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One of the rarest watches in the world may become the most expensive Rolex ever sold

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Rolex Bao Dai

Rolex collectors, start counting out your pennies. An exceptionally rare and unique Rolex watch will go up for auction with Phillips in May.

Known as the "Bao Dai" watch, this piece was sold to the last emperor of the Nguyen dynasty in Vietnam in 1954.

It's a Rolex reference 6062, and was both the most expensive and rarest watch the brand sold at the time. The gold case and black dial were the rarest combination of the 6062 model.

Only three models to this specification are known to have existed, according to Hodinkee. This particular model is the only one to have had diamond markers on the even hours, making it completely unique.

It was sold by the Nguyen family for $235,000 in 2002, meaning that the watch has only changed hands once. Though that price may seem low compared to today's standards, it was the most expensive Rolex ever sold at the time. Experts think it may claim that title again. 

Its auction estimate is $1.5 million, though many collectors think that the watch will actually go for much more than that when the hammer falls, according to Hodinkee. The current record holder is the Rolex split-seconds chronograph reference 4113, which sold for $2.5 million last year

SEE ALSO: The 8 biggest reveals from Baselworld, the year's largest watch show

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NOW WATCH: These are the watches worn by some of the most powerful men in finance


Inside Gwyneth Paltrow's $10 million 'breezy,' all-white New York apartment

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gwyneth paltrow loft

Oscar-winning actress and newly appointed Goop CEO Gwyneth Paltrow is looking for another home.

Paltrow put her New York City penthouse on the market in March 2016, but struggled to sell it. And that might have to do with the slight eeriness of the all-white-everywhere design (it looks almost like a chic, futuristic hospital, if hospitals had shag rugs all over the place).

In March 2017, the apartment, located in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood, went under contract with a buyer for $9.95 million. According to Curbed, the original asking price was $14.25 million. 

Paltrow purchased the penthouse in 2007 for $5.1 million with her then-husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. The couple famously "consciously uncoupled" in 2014. The signifcant price upgrade is probably what turned off buyers for so long.

Tribeca is the most expensive neighborhood in New York City. The real-estate company listing Paltrow's loft, in addition to touting its "breezy modernism," also boasts "direct elevator access to the indoor garage providing discreet arrivals and departures" — in case you happen to be famous.

For more information about the penthouse, you can take a look at the Compass listing.

Take a look inside Gwyneth Paltrow's Tribeca penthouse:

SEE ALSO: Inside Drake's $8 million mansion with a pool that puts Hugh Hefner to shame

The design firm Roman and Williams designed the three-bedroom and three-and-a-half-bath space, giving it a light and airy feel.



They mixed modern elements with old ones.



The white-on-white kitchen, where basically the only thing that wouldn't show is spilled milk.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Chronos can turn your old-school timepiece into a smartwatch — here's what it's like to use

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Chronos

Smartwatches have thus far been a bit of a disappointment, although there's some early evidence that they're beginning to displace traditional watch sales.

I stress "beginning," as people who like wristwatches, particularly luxury ones, have separated their world into the Rolexes and Cartiers on one side and the more geeky smartwatches on the other.

In this context, the Apple Watch and various Android-powered devices should be considered the first wave of ... something. Of what, we're not entirely sure, because watch lovers still tend to favor "real watches," and the true snobs will only look at mechanical movements, ideally of the vintage ilk.

I've been fairly unimpressed with the Apple Watch and the other smartwatches, with the exception of the Tag Heuer Connected, which is quite expensive. That said, some of the typical smartwatch functions are appealing. 

I'm not alone in thinking this. Chronos, a wearables startup based in the Bay Area, is selling an innovative device that can be attached to the back of almost any watch — I say "almost" because the gadget is about as big as a quarter, round, and isn't going to fit square watches or particularly modest timepieces, such as those designed to be worn by women.

Chronos let me borrow one of its $99 "smart discs" and included a rather nice watch from another Bay Area design company called Elliot Havok. It was the "Oxford Havok Watch," which at $95 and 40 millimeters, with a black leather strap, quartz movement, and fairly simple face that combines sportiness and dressiness, was fun to wear. There was the added benefit of being able to get a more custom fit when the Chronos was attached, thanks to the strap.

I also chatted with CEO Mark Nichol about the device and why he thinks it's the solution for owners of elegant or exceptional "dumb" watches who are aren't thrilled about wearing fitness trackers.

Here's the rundown:

SEE ALSO: The 8 biggest reveals from Baselworld, the year's largest watch show

The Chronos disc is about the size of a quarter — and about as thick! It attaches to the the back of most timepieces by means of micro-suction.



Chronos sent along the Elliot Havok watch to use for the test. It's a nicely designed timepiece that combines dressiness and sportiness. There's a quartz movement and a comfortable fabric-lined leather strap.



The Chronos device itself is a sandwich of technology. "We made it as sleek as possible," CEO Mark Nichol, a watch enthusiast who previously worked in finance, said. "We understood how important thinness was." The casing is made of the same stainless steel you would find on a Rolex.



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The best photos from 66 countries, according to the largest competition in the world

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2001_4215_KhalidAlsabt_SaudiArabia_NationalAwards_2017

The Sony World Photography Awards is the largest photo competition in the world. Now celebrating its 10th year, the awards program has received more than a million submissions since its inception.

One of the contest's top honors is the National Award. For this particular award, photographers are judged against others from their country of origin, regardless of which of the 10 categories the photo was submitted to. This creates competition across various "open" categories, including portraits, architecture, nature, still life, and travel. Ultimately, the panel of judges must choose the best photo from each country, regardless of its subject matter.

 There are 66 qualifying countries, and awards are given to first-, second-, and third-place winners.

Ahead, see the 66 first-place winners of this year's National Awards. Captions include where the photographer is from — which is not necessarily where the photo was taken — along with their name.

SEE ALSO: 13 stunning photos that show why Oman is the next big destination for luxury travelers

Slovenia, Aleš Komovec



Indonesia, Fajar Kristianto



Portugal, Luís Godinho



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A major bank has started hosting 'simplicity boot camps' for employees

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meditation city roof

Mark McCormick believes in innovation just as much as the next businessperson, but not the kind that requires fancy gizmos or complicated gadgets to get there.

McCormick, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo, believes personal and professional progress is achieved through a life of simplicity — and he thinks other Wells Fargo staff should get on board, too.

Ever since he attended a conference in China in 2014, where he learned about the benefits of a pared-down lifestyle, McCormick has directed his energy toward making Wells Fargo a bank that runs on less — less complexity, less red tape, and, ultimately, less stress.

His latest rollout: monthly boot camps designed to help employees simplify their jobs and their lives.

"It's ultimately about the ROI of simplicity, and how simplicity drives value," McCormick says, emphasizing that personal satisfaction and peace of mind can translate into greater customer satisfaction, and, therefore, revenue.

His example: fraud claims.

When people call their bank to report a fraud case, they need the employee on the other end to be a source of calm, McCormick says. At Wells Fargo, that was proving difficult. Staff had dozens of systems to comb through just to verify the caller was who they said they were. And the specialists' stress often came through during the call, making the experience worse.

Only after Wells Fargo realized it was the complexity of the system that made people's lives harder, McCormick says, could they fix the problem by cutting the number of systems in half. In the end, simplifying people's work flow solved what seemed at first like a customer-service problem.

The boot camps, which contain 25 to 30 people during a full-day workshop, try to get people into this kind of mind set. It can be tough, McCormick says, since bankers are often analytical people who don't want "ooey-gooey" advice on how to live. The trick, he says, is showing them how it's good for business.

In each session he discusses three principles: paring down to the essentials, creating a human story, and iteration.

First, people learn to strip away the waste in their lives and jobs — to keep only the things that "spark joy," as organizing expert Marie Kondo advises.

Then McCormick highlights the value of stories that appeal both to people's minds and their emotions. He says some customers are bound to be empaths, while others are more logical. In addition to being simple and easy to understand, services and product must be sold with both kinds of people in mind, McCormick says.

During the boot camp, for example, he often gives people a 401(k) brochure. He tells them to reconstruct the brochure to make it less cluttered and more human. With the guidelines he offers, people often make the legalese more conversational, and they add language that reminds them of the free time a retirement can offer.

Finally, he encourages staff to test out the simplified systems they create, keep what works well, and tweak what doesn't. For instance, in the case of the fraud claims, even though the company cut the back-end systems in half, the process can still be simplified further. A 401(k) brochure can still be a delight to read, if people don't need to exert too much effort to read it.

McCormick says the simplicity project started long before Wells Fargo was embroiled in the 2016 scandal of employees being forced to open 2 million fake customer accounts (it was recently settled for $110 million). But he says the lawsuit was a lesson in the value of simplicity when dealing with ethical matters.

"The connection is people believe that when things are more simple, you're operating at a higher standard of ethics," he says. "Because when things are simpler, it demonstrates you're being more transparent. You're being more open."

Ultimately, he hopes people can incorporate the principles of simplicity in their own lives, and that it will feed into the work they do at Wells Fargo.

"Innovation is hollow," he says, "unless it's in the service of simplicity."

SEE ALSO: This CEO gives his employees a 3-day weekend every month and a $2,000 vacation bonus

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NOW WATCH: Tony Robbins shares the simple financial advice he learned from working with the smartest financial people in the world

We got a peek inside a $20 million apartment in the latest skyscraper to dramatically alter Manhattan's skyline


This cocktail brought the 'original American whiskey' back from the dead

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manhattan cocktail

Whiskey is experiencing a huge comeback in America.

Walk into any trendy New York City bar today and you'll almost certainly find a variety of bourbons and Scotches on the shelf and a handful of whiskey-fueled cocktails on the menu.

But it was not until recently that the one type of whiskey that industry buffs consider the "original American whiskey" began to see its own resurgence.

That whiskey is rye, and Matt Eisenman, a brand ambassador for the Vermont rye company WhistlePig, explained to us how one cocktail made it happen.

It starts with George Washington

The story begins back in the late 1700s, when George Washington began distilling rye whiskey at his Mount Vernon plantation. (Today, Mount Vernon Distilleries has recreated a rye whiskey based on what it believes was Washington's original recipe).

Rye was a cold-weather grain, Eisenman said, that flourished in the Northeast.

The English brought barley with them when they originally came to America, but that didn't grow well in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic where they first landed, he said.

George Washington Rye Whiskey

The Dutch, however, brought rye, which flourished. (Rum, brought by the English from the West Indies, was a more popular drink at first, but it was no longer an option after independence.)

As people migrated south, they found that corn grew best in places like Kentucky and Tennessee, which led to bourbon's emergence in those places. But elsewhere, rye was the name of the game.

Then came the cocktails

In the late 1800s, the cocktail scene began to take off in America.

Central to all the original cocktail recipes — the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, and later, the Sazerac – was rye whiskey. (The Sazerac was originally made with brandy but switched to rye in the 1870s, Eisenman said).

Sazerac

It's important to note that bartending was deemed a very honorable profession at that time, and most people spent a lot of their time in bars. In Eisenman's words:

They had sermons in the bar; you could have town-hall meetings in the bar. The bar in the 1700 and 1800s was a place where people from out of town would stay ... It was the hub of all information, so the bartender was the gatekeeper of all information.

It was not until the mid- to late-20th century that bartending began to lose its prestige as a profession and became something people did between jobs or to make money on the side, Eisenman said.

A blow to rye

During World War I and World War II, the US government subsidized corn. That, for obvious reasons, dealt a major blow to the rye whiskey industry.

Then after World War II and through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, vodka and gin began taking over the US liquor market.

Eisenman credits this to James Bond movies and the double-agent character's affinity for gin martinis. 

james bond martini

The "three martini lunch" became such a popular trend among American business executives that presidents Kennedy and Carter had to crack down on the phenomenon.

So splashy vodka cocktails became commonplace in bars — think Long Island Iced Tea and Sex on the Beach – and for the older drinkers, blended Scotches started making their way into American bars.

Needless to say, few people were drinking rye whiskey at the time.

Craft distillers and master mixologists

In the 1990s, craft-beer brewing started to take root — followed shortly by craft whiskey distilling.

Craft distillers were able to experiment more because they were distilling on a much smaller scale and aging their spirits for shorter periods of time.

Around that time, bartending started to become more popular as a profession once again, and the bar scene, more broadly, began to stage a comeback.

Armed with social media and the power to brand themselves and their bars, career bartenders today are considered almost the same as celebrities.

mixologist

"Bartenders get flown around the world to set up bars; they get flown around the globe to teach about cocktails," Eisenman said.

In New York, bars like Milk & Honey, Death & Co., Attaboy, and Employees Only opened up, with "mixologists" for bartenders, at the forefront of the "cocktail revolution."

The juices of the 1990s were replaced with bitters and natural ingredients in cocktails. And bartenders started to re-create all the original recipes.

Rye's comeback

One cocktail — the Manhattan — epitomized that revolution, and at the heart of its recipe was rye whiskey.

Rye had been "pretty much on its deathbed in 2006," Eisenman notes. So the surge in popularity for rye-based cocktails in the past five to 10 years has been huge for the industry.

WhistlePig master distiller Dave Pickerell saw the potential, and he left Maker's Mark to get into rye.

manhattan cocktail

Now, Eisenman says, "it's cool to go to the bar and order a Manhattan or order an Old Fashioned instead of ordering a Jack and Coke or a Sex on the Beach."

"People want to drink awesome cocktails that were created for a reason," he said.

And because rye is such a strong, flavorful grain, good for enhancing cocktails or being sipped on its own, Pickerell and Eisenman think it will continue to grow in popularity.

"As long as people are experimenting more and more, rye whiskey is only going to become bigger," Eisenman said.

SEE ALSO: The 25 best cocktail bars in America, according to Foursquare

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NOW WATCH: A whiskey expert suggests some of his favorite bottles for under $50

You have to break codes to get cocktails at this spy-themed bar

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The Bletchley is a spy-themed London bar where you have to crack codes to order drinks.

To do that, you use imitation World War 2 Enigma machines which generate a unique code for every "agent." Orders are then transmitted via radio to the bar.

The venue is inspired by Bletchley Park, the site where British mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing and his team used to crack German codes during World War 2.

Produced and filmed by Claudia Romeo

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The most competitive university in America isn't in the Ivy League

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Stanford Football

Stanford University's acceptance rate remained extremely low for the class of 2021, with 4.7% of applicants accepted into the prestigious California-based school.

That figure, though flat from last year, means that Stanford is still the most competitive college in America. 

Harvard's acceptance rate, the lowest in the Ivy League, was 5.2% for the class of 2021. Cornell, which has the highest in the Ivy League, was 12.5%.

This year, Stanford accepted 2,050 students from 44,073 applicants, including those who applied and were accepted early decision to Stanford in December.

There are other highly competitive school's that rival Stanford's acceptance rate. Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, for example, has an acceptance rate around 4%, but the school is more of a conservatory that a traditional university.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Ivy League universities from most to least selective

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NOW WATCH: After listening to 74 books on Audible I am convinced it is a better way to 'read'

An addiction specialist reveals what happens to your brain on Ecstasy

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Ecstasy, also known as Molly or MDMA, is a popular illegal drug in the dance party scene. However, in recent months the FDA has approved its usage in clinical trials to treat PTSD. According to the National Institute of Drug Use "It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception."

We brought in addiction specialist Dr. Samuel Ball to explain what happens to your brain and body when you take Ecstasy.

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Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are paying $15,000 a month to rent their DC home from a billionaire feuding with the US government

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Ivankajaredkushnerhouse

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are living in a nearly 7,000-square-foot rental home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC. They don't own the home, however. 

They're renting it from billionaire landlord Andrónico Luksic, who bought the home for $5.5 million through a shell company in December. The Chilean national is renting the home to the family for a sum of $15,000 a month, the Wall Street Journal reported after obtaining newly released documents

He is also the owner of a mining conglomerate — Antofagasta PLC and its subsidiary, Twin Metals Minnesota LLC —  which is feuding with the US government over a mineral deposit worth billions of dollars.

The company's wish to build a mine in Minnesota was blocked by Obama-era federal regulators because of environmental concerns. The mine, which would have brought up copper and nickel ore from one of the largest reserves of such metals in the world, would have been adjacent to a protected wilderness area.

In September, Twin Metals sued the federal government in a Minnesota federal court to renew the company's leases on the copper and nickel reserves in the area, which are estimated to be worth $40 billion, according to a court filing. The company argued on the basis that it had long-standing mineral rights stretching back to 1966. The company's request, however, was denied in December.

Ivanka Kushner DC home

Twin Metals has asked the Trump administration to reverse the court's decision, and it has spent $160,000 lobbying the federal government.

Representatives of both the White House and Luksic had previously said that Trump and Kushner were paying a fair market rent to live in the Kalorama home. The couple was searching for a home to rent last year, and they looked at this mansion in particular. A broker reportedly put the deal together with the new owner, Luksic.

Real estate expert Joshua Adler told the WSJ that the $15,000 rent — which comes out to roughly 2.5% of the home's value after taxes and insurance — is "a terrible investment" for Luksic. But it is in line with what homes of that size and location rent for, according to Jim Bell, a real estate professional with TTR Sotheby's.

A representative for the billionaire told the WSJ that Luksic expects a $1 million appreciation on the house in the next year, and isn't concerned about short-term gain from the rental income.

Kalorama is the neighborhood where the Obama family has been living since the Barack Obama left office. The relatively small area is popular with politicians and DC insiders for its seclusion and privacy.

SEE ALSO: See inside the $5.5 million Washington, DC, home where Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner live

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NOW WATCH: From rich kid to first daughter: The life of Ivanka Trump

Amazing images of London show the city's evolution over nearly 2,000 years

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London in the 19th century

Like all living things, cities have lifespans. 

London started as a small Roman settlement along the Thames River. But today, more than 8.6 million people call the place home.

Here are 18 maps, paintings, and old-time photographs that show the journey of the British capital.

SEE ALSO: Amazing images of Tokyo before it was a city

The Romans founded Londinium (now called London) in 43 AD. This artist's illustration of Londinium in 200 AD shows the city's first bridge over the Thames River.



Westminster Abbey, founded in the 10th century, is a World Heritage Site and one of London's oldest and most important buildings. Here it is in a 1749 painting.

William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England there on Christmas Day, 1066 — just after it was completed.



By the 11th century, London had the largest port in England.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

20 photos that show where world leaders live

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Elysee interior

Everyone knows about the White House, but where do the rest of the world's leaders live?

Unsurprisingly, the world's most powerful people live in luxurious homes befitting their positions. These palaces and abodes are equipped with everything from helipads to priceless works of art.

From the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, where Japan's Emperor Akihito lives, to Paris' Élysée Palace, where French President François Hollande resides, here are the lavish residences of 12 world leaders. 

Talia Avakian contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: The best photos from 66 countries, according to the largest competition in the world

Palácio da Alvorada in Brasília, Brazil, has housed every Brazilian president since 1956. The modernist digs feature a reflecting pool and sculptures by Brazilian artist Alfredo Ceschiatti.



The minimalist home has private suites, a giant living room, and a basement that houses an auditorium, game room, warehouse, and kitchen.

Source: Palace Plateu Presidency of the Republic



Near the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, the Élysée Palace (or Palais de l’Élysée) has been the official residence of the President of the French Republic since the 1840s. French president François Hollande has lived here since 2012.



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A startup that pits apartment hunters against each other could create upheaval in the rental market

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apartment

A startup that lets renters compete in apartment auctions is about to grow a lot bigger.

Rentberry is an online auction site for long-term property rentals — think Craigslist meets eBay. It aims to streamline the rental negotiation process for both tenants and landlords by bringing the process online.

Rentberry expands nationwide later this year, from about 100,000 property listing across a handful of US cities (including New York, Miami, and Los Angeles) to more than 1,000 cities. As it grows upwards of 50,000 users, the startup has the potential to raise prices and create upheaval in the rental market.

To get started, a landlord lists a property on Rentberry and includes a suggested price, photos, and a description. Interested tenants submit a credit score, a completed background check, and a custom offer on the apartment. The seller selects a winning applicant from the pool.

On April 2, Rentberry announced plans to start charging 25% of the difference between the posted and negotiated rent to whoever gets the better deal the landlord or tenant every month. The startup currently charges a one-time fee of $25 for every signed lease agreement.

Rentberry debuted last summer to the anger of affordable-housing advocates and desperate renters. Its auction-based model pins urban dwellers (in already precarious housing markets) against each other, driving prices ever higher. Alex Lubinsky, CEO of Rentberry, said landlords using the service could expect to see an increase in rental income of 5% on average.

Nine months later, Lubinsky found the opposite to be true. He tells Business Insider that tenants on Rentberry saved 5.1% on rent on average compared with what landlords originally asked. That's because the site lets users place bids that are lower or higher than the posted rent.

apartment rent

Eventually, Rentberry will take a cut of those savings when it starts charging the monthly 25% finder's fee. Lubinsky doesn't expect the new fee to hurt business, because landlords and tenants could still save by using the site. They also save time, by applying and signing rental agreements through a web form, and eventually paying rent on Rentberry's website.

Though landlords may end up leasing an apartment for less than the posted rent, Lubinsky says it's a fair trade-off for the visibility that a listing on Rentberry provides. They attract a greater number of applicants and can be choosier about picking the most reliable candidate.

Lubinsky calls his company a "middleman" for the rental market, for better or worse.

SEE ALSO: It's so expensive to live in San Francisco, almost half of millennials want to leave

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NOW WATCH: Only in San Francisco — inside the 232-square-foot micro apartment that sold for nearly $425,000

Forget the Apple Watch — this mechanical $65,000 square watch is stunning

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This square watch is no Apple Watch. It's a Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor. A $65,000 limited-edition watch with a minimalistic design that focuses attention on the movement. 

The self-winding movement is made up of 257 pieces. There are sapphire faceplates on the front and back. Only 99 were made, and will be for sale later this year. 

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The retail apocalypse is killing fashion as we know it as a new dress code takes hold in America

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Lululemon

The way the average American dresses has changed drastically in recent years.

Evolving dress codes, comfortable and technologically improved fabrics, and stylish but sporty designs have all combined to carve out a large section of the retail market.

Sales for activewear in the US reached $45.9 billion in 2016, according to NPD Group data. That's an 11% uptick from the previous year, and far greater than the growth of the apparel sector as a whole.

The rise of athleisure as the dominant way that people dress has broad implications for the rest of the apparel industry. As people are opting to move away from traditional styles and dress in this utilitarian style, fashion brands that have been slow to jump on the activewear bandwagon are suffering.

That means that traditional fashion brands now have less of a say in how Americans are dressing. Fashion is dying. Athleisure is now king.

Athleisure is here to stay.

"Athleisure is the new casual," Deirdre Clemente, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently told Business Insider.

"Athleisure" is commonly defined as a "weird hybrid" of business casual and athletic wear, which has created an entirely new category of clothing. It's combining two trends that have dominated American casual clothing — durability and comfort — in a versatile way.

"I don't think athleisure is going anywhere, honestly," Clemente said. "It'll only get bigger and more accessible to more people, and more acceptable in more environments."

An overall easing of dress codes allows athleisure to be worn more often.

Theory is all well and good, and sales data tell a compelling story. But we wanted to see how these trends spell out for everyday people, so we took to the streets of New York City to ask average people why they're wearing activewear in the middle of the weekday.

Their answers are illuminating, and they support the data with portraits of how athleisure is worn in the real world.

athleisure 9012

This spells trouble for retailers that haven't adapted. 

Over 3,500 stores are expected to close their doors in the US this year, Business Insider's Kate Taylor reports. Mall visits declined by 50% between 2010 and 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Some of the closing stores are locations of America's most iconic fashion retailers, like Macy's, Sears, and Payless — each of which are closing dozens to hundreds of stores in 2017.

Sears

As general mall traffic declines, e-commerce becomes a bigger threat, and fashion brands continue to put out designs and clothing that don't resonate with consumers, these store closings will continue.

This mindset has customers reconsidering rental.

As purchasing habits change, less of consumer spending is going toward formal apparel. Major events still sometimes require such clothing, however.

Enter rental apparel. A new wave of rental-done-differently companies have shifted both the landscape and the stigma surrounding rental garments. With a focus on service and luxury, companies like Rent the Runway and The Black Tux are making a compelling case for consumers to eschew buying luxury formal garments like tuxedos and cocktail dresses altogether.

Black Tux

In this new reality, brands are not seeing the benefit of stalwarts like the fashion show.

As social media becomes more of a factor in the way brands communicate with consumers, some are now looking at the fashion show as an unnecessary expense. Fast-fashion retailers are creating an additional challenge for high-end brands, as they often copy runway styles on a quicker timeline and at a cheaper price point. 

Many brands are electing not to show, cut back how many times a year they show, or only show in certain cities.

Fashion as we know it is dying.

SEE ALSO: We took to the streets of New York City to capture the trend that's killing the traditional fashion market

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NOW WATCH: A style expert reveals how men can wear jogger sweatpants to the office

How athleisure overtook fashion to become the dominant way that Americans dress

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Athleta

Athleisure is the future.

It seems that every major retailer is trying to jump on the movement that was once thought as just a passing trend, but is now seen as a radical shift in what Americans demand from their clothing.

"Athleisure is the new casual," Deirdre Clemente, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently told Business Insider. 

Clemente, whose research focus is on 20th-century American culture and the fashion industry, said that athleisure "perfectly fits with a variety of trends that have been culminating for a century."

Fitness and nutrition have become emphasized to greater degrees in American culture. The rise of "behind the scenes" celebrity social media accounts and reality TV shows gives the average person a greater idea of how the beautiful and famous get and keep their athletic, magazine-cover-ready bodies.

This has made athleisure — an entirely new category of clothing that some define as a "weird hybrid" of business casual and athletic wear — even more aspirational. Much of the clothing that people now consider work-appropriate incorporates sports-inspired materials like spandex, Lycra, and other synthetic fibers. It's combining two trends that have dominated American casual clothing — durability and comfort — in a versatile way.

"Styling is evolving to merge business casual and sportswear into one," Clemente said. "Durability of sportswear and the versatility of business casual — put those two things together, and who's not going to want to buy it?"

Americans are being drawn to athleisure in larger numbers every year. In 2015, while the whole of retail sales were flat for the year, sales of athletic wear were up 12%, according to Fortune.

Lululemon

Designers and retailers tend to echo Clemente's observations. Todd Snyder, the former head of menswear at J.Crew and the founder of his eponymous label, told Business Insider that he thinks athleisure is an "evolution" — not a trend or fad.

"Guys have changed the way they dress," Snyder said. "[Athleisure] is not going to go away for at least 10 years."

Lululemon

Comfort clearly matters to the modern American consumer. 

"Athleisure plays to the American need for versatility and comfort in a way that neither sportswear nor business casual did," Clemente said. 

While athletic wear was created for a specific use — sports or athletics, obviously — athleisure clothing could theoretically be for any use. And it's this versatility that has attracted many consumers to the category. These days, it can be worn in most offices and social situations without causing anyone to bat an eye. It's also generally more durable, with properties like wrinkle and odor resistance incorporated into its techy fibers. 

"I don't think athleisure is going anywhere, honestly," Clemente said. "It'll only get bigger and more accessible to more people, and more acceptable in more environments."

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We took to the streets of New York City to capture the trend that's killing the traditional fashion market

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athleta model athleisure running

Americans have changed the way that they dress, and it's killing the traditional fashion market. 

Athleisure – the trend of wearing activewear in everyday life – has been popular since the 2010s, but it continues to sweep the nation. 

According to The NPD Group, US activewear apparel sales totaled $45.9 billion in 2016, up 11% from 2015 and far outperforming the traditional apparel sector overall.  

Ever since athletic brands Lululemon, Under Armour, and Nike initiated the trend, other retailers such as Gap, J.Crew, and Forever 21 have jumped on the bandwagon in the hopes of boosting sales. 

We headed out onto the streets of New York's Flatiron neighborhood to find out why these clothes are so popular and whether people really do wear athletic wear all day, every day.

SEE ALSO: The retail apocalypse is killing fashion as we know it as a new dress code takes hold in America

Lauren Bae, 20, head of strategy at Brick & Portal

Outfit choice: "Lululemon leggings, Vans, and a SoulCycle sweatshirt."

Reason: Lauren was on her way to a yoga class when we met her. "I go out in this after a class," she said. And if she works up a sweat, she'll switch to another workout outfit. 

Is this a one-off? This is standard wear for Lauren. You'll find her in these clothes more than half the week.



Aditi Dhruv, 45, dancer and yoga teacher

Outfit choice: Gap clothes and Ryka sneakers.

Reason: "I call them glorified pajamas," she said. Aditi likes the fact that she can teach easily in these clothes, but also be dressed-up enough to meet with clients after. "I try to find clothes that are comfortable but look good," she said.

Is this a one-off? This lady spends a whole week in these clothes because of her work. 



Olga Mausolf, 32, messenger

Outfit choice: Head-to-toe in Gap Fit, plus New Balance sneakers. 

Reason: Olga is on her feet all day, so these clothes are a practical choice. "I change on the weekend," she said. "But I can go to a restaurant like this. I don't care."

Is this a one-off? No.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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