Author Archives: Michael Karam

Complications amass

Complications amass

Reading Time: 2 minutes The message from Baselworld 2012, the watch and jewelry industry’s annual conference in the Swiss town of Basel, was that business is back on track after a few wobbly years. In 2011, Switzerland exported a record $21 billion in watch sales (nearly 30 million units), a 19 percent increase over 2010  due to growth in

A crown for the wrist

Reading Time: 3 minutes Ask anyone on the street what he or she thinks the world’s most luxurious watch brand is, and they will probably say Rolex. They’d be wrong. But perception is everything, and the timepiece that is regarded as the sign that you have made it — a person to be reckoned with, a person imbued with

A size of the times

Reading Time: 3 minutes There was a time when a young man was given a watch on his 21st birthday, something half decent and Swiss, and that was, basically, that. He would remove the Timex or Seiko that got him through school, put on his grown-up watch and enter the real world.  Our man would wear it on all

A prime selection from Lebanon’s vineyards

Reading Time: 3 minutes Michael Karam, award winning author of Wines of Lebanon and Michael Karam’s Lebanese Wines 2011: A Comprehensive Guide, and associate editor-in-chief for executive, selects his favorite full-bodied Lebanese wines. Note: These wines are not for what people like to call easy drinking. They can be drunk now but most won’t have reached their best for

Millions applaud Zain’s African call

Reading Time: 5 minutes It is fair to say that most of the 50,000 concert-goers that rocked up to London’s Hyde Park in late June to wish former South African President and Nobel Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, a happy 90th birthday had never before seen the symbol of one of the concerts main sponsors. While the Mercedes star was

Luxury watches – Buying a classic timepiece

Reading Time: 3 minutes What is it about watches that drive people to distraction? Why can something whose function is purely to tell us the time be the object of such obsession and devotion? Maybe it’s because we wear it everyday. Maybe because, to some of us, a watch is more a companion than a timepiece and one of

Fulfillment & Betrayal

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Palestinian businessman Naim Attallah has just published Fulfillment & Betrayal 1975-1995, the third installment of his autobiography. His first two offerings The Boy in England and In Touch with his Roots tells of his arrival in London as an immigrant and penniless student (he once worked as a hospital porter and laborer) and his

Government vague on Paris III

Reading Time: 3 minutes If I appear vague, forgive me, but looking at the document the Lebanese government was supposed to show the assembled international donors in Paris, a group that included sovereign governments, the IMF, the World Bank and other supranational institutions, one can only have a deep feeling that it was published half-cocked. Based on this, we

Killing Mr. Lebanon – New book on target

Reading Time: 3 minutes On that sunny February day in 2005 when they killed Rafik Hariri, Basil Fuleihan and 21 others outside the St. Georges hotel, I was due to have lunch at Le Vendôme at 1pm. However, that morning the venue was changed. Had it not, and being the punctual sort, I would have arrived in Ain Mreisseh

The Beirut effect

Reading Time: 7 minutes Those who predicted that the towering, luxury residential developments in the BCD and its immediate environs would become a sad testament to unbridled optimism and crushed potential had better think again. The war is over; long live the peace. So say the major developers, who are reporting that prices are holding. And while demand may