Had a particularly productive 2007? If you’re looking to reward yourself or a business associate with a little (or not-so-little) holiday gift, we’ve got a few elegant ideas for you, from the low seven figures down to the low four figures.
Ahead of their time
There is no shortage of stunning watches on the market. While your choice of neckwear can show some flair, an attractive watch can make a real statement about your personal style.
Bell & Ross BR01
Billing itself as the tool of the trade for bomb disposal experts and astronauts, Swiss watchmaker Bell & Ross has captured the precision of aircraft cockpit gauges in its extra-large (46 mm) BR01 Instrument line of watches (including the limited edition Titanium Orange and Blue models, featured here). The BR01′s carbon fiber dial and photoluminescent coating assure easy readability. An automatic three-counter chronograph (hours, minutes and seconds) complements the mechanical movement; rubber or synthetic fabric strap. $5,400-$6,000.
When a Timex simply won’t do, there’s always the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, the Rolls-Royce of timepieces. Finished in white gold with tachymeter engraving on the bezel, the most distinctive of the Daytona line features special screw-down pushbuttons and a 44 jewel chronometer movement with a special “Oysterlock” bracelet. Self-winding and waterproof to 330 feet. $27,900.
Breitling Superocean Hertitagage
Since 1884, Switzerland’s Breitling has hand-crafted watches also geared for pilots and sea-going professionals, but those who spend much of their time at the bottom of the Marianas Trench will appreciate the Superocean Heritagage, water resistant to 5,000 feet. Available in a 38mm size with a bronze dial on an all-steel ocean classic bracelet ($3,040) or a 46mm model with a black dial, a black ocean racer strap and an all-steel deployment buckle ($3,120).
High-speed luxury in BMW’s stately 750i
Those with a taste for smooth, distinctive European motoring that’s as comfortable as an executive jet – and about as fast as a G4 heading down the runway – will find no fault in the recently updated and handsomely appointed BMW 750i.
With yards of sumptuous Nasca leather in the cabin and more dash-mounted buttons and controls than a cathedral organ, the big Bimmer is heavy on both comfort and technology. The gizmos can border on James Bond territory, including a heat-sensing Night Vision setup which can detect bounding deer 1,000 feet away and display them on the interactive iDrive screen, plus a voice-recognition control system, keyless entry and push-button start.
But settle behind the 750i’s meaty wheel, securely positioning yourself in the 20-way adjustable heated/cooled/massaging seat, and you’ll find a machine whose sporty character lurks underneath its limousine-class finishings.
Powered by a 360 horsepower 32-valve 4.8 liter V-8, the 750i will roar to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds, topping out at an electronically limited 150 mph. And despite being parked on gleaming 20-inch wheels, the BMW’s electronic Active Roll Stabilization helps provide handling precision that’s borderline scary for a 4,500-pound automobile. Corners melt away and the ride is as crisp and precise as any of BMW’s smaller sedans; manual shifts are possible in Steptronic mode using thumb and forefinger trigger buttons.
The 750i’s exterior lines have been softened just a bit from the more controversial Bangle makeover a few years back, resulting in a clean, distinctive look. A gigantic, flat-topped trunk will swallow umpteen sets of golf clubs or a family’s worth of luggage.
Interior refinements are virtually limitless, from the superb 13-speaker Logic7 surround sound audio system (with optional satellite and High Definition radio) to an improved version of the love-it-or-hate-it iDrive controller. The twisting silver knob on the center console is designed to seamlessly integrate navigation, entertainment, Bluetooth phone and climate operations – displayed on a full color screen on the dash – but it can be a complicated system to master.