Visitors to Senturion Key’s Mayfair showroom are stopped in their tracks by a spellbinding curio sat atop the table in the greeting area: a hunk of meteorite that hurtled into a Namibian lake around 100m years ago. Look at it from one angle, and a glinting, sliced-flat surface shows off the crystalline alloy structure imposed on it by cosmic forces billions of years ago. Look from the other side and you’ll behold the knobbly results millennia of erosion has had on a once jagged, dense iron isotope.
For Senturion – which makes supercar key bracelets, embedded with RFID technology, which can be used with marques including Bentley, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Porsche – this is more than a mere object or conversation piece: it is this hunk of intrigue, probably older than the Earth itself, that provides much of the raw material for Senturion’s highly desirable output. Two of the models featuring a solid meteorite core are the Vulcan – which is plated with black gold and has NTPT carbon fibre insets – and the Arago, which is plated with yellow or rose gold and also has ceramic insets.
It was the wish to utilise meteorite that meant the company, after its founding in 2013, had to carry out two years of pure R&D before manufacture could begin. “As such a heavy iron isotope, meteorite is incredibly difficult to machine,” explains Ayla Varquin, Senturion’s Director of Communications. “A lot of the luxury brands say they use meteorite, but they use what we call ‘fill’ rather than a proper meteorite core, and we found out why pretty soon after trying to dig into the real thing: it’s so dense that as soon as you cut it open it oxidises and becomes fragile. So over 2013/2014 we invented our own machine that can simultaneously laser cut the meteorite underwater and then immediately plate it in either gold or platinum to make sure it doesn’t rust. This also creates an incredible pattern which makes every single Senturion piece unique.”
Only seven of each model are made (making each one is literally, taking into account the world’s population, one in a billion), and further exclusiveness stems from the fact that meteorite is a finite resource. “Once [this block] has all been machined we’ll just have to wait for the next meteorite shower,” she says, “So what we have we want to use for unique collectors’ items.” Hence – and with uniqueness and individuality being such buzzwords in the luxury realm at the moment – Senturion has a big focus on customisation, with yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, white gold, black gold and NTPT Carbon Fibre, as well as straps in exotic leathers and ceramic edging, all being among the materials customers creating a bespoke model may choose between.
“Our personalisation options give us, and customers, room to be creative and display a bit more flair,” says Varquin, adding that matching the key with the vehicle is popular (“Not everyone wants to team perhaps a meteorite core with NTPT carbon fibre and a green button and green leather stitching, because not everyone has a Lamborghini Aventador SV to match that,” she says. “It’s an extension of their vehicle.”)
With a view to seeing where automotive customisation is going, Varquin says that Senturion keeps a watchful eye on what the supercar brands are doing. “Rolls-Royce are doing some incredible things over in the Middle-East at the moment,” she says. “People putting the constellation under which they were born lit up on the car ceiling; having artworks that they own at home hand-painted or replicated in some other way onto the wooden panelling on the wooden dashboard… We’re always keeping an eye on where the market interest is going, and we definitely want to be supplying what the consumer wants.”
Senturion’s is an R&D department that won’t be sitting on its laurels any time soon. “Our patents so far include a curved flux charger – we are the only people legally allowed to work with a wireless charging unit that works on a curved surface – and we’ve built flexi omnidirectional antennas into the straps which means we can make our tech work with precious metals,” says Varquin. “Normally, as soon as you try and create an RFID signal within any kind of metal, it blocks it – which is why regular car keys are plastic – but we have overcome that. As with the watch industry, our pieces are huge nano-technological feats. We have world renowned engineers who do a great job for us and who we’re very happy with.”
Look out, in the Autumn issue of Robb Report UK, for an exciting new addition to Senturion’s repertoire.