For decades, the BMW 3-Series has been the sports sedan benchmark by which all others are measured, but all that is changing in this steel cage death match that includes German, Japanese and American contenders. BMW, naturally, has its hat in the ring. Then there’s the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Lexus IS, Infiniti Q50, Cadillac ATS, and soon a new Jaguar known as the XE, which was recently announced but not fully revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
This Indo-Brit could pull it off
The Last Light in the Universe
When I was little, the Discovery Channel ran cultural and wildlife documentaries and history specials. It was stuff that made me want to become a paleontologist. Now, the station runs shows like “Amish Mafia,” “Game of Stones,” and “Rods N’Wheels,” not to be confused with the similarly named — and similarly themed — “Fast N’Loud.” In these dark times, the upcoming Cosmos reboot offers a glimmer of hope.
Think Globally, Drink Locally
One of the sublime joys of a tropical vacation is the beer. I’m not talking about anything you can find at your corner liquor store in Manhattan (Kansas or New York), or even those Mexican imports with the clever TV ads. I’m talking about the ones that come in brown bottles with peeling labels and caps that you knock off on the edge of a table, beers with names like Belikin, Polar, Banks, Sands, Sol, Belashi, Kalik or Three Coins.
The Wagon of My Dreams
As much as I’d love to press my garage door opener and find a wickedly fast Audi A6 Avant 3.0 TDI bi-turbo or Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S 4Matic Wagon waiting within, the real wagon of my dreams might actually be even more difficult to come by and definitely moves at geologic speed compared to the aforementioned family rocket sleds. It’s a true driver’s car that just happens to be an iconic station wagon, too: the Volvo 240 GLT Turbo Wagon.
An empire once again?
The 1700s really were the halcyon days of horological innovation and most of it was happening in the British Isles. In 1800, some reports say that Britain made half the world’s watches, around 200,000 a year. By 1900 however, production numbers had fallen to roughly 100,000, though worldwide consumption was by then in the millions. So what happened? And where does British timekeeping stand today?
Great Advice from a Dozen Great Women
Confronted with two contradictory truths that nevertheless exist simultaneously — Valentine’s Day is a superficial Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day requires decisive action on our part — we fumble around and fuck things up. Knowing this, we came up with one very good idea: asking the women we trust what they think about love, romance and February’s big holiday. They’re bright, beautiful and successful. They’re sommeliers, teachers and racecar drivers. They’re editors, photographers and athletes. These are their insights.
Insight from our man on the ground
I’m in Sochi this week, and guess what? I haven’t been blown up, my phone hasn’t been hacked, my hotel room is quite nice and the water from the taps isn’t brown. Instead I’ve seen some amazing athletes doing some amazing things on the ice and snow and had my preconceptions sincerely rattled.
Time to Go?
For years and years, mechanical watches served not only as everyday timekeepers but also legitimate tools: a diver’s underwater timing mechanism, a doctor’s pulsometer, a driver’s tachymeter. The list goes on. But what about today? Has the advent of digital devices made mechanical watches irrelevant as tools? Two watch experts debate.
Go, Speed, Go!
One of the most iconic cars the world has ever seen doesn’t even exist. It’s sleek, has a three-pointed front end, a huge red M emblazoned on the hood, myriad gadgets like saw blades and a periscope and sometimes has a little kid and a crazy chimpanzee in the trunk. It’s Speed Racer’s Mach 5, and both the car and its super-skinny driver made an indelible impression on me as a boy. More than candy and snow days, I longed for the next episode of Speed Racer with its high drama, fast cars and peril on and off the track.
The Fantastic Freezing Five
In the history of the Winter Games, the most spectacular, over-the-top event to take place was a one-off: the Winter Pentathlon at the 1948 Winter Games. There may never have been a more elitist combination of athletic feats grouped together at one time before that fateful winter, and there likely hasn’t been since. A winter pentathlete in 1948 did the following in rapid succession: cross country skiing, shooting, downhill skiing, horse riding and…fencing.
We love it. We long for it. We want it back.
A Young Man Reminisces on his truest ride
Somewhere in a musty garage basement in northern Pennsylvania, my 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250, silver with a few small red stripes on its cowling, sits collecting dust. I miss her. She deserves far better than this, and someday soon I’ll give it to her: open roads dappled in spring sunshine, screaming lunges out of tight twisting corners, highway cruises where she can yell as loud as she likes. She’s just a little thing, but ccs don’t mean anything to me. I ogle Ducatis; she doesn’t mind. Our relationship is not about displacement.
From My Cold, Plastic-Ensconced Feet
To Whom It May or May Not Concern,
There is a menace roaming these hallowed hills. Ever since that infamous Muskegon, Michigan snow day some 49 years saw the debut of the “Snurfer”, the world has been burdened with those who choose to lash themselves to a single board and careen through our mountains like an errant shot from a misfired handgun.
It is today, my fellow skiers, that we must look deep within ourselves to rid this menace from our freshly driven slopes.
In 1923, a pharmaceutical representative named Shinjiro Torii built a distillery in Yamazaki with the dream of creating a Japanese whisky for the Japanese people. His original distillery evolved into Suntory, a holding company that recently made a $13.62 billion cash play for Beam, Inc., makers of Jim Beam brand spirits, Old Crow, and Maker’s Mark, among others. If it goes through, Suntory will become the third largest whiskey company by volume in the world. What does this mean for the whiskey (and whisky) world?
The Blue Oval gets Ballsy
The most devilishly good detail in the 2015 Ford F-150 is more than skin deep. In fact, it sits just below the no doubt soon-to-be scuffed paint job. You see, Ford has made its boldest move in decades by building their flagship truck’s body out of aluminum instead of tried-and-true steel. It’s move that’s both expected because of the environmental trend and pioneering due to the vehicle in which Ford has chosen to make the paradigm shift.
The Good, the Bad, and the sometimes Knockoff
The phrase “Made in China” conjures up thoughts of inexpensive, low quality, and even knockoff products. While there is some fact behind these connotations, there isn’t an absolute truth. The Chinese watch industry is no different; quality is all over the map. But in recent years, Chinese watchmakers have started taking quality more seriously. Putting aside the ever-present knockoffs and replicas, “Made in China” watches have the ability to fit low-priced niches that Swiss watchmakers can’t or won’t touch.
And romance in general, mind you
Pop quiz, Hot Shot: if your goal were to charm your newest flame at the start of your first date together the more appropriate gift would be (a) a dozen roses or (b) the bloody severed head of your arch nemesis. Give up? The answer is a dozen roses. If you answered “your enemy’s head”, you have either transported here from some three thousand year old barbaric tribe and/or you’re being an ignorant smartass. Romance is important in life. And you’re missing out on excellent films if you ignore the genre.
A grand vision and a noble idea
A century or more ago, watchmaking in the United States was the equal of any in the world. Unfortunately, in the intervening years that industry has largely gone away. Yet there are those who would like to see the industry and its uniquely American timepieces return, people who believe “Made in the USA” should be a label as valuable — and meaningful — on a watch dial as “Swiss Made” is today. Could such a thing happen?
A Look Back at Octane, Good and Bad
It’s a unique thrill to drive incredible cars on fast tracks and scenic open roads throughout the year. We try to approach each vehicle with a modicum of objectivity, but it’s largely an ad hoc exercise — gunning through tunnels tends to give us tunnel vision. Now we take a step back. With the draw of roaring engines, horsepower and plush cowhides taken out of the immediate picture and hindsight pupils readjusted for perspective, what can we say about our most and least scintillating driving experiences of the past year?
Inside cycling's hottest discipline
Sometimes you sprint at the end of a cyclocross race. But you always sprint at the beginning. As I straddle my top tube on the starting grid waiting for the whistle to send off my category at the Coyote Point Bay Area Super Prestige, I know this sprint start will hurt more than most.
An Old-School Debate on the Beloved Brand
You wouldn’t think there’d be a lot to get hot and bothered about when it comes to antiquated and genteel timepieces. But just visit any of the countless web forums dedicated to this crazy hobby and you’ll see debates raging that would make even Presidential hopefuls blush. Today we present two sides to the divisive argument that the International Watch Company (IWC) has somehow sold out or lost its way. How better to address the issue than an old-school-style debate?
No Ropes, No Worries
Some of my friends and family actually do think I’m a little crazy. This summer I decided to really find out what drives me to climb, what pushes me to expand my own vertical limits. What better way to really connect with myself and with the wall than to do it like the early purists and those on the leading edge of the sport today — with no ropes and no worries?
Not a treatise on Pink Floyd
There’s a lot happening in the body that’s implied by the catch-all word “bonk” (a.k.a. “hitting the wall”). While the resulting symptoms can occur at once as a symphony of pain and delirium, it’d be a mistake to think they all have the same cause and the same treatment. In my opinion, the the most valuable distinction for beginner long-distance runners is between dehydration and a glycogen bonk, or, generally speaking, running out of stored carbs to burn.
At Your Service
In the process of creating revolutionary products and services that made everything from music, movies, games, photos and a vast world of internet-related services instantly on-demand to consumers with the touch of button, Apple has been out-innovated in the one area that supposedly guides everything that they do. With the launch of the new Kindle HDX, Amazon revealed a new free support service aptly named Mayday built into each new unit shipped. Google has an on-demand, face-to-face help service too. Is this the future of tech support (and beyond)?
Wear what you like, like what you wear
Several years ago, I unwittingly wrote what I now believe was my first Op/Ed article in the form of a post on a popular Internet watch forum. In it I dared to put a $200 Seiko dive watch up against a $4,000 OMEGA Planet Ocean — both watches I had owned — and declared the Seiko the better dive watch. I should have donned a Nomex suit for all the flaming responses I received. In the years since my inflammatory comparo, I’ve come to realize that there is so much more to a watch than its intended purpose. It’s made me think: with respect to timepieces, can “best” ever be applied?
We're not gonna take it
Just about every car manufacturer has had its “car of shame” at one point or another. The names are easily recognizeable and are usually followed by a full-body cringe: AMC Gremlin, Renault Fuego, Chevy Citation, Oldsmobile Achieva, Volkswagen Fox, Geo Metro, Nissan Pulsar, Cadillac Cimarron, Pontiac Aztek, Ford Festiva, Chrysler PT Cruiser. To our everlasting chagrin, many of the cars we’d rather not have driven have come from right here in America. But things have been improving. Improving a lot, in fact. American cars today are better built and better designed at just about every level, and they’re even competitive with once out-of-reach European performance cars.
Falling into the game
GTA V heralds a new era of gaming, one in which top studios will attract gamers by focusing on their interactions with the digital landscape — i.e., by creating more immersive worlds.
A Lesson in Trickle-Down Mechanomics
Just over 30 years after saving the Swiss Watch industry, Swatch has once again broken trail into uncharted territory. Revealed at BaselWorld earlier this year, the Swatch Sistem51, today’s watch version of the Model T, is set to be released this month.
Protecting Your Interests and Theirs
In the face of what Apple has recently touted as a record-setting sales weekend, there’s one important feature of the iPhone 5S whose larger implications are flying under the radar of the smartphone-toting public: Touch ID. In case you’ve been too busy living to pore over Apple spec sheets, Touch ID refers to the new “fingerprint identity sensor” feature that allows iPhone 5s users to unlock their phones and even make purchases on iTunes using only their fingerprints. Just how secure is this tech? We examine.
Pulling the Plug
Swiss watch movement maker ETA supplies much of the horological world with movements and ébauches (partial movements in need of finishing). Then in 2002 Nicholas Hayek, then chairman of The Swatch Group (ETA’s parent company), announced that ETA would soon begin tapering back the supply of ébauches to the world of Swiss watchmaking beyond their sister brands. Effectively, the Swatch Group decided to stop selling to the competition, albeit gradually. The uproar was tremendous.
Does this weight make me look fat?
Though the newer cars might be faster, safer and better appointed, they certainly don’t feel more agile or connected to the driver. In the name of technology, most sports sedans have lost a purity that once existed across the segment. And there’s virtually no end in sight.