In January 2002, Nokia launched an independent subsidiary named Vertu to create the world's first luxury personal communication company. The first collection of phones, the Signature, was made of platinum, and cost AUD$40,000 for the flagship model.
Vertu's stated mission was to apply 'authentic time-honoured traditions and craftsmanship to mobile technology" and "bring artistry and personal significance to an everyday object, elevating it to the level of the finest timepiece." Pitched at the ultra-wealthy, the Vertu appears to have found its mark and can be found in the handbags of the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and David Beckham and seen in ultra-exclusive boutiques in Paris, New York, Singapore and Hong KongUnlike most mobiles which trade on their technological capability, the Vertu philosophy is one of simplicity - technologically, it lacks many of the standard features you'll find on a phone costing less than one percent the price.
Though the recently launched Vertu Ascent is slightly cheaper than the first Vertu Signature phones, with a recommended retail price of AUD$6,500, it is nonetheless a remarkable piece of equipment.
The sleek, streamlined and robust design of the Ascent is a synthesis of hardwearing materials - stainless steel, ceramic, sapphire crystal and Liquidmetal alloy - and seductively soft hand-stitched brown and black leather. Precision-engineered stainless steel keys are set on jewelled bearings to give a unique tactile experience. A custom designed black leather holster is also available at AUD$500.
The Vertu Signature Collection pioneered the use of ceramic, sapphire crystal, stainless steel, and other precious metals and the Ascent has done likewise, using Liquidmetal alloy which provides exceptional durability and scratch-resistance. Liquidmetal alloy has been used for the phone's prominent front bezel and battery cover. Liquidmetal alloys possess a unique amorphous atomic structure that combines strength and hardness two-to-three times greater than titanium with the ability to be molded into precision parts.
Liquidmetal Technologies is the first company to produce amorphous alloys in commercially viable bulk form, and the alloys are considered a breakthrough in material science. Other current and developing applications for Liquidmetal alloys include sporting goods, electronics, defense products and medical devices, where high strength and performance are driving factors in product design and material selection.
Frank Nuovo, creative director and designer for Vertu says, 'Inspired by the design aesthetic and materials of fast moving luxury cars, the Vertu Ascent Collection strikes a unique balance between hard metal and soft leather. I am delighted to bring this second stylistic expression to individuals who demand the best in everything they do.'
The Ascent Collection by Vertu is designed and built to the same exacting standards of craftsmanship as Vertu's hallmark Signature Collection, and clients will also receive the exceptional personalised service for which Vertu is renowned: Vertu Concierge. Vertu Ascent has a discreetly positioned, dedicated side key allowing clients to connect to the Vertu Concierge service. This team of specialist global advisers is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in over 170 countries worldwide and provides the best travel, entertainment and international assistance at the touch of a button.
The Ascent Collection and its accessories are available at Vertu Stores in Paris and Singapore, Vertu Client Suites in Hong Kong and Singapore, and in the world's finest jewellery and department stores. For more information, please visit www.vertu.com