One of my new pleasures at the Basel fair is to poke around the Rolex shop – by which I do not mean that there is an actual watch retail outlet, but a shop stashed with Rolex-branded merchandise, which I came across by accident last year.
It did not disappoint. I came away with a bottle of Rolex fragrance, as well as a vivid mental picture and iPhone photograph of one of those clever ashtrays that appears to have been grafted onto a small beanbag to enable one to position it on a table in the back of one’s yacht. There the amorphous beanbag element counters the actions of choppy seas, thus keeping one’s cigar from falling off the table and rolling around the deck or even going overboard (which would, of course, necessitate a full search and rescue situation). I would imagine that keeping one’s Havana from falling off the yacht and into the sea is one of the chief worries assailing today’s super rich: the tiny fly in life’s ointment, the irritating speck of grit in the otherwise succulent oyster of an existence cushioned by extreme wealth.
Alas, I have never got round to acquiring a superyacht. I had been toying with the idea of a 60m runabout, but then the financial crisis struck and, heeding the chancellor’s maxim that we are all in this together, I felt it would be inappropriate to come home one day with a massive oceangoing vessel on a trailer behind my bicycle. Besides, I daresay that I would need a special permit from Hammersmith & Fulham council to park it outside the ancestral terraced shack.
However, upon seeing this splendid ashtray I heartily rued my financial caution as, had I sailed to the Basel fair on my yacht and moored it outside The Three Kings, I would have had a place in which I could make full use of this excellent artefact. As it was, I sought consolation by dousing myself in a litre or two of Eau de Rolex and wafted out into the aisles of the fair surrounded by a fragrant nimbus.
For more of Swellboy’s exploits at the 2015 Basel watch fair, read his dispatch on meeting Jacob the Jeweller.