Really Expensive Luxuries You Don’t Need: Part 1

03/13/2017
Melvyn Teillol-Foo

Beyond Bear Necessities

Luxury; noun, plural: luxuries

1. a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity:
Gold cufflinks were a luxury not allowed for in his budget.

2. free or habitual indulgence in or enjoyment of comforts and pleasures in addition to those necessary for a reasonable standard of well-being:
a life of luxury on the French Riviera.

3. a means of ministering to such indulgence or enjoyment:
This travel plan gives you the luxury of choosing which countries you can visit.

4. a pleasure out of the ordinary allowed to oneself:
the luxury of an extra piece of the cake.

5. a foolish or worthless form of self-indulgence:
the luxury of self-pity.

 

The Search

Based on those definitions, I looked for useless things beyond necessity.

There is some expensive weird stuff out there!

 

Crocodile skin umbrella $50,000

Crocodile Leather Umbrella

Billionaire Italian Couture was founded by Italian Formula One impresario Flavio Briatore and designer Angelo Galasso. Their raison d’etre is creating quintessential Italian wardrobe for mature men.

It’s extravagant, affluent and totally unashamed – just like this indulgent umbrella that, despite its costly leather, is still…er…”functional”.

Billionaire Italian Couture

You’d expect crocodile skin to be water-proof but with additional water-resistant treatment, the Billionaire Italian Couture Crocodile Skin Umbrella can fend off even British rain.

Be warned, this is not for girly men; it’s tough but heavy and probably won’t flip inside-out in strong winds. Hanging onto it may pose a problem!

Harrods Store, London

There are Billionaire Italian Couture boutiques all over the world e.g. at Harrods Luxury Store in London.

 

Lego Gold Brick $20,000

LEGO gold brick (Photo by Jorgen Christensen)

An American collector paid $19,793 at an auction (February 2017) for one LEGO brick — “Fair Play” — it WAS made of gold.

 

LEGO Box (Photo by Marlin PR)

Precisely 2.65g of 14K gold is formed into a standard sized LEGO brick. The golden bricks were commissioned by LEGO between 1979 and 1981 as gifts for employees with 25 years service. It is estimated that only 10 of these rare bricks exist.

If you can’t afford or find a LEGO gold brick, the LEGO “Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon” is valued at only $4,729.

Lego Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon

 

RX-78-02 Gundam Fix Platinum Robot $250,000

Gundam Fix Platinum

In 2007, Japanese jewellery company Ginza Tanaka and toy manufacturer Bandai Co. collaborated and presented at the Baselworld trade show this small but perfectly proportioned model of an iconic robot – Gundam Fix.

Gundam is a figure from a popular Japanese cartoon series — ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’.

Gundam Fix Platinum Robot

This piece unique ultimate action figure, constructed from 89 components, stands 125 mm tall, weighs 1.4 kg and is made from pure platinum (Pt 1000). A 0.15 ct diamond represents the camera eye part of his head. It took two years to design and manufacture adhering to the goal to create a masterpiece combining the rare, eternal pureness of “the king of precious metals” with the lasting world view of Gundam.

Is it a luxury item if you can’t buy it?

It was a purely promotional figure to showcase jewellery skill and Bandai’s Mobile Suit Gundam range of toys. With a retail value estimated at ¥30 million ($250,000 USD in 2007), parents everywhere are heaving a sigh of relief.

 

Gold Rocking Horse $1.28 million

We often describe rare things being “as rare as rocking horse poop”. Well, what about golden rocking horse poop?

Rocking horses have been in vogue since the early 17th century. They are also among the most common legacy toys handed down in a family.

Ginza Tanaka Gold Rocking Horse

The most expensive rocking horse, to date, is the solid gold, handmade, rocking horse weighing 80 lbs (36 kg) made by Japanese jeweller…YES…those jewellers again: Ginza Tanaka.  The golden toy horse was a tribute to the birth of Japan’s Prince Hisahito of Akishino in 2006.

Of course, rap princess Blue Ivy Knowles Carter got a “cheaper” $600,000 version from parents Beyoncé and Jay Z.

 

Masterpiece Cube $1.5 million

Masterpiece Cube

This is essentially a blinged up Rubik’s Cube by Diamond Cutters International in 1995 for the 15th anniversary of Prof Rubik’s invention.  It’s fully functioning but I doubt that it’s ‘in play’.

Masterpiece Cube

There are 185 carats of gems set in 18K gold.
When solved, the cube features a different type of gem on each side, including 22.5 carats of amethyst, 34 carats of rubies and 34 carats of emeralds.

If you can’t afford this cube, you can buy one of the 350 million regular Rubik’s Cubes for about $15.

 

Steiff Louis Vuitton Teddy Bear $2.1 million

Teddy bears are de riguer for childhood and last a lifetime.

Show me a person without a teddy bear and I can show you a serial killer. 🙂

 

Louis Vuitton Traveller bear by Steiff

The most expensive teddy bear is a Louis Vuitton bear made by German toy manufacturer Steiff Stuffed Toy Company.

It was sold at auction for $2.1 million in 2000 to Ms Jessie Kim.  The bear was fully in couture wear by Louis Vuitton travel apparel and accompanied by Louis Vuitton luggage. It is now displayed at the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, South Korea.

Meanwhile, Steiff Stuffed Toy Co. still produces the most expensive teddy bears for regular folk: $30 – 400 depending on material and limited editions.

Watch out for the 50th anniversary limited edition of a ‘Bear of very Little Brain’ – Winnie the Pooh.

 

 

Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)

Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelog ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.

Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).