My wife and I managed a short break in Majorca last month, a welcome respite from stock market uncertainty and white-knuckle volatility.

Granted, British newspapers were readily available and an unreliable Internet connection could be accessed, should one have preferred to spend perhaps an hour waiting for a strong enough signal, but I was not unduly concerned about the absence of regular market-related newsflow as we enjoyed the Mediterranean’s warmth.

Reflecting upon our good fortune, we went for lunch in a restaurant overlooking the harbour at Portals Nous, renowned as the island’s most expensive port.

The area was packed with characters plucked straight from central casting: from slick-haired yacht brokers in open-necked shirts negotiating with shady-looking ‘geezers’ dripping with gold chains, to bored fashion shopkeepers, many boasting skin with a peculiarly orange hue, which contrasted sharply with their flowing blonde locks.

Later, wandering through the port in beautiful sunshine, it became evident that even the coolest of expensively-clad human exteriors probably disguised varying degrees of financial concern. A quick eyeball calculation suggested that around one third of the magnificent craft moored in the harbour were up for sale.

Here was a 22-metre Horizon 66 reduced to 1.1 million euros, over there a Monte Fino 76 slashed to 1.8 million euros. Almost all of these yachts were magnificent examples of superb engineering and breathtaking design, but they also provided evidence of what can happen to depreciating assets at a time when supply exceeds demand — prices fall sharply.

A combination of oil price rises, a global credit crunch, profit warnings, bank collapses and wildly-fluctuating market indices have made many investors understandably wary of conspicuous consumption.

While volatility might be the day trader’s lifeblood, investors without the time or inclination to ‘play the market’ have been concentrating upon quality, taking advantage of a wave of adverse sentiment to top up on solid stocks likely to increase in value over the long term.

Such an approach accounted for our enjoyable lunch after Reckitt Benckiser, a company about which I have written here before, announced it had both widened its profit margins and boosted like-for-like sales by 10 per cent during the third quarter. It is almost five years since I bought RB shares, during which they have more than doubled in value.

Who would have thought that a portfolio of non-sexy, but high-profile brands such as Harpic and Vanish could turn Reckitt into a stock as rock-solid as anything in the FTSE 100?

Last year, the company reported operating profits of £1.2bn on sales of £5.2bn. Last week, it raised revenue forecasts for the coming 12 months.

There are challenges ahead. Supermarket chains are keen to promote their own-label alternatives to Reckitt’s established brands, and as a significant proportion of the company’s revenue is generated in emerging markets, growth there is unlikely to emulate the 16 per cent rise seen in the third quarter.

From an investment perspective, Reckitt shares are hardly cheap, trading on a 2009 price/earnings ratio of 16.5, and yielding less than three per cent against a market average nearer to 5.6 per cent. But investors are prepared to pay for quality.

Reckitt shares might not have the panache of an Elegance 48, yours for just 800,000 euros, but they look likely to retain their inherent value long enough for us to enjoy a few more lunches and more people watching at Portal Nous.