Nokia, one of the world's leading cell phone manufacturers, abandoned the Japanese market in the fall of 2008 as the world financial crisis caused buyers to put cell phone purchases on hold. That didn't stop the Finnish electronics giant from flogging their high-end, British-based Virtu nameplate, however.
Virtu is to Nokia what Lexus is to Toyota, with most Virtu phones retailing in the $16,000 to $50,000 range. The Virtu store in the Ginza has been doing just fine, thank you, maintaining sales to Japan's wealthiest class right through the recession's darkest days.
As the one-year anniversary of Virtu's flagship Ginza store is coming up in April,the company is preparing to celebrate in an appropriately ostentatious way: by offering a quartet of fabulously expensive, one-off designer cell phones.
Each phone is intricately hand-painted in Japanese gold lacquer with motifs that represent the four seasons. As you might expect, cell phones that double as objets d'art don't come cheap... try 20 million yen each, or about $215,000! If it's any consolation, owners will enjoy free domestic calls. (via Crunchgear and Keitai Watch)