By Ricca Manfredi Robins Rebecca
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Additional info for Meta-Luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence
Words, clearly, matter to him and it is no surprise when he comes to reveal one of his most personal luxuries. ‘One of my true luxuries is buying books. Books are something that I treasure as objects as well as reading material – although the greater luxury these days is having the time to read them! Perhaps time is our greatest luxury of all. The paradox is that many of the products that I own – and value – are intended to speed up our lives and in so doing, to free up our time. Of course, the reality is that they often only allow us to squeeze more into our daily schedule.
What makes these brands and products unsubstitutable, and therefore valuable, to them? Why do we tend to value the small number of units crafted by a fourth-generation family-owned watchmaking firm more than series products stemming from, say, a global licensed watchmaking operation? What is the difference between young, highly innovative entrepreneurs and century-old craftsmen? Why do we generally regard the work of a small, specialised manufacturer as being more valuable than the output of a generalist conglomerate?
A typically human characteristic, uniqueness, is forever infused in the object. In a way, the object acquires an emotional and symbolic life that goes far beyond its tangible qualities. Craftsmanship is therefore not about the mere the act of shaping, cutting or assembling; it is about giving life to an object, providing it with a significance and individuality that transcends its mere tangible qualities. ’ Thus, as we can see, the role of craftsmanship in meta-luxury stretches far beyond the intrinsic quality provided by a production technique.