This duplex penthouse overlooking Central Park was paid for by the sale of ballpoint pens, cheap lighters, and inexpensive razors, as it’s owned by the former daughter-in-law of the founder of Bic.
After World War II, Baron Marcel Bich obtained the patent to a ballpoint pen invented by Ladislas Biro. He then began churning out inexpensive pens during the 1950s, which proved very popular. Later the company made disposable razors and lighters, all made of the same kind of plastic.
The baron’s son, Bruno Bich, owned this apartment with wife Veronique Bich. They began living apart. Eventually Bruno sued Veronique for the return of numerous valuable artworks he said belonged to a family trust established by his father. This included sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, a 1937 “Portrait of Dora Maar” by Picasso, two Balthus paintings, a paper collage by Jean Dubuffet, and a drawing by Andy Warhol. Veronique said the artworks should be divided when a divorce occurred. She filed for divorce in autumn 2020, in New York, and he filed for divorce about the same time but in Miami. The disposition of the lawsuits is unclear right now, because Bruno died in May 2021. Their son, Gonzalve, is now CEO of Bic.
The penthouse, with 3,800 square feet of interior space and 2,400 square feet of terraces, is currently configured to have three bedrooms. Asking $22 million, the apartment is listed by Serena Boardman at Sotheby’s.
The living room, done like most of the flat in a midcentury/deco French style, boasts a bay window with beautiful views of Central Park. The dining room is more classical in style, with parquet de Versailles flooring and carved, gilded boiserie. Next to that is a breakfast room.
The galley kitchen is quite small, kind of surprising in an apartment this spacious, but perhaps the owners simply never cook. In contrast, the master bathroom, with heated marble floors and onyx sink, tub, and shower, is enormous. (Priorities, we guess!) The master bedroom also includes beautiful park views and is adjacent to the terrace as well. (Though for a $22 million sale, couldn’t the dead plants in the planters be removed for the photos?) There’s also a huge closet for the master bedroom. Upstairs is a library/media room, with another terrace sporting a grill, refrigerator and ice-maker, as well as a staff room, half bath. There’s even an outside laundry room.
Nice apartment: more Montblanc than Bic, we say.