About 20 years ago, I needed to buy a present for a very dear friend. I remembered an anecdote I’d been told about him, whereby a pair of his cufflinks had been remarked upon and, in typically generous fashion, he’d removed them and given them to the admirer.
He’s a man for whom it’s almost impossible to buy things, as he has the best of everything, so this story was very useful. Thus it was that I presented myself at Paul Longmire’s epony-mous shop on Bury Street. There, I commissioned a pair of gold-and-enamel cufflinks that were clones of the ones my friend had so generously given away.
Founded in the early 1960s, Longmire is one of the best sorts of luxury-goods purveyors, in that it seems to have been around forever. For half a century, it has made men’s cufflinks and little else. And if it does stray from the cuff, it’s only to the collar: its adjustable, 18-carat gold collar bones are one of the minor miracles of men’s apparel.
If you want a fancy set of hardstone carved dress studs or a beautifully realised set of miniature enamel painted links showing the four Victorian vices of wine, women, cards and horses, then you’re probably already a Longmire customer. Its range and creative sweep are remarkable, encompassing every taste from the Damien Hirst (diamond skulls) to the heraldic (heavy gold ovals bearing the family crest).
Longmire is becoming less of a well-kept secret since opening its shop on Bond Street, but although the customers may be a little more international than on the other side of Piccadilly, you’ll find the same Longmire craftsmanship, quality and originality. The classic stirrup link is its signature-every man of taste who can afford it should have at least one pair of them on his dressing table.
Longmire can seem almost clairvoyant in its capacity to judge a client’s requirements. Take, for instance, the links that I ordered for my friend. As soon as I mentioned the name, my mind was read as to the exact design and specification. I was slack-jawed in amazement, but then, of course, it made perfect sense, because, as a discrimin-ating gentleman, my friend had commissioned the originals from Longmire in the first place.
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From left to right
Silk bow tie, £75, Drake’s (020-7734 2367; www.drakes-london.com); Cufflinks, all from Longmire (020-7930 8720; www.longmire.co.uk); Handkerchief, £65, Gieves & Hawkes (020-8335 2708; www.gievesandhawkes.com); Carrera Heritage Calibre 6 steel and rose-gold numerals watch, £2,750, TAG Heuer (0800 037 9658; www.tagheuer.com); Boxcloth braces, £72, Drake’s (as above); Belt, £65, Hackett (020-7939 6800; www.hackett.com); Ties, £95, Emma Willis (020-7930 9980; www.emmawillis.com); Small cup leather case, £102, Ettinger (020-8877 1616; www.ettinger.co.uk); Jules Audemars rose-gold watch with brown-leather strap, £28,010, Audemars Piguet (020-7659 7300; www.audemarspiguet.com); Roue Carrée Seconde watch, £7,500, Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece collection, available at Harrods (020-7730 1234; www.harrods.com); Leather deck shoe, £115, Hackett (as above); Cotton socks, £25, Drake’s (as above); IXUS 500 HS camera, from £235, Canon (01737 220000; www.canon.co.uk); Sunglasses, £204.99, Persol (0844 264 0870; www.davidclulow.com); Wallet, £150, Ettinger (as above); Oxford croquet set, £629.99, Jaques London (01732 500200; www.jaqueslondon.co.uk)
Photographed by John Lawrence Jones. Styled by Hetty Chidwick