NEW YORK •When price is no object, experience, personalisation, and rarity are among the only things that can make a gift feel like a true treat. For all the billionaires on your list, here are some ideas that will thrill egos and titillate the senses. (It always helps if you, the buyer, are a billionaire too.)
1. A meal at every three-Michelinstar restaurant
Only 109 restaurants in the world have three coveted Michelin stars, and luxury purveyor VeryFirstTo, along with tour company Holidaysplease, will get you to all of them in six months.
The flights will be business class and hotel stays will be in places such as the Conrad in Tokyo. But the real star of the show will be restaurants such as Arzak in Spain's Basque region, The Fat Duck in London, Alain Ducasse in Monaco and Per Se in New York. Cholesterol specialist, sadly, not included.
Price: US$274,983 (S$386,356), which includes a donation to the Prince's Trust charity
2. A 1962 Aston Martin DB4/GT
Considered by many to be legendary designer Carrozzeria Zagato's greatest work, the DB4/GT was unveiled at the 1960 London Motor Show. This particular car, which will be sold through RM Sotheby's Driven By Disruption sale in New York today, was owned by a racing enthusiast who used it to win races in 1962 and 1963.
Kept safely in storage for more than 20 years, it re-emerged to win best in class at several concours events, including the Villa d'Este. (That is why it is so expensive.) There are only 19 DB4/GTs with coachwork by Zagato, so this is a rare chance with serious bragging rights.
Price: Estimated to sell for US$15 million to US$17 million
3. The first Omega Speedmaster
Certain watches are for certain people. Some guys are Rolex guys. (Okay, a lot of guys are Rolex guys.) Some women are Cartier women. And if you are an Omega person, chances are you love the Speedmaster - the wristwatch of choice for Nasa.
On Dec 15, Christie's is holding a sale of 50 watches that constitute an excellent survey of the 60-year history of the Speedmaster. One of the stars of the sale is a Ref. 2915-1 Speedmaster, the first of its kind. Only a few hundred were made and it is surprisingly difficult to find one in such good condition.
Price: Estimated to sell for US$100,000 to US$150,000
4. Original art from Where The Wild Things Are
If your billionaire is a child, has a child or ever was a child, he probably is familiar with Where The Wild Things Are, the beloved children's classic by Maurice Sendak. Fortyseven Sendak works collected by his friends - including ultra-rare original images in Where The Wild Things Are - are on sale at Sotheby's right now.
You had better hurry, though: The show has been up since Nov 16, so the wild rumpus has already started.
Price: Up to US$950,000.
5. Rodin's Eternel Printemps
Among interested buyers, it is common to want a Rodin that was crafted for the iconic Gates of Hell, the sculptor's Dante-inspired allegorical doorway.
Today in Paris, Sotheby's will sell one of his most popular romantic works, Eternel Printemps, which he sculpted with the Gates project in mind, but decided not to include.
The legendary cursed lovers Paolo and Francesca were inspirations for the piece, so it would be a wonderful gift for a billionaire looking for romance - or going through a divorce.
Price: Estimated to sell for US$489,000 to US$597,000
6. Hang out at the edge of space
The Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalogue is one of the great holiday traditions in one-of-a-kind goods and experiences every year.
This year, one of the gems is a two-part adventure: First, your billionaire will tour Biosphere 2 and help do a test launch of World View, a high-altitude balloon that will soon be taking commercial trips to more than 30,000m above the earth.
Then in 2017, your recipient will take a trip above. A guest at that height will enjoy 360-degree views of earth ordinarily afforded only to astronauts and angels.
Price: US$90,000, which includes a donation to the Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation.
7. A 1978 Luke Skywalker action figure
Your Star Wars-loving billionaire probably does not have one of the very few 1978 first-edition Luke Skywalker action figures with the double telescoping light sabre. Only about 20 with this rare feature exist, according to Sotheby's, which is auctioning off hundreds of pieces of Star Wars memorabilia tomorrow.
Price: Estimated to sell for US$12,000 to US$18,000
8. A hand-painted dress by Holly Fowler
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art's famous Costume Institute Gala, socialite Samantha Boardman wore a one-of-a-kind dress that turned heads. It was green silk, with what looked like gold and turquoise embroidery. On closer inspection, it became clear to admirers that the designs were painted.
The luxurious trompe l'oeil look is the signature of Brooklyn-based gown designer Holly Fowler, an alumna of brands such as Chloe.
Having been spotted by Vogue tastemaker Lauren Santo Domingo, Fowler's works are now highly sought after. She will work with private clients to determine the perfect fit and look for special pieces, a throwback to an earlier era of dressmaking.
Price: Upon request
9. The chance to live like a spy for two months
With the help of luxe giving company Truly Experiences and former MI6 intelligence professionals, your billionaire can have James Bond's life.
Amid this interactive game, covert espionage engagements will arise about once a week for two months in the player's daily life. Through them, he will develop spy skills such as covert communications and even agent recruitment.
The game adjusts in accordance with how well the player performs, so each experience is individualised. After it ends in a European spy capital, your billionaire will receive a visual playbook of the adventure.
10. A trek through untouched rivers and mountains in Papua New Guinea
Luxe travel group Epic Tomato has a 20-day itinerary that penetrates so deep into rural Papua New Guinea that patrons will encounter territory that has not been explored by outsiders since the 1960s.
This is not for the faint-of-heart billionaire; it is impossible to predict what travellers will encounter along the way. Plus, they must carry boats on their backs. Still, finding one of the last places on earth that is still not fully understood by contemporary society? Priceless.