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Classic games, well made

All the fancy gadgets in the world can’t beat the enduring charm of a mahjong set from Hermes.

If the pandemic has taught us anything about people, it’s that we don’t respond too well to being asked to stay indoors. So, here’s an idea for those who have run out of corny names for their sourdough starters and burned through the entire Netflix catalogue: play a game. 

Not the ones on screens, but meticulously crafted game sets with pieces you can feel, pick up and knock around for that sweet ASMR effect. Luxury superstars like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. have been making these sets for years in the form of designer poker collateral, chess boards and even Scrabble that add a touch of refinement and old-world elegance to living rooms and dens. There’s also a market for antiquated games and spinning tops, which fashion label Brunello Cucinelli has beautifully revived. 

Even boutique purveyors of luxury items such as British stationery specialist Smythson and lifestyle brand Aerin (named after founder Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estee Lauder) have been expanding into traditional game sets with a mission to promote craftsmanship and a slower, more sumptuous pace of life. The pandemic isn’t going to keep us down and in forever, so this is the best time to treat yourself to a medium of entertainment that harkens back to the simpler, less stressful days of our childhoods.


  • Hermes mahjong

    Hermes Helios mahjong

    Hermes is synonymous with fine leather, so why wouldn’t it apply the same material over every tile in this extravagantly upholstered mahjong set? The leather is an Hermes fine-grain calfskin known as Swift that’s selected for its amazing softness and colour so the set not only looks and feels great but is significantly quieter, too. The box and score sticks are made from solid rosewood that, according to the brand, has a “delicate rustling sound” when handled.

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