It's one of the economic vagaries of the business that storied British luxury goods firm Asprey of London no longer has any connection (save an historical one) with the actual Asprey family. After the 200-year-old company was sold to Prince Jeffri of Brunei in the '90s, family scion William Asprey decided to start his own firm catering to the aristocratic trade (Asprey had long held royal warrants). However, he discovered to his dismay that he was no longer entitled to the use of his own last name; while Prince Jefri subsequently unloaded Asprey to a hedge fund, William opened a beautiful shop in London's Mayfair under the name William & Son.
Under its new owners Asprey has gone in an increasingly fashionable direction, and while producing some beautiful things it has suffered financial setbacks from over-enthusiastic expansion. William & Son by contrast hearkens back to Asprey's traditional roots, and still maintains an air of clubby exclusivity in its Mayfair premises (pictured above), which stocks high-end jewelry, silver, watches, leathergoods, china and crystal. A key facet of the business is its bespoke service, which will basically fashion anything you like in whatever precious material strikes your fancy as long as you can afford it. More recently William added an adjacent gun room, where beautiful silver-inlaid shotguns can now be had for $100,000 and up. He is certainly following through on his promise to "maintain his family's reputation in the historic splendour of No. 10 Mount Street." And what's in a name, after all?
Gallery: William & Son, London