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Space Travel by Virgin Galatic

All of a sudden, when you’ve achieved everything in life, a melancholic and claustrophobic sensation might grow root in your mind. Money has gotten you everywhere and the world is simply not enough. One might very well assume that it was feelings of this kind that led Sir Richard Branson to found Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic, founded in 2004 and based in New Mexico, aims to, within the near future, provide sub-orbital spaceflights to space tourists. Sub-orbital means the vessel is launched in such a trajectory that it exceeds altitude higher than 100 km above sea level but does not complete a full orbit.

New Mexico Spaceport (commissioned by New Mexico)

In 2009, Sir Branson, unveiled the SpaceShip Two, which is based on the first ever private vessel in space, the SpaceShip One. The 18 meter long SpaceShip Two holds a crew of two and six passenger and is powered by a hybrid rocked engine.

The SpaceShip Two will be carried to about a 16.000 meters by its mothership, White Knight II, before undertaking the rest of journey to 21.000 km by itself.

It´s planned trajectory will overlap the Earth’s atmosphere at 21.000m giving the space tourists about six minutes of weightlessness (you’re allowed to release yourself from your seat during the period weightlessness). The total travel from takeoff to touchdown will last approximately 2.5 hours.

A ticket will set you back $200.000, with an initial deposit of $20.000. As of June 2012, Virgin Galatic already has over 550 paid deposits. Ticket-holders include Stephen Hawking, Tom Hanks, Ashton Kutcher, Katy Perry, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jones. In other words, mostly people tired of their terrestrial existence.

It’s marvelous to behold where humanity’s insatiable lust for conquest and adventure.

Author: Olle Elander Wistén

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American Express Centurion Card

When it comes to symbols of power and wealth, the Amex Black Card is second to none. It all began in the 80′s with rumors of a no-limit black credit card that would allow you to get a Concorde for yourself or purchase the horse Kevin Costner used in the Dances with the Wolves (1990). They said it was easier to acquire than George Clooney’s cell phone number.

It’s not impossible that the urban legends about American Express’s top-tier-card were bestowed upon the market by Amex’s own marketing team.
The real card, the Amex Centurion, incarnated the myths and hit the market in 1999 and to make it more exclusive they made it out of (and still does) anodized titanium.
Initially it was “invite only” and it was estimated that the top 1% of American Express’s clientele received an invite.

The Requirements?
• Blemish-free credit history
• An annual spending of at least 250.000 dollars
• Accept an introduction fee of 5.000 dollars along with an annual fee of 2.500 dollars
• Have a “major” net worth.

The Benefits that comes with Amex Centurion has varied some over the two last decades:

Concierge:
Amongst the most famous benefits offered to Centurion Cardholders is the state of the art Concierge-service. They hold the keys to almost everything in the world. It is no problem getting a table at a fully booked restaurant, getting on the guest list for any hot nightclub, or front-row tickets for the Vienna New Year’s Opera.
A few years ago, my friend’s car broke down on the way to a ski resort and the Black Card concierge team had a tow truck and a rental car there within the hour.

Travel Benefits:
Originally the Black card featured automatic first-class upgrade on any airline and sometimes holders even got a free complimentary ticket with one first class ticket purchase, however, the amount of airlines currently offering these services has dwindled noticeably.

You still, however, get access to all V.I.P.-lounges and platinum status with most car rental services. You also get one of the most extensive travel insurances around and priority at check-ins and security controls at airports.

Centurion Card Exclusivity:
Often as a Centurion cardholder you don’t even need the concierge service, just the mere sight of a black card unlocks a lot of closed doors.
As a cardholder you will receive invites to very special events around the world such as champagne tasting and dinners with Sir David Attenborough (of course at your own expense).

Over the years the Black Card has received some criticism, mainly the cost/benefits ratio being to degressive.
Since 2010 the Black Card has gone from invite-only to being a card you can apply for. This has led to a growing membership base – but also the loss of some exclusivity feel.
The hefty card can also bring troubles. A friend, different from the one above, were renting skis in the Alps of France when his black card got stuck in the card machine, it took the staff almost two hours to get it out.
In one of the more fashionable parts of Stockholm, supermarkets has put up notices saying that they’re not being able to handle black cards, stating that the cards have destroyed too many terminals.

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Wally-Hermès WHY

Monaco based Wally is amongst the top producers of naval vessels in the world. While Wally vessels are very photogénique, the pictures rarely do the real thing justice. You really have to see one in real life to see what the fuzz is all about.

Currently best know for their spectacular millennium-award-winning Wallypower 118 that might be about to change.

In 2009 Wally announced a joint venture with legendary French fashion house Hermès called WHY (Wally Hermès Yacht). Hermès was involved in every step of the process, from concept to realization. The common value and complementary expertise of the two brands are sure to deliver an outstanding product.

As you can see from the pictures the WHY is enormous, it’s bigger than most mansions. Really, it is all about substantiating a dream. The CEO of Wally, Luca Bassani says it to be: “A new and unique way to live on the sea while caring about it”. The hull, which was tested in a secret facility in Gothenburg, Sweden, measures 58 x 38 meter and is driven by a diesel electrical engine. A surface of the photovoltaic panels, which measure approximately 900 square meters, provides a large portion of the power needed to subsist the boat.

The WHY addresses the very real problem of consumption; it is efficient enough to cross the Atlantic four times without refueling. All the components required to produce a WHY are chosen with environment in mind, from the water resistant buffalo leather to the beautiful teak deck.

The teak deck that surrounds the vessel serves as a coastal-path-inspired jogging track and in the forward end there’s a 25-meter long swimming pool.
The construction of the hull allows for the boat to create a totally flat surface of calm water behind it, like an Olympic size pool, where you can swim in total peace.
The roof opens like Venetian blinds and has been designed to flood the interior in natural light.

As of yet, not order has been placed on the WHY, still Wally has created a WHY-team because of the interest the market has shown.

Author: Olle Elander Wistén

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Billionaire of the Week: James Goldstein

As mysterious as they come, James Goldstein is a man of extraordinary wealth.  I had the pleasure of making acquaintance with James on a beach club in the south of France, a meeting that stays in my heart to this day.

His flamboyant appearance together with an insatiable appetite for basketball and fashion has gained him worldwide recognition.

In his possession he also has one of the sickest homes which he started building some 50 years ago. The John Lautner designed Beverly Hills mansion has been featured in movies like The Big Lebowski (1998) and Charlie´s Angels: Full Throttle (2003).

David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA said that: “James Goldstein is our largest investor in NBA tickets in the world”, James can be seen on almost every NBA-game front row.

A veil of mystery surrounds the truth behind James wealth; 70’s porn directing, an affair with a famous Hollywood pinup and from trailer-park businesses are just some of the theories circulating. He has admitted many times that he enjoys the attention this secrecy brings.

James has a profound love for Fashion and can be spotted on almost every mayor fashion week around the globe. His trademark daily uniform consists of tight leather garments made out of exotic animals. Do check out the video about his house below, it is astonishing.  Afterwards I’m sure you´ll be aching for 90210, so here’s the link to our shop.

Author: Olle Elander Wistén

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Monaco

You’ve made it. You have sold your company, or you made a stock profit, maybe you won the U.S Open or on the Lotto. Life just went from good to great. You pause for a second, giving yourself time to grasp the moment and contemplate the peculiarities that led you to this point.
As time progresses you grow tired of different entities wanting to great a piece from your cake and the thought of moving to someplace less greedy gets less foreign by the day.

One of the worlds most important races, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held anually since 1929.

Monaco is something out a fairy tale, a tiny playground for the filthy rich, free of taxes and funded by its own casinos. But why is this and why should you bring your money here?

My favourite hotel in Monaco, The Hermitage

Monaco is the second smallest and most densely populated country in the world. It also sports the highest life expectancy and lowest unemployment rate. Citizens of Monaco are called Monegasques and since 1870 they enjoy a tax free existence. Originally funded by solely Gambling, Monaco has sought to diversify its economy. Today tourism is the major income of Monaco with gambling only representing 5 percent.

Monaco resident Lewis Hamilton takes his McLaren for a spin in the city.

The Formula 1 race driver David Coulthard told The Daily Mail: “I’ve probably saved tens of millions of pounds by living here, and my quality of life has been fantastic”.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a director for many years at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.

What’s unknown to most be the fact that Monegasques are not allowed to gamble in Monaco. The Monegasque government holds the somewhat praiseworthy view that it should not exploit its own citizens. Furthermore, to the extent that the purpose of the casino is to attract wealth into Monaco, clearly there is no point in having residents gamble there.

Having no airport itself, the closest one is Cote d’Azur airport located in Nice. However the heliport of Monaco is heavily trafficated with an interval of 20 minutes between take-offs and landing.

Prince Albert II de Monaco

The current Monarch, Prince Albert II descends from the House of Grimaldi, which has ruled Monaco since 1297.
Monaco consists out of 10 wards, with the by far most famous being Monte Carlo. 32,000 registered citizens with only 6000 holding Monegasque passports, the rest of international heritage.

Inside the Opéra de Monte Carlo.

Monaco is free from graffiti and Monegasques tend to leave their homes and cars unlocked and to the great delight of many super stars paparazzi’s, has since long been banned from doing unofficial work in Monaco.
There’s laws adressing dresscodes (yes, really) and there’s CCTV:s on EVERY street corner, not to mention the incredible ratio of one police officer to every 72:nd resident.
Every vehicle that enters Monaco has their license plate photographed and is checked against the central criminal intelligence computer.

Monaco houses around 2000 millionaires and 50 billionaires. To which group will they count you? Pick up a resident in our shop and embark on your journey to Paradise.

Author: Olle Elander Wistén

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Patek Philippe 5970

Happy New Year’s everyone.
I hope you have had a prosperous and wonderful year and that your next will be even better.
One might think that choosing a subject to blog about on the last day of the year will prove a challenge, but it really wasn’t.

I present to you the Patek Philippe 5970:

If you would enter a conversation about Holy Grail horology anywhere in the world, Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronographs are sure to be mentioned.
Patek launched their first movement of this type in 1941,, the 1518 which of lately has been fetching prices around 1.2 million euros.

About a year ago Patek ended the 5970 production and replaced it with the 5270. Assuming the 5970 will appreciate as the previous Patek-movements of this kind, it will for sure prove a healthy investment.

The 5970 houses one of Patek’s very own movements, which is exposed through the sapphire case back; the hand wound 27-70 Q Caliber.

The 27-70 Q Caliber is an interpretation by Patek on the 60 year older Lemania 2310 Movement.
The features: Chronograph with 30 minutes counter, perpetual calendar (day, month, date and leap year), Moon Phases and am/pm indication.

The beautiful case has a diameter of 40 mm, the perfect size in my opinion. It is just over 13 mm thick with a rather massive bezel that is breathtaking.  Patek really outdid themselves with the finish on these watches, considered by many amongst the best in the industry. Just look at the rose gold version.

In October 2010, world famous actor Charlie Sheen had a rampant night with a young lady (Porn star Capri Andersson) at the Plaza Hotel in New York.  The day after he thrashed the room causing several thousand dollars’ worth of damage, all because he thought that his date had stolen his watch. The time piece in question was a Patek Philippe 5970.

Guitarist extraordinaire Eric Clapton’s watch of choice when roaming around the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix.

Epic musicians named John also seem to prefer Perpetual Calendrs from Patek. Below Mr. Lennon and Mr. Mayer

We’re hoping well be able to sell one in our shop soon.

Author: Olle Elander Wistén

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Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen 65 AMG

As far back as I can remember this car has been on my “to buy” list. The G-class is to this day the longest produced Mercedes-Benz and it dates back to 1972.
Back then, the Shah of Iran was a major shareholder in Mercedes-Benz and he suggested that the company should produce a military off road vehicle.

In 1979 the “G-Model” was introduced as a civilian vehicle and one year later the Vatican ordered the famous “Popemobile” (a customized G-model).

20 years later, in 1999, AMG:s first version of the G-Class was deployed onto the market and it became popular with American celebrities (and Russian mafia).

Due to a decrease in American demand, MB decided that 2005 would be the last year they would export to America. However, the purchase of 157 G-Class vehicles made by the Marine Corps that very same year ensured it’s survival.
AMG:s abuse on these cars has left us with some truly raw off road trucks and they amp up the power with each new model that they release.

Their latest creation the 2013 G-Class G 65 AMG is the most powerful and expensive SUV you can find on the market. It features a 6 liters V12 engine that’s beeing fed by two turbochargers and it’s priced at 264.180 euro.

It will be distinguished by a chrome radiator grille and a new set of 20 inch AMG titanium-colored rims. Your ego will overnight increase tenfolds after being injected with the G 65 AMG anabolics so hurry up and get your G65

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Louis Vuitton Président

Truly iconic for the rich and famous is the way we travel. First class, private jets and mega yachts is usually our transports of choice.
How we choose to transport our supplies is also of utmost importance. The classic trunk, nowadays replaces by the small rolleys, has become a romantic symbol of travelling in europe in the 19th century.

In 1830, a provincial young frenchman, walked the 400 km from his hometown to glorious Paris. Eventually he was hired as a ”layetier”, a kind of manservant who woud pack your trunks. He must have done his duties really well, because he caught the attention of Napoleon III who hired the young frenchman to be Empress Eugénie personal ”layetier”. The young frenchmans name was Louis Vuitton and in 1854 he opened his own trunk-making firm in Paris. By 1913, the LV store on Champs-Elysées was the largerst store for travel-goods in the world.

The Louis Vuitton presidential holds a special place within the celebrety sphere. It’s still hand made and comes in either black or Seen in the hands of several superstars such as Sean White, Madonna, several Presidents and pretty much the whole hiphop-elite.

It’s been in countless of movies such as Darjeeling limited and Carter the Documentary. Theres a scene in ”Carter the documentary” where Lil’ Wayne displays his presidential and its PG-rated content which I’ve grown pretty fond of.

Nevertheless, you need one to keep your ”whatever” safe, I myself is going for a black ”Président”.

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Self-Portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat

“The 27 Club is a term used to refer to popular performers who have died at the age of 27, often as a result of drug and alcohol abuse.” That’s the first sentence of the Wikipedia page on “27 club”. People like Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain all died at the age of 27. There’s also a certain painter that died at that age and he came to be one of the most famous painter of modern time. Born in 1960 Jean-Michel Basquiat he ran away from home at the age of 15. He lived on the streets of NY, hating the current exploiting of artist and the way that art at that time was just some status symbol.  This has later has contributed to his fame, since people now consider him rebellious. He died from an overdose and it wasn’t until after his death that his paintings became extremely attractive. You might have heard of Metallicas drummer, Lars Ulrich, who sold two paintings for a total of 18.5 million dollars. Or maybe you have heard Jay-Z or Kanye in “Watch the Throne” or maybe Rick Ross in song “John”, they all refer to Basquiat.

Here’s a piece called “Self-Portrait” which came up on the 15th of November, in New York. Its estimate price is somewhere between 2.5 to 3.5 million dollars.

 

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Guide: Purchasing your own Island

Purchasing your own private island can in many ways be quite challenging. In most cases one lack the experience, it’s not every day you’re out shopping for islands. TheBillionaireShop has put together a few pointers that could be nifty to keep in mind.

Buying a private island is in many ways similar of buying a house, only that the cost is much greater. As with acquiring a house, the bigger your budget the more you will get. It’s better to get a more gorgeous island than to get a poorer one, just to save money. Of course one must consider its surrounding. A more remote island can in ways be more private and beautiful but they’re much less accessible. If there no existing infrastructure one most include the cost for labor, construction material and the transport of the all.

A very important aspect is the availability of water. Look for ground water high enough to build a well. If a well already exists, have it inspected. If there’s no possibility of a well, don’t worry, one can purchase desalination plant for as cheap as $20.000 these days. The estimated amount of water needed annually for part-time island living is 100,000 to 400,000 liters, which for full-time living will require about forty inches of annual rainfall.

Michael Schumachers Private Island 

You will have to consider what climate you prefer and choose the islands geographical position accordingly. Some find the tropics to humid and hot, and maybe they like the variety seasonal changes might bring.

Beaches are of course of utmost importance and it’s very rare for islands to have 360 degrees of water. Most common are drowned top of hills (continental islands) the other most often a product of seismic activity. It’s also vital to inspect the sand quality, they differ a lot more than one might think.
When choosing island it important to consider communication. If the island is outside a cellular net, communication will be much more expensive. It’s important to have a rather quick route to civilization, should anything happen on the island.

You will need to employ full-time caretakers and it often wisest to recruit from the locals who often are very familiar with the climate and nature. It’s important to establish your owners rights, in some countries you only own the land that extends as far as the high tide mark, with the beaches below that belonging to the government.

Private islands are soon coming to our shop.

Author: Olle Elander Wistén