The piece d' resistance, err flagship, is the Star Caliber 2000, for these pocket watches will be produced by Patek Philippe in the exceedingly small number of five sets of four watches each. Consider a mansion in Monte Carlo - no not the one just there - but rather the palatial structure up on the hill with a view of both the Mediterranean and the city. Imagine a yacht. 60-footer - ha! This is the 150-foot, rich beyond reproach, exclusive in the true-sense-of-the-word type of yacht. Unique. Elite. Limited. Choice.
Pocket watches more complicated than the Star Caliber 2000 have been built, that is to say that there are actually two timepieces in the history of the world that have more complications (incidentally also both built by Patek Philippe). But to say that there has ever been anything that displays a more complete combination of horological engineering and exquisiteness would be preposterous. Upon laying eyes on the Star Caliber 2000, in the hands no less of the master watchmaker who had spent the prior many months building it, one experiences a momentary euphoric anxiety. In awe of its undeniable beauty you simply can't help but wonder if something so remarkable is meant to be sampled through the optic nerves.
Surely they must poke my eyes out when I leave the room, for I shall never behold such a beautiful object again in all my days...
And then with the same hint of magic with which it had appeared the Star Caliber 2000 is suddenly packed in its wooden box, the watchmaker grinning as he leaves the group to brood over the preceding few moments.
That was the closest I'll ever come to seeing $2.5 million in someone's hands.
Suddenly I'm able to transcend the basic utility of the object and see its intrinsic value. I understand and appreciate why a box of four pocket watches is a relative value at $10 million. I know why I'm in Geneva after all.
You can study the press photos and read the effusive accompanying press release, but until you've stood and quietly considered the shape and feeling of the vehicle it is impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions. My first encounter with the new A6 was deliberately unhurried, as one might approach a first sip of a fine bourbon or the gait adopted upon walking into a room full of Monets and Renoirs. No rush, let's just savor this for a moment.
The new A6 is all at once comfortable and appealing. There is a subconscious awareness that underneath it all the automobile would be more than capable of moving occupants from place to place - that much is unquestioned. What draws the eye and imagination instead is the details Audi has deftly integrated to elevate the A6 from people-mover to full-blown expression of a brand (and the engineering and design excellence which defines the brand). The front end with its reference to the past and acknowledgement of a place within the current Audi family is bold and powerful. The gentle curvature of the hood as it flows seamlessly into the grille carries forward a pleasing line which starts all the way back at the taillights. The stance of the car - no doubt partly a result of the slight flare running through the bottom of the doors - feels purposeful, a satisfying blend of sportiness and luxury. And the rear of the car, with the customary design geometry of both the newer generation A8 and A4 models, corrects what many would say was the Achilles heel of the C5 platform.
The A6's interior is worthy of as many descriptive superlatives as one could possibly think up. From headliner to instrument cluster to carpets to seats - comfort is abundantly addressed but that is only half the story. Much like the exterior, the inside of the car has been designed in such a way as to provide emotional appeal. You sit in it, you feel as comfortable in the driver's seat as in any Audi ever produced and you also get the impression that the sum of the parts is greater than individual components. The car's charisma runs deep.
Audi has accomplished what is increasingly rare in a today's world of consolidations and design homogeny by producing a vehicle with both fine engineering and fine aesthetics. Let's not go overboard and call it the Star Caliber 2000 of the automotive world - for that would be unfair to both items - but it is appropriate to acknowledge that some things in this world must be seen to truly be experienced. The new A6 is beautiful to experience.
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