Gold-plated gadgets—bling or tacky? The choice is yours, of course, but it’s hard to get away from the fact that anything shiny does make us look twice. That’s probably why there is a thriving market for jazzed-up gadgets—from laptops and smartphones, to coffee makers and speakers—often touted as the ultimate gift for that person in your life who has everything. It’s a safe bet, for instance, that they won’t have a gilded Segwheel personal transportation device.
The UK-based Goldgenie, who appear to be willing to gold plate anything in sight if you let them, has precisely this gadget in their catalogue. The Segwheel is an electric uni-wheel self-balancing device. It looks rather unimpressive, if shiny, like a scooter wheel with a gold almost-cover and carry handle, and footrests that fold in. If you set it on the ground, turn it on, flip out the footrests and step on, it whizzes you away at a decent clip of 18 km per hour. No hands required; it uses a fuzzy algorithm and gyroscope for balance, requiring the rider to lean slightly forwards, backwards or sideways to accelerate, decelerate, turn or stop. Optional stabilisers help you stay upright, though keeping one’s balance is similar to riding a bicycle. A single 45-minute charge keeps you going for about 12 km.
Goldgenie has dressed the Segwheel up with a 5-micron 24-karat gold finish, using what is called a Gold Python skin. Indeed, the scale-like finish is very reminiscent of snakeskin, but whether it is beautiful or not is a matter of opinion. What it is, is eye-catching and eco-friendly. All for a princely sum of around Rs 50 lakh—the good new is, they do ship internationally and pick up the shipping tab themselves.
Of course, if you find a shiny Segwheel a bit too flashy for Indian lanes and footpaths, never fear, there is a vast range of metal-plated merchandise to choose from. For example, the gold- or silver-plated coffee machine, embellished with crystal and semi-precious stones, is definitely on the understated end of the scale. This handcrafted coffee machine is a work of art, put together not just by engineers and metallurgists, but also skilled sculptors. It incorporates the balancing siphon, popular back in the 1800s in royal circles, into a fully automated system. With the option of gold plating on a malachite base or silver plating on an obsidian base, these are made to order in limited numbers. Expect to pay around Rs 25 lakh to own one of these beautiful pieces.
And for those who feel gold, or silver, is boring, there are the Swarovski crystal headphones. Priced between Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh, choose from Beats by Dre or Goji Tinchy Stryder’s On Cloud 9 headphones, “crystallised by Swarovski”, with 3,000 to 4,000 crystals and packaged in a cherry oak box.
Of course, if gold-plated iPhones and MacBooks are more to your taste, those are right there as well. Choose your shiny device, pay up the 50 per cent advance, and let Goldgenie take care of the rest.