers purchase a $46,000 picnic basket, a $10 million goatskin map, and an $18,885 enamel- plated stove.
We at Pursuits will happily admit that none of these, save perhaps the picnic basket, would be much help on a desert island.
There’s a gray (gold?) area though, in which several of the subjects we’ve covered have an actual use, be it monetary (it will appreciate in value), logistical (it makes traveling easier), qualitative (it's demonstrably better than alternatives), or health-related. Each of our experts weighed in with their top pick from everything they've recommended this year, and we've gathered those choices below.
Arlo Skye Carry-On, $550
Nothing is more valuable to a frequent traveler than a good carry-on, and this year’s best is the debut model from luggage startup Arlo Skye. It’s sleek enough to pass as a Rimowa but at a fraction of the price. And it has clasps rather than a zipper closure—because the LVMH- and Tumi-pedigreed designers knew from previous experience that the zippers are the first thing to break on most bags. The best part: tons of organizing cubes and compression straps to make sure you never need a bigger suitcase, even if you’re heading to Asia for a full two-week tour.
Kamakura Oxford Popover Shirt, $79
In October, assessing the state of the upscale mall Brookfield Place, I eagerly visited the Japanese shirtmaker Kamakura. Departing Kamakura with an Oxford-cloth button-down popover in hand, I was unreasonably pleased with my purchase, delighted to be in possession of a jaunty anachronism, a kinda-sorta polo with Ivy Style to burn. Wearing my shirt, I soon discovered that I had things backwards: Whatever their superficial charms, popovers are fantastically pragmatic in a highly contemporary way. Forget about fussing with all those many buttons. What is the point of them? Say farewell to the sloppiness of shirts untucking themselves above the belt buckle. Why endure their gaping displays of ungainly asymmetry they allow? (A condition especially prone to afflict dudes who tote babes in Bjorns and such.) The popover is the proper shirt of the preppy future.
Blackmore Wagyu Steak, $180 per pound
The description of some of these steaks sounds like the setup for a mockumentary: Cows that graze on a remote island in Japan live on a diet of olives; Wagyu so tender the grading system had to be revised from six points up to nine. Yet these six cult beef purveyors are offering some truly remarkable products that validate their significant price tags (the cheapest: the dramatic $119 tomahawk chop from Snake River Farms). In Virginia, Chapel Hill Farm has resurrected an almost extinct breed of Randall Lineback heritage cows; Belcampo, in California, is spreading the gospel of sustainably raised meat, offering custom-aged steaks from cows that feed on super flavorful grass. So get ready to spend more money for rib eye that is completely worth it.
Moonraker Jules Verne Telescope by Mark Turner, $16,160
Essential because you don't want something that looks like a piece of medical equipment in front of your floor-to-ceiling windows. The Moonraker Jules Verne Telescope is made of 23.4 karat gold finishes and brass and polished aluminum, with a stand made from high-end ash or oak. And because it takes at minimum of three to four months to build by hand, order now and you'll have it in time to witness the annual Perseids meteor shower next year.
Vintage Patek Philippe Watch, about $80,000
Buy a vintage watch. If it's the right one, it'll hold its value, and I like hard assets in uncertain (and election) years. Plus, they're incredibly handsome, rare, and come with a lovely heritage. And you can actually "use" them. What's not to love?
Italian Castle (Along With its Own Town), $8.3 million
Clearly, no one actually needs a castle, and the last time having your own moat was considered “useful” was when the first Queen Elizabeth was tottering around London. But if you are going to buy a house (and we can all agree at least that houses are necessary), you might as well buy one that’s self-sustaining. Chances are that if you’re reading this though, dear Bloomberg reader, you do not know how to “farm the land.” But happily, if you buy this castle, you’ll have a town full of empty buildings that you can populate with more handy [read: competent] workers, who can.
Come on, you didn't really think we'd give you a whole list of actually useful things, did you? Where's the fun in that?