An eye-watering list of savvy gadgets for Him this Christmas. Here's a list as recommended by The Luxury Gent.
Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin: Reimagined for the streaming age
First introduced in 2007 as an ipod dock, B&W have lovingly iterated on this design favourite, and its latest incarnation retains the gorgeous curvy looks, and in my opinion, its unmatched elegance. Combine this with sound and streaming technology that brings it right to the head of the pack, and this should be at the very top of any audiophile or tech-head's Christmas wish-list.
It features reference quality drive units, arranged in dedicated left and right speaker assemblies around a central, large subwoofer, all powered by 240W of amplification. The result is class-leading, room-filling stereo sound. Available in two finishes, a dark midnight grey, and a light pearl grey, the Zeppelin also includes switchable, dimmable ambient lighting to create a ‘halo’ effect on its metal pedestal stand.
Technology. If you want to stream music from your mobile device, tablet or computer, the new Zeppelin includes both AirPlay 2 and aptX adaptive Bluetooth, making it suitable for both iOS and Android users. Spotify fans can also enjoy the convenience of Spotify Connect, ensuring both high-quality sound and convenient, easy operation. Additionally, the new Zeppelin can also be controlled via the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which gives instant access to a host of streaming services including Deezer, Last.fm, Qobuz, Soundcloud, TIDAL and TuneIn. AND, they built Alexa in too, so no need for any external components; simply ask for the song you want to hear, and your Zeppelin will oblige. That's more streaming options than you could shake a musical stick at.
Lastly, and rather unusually and very progressively, the new Zeppelin has also been engineered to last. Its digital ‘brain’ can be upgraded over time, with multi-room capability planned for introduction in early 2022.
With a plush, lush, rich, warm and full-bodied sound, the Zeppelin is a joy to listen to. Bass thumps are all well and good, but if overpowering, or outperforming the mids and the treble, then music sounds out of balance, and unharmonic. The Zeppelin is tremendously adept at never getting this balance wrong. It always sounds lively, engaging and very well rounded.
Yes please Santa.
The Zeppelin is available now for £699/€799 from select dealers or the Bowers & Wilkins website. SHOP.
Barry's Bootcamp and Hermosa
Legendary co-founder, Erika Tamayo, decided to launch Hermosa, the protein powder used in all of Barry’s UK’s studios, because people were coming into Barry’s purely to buy the shakes; even Harry Styles, a Barry’s regular, used to ask for tubs of Hermosa to take from behind the brand’s Fuel Bars. Hermosa is a great-tasting (available as Whey or Vegan) premium shake that looks beautiful on kitchen shelves. Taking inspiration from the beauty industry in how products are presented, Hermosa started selling its protein in recyclable jars; most people hide away unsightly tubs or pouches of protein powder in cupboards, Hermosa's gorgeous glass jars are elegant enough to be displayed proudly in your kitchen and can of course be re-used.
For Christmas, they're doing two wellness hampers: both contain a jar of Hermosa protein and a Barry’s class pack with a deluxe version also including a reusable Hermosa tumbler and limited-edition Barry’s beanie. Hampers start from £89 and come beautifully hand-wrapped in a gift box with a personalised note. They are available to pre-order now from Barry's UK and Live Hermosa and on sale in all Barry’s UK studios.
It's really very delicious stuff, I now look forward to my morning Vanilla shake, and my mouth waters now writing this. That's pretty good for a protein powder that's actually good for you, low in calories, and low in carbs too right?
The pandemic saw an explosion of people cooking amazing pieces of meat at home, which they'd have otherwise gone to a restaurant for. Most food is pretty tolerant of a wide range of cooking conditions, with some notable exceptions; fine cuts of meat. 30 seconds over or under your personal preference is long enough to spoil a prize cut of steak, and more than that can ruin it completely. Meater takes the guesswork out of cooking. Simply insert this fully wireless probe into the meat and select how you'd like it cooked on the accompanying app and throw it on the BBQ, in th oven, or into a frying pan. It'll then estimate the cooking time and send you a message when it's done perfectly. For those more control-freak inclined amongst us, you can sit and stare at the app and watch the internal temperature rise and rise, in a very satisfying way. The probe communicates wirelessly, so no trailing wires run out of your BBQ or oven, and the probe will relay not just the temperature inside your meat, but the ambient cooking temperature of the air around it. All in all, an incredibly simple to use bit of kit that belies the clever tech on the inside.
Cast your mind back to the best steak you’ve ever eaten. It was a combination of two things; the singular piece of meat that was cooked, and the way it was cooked. A steak isn't like Peking duck, you almost certainly can't recreate the definitive Peking duck at home, no matter how fine the duck you start with. But with Meater, if you find a tremendous cut of meat, from one of the many premium meat suppliers that will deliver to your door, then you too can cook something superlative. It makes it not just idiot-proof, but turns any well-supplied individual, into a world-class steak chef.
And of course, it's not just about steaks. This should go in every piece of meat you cook, more or less. Roasts roasted to perfection, chicken, lamb, turkey, ham, goose, the Meater is unfazed and eager, and contains all the settings for every cut of every meat from rare to well-done. (Don't worry, it'll ensure all your meat is cooked to at least the minimum safe standards… nobody wants rare chicken….)
Oh my god I love this jacket: From the moment I first touched it and felt it's unbelievable silky softness, to when I slipped it on and a few seconds later, and felt warmth radiate over me, it became my winter favourite. Anyone who's worn goose down knows, it's nature's miracle insulation, (as a point of interest, modern technology is still unable to come up with something synthetic that insulates better, in our world of satellites and graphene, of vaccines, A.I. and information moving at the speed of light, we still can't do better at keeping warm than nature). The Explore Down jacket is 90% goose down and 10% feather. Now, let's talk about Rapha: They're about as premium as it gets when it comes to cycling, and the technology behind their garments. To my mind, no-one else does such stunning style with products that are as bleeding edge. It's this powerful combination that puts them about a foot above almost everyone else. This jacket works beautifully as a commuting jacket or a cycling coat, but most impressively, it looks as completely at home, and stylish on the high-street as it does on the saddle. It has one further trick up its sleeve though, no pun intended, and that's as a result of its incredible small size. It comes with a tiny palm-sized pouch, into which the whole jacket can be tucked. It really is a miracle of Tardis-like prowess. This gorgeous warm coat stows away into something about the size of two apples, that weighs just 238 grams (about the weight of one and a third apples)…
It has elasticated sleeve-cuffs to keep you warm, elegant contrast stitching at the cuffs and chest to help visibility, and the logos on the chest and back are reflective. Oh, and the hood is completely removable, and the zipper is two-way; God is in the details my friends.
Sometimes, more expensive things aren't better. But sometimes they really really are. You can feel the love and the fastidious attention to detail in all the small elements of this coat, and they're completely representative of the many reasons I adore Rapha; passionate people making stylish wonderful and technologically cutting-edge stuff, that just screams quality. All wrapped up in something understated and rather beautiful.
Of course, they're a great ESG company too, and use a fully traceable, responsibly sourced down, and each jacket comes with a lot number, allowing you to track the exact origin of the fill.
This is perhaps an unconventional Christmas present idea, for the thinking and thoughtful man.
The consumption of media is changing around us at an unbelievable rate. Podcasting is a phenomenon, and Sam Harris is one of its juggernauts. The beauty of the format to its makers, is that they can't be de-platformed, they control their own production, and distribution is de-centralised, effectively granting them complete autonomy over their content. And with no scheduling windows, or network timeslots to fit into, they can spend hours giving complex subjects the time and air they deserve. As listeners, we've embraced the flexibility of the content; it can be consumed in pieces, or wholesale, in often otherwise "dead-time," commutes & gym sessions for example, as well as on the sofa.
In fact, I now relish my daily walk to and from my son's nursery, because I get to listen to Podcasts on the solo legs. The zenith of the long-form podcast to my mind, is Sam Harris' Making Sense. Sam is a neuroscientist, philosopher, and author of several books, including five New York Times Best Sellers. He's a phenomenally bright, erudite and considered man, but best of all, he's almost singularly gifted at making the very complex, eminently intelligible to people without PhDs. Sam's guests regularly include the smartest, most progressive, most interesting people on the planet, often coinciding with the publication of their latest book. From his guest's perspective, as opposed to a few rushed and snatched moments they might get on a TV network, Sam gives his guest a platform of an hour or two, sometimes more, to really listen to them, and interact. One of my greatest admirations of the man, is the grace and egoless patience with which he listens to great people expound on difficult ideas, without constantly needing to interject. Modern-day TV talk-show hosts to my perpetual frustration lack this ability, unable to let a guest speak for more than a few seconds. That is not to say however, that Sam is just an earpiece or a conduit, he is our better-informed proxy, with one ear on making the content broadly accessible, and the other on representing the questions and even pushback on novel ideas that any listener might feel emerging.
His guests, quite befittingly, are fascinating giants of their respective fields. And it turns out, that if you listen to cutting edge ideas, laid out and explained by the very people who willed them into being, with a proxy who'll help navigate the waters, you can learn an incredible amount. Making Sense contains over 250 episodes (with between 1 and 4 episodes arriving every month) of between 1 and 4 hours each. They're fascinating, mind-expanding, horizon-broadening audiences with the best minds on earth. Sam meets you where you are, his content is accessible on many levels, regardless of your expertise. To a novice, they're a fascinating crash-course on a subject, yet still relevant and cutting edge to experts in the field. Put simply, Making Sense makes you smarter. But lest you fear that they're dry episodes, they never are. Sam is witty without being egotistical about the humour, and the conversation is always entertaining as well as interesting; the podcasts sound as if they were scripted by Aaron Sorkin, but with the reassurance that the dialogue is not just artifice, but full of tremendous substance.
So give the gift of knowledge, of entertainment, of fascination and of learning this Christmas to someone who'll thank you for this introduction.
(Sam's books include The End of Faith, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, and Waking Up. He holds a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.)
This is the latest and greatest incarnation of the terrifically powerful Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and it may well be the finest cycling accessory in the world. I'm really struggling to describe it to you. Time was, these devices used to tell us how fast we were going, how far we'd ridden, our average speed and our top speed. It's astonishing how far they've come, to call them computers seems for the first time completely apt. Of course, this latest version is a marvel of miniaturisation, it now contains 16GB of memory, a better, brighter, crisper 64 colour 2.2 inch screen, it's made of durable scratch resistant Gorilla Glass, and features turn by turn direction, and for the first time, intelligent navigation; the self-contained GPS unit will re-route you if you stray off-course. All this in a sleek and streamlined IPX7 rated waterproof body. Naturally, it connects to your smartphone to give you text, call, email and WhatsApp notifications, and it measures and provides more data than you can think of, or that I could list here. So here are its eye-opening capabilities that caught my attention. It integrates with:
Power-meters, to give you real-time tracking of your power output.
All Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo and FSA electronic groupsets to give you live information on your shifting and gears.
Specialized's patented ANGi helmet sensor, (in the event of a crash, it uses your last known GPS coordinates and your phone to call for help.)
For commuters, it pairs with your ANT+ Rearview radar, which gives you the real time proximity of vehicles approaching you from behind.
For high performance training, it pairs with the BSXInsight and the Moxy Muscle Oxygen Monitor, and displays accurate muscle Oxygen levels, and saturated and total haemoglobin metrics to help you know when you are reaching your lactic threshold. (!?) Wowzers. Oh and it displays live tracking of not just you, but your friends too… It fully integrates with Strava routes and Live Segments, and can be brought indoors to pair with your indoor Kickr Trainer too. It's no surprise that this diminutive marvel was the choice for 11 professional teams this year.
I know I will but barely scratch the surface of what this monster can do, but it's incredible to know that all that power is there if I want it. And of course, it still tells me how fast I'm going.
Setup was a doddle with the app, and almost infinitely customisable.
And Hot off the Press, Wahoo has just launched "SYSTM" (which meshes with the Bolt) and looks to be the most complete virtual training platform I have ever seen. It's a performance athlete and metric obsessives dream come true. It designs and delivers the most efficient cycling, strength training, Yoga and mental training exercises, and can take you on race simulations with real Pro footage, or guided tours of the most iconic routes in the world.
You’ve heard of Beckham’s whisky and Clooney’s tequila… but they’re not the only celebrities with successful side hustles in the drinks industry. Here are our three favourite brands with famous owners.
Whether you’re a fan of MasterChef or not, the announcement that the 2020 winner of the show’s offshoot for professional chefs would be popping up at Number One Park Lane was enough to catch the attention of most Londoners.
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