Incredibly rich people lacking any sense of style let out a collective gasp today, as news broke that luxury smartphone maker Vertu will be liquidated. 

Despite having a target market of moneyed assholes, of which the world is in no short supply, the UK-based company apparently struggled to find a customer base for its $46,600 polished 18-carat red gold phones.

We’re just as shocked as you are. 

And what brought this visionary company down? According to the BBC, that would be an accounting deficit of £128 million (aka the cost of roughly 3,555 Clous de Paris Red Gold Vertu smartphones). 

Vertu’s past few years have been tumultuous, suggesting that the maker of jewel-encrusted cellphones has ups and downs just like the rest of us. The company was bought by a Chinese holding firm in 2015, and then sold again in March of 2017 to a Turkish exile. 

Alberto Torres, then Vertu’s president, living it up in the golden age of 2006.

Image: Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Sadly, however, all the $1,200 Vertu Grape Lizard Slip Cases in the world weren’t enough to save the company from its financial troubles. And despite sitting on the world’s strategic reserve of conspicuous consumption, Hakan Uzan, the aforementioned Turkish exile, decided it was best to liquidate and move on. 

But where did Vertu go wrong? It’s well known that the bling-obsessed wealthy are suckers for gold-finished bullsh*t, so why weren’t the company’s $19,000 Pure Jet Red Gold phones flying off the shelves? 

The world may never know. 

We first speculated, and we know this is crazy, that potential customers simply decided to throw their Monopoly money at other class-signaling electronic devices. But then we took a look at this 2011 ad for the Vertu Signature Precious and decided that no Apple-branded product could ever out-signal the Vertu. 

So, you know, we’re stumped. 

Because being flush means you can have whatever you want. And yet, even with “exclusive ring and alert tones […] created for Vertu by renowned composers and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra,” not enough customers wanted what Vertu offered. 

Perhaps, with apologies to Edna St. Vincent Millay, Vertu simply burned too bright for its time. Either that or it sold overpriced garbage that even the clueless well-to-do with money to burn eventually wised up to.

Who’s to say, really. 

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