Monday, April 6, 2009

Vertu Ascent: racing with the fast and the fabulous

"My name is Bond, James Bond." I sometimes caught myself hopelessly longing to become the world’s greatest– charming, sophisticated– secret agent, or owning at least fancy gadgets the Agent 007 has the rightful claim to covet. One of them is a Vertu Ascent Phone Racetrack Edition. Your question might be why Vertu, among all the bevy of phones that out there that has breakthrough electronics. What does me, Vertu, and James Bond have in common. Minus, women, it’s our unmistakable affinity to speed and splendor.

In the world of the fast and the fabulous, the definition of luxury mobile phones has never been the same since Frank Nuovo created Vertu’s race track collection.

The Monaco and Nurburgring models, the lastest welcome additions to the breed of Vertu Racetrack Legends Limited Collection, hit the market in 2007 with only 1,000 individually numbered units for each model.
The phones sport an etching of its respective legendary racetracks on the back of the handset. Each handset also features a liquid metal and knurled titanium finish that can even withstand after a car ran through it. And not only that, it is also embellished with petrol-resistant leather, handcrafted and slapped into the back by the careful and meticulous hands of finest leather makers in Europe (who went rigorous 6months training before commencing to the Vertu factory).

According to Vertu, each new Vertu handset undergoes twice as many hours in R&D than a modern Formula One racing car. Of course, the Ascent is by no means a tech gizmo in the traditional sense, rating only average by most mobile phone industry benchmarks (despite offering Bluetooth in all of its models).

While critics use this to justify their disdain for the brand, the Vertu’s raison d’etre is not to be a leader in the field of technology or electronics. Rather, Vertu’s philosophy revolves around craftsmanship and build quality, founding principles of true luxury companies.

Indeed, the Vertu manufacturing facilities in Church Crookham reminded us more of a watch making manufactory than an electronics factory. Characterized by handwork instead of machinery, skilled technicians and craftsmen hand assemble each piece of the Vertu together, plate by plate, screw by screw. It’s as close to the antithesis of mass-production as possible for electronics products manufacturing. 
Vertu phones also display an almost fanatical attention to detail, as evidenced by the fact that the designers have carefully considered all aspects of mobile phone usage, sparing no expense to enhance the user’s experience.

Pressing the buttons of the Vertu is a satisfying tactile experience, thanks to the unique two-way pivoting action that results from every key being set on two Sapphire jewel bearings. Fading of the keypad numeral markings is common among mobile phones. However, this is unlikely with the Ascent as each key is made of stainless steel, with each number being perforated through the keys using lasers. Incidentally, this means that more than 575 holes are drilled into a single keypad.

Vertu utilizes a 20mm Yamaha speaker for the ring tone and the speakerphone function. Fifty per cent larger than those used for regular mobile phones, it provides extended bass response and enhanced clarity.

Previous limited editions in the Racetrack Legends Collection celebrate the revered racetracks of Monza, Silverstone, LeMans, and Indianapolis. Vertu without a doubt is a leading(probably the only) manufacturer of handcrafted mobile phone for the niche market of the rich and riveting, the affluents and aristocrats. 
The inspiration for the Racetrack Legends came in 2006 upon the thought that inside the forays of their garages of the large numbers of Vertu patrons lies a wide array of expensive cars.
Vertu, to celebrate that association, tied up with the car company for the Porsche Super Cup. The event introduced the limited Ascent model called Ascen Motorport Limited Edition, and too limited that only 997 units were produced in their manufacturing quandary, fawning the Porsche 997 series. 

The Ascent colors– yellow, red, and blue– first introduced in 2004 depicting and were targeted for the advocates of Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Bugatti in their respective racing color anthems. Since then, Vertu subsequently developed Racetrack Legends. 

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