In the early 1920s, Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe posed a question in a print ad, and that question has since recurred and reverberated in a variety of forms throughout retail:
“What do you get for the man who has everything?”
Google the phrase, and one will literally find thousands of results, including articles on how to buy for difficult men and eCommerce sites dedicated entirely to finding the right gift for a special guy. Amazon even has a “For the Man Who Has Everything” subsection of its marketplace and, though a quick tour led us to wonder if the man-who-has-everything really needs so many mugs affirming what a great dad he is, we were impressed by the whiskey chilling rocks.
At any rate, when the question was first posed in 1922, the answer to that question was “a watch.” Specifically, it was a high-end, hand-crafted, Patek Philippe watch and, to be honest, it was not a bad answer — then or now. In fact, if one had bought it then, it would have proven both a good gift and a good investment. Collectors today pay six-digit sums for those ’20s-era Patek Philippe watches.
Nearly 10 decades of watch innovation and competition have made fancy watches something of an acquired taste, however. Not everyone who can afford one bothers to wear one these days. The CEO of Whole Foods Market wears a $500 watch found at Walmart, for example, and the CEO of AT&T wears one that retails for $400 on Amazon. And, to be honest, fancy watch buyers tend to be a bit esoteric in their tastes.
That's a long way of saying this: The man who has everything probably already has the Patek Philippe (or Rolex, Breitling or Jaeger LeCoultre) watch he wants.
But, does he have a submarine?
We doubt it. And, if we are being realistic, it is a lack that is keenly felt in anyone’s life. Can one truly be “the man who has everything” if he doesn’t have a submarine to call his own? The answer to that is an obvious “no.”
Well, this week, the market finally realized this was a hole that both existed and needed filling, and one brand stepped up to fill it. Not just any brand, of course, but a timelessly cool brand — the only brand cool enough for James Bond, and possibly the only brand on earth for which one could suggest building a consumer submarine in a pitch meeting and not be laughed out of the office.
Yes, Aston Martin is going where no carmaker has gone before: under the sea.
For The Bargain Price Of $4 Million
OK, to surprise that discerning man this holiday seasons, one will need $4 million. After all, that is the estimated cost of buying the Aston Martin submersible. It’s called the Neptune.
But, for that $4 million, the sub owner and two guests will be able to cruise the briny deep in a sleek submarine all their own — complete with silver, blade-like pontoons and an acrylic bubble cabin that maximizes underwater views. According to chief creative officer Marek Reichman, it will be available for purchase in approximately one year.
“If you think about Aston Martin, we are a very exclusive brand,” Reichman said. “In 100 years, we’ve only made 80,000 cars.”
And, with what is apparently a lot of time on their hands, team Aston Martin decided it needed to make some friends. It ended up partnering with Florida-based Triton Submarines, which has been making luxury submersibles for a little more than a decade. The fact that there has been a luxury submarine company in Florida since 2007 is actually the least surprising part of this story.
The Aston Martin-Triton Submarines collaboration has resulted in a 5.9-foot-high, 8,800-pound submarine, the lightest and smallest three-person sub in production in the world.
It can go fairly deep, too — 1,650 feet, to be exact — can kick it at 3.5 miles per hour (three knots) and comes air-conditioned. And, according to Reichman, it is a highly appealing good for super-rich individuals looking to take their boating hobbies to the next level.
“Those superyacht people, what they want to experience is changing,” he said. “It’s no longer about just having a launch or having your tender. It’s about having some other way of entertaining your guests.”
A submarine is nothing if not entertaining. An open bar would be cheaper, but not nearly as Instagrammable.
But How Do You Buy A $4 Million Sub?
So, obviously, our readers are now sold on this idea and are already wondering how to get a sub in time for the 2018 holidays. How does one make that type of purchase, especially given its highly unusual nature? A cashier’s check? Wire transfer? Bags of unmarked bills?
We wondered about the compliance challenges native to buying a $4 million personal submarine, so we asked a representative at American Express one specific question: Can we put the Aston Martin submersible on our Centurion Card? After sharing a link that proved our ask was for real, the American Express official confirmed this was, in fact, a valid use of a Centurion Card — though this answer was given on the condition of anonymity due to the “ridiculousness of the question.”
That official also noted that while he or she didn’t expect there to be many such purchases — after all, it is a $4 million consumer submarine — he or she did suspect at least one would be purchased using a Centurion Card. Why? Part of the reason the Centurion Card exists is to streamline rarified, big-ticket purchases.
We asked how many points come along with a $4 million purchase. The official was unsure, though he or she felt confident it would be enough for the children of the buyer's children to never suffer the humility of flying coach.
So, need a submarine? Have a Centurion Card? You’re all set. Can’t afford a submarine? Well, there’s always a watch.
If you do buy a consumer submarine, though, let us know. We’d love to go for a ride.