Holland & Holland at deBoulle, 6821 Preston Road, 214.522.2400; deboulle.com
The following analogous relationship may not be found on the SAT, but it’s pivotal to a connoisseur’s higher education: Holland & Holland is to firearms as Patek Philippe is to timepieces. The former, however, earns extra credit for its Royal patronage — the Royal Arms of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, whose Warrant of Appointment as Rifle Maker was granted in 1963, and those of HRH The Prince of Wales, whose Warrant of Appointment as Bespoke Gunmaker and supplier of Country Clothing has been carried since 1995. Made entirely by hand, each sporting arm takes up to 900 hours of painstaking craftsmanship in a West London factory; last year only 61 guns were distributed to the world. Up until three months ago, those wishing to acquire a piece of this action had to jet to London, New York or Moscow. Collectors now need travel no further than the second floor of deBoulle, where a fully outfitted Gun Room overseen by manager Duncan Kimmerling awaits. (Don’t let his modest demeanor fool you. We were warned by more than one person never to challenge him to a contest in marksmanship.) The two-years-in-the-making space reflects the sumptuously restrained good taste embedded in the company’s DNA, but the real draw lies in the contents of its gleaming gun case —side-by-side shotguns, double rifles and more, whose beauty and detail could rival a Rembrandt. Those not ready to pull the trigger can lose themselves in Holland & Holland’s collection of covetable silk scarves, hunting apparel, shooting accessories and even limited-edition porcelain bangles. Get fitted for your bespoke gun on the premises, but be prepared to wait over a year for its arrival … “immediate gratification” and “unrivaled legacy” don’t belong in the same sentence.