Editor’s Letter: Inside Robb Report’s 36th Annual Best of the Best Issue

I bet you’re a good driver. Or at least, I bet you think you’re a good driver. According to an oft-cited survey from a few decades back, 80 percent of us believe we’re better than average behind the wheel—a statistical impossibility, of course, and a curious expression of collective self-confidence/delusion.

I bring this up to talk not about driving but about taste. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently—and how to define it. Because does anyone think they don’t have good taste? A quick show of hands from those of you who’ll stand up now and say, “Me? Oh, no—I’m horrible: My homes look like they’ve been decorated in the dark by a 3-year-old, and I can’t dress myself for love nor money. Books, art, design, fashion… no clue.”

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Now, while I might be an outlier among you by not being convinced I’m a particularly good driver—long story; I’ll tell you another time—I do think that I’ve got something approaching good taste. Not least because taste, like wine and cheese, improves with age, and as I’m starting to get on a bit, I’ve tried some things over the years, realized I didn’t like them or they me, and moved on. With experience, experimentation, self-awareness, keen observation, and sometimes blind luck, one’s taste evolves. Into your orbit might fall those whose discernment and knowledge you admire—whether you’re influenced by them a little or co-opt their judgment entirely is up to you, but I’ve not yet met a tasteful clone. The truth is, the exposure to alternate and sometimes challenging aesthetic viewpoints is often where the learning, and discovery, happens. Be it in style or music, wine or literature, that for me has been one of life’s great adventures, and I hope that process continues unabated.

This is Robb Report’s 36th Best of the Best Awards. It is full of ideas, products, experiences, and people that have inspired, delighted, and occasionally challenged us over the past 12 months. We now cover 16 categories, ranging from cars and watches to wine and jewelry via art, philanthropy, tech, and real estate. The editors and I are as objective as possible about the quality of those we bestow awards upon for this issue, but inevitably and obviously, much is a matter of taste.

Whether you would wear the Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 on your wrist comes down to its ability to speak to you on a visual, or perhaps even philosophical, level. But what’s not a debate is that it’s an extraordinary piece of work and deserving of our recognition. Likewise, whatever your take on “influencers” might be, the reach and impact of Alex Hirschi, a.k.a. Supercar Blondie, with 110 million followers, is to be respected, as is the growth of her company that now employs 60-plus people and her power in motivating younger women to get involved in the automotive industry.

You get the picture. This issue is first and foremost about excellence. Those on these pages are operating at the very highest levels of refinement and craft. But it’s also about taste: mine and the editors’, as well as that of the people behind 2024’s Best of the Best winners, who possess a high-level understanding of how aesthetic sensibility and quality inevitably combine. It’s been a pleasure putting this issue together for you because—who are we kidding?—as a reader of Robb Report, you’ve clearly got great taste.

Enjoy the issue.

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