If you were a billionaire, what would you wish for this Christmas?
Billionaires are hard to buy for. When money is no object, gifting is all about the rarest gifts, the most exclusive experiences and the best stories.
At Billionaire we've spent the last 12 months covering the pinnacle of artisanal luxury and incredible destinations, so to help you out, here are our top ten. A warning; you will also need to be super-rich to afford these cream-of-the-crop gifts.
1. Zodiac Backgammon set by Alexandra Llewellyn
The super-wealthy are not only incredibly time-poor when it comes to quality family time, but also tend to have a red-hot competitive streak. Tick both boxes this Christmas with this fabulous backgammon set by Alexandra Llewellyn, inlaid with mother of pearl and semi-precious stones, to play with loved ones. Made to order in the UK.
2. A Not-yet-on-the-market Luxury Hydrogen Car
Forget electric cars; with a much greater range and a comparable refuelling time to gasoline cars, many believe the future of automobiles is hydrogen. And the leader in this space is Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. In 2015 it debuted the Mirai, the first production hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle offered for sale in North America (Mirai means “future” in Japanese). Now, Toyota has revealed the second-generation Mirai, rebooted as a sexy sedan with cutting-edge design, technology and driving performance. The second-gen Mirai will go on sale in late 2020, but if you can get the billionaire in your life one a bit early, it will mean extra Brownie Points.
For the retired or close-to-retired billionaire, what better gift than their biographical life story, beautifully bound into a book or edited into a film by Narrative Trust? It's an opportunity to preserve and share the ethos of a family-run company, the sentiments behind an art collection or foundation, along with core principles, future objectives and cornerstones of success, for future generations. Not to mention a great ego boost, let's be honest.
4. Alghero Side-table crafted from Brazilian Quartz Crystal and Sustainable Coral
US$63,100 + VAT
Billionaires love a good story and there's a great one behind this table. Crafted by Raro London, this table incorporates sustainable coral handpicked by so-called "Corallari" from Alghero in Sardinia. The Corallari are a community of local families who are allowed to pick coral from the reefs only up to 25 times a year, with a license, between May and October, at a depth of over 80 metres. This leaves the coral reef intact and allows it to regenerate and grow.
5. A Handcrafted Nespresso Box
A Nespresso box might seem a little mundane, but this is no ordinary Nespresso box. Handcrafted by Silver Lining Furniture, this bespoke piece of marquetry is made to order with dyed ripple sycamore and walnut wood, African black ebony, white mother of pearl and embossed coach-hide leather. And it's a thoughtful gift. Billionaires are more often than not, short sleepers. US president Donald Trump has long extolled a 3-4 hour nightly sleep while Apple CEO Tim Cook famously wakes up at 3.45am to get ahead of emails. In short, most billionaires will likely thank you for a cup of coffee.
6. A Week with Gorillas at Singita's Kwitonda Lodge
US$46,200 for seven nights
Singita, arguably the most sustainable eco-lodge in Africa, this year opened a collection of villas on the side of a volcano, in Singita Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Here, in exquisite comfort, you can take a guided trek to one of the largest communities of gorillas in the world and be back in time for a farm-to-table feast by the fireside. While they are already booked out for Christmas, there are still slots available for New Year.
7. A SEAmagine Aurora 6 Personal Submersible
While most personal subs on the market can go no further than around 500m, Californian company SEAmagine's largest luxury personal submersible, the Aurora 6, can dive to a staggering 1,000m. With a massive glass bulb for unparalleled views, and the ability to go at three knots for eight hours, this vehicle is perfect for deep-sea exploration with the family in tow. The Aurora-6S’s weight and size can be customised to suit her superyacht mothership, as, of course, can the colour.
8. The Marie-Antoinette Breguet Pocket-Watch Grand Complication No. 1160
Fair warning; this watch may be slightly tricky to get hold of as it is currently in a museum in Israel. But it's story couldn't be any more fascinating. In 1783, a mysterious admirer of Queen Marie Antoinette's ordered from Breguet, as a gift, a watch that was to be as spectacular as possible, incorporating the fullest range of horological expertise and as much gold as possible. Alas, the Queen never got to admire her present, as it was so complex it was only finished in 1827, 34 years after her death, 4 years after Breguet’s and 44 years after he’d accepted the order. But if it was fit for a queen, it will definitely be fit for a billionaire.
9. The Chance to Discover a New Ocean Species
2020 marks the planned completion of REV Ocean, the largest motor yacht in the world, built by Norwegian billionaire businessman Kjell Inge Røkke as part of his REV Ocean Initiative foundation. It comes with a state-of-the-art Triton submersible and a brand new airbus helicopter. The 183m yacht will be used privately by Røkke's family and friends but is also available for charter for scientific and environmental research missions, although prices have not yet been disclosed.
10. ...And finally, a trip to the International Space Station
Est. US$52 million
In 2020 NASA will open the International Space Station for two private astronaut missions per year of up to 30 days. As Boeing and SpaceX are developing capsules to carry humans to the ISS, the agency said over the summer that the two companies will handle private tourists and any services related to them.
While its a steep price tag, and a month-long journey into space isn't for everyone, theres already been a taker, billionaire Robert Bigelow. Bigelow Aerospace, a company that is developing space stations that expand, recently announced that its subsidiary Bigelow Space Operations has “paid substantial sums as deposits and reservation fees” to SpaceX for four launches to the space station.