Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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Ben Bridge Buyers in Las Vegas: Days 2 and 3

June 6, 2010

The 11 strong Ben Bridge buying team checks out all the latest products at the JCK Show in Las Vegas and has a little bit of fun!

Highlights include lots of beautiful Italian gold jewelry and giant Victorinox Swiss Army watches (read: Wall Clocks) as well as stopping by the “Kardashian Suite” in the Venetian to visit our friends at Gucci. We got to spend some time with supermodel Amber Valletta and Lisa ogled a tiny little bauble (35 carat D Flawless Emerald Cut).

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Live from Las Vegas: Day 1

June 3, 2010

The Ben Bridge buying team explores the latest offerings at the Couture Show in Las Vegas, June 3, 2010.

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Omaha Round Up (with video!)

May 3, 2010

It was a fun weekend in Omaha!

The Oracle was in typically fine form–answering questions all day about topics ranging from Goldman Sachs (he was supportive), derivatives (they continue to be dangerous when parties don’t understand them), and the long term prospects for the US (bullish). Even the usually taciturn Charlie Munger piped in with a few gems and added to the levity of the day. At one point a questioner asked about how to cope with potentially high interest rates in the future. Munger, 86, responded, “If I can be optimistic when I’m nearly dead, you all can handle inflation.”

Before the meeting began, there was a very amusing movie featuring Warren and Charlie and a few friends. This year’s movie included ABC’s Desperate Housewives plotting to land a billionaire and ending up with Charlie. Another segment had Warren pitching for the Boston Red Sox and striking out Alex Rodriguez to win the AL pennant. The movie included a preview of a new animated series called “The Secret Millionaires Club,” where Warren teaches kids about financial literacy.

There was also a cool video showing the history of Berkshire’s latest acquisition, Burlington Northern Santa Fe. BNSF dates back to 1849 and the railroad “Empire Builder” James J. Hill. BNSF has played an integral part in the growth of the United States and it is exciting to have the railroad as part of the Berkshire family.

Another highlight of the event is the chance to visit many Berkshire companies in the convention hall adjacent to the arena where the meeting takes place. Companies ranging from See’s Candy to Justin Boots, Dairy Queen, GEICO, and Fruit of the Loom hawk their wares to shareholders. Watch the video for more on that.

Because of the growth of the meeting, to get good seats we had to be in line at 5:45am! As unpleasant as it sounds to stand outside in the cold Omaha morning, waiting to get in only adds to the festival atmosphere of the meeting. It is so much fun to meet shareholders from all over the world and swap stories about meetings past, the boss, and speculate as to what Warren’s take will be on a great many issues.

It is truly a unique weekend–unlike anything else I have ever been to and likely unmatched by anything in the world. It is a fitting tribute to one of the world’s most admired and distinctive companies.

I look forward to next year’s meeting and encourage you to make plans to get to Omaha at least once for a spectacle unlike any other.

-Marc

From the floor at BRKFest 2010!

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Off to see the Oracle: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting 2010

April 29, 2010

Warren Buffett and Marc Bridge, Ben Bridge Headquarters, May 2009

For the past ten years, Ben Bridge has been a proud member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Every year a number of us from the company join the thousands of pilgrims who make the trek to Omaha, Nebraska for the annual meeting that has been called “Woodstock for Capitalists”. This year is no exception.

Marc will be blogging from Omaha this weekend, and if he is really nice to her, our favorite travel blogger Lisa might contribute a word or two!

Last year more than 35,000 shareholders filled Omaha’s Qwest Center (and a number of nearby overflow rooms) to listen to 6 hours of questions and answers with Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. With the purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the stock split, and the company’s addition to the S&P 500 Index, thousands of new shareholders will be flocking to the Cornhusker State to learn from the masters.

“The Warren and Charlie Show”, as it is affectionately known, regularly covers topics as far reaching as the relative performance of the US economy, the impact of derivatives and government regulation, the rise of China, what small children should do with their lives, and every once in a while touches on the performance of Berkshire businesses in between bites of See’s Peanut Brittle and Cherry Coke. (Berkshire owns See’s Candy and is the largest shareholder in Coca-Cola).

In addition to the meeting itself, the weekend has sprawled into a celebration of business, investing, old-fashioned American values, and Omaha steaks. It is as much a carnival as a business meeting and the perfect embodiment of the Chairman’s worldview.

It is always an enjoyable, educational, and fun weekend. I hope you will check back periodically for updates from BRKfest 2010!

-Marc

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The Last Day in Basel: Patek Philippe and Tissot

March 22, 2010

Our trip is almost over and WOW the things we have seen!

Tissot T-Race Nicky Hayden Limited Edition

Tissot had some wonderful new watches today including some new limited editions. They introduced a new Nicky Hayden watch that is very cool and also a new limited Moto GP watch. They also had some great new ladies models.

Patek 7021/1G-001

Patek 7021/1G-001

Patek Philippe had amazing timepieces as usual. I don’t think I could do them justice in trying to describe them though. They expanded the ladies Nautilus line with some stunning diamond bezel watches.

Patek 5960P

One of the coolest pieces they launched was a new 5960 complication annual calendar chronograph with day, date, and month apertures, power reserve and day night display. It has a blue dial and blue strap and a 40.5mm platinum case. It will retail for $78,800. Amazing!

Its been a wonderful trip- I wish I could tell you all that we’ve seen but it is truly overwhelming to even think about!

We fly out tomorrow early in the morning but since I am still here I will sign off one last time—

Three kisses from Basel!

-Katie

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Basel Day 3: Rolex

March 20, 2010

What an exciting day!  As promised, more about Rolex.

Rolex Datejust 31mm with 24 Diamond Bezel

First they finally came out with an Everose Pearlmaster with a 12 diamond bezel. It is stunning! They also released a number of 31mm pieces in steel and white gold, steel and yellow gold and steel and Everose gold with new diamond bezels that have 24 diamonds on a smooth bezel. It is a big year for the ladies!

New Rolex Submariner

The new Submariners look amazing. The black dial black bezel Sub has the ceramic bezel and the movement has been upgraded with a parachrome hairspring. Although the case is not larger, it looks like it is. The case lugs are twice as wide as the Classic Sub making the watch look larger.

New Rolex Green Submariner

The new Green Submariner looks amazing!  It will be slightly more expensive than the black Sub because the green dial is made with powdered green gold.  It is so cool!  Both Subs have 18k white gold hands, markers, and inner rings. No detail was overlooked—the new Subs will be a hit. Hopefully they will deliver late this summer. No pre-sales please!

We are running fast from appointment to appointment. Saturday at the show is always a challenge because the public is invited to the show. In addition to all the buyers, reporters and brand representatives we are dodging Swiss and German locals and often their pets! It was a mad house today. The show was packed with people but had a great buzz of energy and excitement. What a great job I have!  I am blessed!

More tomorrow. We will be seeing Patek Phillipe which is always an amazing appointment because their watches are works of art.

Three kisses!

Katie

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Basel Day 2: Tag Heuer and Gucci

March 19, 2010

Today was a crazy day. We saw a ton of great things but I only have time to tell you about a few of them—if I tried to tell you about all of them I would be back in the States before I was done!

Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Pendulum

We met with Tag Heuer today after attending a party last night celebrating 150 years of innovation. To celebrate they launched a new concept watch, the Pendulum. The Pendulum is an automatic watch that runs without a hairspring. Historically, the hairspring has been an integral part of the watch movement, regulating time keeping. The Pendulum movement replaces the traditional hairspring with a magnetic field. Pretty amazing technology! Although the Pendulum watch is still a concept we saw a working model.  Tag doesn’t know when or if they will put the watch into production.

The "Pendulum"

As usual they are the leaders in innovation and design in the watchmaking world, following on the heels of the Monaco V4 they developed a few years ago that featured a movement designed with ball bearings and drive-train belts rather than traditional gears and springs.

Tag has a bunch of fantastic new items coming out this summer.  My favorite is the new ceramic and stainless steel Formula 1. Ladies ceramic watches are everywhere here in Basel but the Tag Heuer collection is priced to sell and are stunning—especially with the diamond bezel.

Tag Heuer Carrera 1887

They are also launching their own patented in-house movement: the Tag Heuer 1887 chronograph. It features an oscillating pinion 2/1000th of a second column wheel and is touted as being 30% more efficient than other automatic chronograph movements.  It has a bi-directional winding system and a 50 hour power reserve.  It is a noteworthy accomplishment. The caliber 1887 will be in some of the watches being released this fall including a limited edition SLR Calibre 1887.
 Tag had an outstanding selection of new offerings at fantastic price points. There are many great things to look forward to this year!

Tag Heuer 1887 Movement

Gucci was a fun appointment, as well. The group is reaching into its history books to reintroduce some of its best successes and is also introducing some new classics.

Gucci U-Play

First the fun stuff. Remember the interchangeable bezels?  They are back!  But better than ever. The new Gucci “U-Play” collection.   Each watch comes with an interchangeable bracelet and bezel set. You can easily change the look of the watch by removing the bracelet and putting on a strap or simply changing the bezel color.   The new interchangable design allows the wearer to change the combination of colors and materials to fit any occasion or just express herself. U-Play will be tons of fun!

Gucci is also launching their new G-Timeless collection. There is a watch for everyone. The new collection is simple but elegant and the prices are terrific.  These are available for delivery now and will be in stores soon! 
I have to run- I am late for dinner!

Until tomorrow-
Three kisses!

Katie

P.S. I was told yesterday that my blog was so exciting people were waiting in anticipation, like pre-teens girls awaiting the next Twilight novel!  I am touched!  I have to give credit to my editor Marc Bridge for putting the final touches on for me.