Intro: As some of you may know this week I was in Moscow, and before I arrived to the city I received an invitation to visit from a place called ‘Raff House’, which I had no idea about. I quickly checked their Facebook Page and saw some luxurious type of events and some watch models I haven’t seen before, so of course, eager to know what the Raff House actually was I accepted gladly, and went there thinking it will be a nice watch boutique…my apologies to the ‘Hobbit’ haters for that next quote but ‘I Have Never Been So Wrong!’
Now before we get into the Overdose of Awesomeness let me give you a brief description of what the ‘Raff House’ actually is. First of all as the name suggests it is an actual house in the center of Moscow, with a 250 year history, that the owners bought and remade into the most luxurious place in Russia for the watch, jewelry and high end gastronomy lovers!
So when you are there you don’t just come to buy an exclusive watch or a piece of jewelry, but you can always enjoy an experience at the Michelin Star Restaurant opened in that same house by one of the very few female Top Chefs of the world – Helene Darroze! With 3 different dinner rooms each carrying its own vibe and always preserving the atmosphere of luxury and horology (with signed original photos of people as Greubel and Forsey, Rafael Nadal, and many presidents of the watch brands) while giving the clients privacy and the feel of home.
Speaking of privacy, Raff House was designed and created with a very particular purpose – it is a completely closed members-only place, meaning that if you were not one of the top customers of the Raff House previous boutiques in Moscow, and did not yet receive on of the 999 existing cards the only way to even get in there is by recommendation, either from one of the existing members, Helene Darroze, the Master Chef and restaurant creator, or.. Well,us :) and after that you would still meet the owner – Rafael, so he can decide whether you will become a member.
You might ask yourself – why would I want to go through all that and can’t I just go and buy lots of watches automatically ‘buying’ the membership?! Well, first of all, the owners of the house wanted to create a ‘home’ atmosphere with not just wealthy people, but also men and women who know how to behave, and would value their privacy maintaining the status of the place high and unashamed. This is why there are all these stages, and the card cannot be bought even if you are a billionaire (but do not know how to behave and can possibly do any damage to others).
The reasons WHY you would want to become a member of this place are different. Mine would first of all be the most exquisite selection of the very rare, exclusive watches, with some of them being made Just for the ‘Raff House’ or in a collaboration with them!
Do you know the ‘Gagarin Tourbillon’ from Bernhard Lederer? Many might’ve heard about it or seen in magazines, but in reality it is only sold at the Raff House, as Rafael has designed it with Bernhard himself! If you are not familiar with the watch a little about it, it uses a special patented tourbillon movement created by Bernhard, with a 60 seconds rotation around itself and a full dial rotation in 108 minutes. On the left side of the watch there is also an adjustable loupe, with a magnifying glass. The tourbillon rotates to the opposite side of the hands symbolizing the journey of Gagarin (first man to ever go into Spaceh in the ‘Vostok-1′ spaceship going East. The tourbillon also has the word ‘Vostok’ (meaning East) engraved on the side of the movement.
The watch exists in different versions, including platinum, rose gold, full gold and different dial variations. And if space and astronomy isn’t really your thing Raff House has many more exquisite and very rare pieces, like the Richard Mille baguette diamond watches, or the rare Audemars Piguet Carbon Concept tourbillon, and with my biggest favorites being the two Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 3 and the super awesome Quadruple Tourbillon!
The restaurant part of the house is also very nice, and while I haven’t had the pleasure to taste their food I know who Helene Darroze is in the world of haute cuisine, and had tried her creations before. So believe me when I say, their restaurant is one of the top you can find not just in Moscow, but in the world.
The Chef of the Kitchen is also French, and most of the cooks are too, so I had a chance to exercise my skills a little and found out about the secret ingredient behind their cuisine – it is apparently the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Tourbillon, that they slice and use as garnishing for their most special meals :D
Obviously I am joking, but nevertheless I got to see ability of the cooks to slice and cut the fruits in a very skilled and easy fashion. On top of that I realized that the saleswoman showing me all the watches spoke almost fluent french with the kitchen personnel and unlike many stores in Moscow the product knowledge was undeniably perfect about each watch and piece of jewelry!
By the way, speaking of the jewels, all the previous stones, necklaces and other girly things I have little knowledge about are made by Schreiner, a company famous for its exquisite quality, new concepts (such as the Buddha diamonds patented by them) and accordingly high price tags.
As we are almost at the end of the virtual journey around the Raff House, I would like show my favorite room of all. Located on the second floor, right next to the Rafael’s office, the room is made for the closest and most passionate members of the club, and is meant to be a relaxing retreat from the usual Moscow lifestyle. With all technology being made by Bang & Olufsen especially for the house, and a very nice vintage book collection its a perfect place to rest, play some customized backgammon and enjoy life (as if you make it to this room everything in it is just jolly well!).
Now that I’ve showed you all I could I hope it left a nice feel and you’ve enjoyed the read, the photos, and most importantly the watches and the place overall! I would like to also mention that Raff House has many cool side projects such as the already made Gagarin Tourbillon in a collaboration with Bernhard Lederer and the just presented Ararat minute repeater with Parmigiani (which you can read about on their facebook page), and many more new cool pieces to come (Lets just say we will show you some exclusive pieces later this year…)
If you have any questions about the Raff House or any of the presented watches, or in case you would like to become a member, do not hesitate to contact us in the comments or by email, and we will do our best to answer all questions and recommend you to the club!