A Triumph of Elegance and Craftsmanship: Rolls-Royce Introduces the £25m La Rose Noire Droptail

In a grand unveiling that exudes luxury and finesse, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars presents the magnificent La Rose Noire Droptail, a masterful work of coachbuilt artistry that captivates with its enigmatic allure and meticulous craftsmanship
Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

The exclusive debut of the Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail transpired during an intimate gathering in proximity to Pebble Beach in California. This extraordinary vehicle stands as a testament to the harmonious convergence of treasured experiences, significant moments, and cherished objets d’art deeply revered by its proprietors – a cosmopolitan family renowned for their discernment and pursuit of unparalleled luxury. In fact, the Coachbuild designers have hailed the family’s exceptional talent for tasteful curation within their residences and their remarkable array of automobiles and fashion artifacts, recognising it as an art form in its own right.

Inspired by the beguiling Black Baccara rose, an opulent and velvety bloom originating from France and beloved by the matriarch of the commissioning family, the Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail showcases a dual-toned palette reflecting the essence of the flower. The initial hue, christened ‘True Love’, pays homage to the amorous sentiment that the client sought to encapsulate in this creation. The second, darker shade, named ‘Mystery’, draws inspiration from the rose’s enigmatic nature, which seemingly shifts in colour from various vantage points. The twin concepts of genuine affection and the enigma of exploration and voyage deeply resonated with the patrons throughout the commissioning journey.

“Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail is a love story, thoughtfully captured and stunningly projected onto the canvas of a Rolls-Royce motor car. It is an expression of the deep and passionate partnership between a husband and wife who are the heads of a prominent international family – to be part of their remarkable story is a privilege. Furthermore, La Rose Noire Droptail stands as a testament to our brand’s relentless pursuit of perfection, where artistry and the vision of a single client truly harmonise. In every detail of this historic commission, there are echoes of both Rolls-Royce’s rich heritage and the commissioning clients’ character, from its captivating yet formidable form to its flawless and elegant romantic gestures. La Rose Noire Droptail, like the remarkable clients who dared to make such a potent and contemporary statement, will be written into Rolls-Royce history forever.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The exterior of the La Rose Noire Droptail is adorned with the resplendent True Love red finish. Echoing the Black Baccara rose’s characteristics, this automobile’s appearance metamorphoses with the angle of observation. Achieving this sublime variance necessitated the innovation of an entirely novel paint process, painstakingly refined through 150 meticulous iterations. The foundation layer, cloaked in a meticulously guarded colour formula, serves as the base, overlaid with five coats of clear lacquer, each subtly tinted with varying tones of red.

This distinctive dual-toned motif extends to the elegant brightwork of La Rose Noire Droptail, characterised by the Hydroshade finish – a liquid-like dark surface specially developed for this exclusive project. These elements are not merely painted; instead, a unique chrome electrolyte is introduced into the chrome plating procedure, co-deposited onto the stainless-steel substrates, forming an exquisitely thin layer, akin to the breadth of a strand of spider silk. This dark yet luminous facade is mirrored in select metal details within the interior, meticulously hand-polished to achieve a sublime glossy sheen.

The integration of a removable hard top offers the La Rose Noire Droptail a dual personality – without its roof, it morphs into a lithe open-top roadster; with the roof affixed, it assumes the role of a commanding and theatrical coupé. Tailored exclusively for the La Rose Noire, the roof boasts a uniquely low profile, further heightened by an accelerated and extended slope, contributing to its assertive and glamorous character. At its rear, an ingot bearing the motor car’s appellation makes its debut – a premier for the Rolls-Royce marque. The utterly Bespoke roof additionally features an electrochromic glass segment, which transitions to near-translucent opacity at the touch of a button, inviting occupants to embrace the sky above.

“Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail stands as one of the most progressive expressions of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild ever conceived. In capturing the romantic and glamorous spirit of the commissioning clients, our design team explored bold new artisanal processes and highly complex creative gestures in their pursuit of a deeply personal language of luxury. The remarkable execution of the wood elements of La Rose Noire Droptail in particular are a clear statement that time-honoured exquisite crafts have a place at the pinnacle of modern design. Indeed, the ambition of the marque’s clients, and the peerless capabilities of its designers signal a long and exciting future for Rolls-Royce Coachbuild and its standing as the leading creative force in applied art at its highest level.” Anders Warming, Design Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Evidencing the commissioning patrons’ meticulous attention to detail is exemplified in the intricate Pantheon grille vanes of the La Rose Noire Droptail. In a discreet yet artful touch, accents of True Love paint are delicately applied to the reverse surface of the vanes, visible only through indirect reflection.

This discreet yet sophisticated touch extends to the intricately designed lower front air intake. This intricately detailed component was digitally conceived and then 3D printed using a lightweight composite, incorporating a remarkable 202 hand-polished stainless-steel ingots, each painstakingly painted by hand in the True Love hue.

An integral exterior feature lies in the treatment of the striking alloy wheels, treated with the alluring Mystery paint finish. Reminiscent of the flower itself, this finish projects a velvety blackness from a distance, but upon closer examination, the sun reveals a nuanced play of dark red undertones. The Mystery paint is meticulously applied over the entire wheel surface before undergoing a high-precision diamond milling process, where segments of the paint are skillfully removed, exposing flashes of the underlying alloy material, which are then meticulously polished. This treatment amplifies the wheel’s dynamic contours and its commanding 22-inch stature, establishing a powerful foundation for the Droptail’s commanding presence.

La Rose Noire: An Opulent Combination of Craft and Glamour

The pièce de résistance of this extraordinary motor car lies within its enveloping interior. Herein unfolds the most intricate expression of parquetry ever conceived by Rolls-Royce, a testament to nearly two years of meticulous development, intensive experimentation, and masterful manual artistry.

The artistry materialises as an abstract depiction of cascading rose petals, meticulously formed from a staggering 1,603 pieces of black wood veneer triangles. The intricate pattern is forged from 1,070 impeccably symmetrical elements constituting the backdrop, and 533 asymmetrical red fragments adorning the composition as rose petals. The asymmetry was a deliberate design choice by the patrons, intending to evoke the organic scattering of petals found in nature.

“Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail is glamour distilled. The guiding inspiration for this dark, bold and powerful commission was the Black Baccara rose, which was a significant point of affection for the client and a source of fascination for the design team. Its rich and complex character informed our creative exploration, influencing the palette, composition, and intricate detailing of the motor car. It led us to blend radically modern design concepts with age-old exquisite craft techniques, while using materials that subtly reinforce the clients’ deep connection to France. Our shared commitment to shaping a meaningful and progressive design statement have culminated in a deeply significant expression of the patron’s character and a new pinnacle for contemporary craftsmanship.” Alex Innes, Head of Coachbuild Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Forged from Black Sycamore wood sourced from France as an elegant nod to La Rose Noire’s French heritage, each triangle is meticulously cut, sanded, and impeccably positioned by hand. The illusion of differing light and dark grey shades in the veneer is achieved without paint; rather, multiple logs with diverse ‘figures’ – natural patterns in the veneer – are employed to create the contrasting hues. The crimson segments, on the other hand, are rendered through a strategic use of paint, with a specially developed lacquer formula meticulously refined over a year to ensure the enduring vibrancy of this cutting-edge expression of contemporary craftsmanship.

The intricate masterpiece graces the motor car’s occupants, extending from the rear shawl panel and stretching through the doors onto the expansive fascia. The sheer level of concentration required for this assembly mandated that the single craftsman entrusted with this task could only work in one-hour sessions for a total of five hours each day, ensuring an unswerving focus for impeccable execution. This seasoned artisan, a Rolls-Royce veteran since their apprenticeship, toiled for weeks in absolute silence within a sound-insulated chamber to eliminate any potential distractions. The creation of this undoubtedly artistic endeavour spanned more than nine months.

The interior refinement extends to the two seats, adorned at the edges with a fusion of enigmatic red Mystery leather and the luminous True Love leather, each imbued with a subtle shimmer of copper, evoking the pearlescent texture of Black Baccara rose petals.

An Extraordinary Timepiece: A Singular Collaboration with Audemars Piguet

Adorning the fascia of the Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail is an integrated bespoke timepiece crafted by Audemars Piguet, an esteemed collaboration exclusively commissioned by the patrons. The 43mm Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT Large Date is equipped with a unique self-winding Calibre 4407 movement, featuring a flyback chronograph and a split-seconds mechanism. Meticulously tailored to echo the La Rose Noire’s colour scheme, the timepiece showcases red counters and a red inner bezel, casting a vivid contrast against the black ‘openworked’ dial embellished with rhodium-toned bevels.

The seamless integration of this horological marvel was a formidable endeavour. The clients’ stipulation that the timepiece should be both mountable within the motor car and detachable for wrist wear was ingeniously resolved with a powered clasp mechanism, delicately unveiling the timepiece with the press of a button.

Post detachment, the aperture on the fascia is veiled with an elegant titanium openworked blank head watch, enhanced with a white-gold coin featuring an intricate rose engraving, hand-sculpted by the artisans at Audemars Piguet. The subtle rose engravings adorning the bespoke audio speaker frets echo this motif. Each of these elements is meticulously handcrafted within the Swiss atelier, collectively embodying the sole concrete representations of the Black Baccara Rose throughout the motor car.

A slim and supple leather pouch ensconced within the door paniers houses both the strap and the blank head watch, safeguarding the strap while the timepiece graces the fascia.

An Opulent Culmination: A Commemorative Toast

To commemorate the Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail, the discerning owners orchestrated an exclusive vintage of Champagne de Lossy, sourced from one of their favoured vineyards. This endeavour carries exceptional significance, as the bespoke wine crafted for the La Rose Noire Droptail stands as one of only a precious few vintages produced by the Chateau in its storied 160-year history.

As a fitting prelude, the commissioning family procured a distinctive Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest. The chest, adorned with rose petal parquetry echoing the vehicle’s design, reflects the same level of exacting attention to detail as the coachbuilt Rolls-Royce.

A mere touch of a button summons the Champagne Chest’s unveiling, revealing an intricate champagne set accompanied by hand-blown crystal champagne flutes. The exterior lid transforms into a serving tray crafted from bookmatched open pore Black Sycamore wood, showcasing a brushed and laser-cut stainless-steel inlay depicting the iconic Chateau.

The sides feature the same intricate parquetry as the La Rose Noire Droptail, concealing two hammocks designed to cradle the exclusive Champagne de Lossy, meticulously matched to the motor car’s palette. The thermal champagne coolers, meticulously fashioned from black anodized aluminium and carbon fibre, are rendered in the beguiling Mystery hue, ensuring the champagne remains impeccably chilled to perfection.

La Rose Noire Droptail: A Captivating Legacy

Elegantly interweaving passion with an unquenchable thirst for rich experiences, the Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail stands as a romantic tribute to the visionary couple behind its creation. This opulent conveyance, envisioned through a lens of devotion and an insatiable appetite for meaningful moments, not only etches the patrons’ indelible legacy but also contributes to the tapestry of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ enduring legend.

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