When you have spent your lifetime amassing a precious collection of designer watches or prized jewels, the decision of where to store them can prove problematic. Bank vaults can't be accessed on a whim, while traditional safes are often too small to house extensive collections.
By: Mandy Hegarty
They have found a way to solve this predicament with their unique Collector Rooms concept. They offer clients the opportunity to design a bespoke room for their cherished valuables, creating a space that is as stylish as is it secure and – in many cases – as desirable as the collection it is designed to protect.
An Assured History
Operating out of Sindelfingen, Germany, Döttling have carved out a reputation as one of the world's leading high-end safe manufacturers. Collectors from all over the globe work with the team of skilled specialists to create safes that are both worthy of the exceptional collections they hold and reflective of the client's personal style. Döttling boasts an impressive product list, from the painstakingly-restored antiques of the Legends series to the sought-after modern Narcissus safe, a collaboration with the German fashion powerhouse Karl Lagerfeld. Safe prices range, with the entry-level Liberty series beginning at approximately $40,000, while other safes, such as the colossal Bel-Air Magnus, begin at prices in excess of $135,000.
Although the term “artisan” is often overused, in the case of Döttling it is warranted. The company's roots are firmly planted in tradition and their products are crafted by hand, whether sewing fine materials or gilding decorative fittings. “We are committed to delivering the highest German craftsmanship and have lots of passion for what we do,” enthuses Markus Döttling, a managing partner at the company. Founded in 1919 by Markus’ great grandfather, the brand has stood the test of time and is fast approaching its 100th birthday. “When it comes to high end luxury safes, we are the only company in the world that can look back on a four generation family history.”
A Safe Pair of Hands
When executing the Collector Rooms concept, Döttling will work with the client and an interior designer to outfit the space. There are two basic starting points from which the customer can choose to create their bespoke Collector Room: one consists of an entirely secured and alarmed safe room, with an interior of display vitrines and furniture; while the second option works around a normal non-secured room, with beautiful and highly-secure safes integrated seamlessly into the interior.
Throughout the process of designing and creating the room, the client's input is key. “We integrate the customer in the whole process starting from the very first design sketches,” says Markus. “We can customize almost anything and this sets us apart from any other competitor. When it comes to materials, we generally don’t face any limits.” Stingray leather, reptile leathers, mother of pearl and fine veneers are just some of the extensive range of materials that are available.
Securing What You Need
When storing items of immeasurable value, the interior is of huge importance. Whether a customer is hoping to accommodate weapons, art, jewelry or any other type of treasure, the interior can be tailored to suit the needs of their collection. Cigar connoisseurs can have humidors fitted, as well as a hygrometer and a barometer for measuring humidity and air pressure, while watch enthusiasts can avail of watch winders to keep priceless timepieces ticking. Döttling have recently proved their mettle in the world of watch winders, introducing the coveted Gyrowinder into the marketplace. This unique winder allows for 360 degree turns and offers a host of precise adjustment options to have the winder work to the specific needs of any timepiece.
Needless to say, safety is never an afterthought. When working with clients whose collections are often priceless, security is always front of mind. “Our safes are always equipped with state-of-the-art security features, whether fingerprint locks combined with connection to house alarm systems or silent robbery alarms.” In fact, Döttling has already created the Fortress, which is billed as the “safest luxury safe in the world.” In the right configuration, this seemingly impenetrable safe can be certified for insurance coverage of up to $1,000,000.
Designing, handcrafting and installing a bespoke Collector Room can take a significant chunk of time. The process, from first contact through to final installation can, depending on size, take anything from eight months upwards. But the end product – one of exquisite workmanship and technical finesse – should prove worth the wait.