Although we all know that smoking is bad for our health, there’s something irresistibly cool about the sight of a man with a cigar on his lips, such as the one appearing in the mouth of Sean Connery in his very first appearance as James Bond.
The Philosopher Richard Klein even went as far as saying that smoking was an expression of individuality and a way to focus on inner creativity.
Thanks to Swiss company Imperiali Geneve, there’s now a way to marry the sensuality of cigars with all the high-tech coolness of James Bond. This unprecedented smoking experience comes from some of the finest cigars in the world enclosed in Imperiali’s own Emperador Cigar chest.
The level of research that’s gone into this case is on a par with top military tech: it took over two years to perfect, contains no less than 2,765 machined components and state of the art tech making the Emperador Cigar Chest the most prestigious of its kind in the World, all for just one million Swiss Francs!
On the case
At first glance, the case looks like it could withstand a nuclear explosion: this is unsurprising as its compartments are made from solid aluminum. Overall it measures 45cm x 70cm x 35cm.
In true James Bond fashion, the Emperador Cigar Chest also contains a selection of hidden gadgets in the form of three handy accessories. These include a cigar cutter, which can mechanically slice or punch cigars depending on your preference. There’s also a handy table lighter which uses three nozzles to spark the perfect flame when you need to light up. Last but by no means least is an ashtray which actually slides, out automatically when a cigar is brought close to the chest.
All three accessories are arranged in an unobtrusive drawer found at the front of the chest, which is flush with the rest of the compartment when unopened.
Lock, Smoke, and Barrel
The Emperador Cigar chest is deliberately designed to conceal all its electronic Components. Only the three mechanical indicators are visible at all times this is necessary to provide real-time readouts of humidity, battery power, temperature and number of cigars remaining. If the sleek sci-fi shell of the case weren’t enticing enough, it also includes a precision lock. This means the case can only be opened who know your personalized code sequence: just brush a finger over one of the subtle touch buttons on the chest cover to activate the integrated LCD display. You can then enter the code sequence using the gold touch buttons.
If you need further proof that the Emperador Cigar chest seems like the result of clandestine military research, Imperiali Geneve has also designed it with a self-regulating the humidity system. In other words, neither water nor human intervention is required to maintain a constant humidity level of 70%, as well as the internal temperature of 16-18°C no matter what conditions are like outside. These variables can even be adjusted.
This was done through two secure climate-controlled compartments which can hold up to 24 cigars. Quality’s further assured by wrapping each cigar in four leaves of fine gold, then placing them in a protective glass tube.
The case contains a network of special thermoelectric cooling cells, controlled by embedded firmware, making the Emperador Cigar Chest the first “smart” appliance of its kind.
Rolling the perfect blend
As impressive as the housing sounds, a cigar case is only as good as the tobacco blend it Contains. Imperiali Genéve experimented with combinations of meticulously selected tobaccos in order to create the Emperador Cigar itself. The final result is a rich and subtle blend drawn from both the fertile plantations of the Jamastran Valley (south Honduras)and the Jalapa Valley (north Nicaragua). After 48 months of aging, the leaves are carefully processed to create an exceptional Grand Cru.
Time for a smoke
The Emperador Cigar chest is crowned by a tourbillon timepiece, hand-crafted by a master watchmaker from Swiss Jura. The timepiece is constructed from 323 separate parts including a ‘Clous de Paris’ guilloche dial.
The manually wound tourbillon operates at 21,600 vib/h and offers a guaranteed power reserve of 80 hours. Its carriage makes one rotation every 60 seconds, using central hands to indicate hours and minutes.
Imperiali Geneve’s solution was to place a winding system inside the casing underneath the timepiece. The winding mechanism is regulated electronically at set intervals there’s even a regulator to limit the amount of torque that can be applied so neither the timepiece of the winding mechanism can be damaged. This is a minor feature but is an excellent example of the truly obsessive level of detail that has gone into designing the Emperador Cigar chest’s components.
Space Age Materials
The chosen materials for the chest are numerous and varied: glass, Alucore® with laser-welded inserts, composite fibers, aged aluminum alloy, high-resistance aluminum-zinc cooper alloy, expanded polyurethane, expanded polystyrene, Flexathene®, antibacterial and antifungal materials, not to mention aerogel. This last material is actually used by NASA to protect spacesuits and Mars Rovers from extreme heat.
The above list is not exhaustive: for instance, it doesn’t include the surface treatments on all the metallic elements: anodizing, plating with gold, nickel-palladium and rhodium, polishing and mechanical engraving with black lacquer.
Secrets of Mechatronics Engineering
The harmonious marriage of mechanical components and sophisticated electronics would not have been possible without microprocessors. The Emperador cigar case, in fact, features 33 of them, 21 of which control the motors. Their data can be modified at any time using the bundled reprogramming stick. This stick comes as an elegant gold-plated tube, incorporating a printed circuit, 3.5mm jack, cap, and activation button. It connects underneath the chest next to the main switch and diagnostic port. All of these slots are invisible when the chest is stood on its base, meaning nothing takes away from the smooth finish of the case itself.
Cutting edge smoking
The cigar cutter accessory has two main functions it can either out a cigar using a guillotine mechanism or perforate it like a cigar punch, no matter what type of cigar you smoke. There are three punch sizes available: 6mm, 10mm or 14mm. You can switch between cut/punch mode using the mechanical slider to the right of the central window.
Bond fans will rejoice in finding that once you activate the cutting mode, a white light appears along with a laser beam to help you mark the length of the cut. If you punch your cigars, this is indicated via a red LED. You can access either mode, simply via using the gold touchpad.
Once your cigar has been clipped or punched, you only need to remove the residue which is ushered into a small tray accessed via a hatch underneath the casing. This same opening also gives you access to the blades for maintenance.
The Emperador Cigar Case integrated lighter. A simple touch of the slider on the right of the crown triggers an electric motor, which in turn opens the gas valve producing a spark over three miniature torch nozzles.
The gas reservoir is exactly 25ml enough for around an hour’s worth of flame. You can check the level of has remaining via the cigar case’s optoelectronic measurement system
Up in smoke
Like its companion accessories, the ashtray is presented in a luxurious gilded black lacquered case. Its diaphragm opening is motorized and illuminated by hidden LEDs. Better Yet, it’s fitted with proximity sensors which can actually detect cigars: simply hold a
cigar near the device and the mechanism will activate, opening the tray for ash Collection. The sensor is even minute enough to detect the difference between an actual cigar and a stray speck of ash landing on it and open accordingly.
When ash enters the ashtray, it falls into a removable reservoir held in place by a bayonet mechanism. This reservoir can be removed through the bottom of the chest.
Only 12 numbered Emperador cigar cases are produced every year, making them some of the rarest luxury goods on the market today. This utter masterpiece marries the age-old art of Swiss watchmaking with the skills of the greatest experts in 27 different trades.
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