In 2010, the legend goes, Italian jeweler Elijah Giacometti traveled to Moscow for the annual Millionaire Fair. He carried with him a gold-encrusted iPhone of his own design. The phone attracted so much attention that Giacometti realized he needed to start a business selling gold smartphones to rich Russians.
Since then, Giacometti’s brand Caviar, now owned by a Russian and based in Russia, has bedazzled phones with gold, diamond, and even marble. The company has released designs for the iPhone 7, Galaxy S7, and the Apple Watch, which cost the equivalent of thousands of dollars each. Many of these designs feature symbols of Russian, Islamic, Chinese, and other cultures. The company has also made phones featuring the logos of Lamborghini, Mercedes, and Porsche. It also makes iPhone docks, men’s jewelry, and gold-covered guns.
One apparently popular theme is Vladimir Putin. Caviar has put the Russian president’s face on more than a dozen phone models and in a number of styles. For a little more than $3,700, you can get a white gold Apple Watch 2 engraved with Putin’s signature, of which only 63 copies were made in honor of the president’s birthday. For $3,588, you can get an iPhone 7 Plus with black alligator skin and the president’s face in gold bas-relief. You can get Putin with a diamond. You can get Putin with a ruby. You can get a phone dedicated to Putin that doesn’t actually have Putin’s visage on it.
You can also get a gold iPhone with Donald Trump’s face and “Make America Great Again” on it in Russian, which seems like a good gift for Donald Trump. “We still want to give one iPhone with Trump's portrait to Mister Trump and hope we will have a chance to do it,” Anna Lobova, the spokesperson for Caviar, said in an email.
Whether due to demand or savvy marketing, the company has announced it’s taking pre-orders for a new phone case, this one “for those who appreciate classic expressive minimalism.” Yep, it’s the Nokia 3310 — the throwback candybar phone that inspired so much nostalgia with its 2017 re-release — with Putin’s face on it.
Via Google Translate:
The return of the iconic phone from Nokia has not gone unnoticed by the Caviar designers, who immediately after the appearance of official information about the new edition of 3310 introduced its own version of this phone design with gold, giving it a luxury, style, and character of the Russian.
Model Nokia 3310 Supremo Putin is inspired by the most popular person in Russia — President Vladimir Putin. Design of the device consists of a volume of the President of the bas-relief, plaques with a quote from the National Anthem and a thin mesh-like engraving, applied to the body by hand... On top of the central control button is decorated with a miniature image of the coat of arms of the Russian Federation.
“Model Nokia 3310 Supremo Putin is inspired by the most popular person in Russia — President Vladimir Putin.”
When you find that an endless flow of information (often negative and not very necessary) pressing on you too much — you know that we have created the perfect phone: rugged, stylish, not cheap, able to hold a charge long, and loud calls. Sometimes it’s really all you need.
“It is very popular among our customers who respect and support Vladimir Putin and want to show their position,” Lobova said, but did not say how many pre-orders had been placed.
Caviar is also offering a black titanium Nokia 3310 case, sans Putin, for the same cost — although it notes that the listed price of around $1,700 may not be the final price.
Given that the 2G phone won’t even work properly in North America, Australia, and Singapore, it’s unlikely that it will become the primary device of any luxury shoppers, Putin case or not.