Vertu: Selling Ugly To Rich Suckers Since 1998

Vertu started life in the late 1990s as an indulgence for Nokia's designers. Led by Frank Nuovo, the group set out to explore what a phone could look and feel like if its design was unconstrained by budgetary concerns. What if you could use all the best materials and most expensive manufacturing processes, what sort of phone would you end up with? Given free reign to experiment within the then-resplendent Nokia, Vertu gradually evolved into its own division, with a name, logo, and brand identity that grew to be synonymous with overt demonstrations of wealth.

As I scrolled through the manufacturing images on The Verge's profile of once-Nokia-owned luxury handset manufacturer Vertu, I was amazed by just how many of the awestruck captions could apply to Apple's current products. High-end materials, engineered to micro-scale precision, hand assembling of the smallest parts, rejection of imperfectly fitting elements? Have these people seen how the Mac Pro is being made? Or the iPhone 5/5s? Seems to me that Vertu has just not bothered working out how to scale anything, instead relying on fetishising the inefficiencies in their processes through ultra-premium pricing.