What do you get when you cross a gunmaker with over 500 years of history with Apple designer and creative icon Marc Newson? A subtly reworked side-by-side of such streamlined beauty that it is sure to set the standard for many years to come.
When Apple designer Marc Newson isn’t, oh, designing Riva yachts, spaceships and top secret projects with Jonny Ive, he lent his delicate creative style to the oldest gun maker and its most traditional product – the side-by-side shotgun.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a valuable adage, so Newson didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Rather, he added subtle tweaks here and there, gently improving both the aesthetics and the ergonomics.
“To be asked to design for Beretta, one of the oldest companies in the world with its roots in the Italian Renaissance, was a great honour” Said Marc.
“I am interested in the way things work – it’s a technical obsession. The main focus for my design of the 486 was to simplify and rationalise all the surfaces. Specifically streamlining the area of the action. During the manufacture of my design in the Beretta workshops I got to observe the fascinating mix of traditional skills employed by Beretta’s craftsmen in conjunction with the most impressive state-of-the-art engineering processes including the use of intricate x-ray equipment, sophisticated laser technology and robotics. With these standards of ingenuity I believe that my vision to create an innovative and modern design while respecting the DNA of the product typology has been spectacularly achieved.”
By lowering the tail of the receiver, the walnut now creates a wooden bridge separating the receiver and the safety/selector. This creates the impression of seamless flow and integration of the contrasting materials.
With a nod to the origins of Asia’s most famous sporting export, the pheasant, the texture, deep contrast and resolution was thanks to the laser technology used in the manufacturing process.
Sometimes, the best changes are invisible. In this case, there are no welding lines on the hand polished OptiomaBore barrels, due to the Triblock technology.
New Guard Fixing
To improve the aesthetics even further, Newson redesigned the trigger guard, Rather than screwing it to the bottom of the receiver, it is inserted into a milled guide.
Slimmer is generally preferable for most things that one holds in one’s hands, and the forend of this 486 is no different. It is leaner and more streamlined, and the coupling point has been reduced.
486 by Marc Newson RRP £17,950 from Beretta
To coincide with this launch, Beretta also released this rather beautiful video of the manufacturing process, combining high tech robotics with age old hand crafting.