Chap Who Has Everything Home

Bought the best Aqualisa iLux Digital shower available; but it takes a week to get a service engineer! [Updated]

Screenshot 2014-12-15 22.19.32

A while ago my wife began talking about renovations. I nodded along. We bought our main place in the summer.

We’ve actually been living in it for a few years as we initially rented it — and, like the proverbial Victor Kiam catchphrase, we liked it so much, we bought it. Or, more accurately, we were able to buy it privately so it was a good opportunity.

The understanding was that once we completed, we’d set about fixing it up.

We set aside a good amount of cash.

I reminded my wife that she could do as she pleased in terms of decor. This is our operating model. I just specified one thing: I want the absolute best shower you can possibly buy.

When my wife mentioned that the plumber recommended a shower that came with it’s own remote control, I was sold.

I just said yes. That one.

Oh, I also specified, THE BIGGEST, too. I mean in terms of rainfall shower head.

So we’ve ended up with a massive 18” (I think) Aqualisa monstrosity. It’s brilliant. Utterly excellent. It comes with four programmable buttons along with the obligatory temperature and flow controls. The idea is that you get all the settings to your liking and then press-and-hold on one of the buttons (numbered 1-4). That then becomes your default setting. Hit number ‘1’ and boom, the shower activates to your precise specifications. In practice it needs maybe 5 seconds to get ready.

I love it.

The remote control takes things one step further. Yes. It’s exactly what you’re thinking. You can lie in bed, reach for the Aqualisa remote control and hit ‘1’. Boom. The shower turns on and sets itself to your requirements. And you’re STILL in bed. Come on!

The exact model we went for was the iLux Digital Shower.

I relished the opportunity of being able to hit ‘1’, and then lift myself out of bed and straight into the waiting heat.

I haven’t, however, managed to try out the remote control.

That’s because after three days of great showers, the unit just stopped working.

The plumber ‘looked at it’ and then declared he didn’t know what was wrong.

So my wife’s been on to Aqualisa. And they’re sending a guy out “next week”.

To be accurate, this was Wednesday (if memory serves) last week.

The support chappy is apparently due this Wednesday.

A seven day service level is rubbish.

Yes, this is a #firstworldproblem. Definitely.

But having blown the equivalent of a decent MacBook Pro, I am deeply unsatisfied.

To make matters worse (and, I’m looking at you, Aqualisa), I am reminded of this deep satisfaction every flipping morning when I SIT in the flipping bath and use the highly annoying shower-thing attached to the (new) bath.

To be fair, the pressure is excellent on the shower-thing.

I then shave in the double sink trying not to look at the dormant Aqualisa shower behind me.

I haven’t even had time to fill out the guarantee and I am already highly frustrated.

I suppose the annoyance is driven by the dearth of information about the failure. Nowadays I am accustomed to understanding what the problem is and how, possibly, I can fix it.

Is it unreasonable to expect a next day fix? Probably.

Two day? Potentially difficult.

But 7 flipping days?


Anyway, I love the shower.

But I have zero tolerance for stuff not working. And I have limited amounts of patience for the fix.

When the engineer arrives, I’m hoping he (or she) will identify a decent problem. It’s seriously annoying there isn’t some visible readout showing an error message like “please could you put in a new battery”.

I seriously — SERIOUSLY — hope that we don’t get lumbered with one of those “Oh, I’ll need to order the part,” situations.

I’ll keep you updated.

[Update: Thanks to the Aqualisa team on Twitter who were exceptionally responsive. I think next time I’ll go to them first. The Aqualisa engineer actually arrived the day after this post and was done in about 5 minutes. Apparently he just tweaked something and boom, it’s been working perfectly for weeks now.]

Chap Who Has Everything Music Technology

Harman’s AKG K3003: The world’s best “reference class” earphones?

I’ve spent a lot of money on earphones over the years. I blame Apple. I was perfectly happy nodding away with my white iPod specials until I walked into the Regent Street Apple Store and found a massive range that I’ve never heard of before. In particular, I was thoroughly impressed by the range of Shure in-ear ones — the price points were, from memory, £69, £199 and then £299. Something like that. I didn’t need any further prompting — I bought the £299 ones. Obviously.


And they were gorgeous. About a billion miles away from the ‘Fisher Price’ style free ones you got with the iPod. And so my expensive habit for headphones began.

More recently I’ve been experimenting with some Etymotic ones and finally, after my friend Tom bought me some RHAs, I have settled there.

I think, however, the search may have ended with the release a few months ago of the AKG K3003 earphones from Harman. That’s them pictured above and the first thing that sets them apart from the competition is the price: These are retailing for £1,000 in Harrods or you can pick them up from AKG directly.

The next thing that makes them special is they’re hand-crafted. (I’d hope so, for £1,000.) And they’re 100% quality-tested after final assembly. Plus, as you might expect, the materials and the engineering are simply exquisite. Here’s how AKG describe them:

Building on AKG’s decades of breakthroughs in audio technology, we’ve combined know-how with premium materials to produce our K3003 reference class 3-way earphones. Each earphone housing is chiseled from one piece of brushed stainless steel, while our specially refined cable materials allow for tangle-free handling. The K3003 earphones come with a genuine leather carrying case individually molded to protect them wherever you go.

And now here’s the AKG Youtube video showing how they’re made:

Right then, that’s me sold.

These are, it seems, the equivalent to buying a Bentley Continental GT. The price point is certainly eye-catching, however I wonder just what the difference is between say, the £29.95 RHA MA-350 earphones and these AKG K3003s. Could I — as a non-audio professional — tell the difference? I suspect that this is more or less irrelevant, though.

I delight in owning and using quality equipment. I really enjoyed using the Shures and Etymotics — and the audio felt better. I suspect that using these AKGs, I’d have a brilliant experience! And although the £1,000 price tag sounds quite a lot, I’ve probably spent that in the last 3-4 years on earphones if I add up all the Etymotic/Shures I’ve bought.

These AKGs are definitely going into my Chap Who Has Everything category here on The Pursuit of Quality. What’s your view? Have you got a recommendation for excellent earphones? And could you see yourself spending £1,000 on a pair?

Accessories Chap Who Has Everything Technology

Bring some country flair to your sooped-up technology with this Tweed iPad Case

I thought I’d go for a long title on this one.

It’s de rigueur nowadays to have a decent case for your iPad. Those cheap, black rubbish plastic monstrosity shouldn’t be allowed. Either keep your iPad naked or get a decent case.

And if you’d like to bring a bit of a traditional contrast to your iPad, then this is precisely what you need: The Tweed Case from the Unique Boutique company!

Because you need a proper case for your iPad

It’s handmade so delivery time is a minimum of 4-weeks. For the purists reading, I’m not sure if it’s Harris Tweed, Donegal Tweed or perhaps standard tweed. I’ll get on to Unique Boutique and find out.

This is precisely the sort of thing that wives might consider giving to their husbands-who-have-everything (particularly if they’re not that into Fish & Chips). But I also reckon this is a smart gift for chaps to give other chaps. It’s a safe one, isn’t it? You can’t go wrong, even if you don’t-really-know-them-that-much. If they don’t have an iPad, then you’re flattering them by presuming they do. If they have an iPad, the chances are they’ve got a rubbish cover (or non at all). Just, make sure the chap doesn’t work for RIM or Motorola, makers of the iPad rivals.

Now then, the cost? Well, it’s not at all crazy. Handmade? I was thinking this might well be one of those half-the-price-of-the-iPad style covers. But no. It’s a highly reasonable £75.

I have to point out that I haven’t seen or held one in the flesh but from the photos — I’ve included a close-up photo of the stitching below — it does look very good quality.

Purchase at Unique Boutique.

Accessories Chap Who Has Everything

Fish ‘n’ Chips Case: A useful, practical indulgence!

Right then, we’ve all had this problem now and again I’m sure: You find yourself in one of the smarter village High Streets surrounded by 16th Century tumbledown cottages that you remember seeing for sale in excess of £1m in Country Life. There’s the occasional Knight Frank sign. There are one or two super-gastro pubs. Bentley Continental GTs everywhere. Oh, and Range Rovers.

You decide to pop to the very smart chip shop for a traditional Fish & Chips. But wait, what’s missing? I’ll tell you! It’s a critical requirement for any right thinking gentleman: The Fish ‘n’ Chips case.

This does look utterly gorgeous.

Have a look, first of all, then I’ll explain:

Because you've got everything else -- and sometimes the chip shop doesn't have any wooden forks left

So as you can see, it’s a nicely sized case that looks like it will sit perfectly on your shoulders. It’s described as the ultimate indulgence and although I can’t disagree with that statement, the utilitarian in me does see a use for it. Inside the handmade lined rosewood case, you’ll find two important additions to elevate the standard gastro-Fish & Chip experience: A hip flask and a fork.

But, of course, it’s not just a standard hip flask. No. This one is hand-glazed ceramic. The fork? Silver.

And you know what, eating Fish & Chips without a fork is a little bit annoying. Forks are the way ahead — but I do find those wooden ones that most chip shops offer a little bit temporary. So the fork, genius.

As for the flask, fill it with your favourite tipple.

I can think of about 4 people in my immediate circle who would love this. One chap I can positively guarantee would manufacture opportunities to actually use this Fish ‘n’ Chips case at least twice a month. Above anything, I think he’d really appreciate the way the case sits on his tweed blazer.

Given the case is handmade and the flask is hand-glazed, there’s an 8 week lead time for any orders.

And the damage? £1,400.

I’m definitely filing this under ‘for the chap who has everything’ because I’m pretty confident, he doesn’t yet have one of these.

The case retailer, The Unique Boutique Company, has a wide array of other goods that you should take a look at. I’ve signed up to their newsletter. I’m delighted I’ve found them. Plus it looks like they do a nice line in hampers too. (That’s something else I need to look at soon.)