GoldVish, a Geneva-based company that specializes in manufacturing premium luxury mobile phones, combines the best of three worlds: Swiss excellence, haute couture and state-of-the-arts technology. Micromechanical manufacturing is used to treat stainless steel, titanium, space grade aluminum, high-tech ceramics, sapphire crystal, 18K gold, platinum and certified VVC diamonds to create their distinctive mobile phones. The Swiss brand made news in 2006 when it introduced Le million Piece Unique, made of 18K white gold and mounted with 120ct. VVS-1 grade diamonds. At $1 million, it became the most expensive phone ever sold. But the label also makes more discrete handsets, which are equally special. The newly released Equilibrium costs between $8,000 and $125,000. It has a dual SIM slot, 2.4-inch LCD protected by a scratch-resistant natural sapphire, and the body is handcrafted from either 16L stainless steel, titanium or space grade aluminum. It also boasts leather, 18K gold or platinum accents on top.
Tonino Lamborghini, of the illustrious Lamborghini family, designed and released the TL 700 smartphone. The tony mobile, quite popular with Russian billionaires, is made of gold, crocodile skin and boasts a 3.7-inch touchscreen protected by a sapphire crystal. It runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and possesses a 5MP rear camera, VGA front-facing camera, 4GB of internal memory and a 1,400 mAH battery.
Other luxury watchmakers are also exploring the luxury cell phone market. Tag Heuer unveiled its Link Phone, a handset festooned with steel, 18K rose gold or titanium. This combination of Swiss watchmaking and avant-garde technology also features, in its case, alligator and lizard skins with diamond accents, all set by hand. The phone is named after Tag Heuer’s famed Link collection and features a 3.5 inch display, 5 megapixel autofocus camera, 256 MN internal memory, 8GB memory card, 1400 mAH battery and EDGE/HUSPA connectivity.
But perhaps the most popular luxury mobile phone brand in Europe is Vertu, the former luxury division of Nokia smartphones, known for models like the Constellation Quest Ferrari and the Vertu TI. The Constellation Quest is lined with the same materials used in the interiors of Ferrari automobiles. It’s made of calf leather, diamond-like carbon coating (the same used in the engines of GT and Formula One race cars), and a stainless steel Cavallino Rampante that forms the titanium battery cover. The Vertu TI, though, is an unashamed luxury product, bold and exquisite at the same time.
Vertu’s latest handset, Constellation comes in at a bargain price of less than $7,000, almost half its (TI) predecessor’s. What is surprising is that the hand built Constellation is more technically impressive than the Vertu TI. Its screen measures 4.3 inches with a resolution of 720p and is covered with protective sapphire crystal, the largest sapphire screen of any device in the world. The phone’s titanium body is wrapped in different color leather from an Alpine tannery, which has been in operation for more than 150 years. It features a dual core, 1.7GHz processor and a 13-mp rear camera with a dual LED flash and 64 gigabytes of internal memory. The price range for the red-gold version is $10,000-$20,000
These handsets are definite statements of fashion and technology. If you are willing to upgrade your current cell phone, take a look at these luxurious products before you go running to the nearest Apple store. You’ll demonstrate good taste a knack for exclusivity every time you answer a call. ■