Rarity is often a byword for luxury and so it is fitting that Harrods, the British bastion of haute shopping, should present a showcase of the same name. Its homage to one-of-a-kind treasures – from Monday July 9 to Thursday August 16 – includes more than 60 exclusive products and 20 bespoke experiences spread throughout its fashion, watch, jewellery, home and food departments, while its Brompton Road window displays will set the scene with elaborate set dressing.
Fine watch and jewellery maisons have long created one-of-a-kind pieces for Harrods, and this year Rolex presents the UK debut of its rose-gold Sapphire Pearlmaster (price on request). The bezel of this 39mm piece is set with 48 sapphires in graduating shades of yellow to dark orange, accompanied by 713 diamonds. Not to be outshone, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents a one-off double-diamond strand 101 La Reine watch (£133,000) equipped with the world’s smallest movement of 0.2 cubic cm, weighing just under a gram. A diamond-set predecessor – worn by Queen Elizabeth at her coronation in 1953 – inspired the design of the elegant timepiece.
Bulgari will present a striking Secret Mirror necklace (price on request) featuring a 26ct Sri Lankan sapphire set into rock crystal – a creation inspired by the lavish parties hosted by Princess Cornelia Costanza Barberini at her sumptuous Roman palazzo in the 18th century. Boucheron’s Cape de Lumière (price on request) is expected to cause a stir – the dress piece, fashioned from gold thread, chains and 850 diamonds, sits on the shoulders and fastens with a whopping gem-set 81.6ct citrine clasp. It took 925 hours to make and represents a fusion of jewellery and haute couture.
Indeed, several standout fashion pieces make Harrods’ rarity cut. Balmain presents an item from its autumn/winter 2018 menswear show: a one-of-a-kind biker jacket (£24,990) that’s adorned with medieval-inspired chainmail. And couturier to the stars Tamara Ralph of Ralph & Russo will create a couture evening gown for one customer.
The experiential packages are an eclectic mix, from the creation of a personal custom-blend tea by a “tea tailor” to a wine-pairing masterclass. And there are also tempting tastes of the exotic – think White Pearl Almas caviar (£2,900 for 250g and derived from the eggs of the rare albino sturgeon) or a special bottle of Louis XIII Rémy Martin cognac (£13,000), signed by four generations of cellar masters.
The pieces presented by the home department are equally intriguing – how about a rare signed colour portrait of Albert Einstein? A 1911 Edelweiss piano by famed Parisian maker Gabriel Gaveau, or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Goyard trunk-cum-writing desk (£96,000), which accompanied the Sherlock Holmes creator on his travels?