The idea to create the Eiffel Tower Pipe was born on 15 March 2007, when I sketched out several pipe designs inspired by the tour d´Eiffel in Paris. My original intention was quite simple – to manufacture the most exquisite, splendid and spectacular pipe ever.
The archives of Alfred Dunhill are filled with wonderful artefacts created over the last one hundred years, but little did I foresee then that this would be the first step in a magnificent and far-reaching project, unique in the history of this company.
During the long journey of its manufacture, it became increasingly evident that this project would extend well beyond excellent pipe making as we were creating the most elaborate and luxurious product ever made by Alfred Dunhill.
By combining different artisan disciplines such as pipe making, high jewellery, cabinet making, silversmithing, engraving, bookbinding and rare antiquarian books into one integrated concept, we have manufactured a unique masterpiece in the world of luxury goods and an extraordinary piece of art, deserving of exhibition in the great museums and art galleries of the world.
This journey, from the first drawing to the finished project, employed the most exceptional craftsmen in their fields, the finest materials, unsurpassed traditional working methods and know-how as well as an incredible amount of personal passion from all involved.
In all it took more than six years to reach its completion – a length of time unheard of in the history of creating fine luxury goods at Alfred Dunhill Limited.
Kalman S. Hener
Product Line Director
Alfred Dunhill Ltd.
White Spot Divison
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was born on 15 December 1832 in Dijon, France and studied at St. Barbe College and later at the renowned École Centrale des Art et Manufactures Paris.
After gaining experience in project management in several companies, Eiffel established his own company, Eiffel & Cie, in 1868. The development of a system to build bridges from pre-fabricated metal parts soon established his reputation as an ingenious and inventive engineer. Bridges could now be constructed anywhere at substantially lower cost and with rather basic local know-how.
This success allowed Eiffel to work on and finance more complex and prestigious projects. His most famous include the Statue of Liberty in New York the Observatory in Nice, the Garabit viaduct in France, the Mona Lisa Light Tower in Puerto Rico and, of course the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
After his retirement, Eiffel dedicated his time to research in aerodynamics, meteorology and radio-broadcasting.
Gustave Eiffel died on 27 December 1923 in Paris and is widely regarded as a visionary pioneer in construction, whose legacy endures to this day.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was built as an entrance arch for the Paris World Exhibition (Exposition Universelle) in 1889 celebrating the centenary of the French Revolution.
Largely financed by Eiffel himself, the initial idea was actually conceived by two of his employees, Maurice Kaechlin and Emile Nouguier.
The construction started in 1887 and the tower took just two years to complete. It had nine lifts, several restaurants, a theatre, mailboxes and even its own newspaper – La Figaro de la Tour. At 324 metres, the tower became the world´s tallest manmade structure, a title it kept for 41 years.
Although the tower´s scale and modern design did at first not receive universal approval, it attracted two million visitors in 1889 alone. The plan was to dismantle it in 1909, but its new use as a radio and telegraph mast proved essential during the Great War.
With an extended lease, its future was assured, except briefly during the Second World War when German General Dietrich von Cholitz was ordered to blow up the tower. Fortunately for posterity, the order was disobeyed.
Nowadays, the Eiffel Tower is the iconic symbol for Paris and France. With around six million visitors, annually it is the world´s foremost tourist attraction. No other structure in the world is as instantly recognizable and globally more famous than the Eiffel Tower.
Facts about the Eiffel Tower
Including the antenna, the tower is 324m high. The tower contains 7,300 tons of metal. Including all the non-metal additions, this rises to about 10,000 tons.
The tower is composed of 18,038 separate pieces and held together with 2.5m rivets.
In November 2002, the tower received its 200 millionth visitor.
The holes for the rivets were specified by Eiffel to a tolerance of 0.1mm.
Angles were specified to one second of an arc.
Just 300 men were employed onsite.
Due to metal expansion, the tower can bend up to three inches away from the sun on a hot day.
The history of Alfred Dunhill begins with a saddlery shop on London´s Euston Road, inherited from his father in 1893.
With an eye on the burgeoning fashion for motorized transport, 21 year old Alfred converted the business to offer all manner of car accessories, which Alfred described as Motorities.
Alfred showed considerable talent for invention with many original products, such as the windshield pipe, designed in 1904 to make the possible to smoke whilst driving an open top vehicle.
In 1907 Alfred opened a cigar and pipe shop at Duke Street St. James´s London. At first the pipes sold were made by third parties but, dissatisfied with their quality, he opened his own pipe workshop in 1910. The superior quality of Alfred Dunhill´s own pipes made them an instant success despite being more than twice the price of rival products.
The With Spot dot was added to all Dunhill pipes 1912, originally acting as a guide t aid the correct positioning of the mouthpiece, but soon became an internationally registered trademark and silent symbol for ultimate quality and sophistication. Thus, the White Spot pipe was born and it set the standard in the industry ever since.
Based on this success, the brand rapidly expanded with store openings in Paris and New York and the product range grew to include clothing, leather goods, lighter, writing instruments and other luxurious accessories, all of the which are the mainstay of the company today.
Alfred passed away in 1959, when the company was firmly established as a leading luxury goods company with broad international presence and appeal.
Alfred Dunhill´s White Spot division proudly continues Alfred´s vision for uncompromising excellence with the creation of the best pipes and finest smokes´ accessories available today.
The Briar Wood
It is impossible to gauge the quality of grain and final quality of a block of briarwood before the pipe is actually made, the only method being extensive trial and error.
Over 200 specially selected Plateau sections of the best Mediterranean briarwood were tried until one pipe finally passed all quality inspections to become the Eiffel Tower Pipe.
Before fitting the stem with a mouthpiece hand-shaped from a block of black Vulcanite and finishing the wood in natural Root Briar colour, the bowl underwent a special curing process to ensure a pleasant taste from the first use.
It took over 94 individual manufacturing processes to make this exceptional Straight Grain pipe, all guided by the hands and eyes of the craftsmen involved. The pipe´s perfect Birdseye base forms the stable foundation for the lower section of the Eiffel Tower adornment.
The Tower & Tamper
We believe that relying on century-old artisan craftsmanship and traditional manufacturing methods on our workshops is the way to breathe and instil soul into a product.
Thus, the facsimile tower was created from 18 carat gold sheets with each piercing meticulously sawn by hand over many weeks of concentrated, delicate work.
The three sections are set with a total of 492 diamonds, 140 sapphires and 20 rubies representing the colours of the ´drapeau tricolore´. The top of the tower is crowned by a fine, rare Sri Lankan sapphire ´sugar loaf´ cabochon. This 3.75carat jewel has the most desirable cornflower blue colour.
A hinged door at the base of the upper part reveals a secret space to store the pipe tamper. Fashioned from 18 carat gold, this has been inspired by the famous 23 metre red granite obelisk, once honouring Ramses the Great, in front of the temple of ancient Thebes, Egypt and now in the Place de la Concorde, Paris. It is decorated with 20 rubies and a lapis lazuli cabochon, the stone cherished by the ancient pharaohs.
To complement the Eiffel Tower Pipe, we created a cabinet and accessories, in themselves masterpieces of traditional artisanship of the highest order.
The cabinet is finished in Ziricote encrusted with Palmwood rays. Within this is an intricate latticework design, fashioned from lemonwood and palmwood. The centerpiece is an elaborately inlaid oval medallion made from 29 different materials portraying made from 29 different materials portraying a scene from the construction of the tower. Three 18 carat gold pins, symbolic of the two and a half rivets used to construct the tower, are incorporated into the top.
The pipe itself can be displayed inside a hinged glass showcase highlighted against a royal blue suede background.
Five horizontal compartments to house the included books are revealed when the cabinet is opened. On the inside of each door are the obverse and reverse of a bronze showing a profile of Gustave Eiffel and a depiction of the tower. A secret drawer houses one of this four keys supplied.
This key opens the lid of the cabinet, exposing a leather lined transport case for the pipe, Certificate of Authenticity capsule and two drawers; one housing a pair of jeweler´s glove, the other a leather bound version of this booklet.
Finally, the stand on which the cabinet is placed is veneered with ziricote and shagreen and framed by tangentially-cut and polished palmwoods rays.
The marquetry is composed of 9,222 intricate elements and took over 18 months to build.
The cabinet houses a collection of five books – four are rare 19th century antiquarian volumes and the fifth is a high quality modern reproduction.
L`Exposition de Paris
This is a two-volume set printed and published in 1889 to document and celebrate the world exhibition in Paris. Many etchings, partly hand-coloured, give a deep insight about the importance and scale of the exhibition.
La Tour de Trois Cents Metres
These two large folios, originally printed and published in 1900 in numbered editions of only 500, were personally presented by Gustave Eiffel to close friends and collaborators.
The first volume ´Planches`, numbered 291 contains technical drawings of the project and a map showing greater Paris as seen from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The second volume ´Texte´, numbered 299, documents the technical and commercial calculations, execution of construction works, mechanical systems and scientific applications as well as reproductions of the autographs of dignitaries and celebrities present at the opening of the tower.
La Tour de Trois Cents Metres
This collector´s folio contains the tower´s technical plans together with photographs as well as detailed multilingual commentary on both Gustave Eiffel and the tower.
Around the turn of the 18th century, ´shagreen´ began to be applied to shark or ray skin (probably the pearled ray, Hypolophus sephen). Sometimes referred to as ´galuchat´ after the French master leatherworker at the court of Louis XV, the skins are covered with round, placoid scale. These are abraded to give an attractive surface of rounded markings, which are highlighted once the skin is dyed.
Shagreen is an exceptionally durable material and is notoriously challenging to work.
A variety of the mineral corundum, sapphire has been mined in Sri Lanka longer than anywhere else on earth. Sapphires from this region are noted for the luminosity of their light to mid blue colours. Sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral, measuring 9.0 on the mohs scale.
Ziricote (Cordia dodecandra) is a close-grained, grey-brown hardwood. The colour ranges from medium to dark brown, sometimes with a green or purple hue combined with darker growth rings. Ziricote has an almost unique ´spider-webbing´ grain and is reputed to be naturally resistant to decay.
The Certificate Capsule
The Certificate of Authenticity is housed in a hand-crafted Stering silver capsule, weighing 445 grams. The capsule seal elevates the White Spot logo, which Alfred Dunhill registered internationally in the 1920s. The barrel of the capsule is intricately hand-engraved illustrating the Eiffel Tower Pipe, Tamper and a register of the materials employed.
Housed in their own hand-made leather box, the keys, to the cabinet are made from solid brass, which is then silver and rhodium plated. The fobs are then decorated with ziricote wood and inlaid with a white spot made from mother of pearl.
When travelling, the Eiffel Tower Pipe can be carried securely in a suede-lined goatskin in case specially designed for the purpose. The lid incorporates a Sterling silver plaque ready for custom-engraving.
Dimensions: approx. W170 x D60 x H160 mm
Weight: approximately 247 grams (excluding tamper)
Finish: Root Briar ´Straight Grain´
Material: Plateau Briar
18 carat yellow Gold
weight approx. 163 grams total
492 diamonds, brilliant cut
weight approx. 17.75 carat total
140 sapphires, brilliant cut
weight approx. 3.70 carat total
20 rubies, brilliant cut
weight approx. 0.36 carat total
1 sapphire, cabochon, 7.9 x 7.6 mm
weight 3.75 carat