The top 10 things you CAN'T have for Christmas 2015
This is how it's supposed to work: You pen a note to Santa outlining how wonderfully well behaved you've been throughout the year and put forward a wishlist of all the goodies you deserve in recognition of your exemplary performance. The elves then set to work with their hammers and saws and carbon fiber fabrication techniques to produce your heart's desire before Santa loads it up and drops it down your chimney with no regard for physics or reindeer haulage limitations. Ok, it's not going to pan out that way, but that doesn't stop us from setting aside the crushing reality of socks and scented soap for a moment and dreaming a little dream. Here's our annual list of the top 10 things you CAN'T have for Christmas.
Something to break the ice
Bored with crystal clear tropical waters or Mediterranean playgrounds like Monaco or Saint Tropez? Dutch shipyard Damen is targeting luxury yacht buyers seeking a different kind of exclusivity; an exclusivity that can only be attained with a hull that can slice through ice caps up to 90 cm (35 in) thick. If you're keen to head off the beaten waterways, then the SeaXplorer is the luxury yacht for you. Coming in three sizes, ranging from 65 to 100 m (213 to 328 ft) in length, each yacht has its own helicopter, a selection of support craft and PWCs, and can remain self-sufficient for up to 40 days.
An underwater flying machine
Looking more like a Formula 1 car than a personal submarine, the Deepflight Dragon is actually an upside-down manned quadcopter capable of going 400 feet (122 m) underwater – and it's so easy to fly that any fool can do it. Loz Blain ventured onto beautiful Lake Tahoe to test that theory out, and the results can be seen in the video below.
Oh, and there's two reasons you can't have a Deepflight Dragon for Christmas this year: a) it's not yet production-ready and b) it costs about 1.5 million dollars.
A diamond encrusted Gibson SG
While guitars strummed by the greatest rockstars understandably garner a pretty penny at auction, there are not too many that go for 2 million dollars off-the-shelf. To be exact, there's only one. Verified as the world's most valuable guitar by Guinness World Records, this diamond-encrusted Gibson SG.
Called the Eden of Coronet, this collaboration between Gibson Brands, jewelry designer Aaron Shum of Coronet and musician/designer Mark Lui sparkles with more than 400 diamonds that are embedded in 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) of 18 K gold for good measure. It took 700 man-days of work from a 68 person team to complete ... and if you're brave enough to pick it up, apparently it's playable.
Hype a car
W Motors burst onto the supercar scene in 2013 with the Lykan HyperSport, which was limited to just seven units, each carrying a price tag of US$3.4 million. While its second offering, the Fenyr Supersport, won't hit the hip pocket nerve quite as hard, with a price estimated to be in the $200K to $300K region and a bigger run of 25 units, it's likely to be even more sought after. This is thanks to W Motors dropping exorbitant trimmings found on the Lykan, such as diamond-encrusted gold headlight surrounds, in favor of a focus on performance that sees a boost in horsepower (900 compared to the Lykan's 750 hp) and 400 km/h-plus (249 mph) top speed, and an even more aggressive, angular look.
... and if the Fenyr doesn't do it for you, never fear, 2015 delivered a bunch of beautiful supercars for those with dollars to burn.
The ultimate auto barn
Now that you have your supercar, you'll need somewhere super to park it. Blending seamlessly into the Danish landscape this luxury garage come luxury home could be the perfect resting spot for your high-end wheels. The looping Villa Gug design by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) integrates the cars into the main body of the house, transitioning from driveway to auto showroom to gym to the house proper ... all topped by a rooftop terrace and with a library below that's reached by spectacular spiral a staircase.
A sound investment
While it may not be unusual for those in pursuit of audio-Nirvana to drop hundreds of dollars on high-end headphones, shelling out for a set that costs €50,000 (US$55,100) is definitely taking things to a new level. Billed as the "best headphones in the world" (and we should hope so), the Sennheiser Orpheus headphones are in a league of their own. Each hand-crafted set has over 6,000 components, its own amplifier, a handcrafted glass and sculpted Carrera marble casing and a platinum-vaporized diaphragm. All of this delivers an audio range of from 8 Hz to more than 100 kHz and an incredibly low distortion rate of 0.01 percent at 1 kHz.
A jet-powered joyride
That old chestnut, you say. True, Santa didn't even have a beard when this one first appeared on our Christmas wishlist, but 2015 saw the dream of personal jet-powered flight really get off the ground in. Last month inventor and aviator David Mayman flew the JB-9 jetpack around the Statue of Liberty in an awesome demonstration of power and agility. The JB-9 uses two vectored kerosene-burning jet engines to reach (horizontal) speeds of over 62 mph (though it could go twice as fast) or blast skywards at a rate of up to 1000 feet a minute.
Unfortunately, even the well heeled will have to wait a bit longer before strapping in and shooting off. "Technically we could start selling them in the ultralight category tomorrow," Mayman tells us. But would he sell one? "Right now, I wouldn't. We've had some people in the office writing some pretty large multi-million dollar cheques in front of us and we've said no. I want to be sensible about who's got their hands on this thing."
One creepy clock
It's modern art meets Swiss precision meets 90's PG horror flick ... and it even tells the time. Dubbed Arachnophobia, this high-end clock from horologist Maximilian Büsser and Swiss manufacturer L'Epée 1839 gives a nod to Louise Bourgeois' famous Maman sculpture with its spidery shape.
At one end of the time-displaying torso, the head houses the regulator with its balance wheel while the other end holds the power-generating mainspring. The clock can be mounted flat on a wall or placed standing on a desk with its front legs raised for a slightly more sinister effect. This weird timekeeping talking point will set you back CHF 15,300 (about US$15,700), or CHF 17,500 if you want the gold plated version ... and why wouldn't you?
Get taken for a ride
Bicycles are among the most stolen objects on the planet, and stealing could be the only option if you want to get your hands on the Sarto 18K we checked out at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in March. Somehow we suspect anyone who snapped up one of the 25 18Ks on offer wouldn't make pilfering their ride an easy task, though. After all, if you'd just spent $27,000 on the bike that features a carbon-fiber frame adorned with 18-carat gold (hence its name) and Zimbabwean crocodile skin seat and handlebar grips, you'd probably invest in the latest high-security bike lock to go with it. In addition to having the owner's initials imprinted in gold, each bike is made to order to provide a perfect fit for the rider's specific dimensions, so the odds are the bike wouldn't fit you anyway.
A bauble for the bat-cave
If you're in the market for your own private jet, then cost probably isn't your primary concern. If you're after speed and range then the Gulfstream G650ER should be at the top of your list, but if you spend your time away from running an international conglomerate fighting crime, then the Valkyrie from Cobalt aircraft could be for you. With its canard front wing and sleek lines aided by what Cobalt claims is the largest single-piece canopy in the world, the Valkyrie doesn't look like your average private plane, but it can still take care of business, carrying up to five adults and their luggage at speeds of up to 300 mph (482 km/h). The price of striking fear into the hearts of supervillains as you soar overhead? A paltry US$699,000 – before options.