[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hile smartphone brands one-up one another with homogeneous handsets of disposable design and function, one company remains steadfast in preserving the essence of luxury in its products. Vertu’s latest flagship model, the 2015 Signature Touch, offers what lesser brands do not: the human touch, in the form of dedicated concierge staff just a few taps away. Thumbing the single ruby set in the side of the handcrafted phone brings up the Vertu Concierge menu on the sapphire glass screen. The animation is remarkably smooth, even with large applications running in the background. Bare moments later, your attendant is on the line.

What’s novel about the service is that, as far as it can be helped, you will get the same person who spoke to you during your “fitting call”, a quick chat via which he familiarised himself with your preferences and interests. Equipped with this knowledge, he can better help you, say, source and deliver the local equivalent of char kway teow to your hotel if you so wish. He can even get you past supposedly closed doors or into sold-out events, thanks to Vertu’s purportedly vast network.

Of course, there’s a price tag on such luxury. The Signature Touch, which also comes with robust speakers and an integrated calfleather case, will set its owner back $15,000. The Concierge service is complimentary for the first 18 months, after which you must decide if having a personal assistant at your fingertips is worth the annual fee of nearly $8,000. But, as they say, good things do not come cheaply.