Alfred Dunhill Ltd.

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Alfred Dunhill Limited
Industry Retail
Founded London, England (1893)
Founder Alfred Dunhill
Headquarters London, England
Area served
Key people
Andrew Maag (CEO)
Products Men's Apparel
Leather Goods
Parent Richemont

Alfred Dunhill Limited (known and stylised as dunhill) is a British luxury goods brand, specialising in ready-to-wear, custom and bespoke menswear, leather goods, and accessories.[1] The company is based in London, where it also owns and operates a leather workshop. The company is currently owned by Richemont and managed by CEO Andrew Maag.

Early history[edit]

The business was developed by Alfred Dunhill after he inherited his father's saddlery business on London's Euston Road at the age of 21 in 1893. Alfred Dunhill, responding to the growing demand for automobiles at this time, developed a line of accessories called "Dunhill's Motorities". This first collection included car horns and lamps, leather overcoats, goggles, picnic sets and timepieces, which provided the company with the strap line of "Everything But The Motor".

Within a few years, the business moved towards the luxury market with the opening of two Dunhill Motorities stores in Mayfair. By this time, Dunhill's had become known not only for motoring accessories but also for motoring attire. The Dunhill Motorities catalogue featured over 1,300 items.

The launch of the Dunhill pipe was a logical step from Motorities; in 1904 Alfred had patented a "Windshield Pipe" to help a driver combat the effects of wind and weather in his open top car. Alfred's first tobacconist and pipe shop opened in 1907 on Duke Street. Its proximity to the clubs of St. James's and Pall Mall helped to ensure instant success, with a loyal and distinguished customer base. After the First World War, Dunhill expanded internationally, opening an office in New York in 1921 at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, followed by its first continental European store in 1924 at 15, Rue de la Paix in central Paris.

Alfred retired from the business in the 1920s. In the position of managing director and President were his brother Alfred-Henry, then daughter Mary and finally his grandson Richard and with the interests of the Dunhill family at heart, the business continued to embody the attributes and characteristics of Alfred's personality.

Alfred summarised his retail philosophy in an article written in the summer in 1923: "My experience in the motorists' trade has convinced me that, if one can exactly meet the desires of a good class of public, time alone is necessary to make it profitable. Compared with quality, price is relatively important."

Later history[edit]

By the late 1970s, Alfred Dunhill was offering a range of 3,500 luxury products in more than 20 stores round the world. The brand had expanded into offering a full range of men's ready to wear clothing.

In the 1990s, Alfred Dunhill's store on Jermyn Street was renovated to evoke the atmosphere of a private club, complete with a marble-floored humidor and a barber's shop.

Homes of Alfred Dunhill[edit]

Alfred Dunhill have built a series of retail emporiums for men around the world, referred to as the Homes of Alfred Dunhill. These Homes aim to represent the experience of luxury, allowing the customer to live the brand. The retail environment is distinguished by a range of services – which include a bespoke tailoring service, barber's shop, fine wine cellars, bar or restaurant, screening room, and spa. The Homes are located in Tokyo, London,[2] Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

The London home, Bourdon House, was mentioned as one of Georgia Barretta-Whiteley's (Head of Design at Saatchi & Saatchi) top retail experiences, "Committed to advancing the pursuit of male indulgence', Alfred Dunhill has here presented us with a unique global concept that embraces an ultimate in masculine luxury and retail lifestyle – the Homes of Alfred Dunhill."[3]


Alfred Dunhill sponsors golf tournaments, including the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (formerly the Alfred Dunhill Cup). Played over three of the most famous links golf courses – the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns in Scotland – the championship gathers celebrities from the worlds of sports and screen to play alongside the world's leading professional golf players.

Alfred Dunhill in the movies[edit]

Alfred Dunhill has also occasionally provided various accessories for the cinematic James Bond throughout the series. The association began in 1962 when the production team requested a gunmetal cigarette lighter for Sean Connery's introduction in Dr. No.


Alfred Dunhill Limited has licensed Inter Parfums, Inc. to produce and distribute fragrances under the Dunhill brand. The ten-year, worldwide agreement replaces Dunhill's contract with Procter & Gamble, which ended in April 2013.[citation needed]

Rollagas lighters[edit]

Developed in the mid-1950s, Dunhill produced one of the first butane gas lighters. This iconic design has remained relatively unchanged since and was regularly used by James Bond in both print and on the screen.

Abridged timeline[edit]

A sterling silver Dunhill Unique lighter bearing a coat of arms
  • 1893 – Aged 21, Alfred Dunhill takes over his father's saddlery business and converts it into Dunhill's Motorities, providing 'Everything for the car but the motor'.
  • 1903 – Alfred Dunhill's first dashboard clock marks their entry into the timepiece arena.
  • 1905 – Alfred Dunhill patents his Windshield Pipe, designed to allow comfortable smoking while driving or cycling.
  • 1907 – Having retired from running the Motorities business, Alfred Dunhill opens a pipe, cigar and tobacco store among the men's clubs of Duke Street, St. James's, London SW1.
  • 1910 – Alfred Dunhill opens a pipe factory near the store.
  • 1915 – The trademark White Spot marking is added to Alfred Dunhill's pipes.
  • 1921 – Store opens in New York; Paris store opens three years later.
  • 1927 – Alfred Dunhill launches the revolutionary Unique lighter, the first to be operated using just one hand.
  • 1928 – Alfred Dunhill begins distributing the Namiki pen company's maki-e lacquered pens.
  • 1936 – The famous Facet timepiece, based on Alfred Dunhill's car head-lamp designs, is launched.
  • 1941 – Alfred Dunhill's Duke Street store is bombed during World War II; it was extended and rebuilt in the 1950s and recently renovated.
  • 1956 – The Rollagas butane lighter is launched.
  • 1963 – Manufacture of Dunhill brand cigarettes starts.
  • 1985 – First annual Dunhill Cup golf tournament.
  • 2001 – Alfred Dunhill Links Championship supersedes Alfred Dunhill Cup.
  • 2005 – Savile Row tailor Richard James, watch dealer/designer Tom Bolt, casual-wear designer Nick Ashley and leather-smith Bill Amberg are brought on board to help revitalise the brand.
  • 2007 – First Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in Tokyo, Japan.
  • 2008 –
    • Alfred Dunhill announces the appointment of menswear designer Kim Jones as Creative Director, a role Alfred Dunhill has not offered before.
    • Second Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in London, UK, in Bourdon House.
    • Third Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in Shanghai, China, in The Twin Villas.
  • 2010 – Fourth Home of Alfred Dunhill opens in Hong Kong, China, in Prince's Landmark.
  • 2011 – First Voice campaign launched.
  • 2012 –
    • Trafalgar by Alfred Dunhill is presented in Shanghai, China.
    • For The Love film is released.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "ALFRED DUNHILL LIMITED". Companies House. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  2. ^ London
  3. ^ Barretta-Whiteleys, Georgia. "The 10 best shops in the world: #4 Alfred Dunhill, Bourdon House". The Drum. Retrieved 24 November 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, Christian. "High Gear". August Man magazine (December 2006)
  • Dunhill, Mary (2001). Our Family Business. London: Bodley Head. ISBN 978-0-370-30229-4.
  • Foulkes, Nick (2006). Dunhill By Design: A Very English Story ISBN 2-08-030495-X.

External links[edit]