Hollywood stars model watches in Geneva

Hollywood actors Kevin Spacey, Ewan McGregor and Matthew Fox were among the lineup of stars for a Tuesday night soiree in Geneva for IWC, the Schaffhausen watchmaker.

Hollywood stars model watches in Geneva
Movie actor Kevin Spacey is flanked by model Adriana Lima and IWC CEO Georges Kern (left) and model Karolina Kurkova and F1 driver Nico Rosberg at Geneva event. Photo: IWC Schaffhausen

French World Cup football champion Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima, Formula One driver Nico Rosberg and tennis legend Boris Becker were other luminaries modelling luxury timepieces for the Richemont brand.

The IWC Schaffhausen Race Night was one of several events organized for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) at Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition centre.

The event, showcasing 16 watch brands, coincides with the Geneva Time Exhibition and numerous smaller events in the city’s luxury hotels, all geared to promoting watch sales, largely to dealers, journalists and collectors.

McGregor, who appeared at a similar night for IWC last year, was sporting a trim beard as well as a watch with a large dial.

The Scotsman posed affably for photos alongside Lima.

A smiling Spacey appeared in a bowtie for the red carpet event, featuring music and a motor racing display, which attracted 800 guests and journalists, IWC said.

The brand rolled out its new line of Ingenieur watches and highlighted its partnership with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team, which helps explain Rosberg’s presence.

The watches range in price from around 3,500 francs to more than 30,000 francs.

Around 12,500 people are expected at the SIHH, which runs until Friday.

The salon showcases mostly brands from the Geneva-based Richemont luxury group, such as Jaeger LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier, Mont Blanc, Piaget, Cartier and Roger Dubuis.

The five-day Geneva Time Exhibition, which winds up on Thursday, is displaying watches from more than 30 smaller Swiss brands at the historic Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, a renovated utility plant.

The salons offer an opportunity to introduce new watch models, some of them running into the hundreds of thousands of francs.

The events are viewed as a barometer for the health of the Swiss luxury watch industry in the run-up to the world’s largest watch show, Baselworld, running from April 25 to May 2.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Marie Antoinette pendant fetches $36 million, shattering estimate

A pearl and diamond pendant owned by Marie Antoinette before she was beheaded during the French Revolution sold for $36 million at an auction on Wednesday, shattering its pre-sale estimate of up to $2 million.

Marie Antoinette pendant fetches $36 million, shattering estimate
The pearl and diamond pendant were the centrepiece of Wednesday's auction. Photo: AFP

The Sotheby's auction at an ultra-luxurious hotel on the banks of Lake Geneva saw feverish bidding for a 10-piece collection owned by the ill-fated queen, featuring jewels unseen in public for two centuries.

The 10 items, which had been estimated to fetch a total of roughly $3 million, sold for a combined sum of nearly $43 million, Sotheby's said.

The 'Queen Marie Antoinette Pearl' (C) with other jewellery from the 'Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family' collection. Photo: AFP

A diamond brooch pegged to go for roughly $80,000 (70,000 euros) sold for $1.75 million, excluding fees, one of several pieces that brought in more than 20 times its estimated worth. 

But the highlight was the pendant featuring an oval diamond and drop-shaped pearl, which Sotheby's said went to an anonymous, private buyer, without giving further details.

Read also: 'Incomparable' $50-million pink diamond smashes record at Geneva auction

Sotheby's also said the pendant set a new record price for a pearl jewel sold at auction.

“Marie Antoinette's pendant is simply irreplaceable and the price it fetched is about far more than the gem itself,” Eddie LeVian, the chief executive of jewellers Le Vian, said in a statement.

“It captures everyone's imagination,” he added.

“This is the ultimate proof, if it were needed, that the world's ultra high net worth individuals love rare, natural fancy coloured diamond and pearls jewels as investments, and especially those with royal provenance.”

Journey through Europe

Marie Antoinette's treasures were the centrepieces of a sale featuring 100 jewels held by the Italian royal House of Bourbon-Parma. 

Sotheby's, which had billed the event as one of the most important royal jewellery auctions in history, said the night did not disappoint. 

The 100 lots earned a total of $53.1 million – compared to a pre-sale estimate of $4.2 million – a performance that bested a previous record set in 1987 when Sotheby's sold a collection of jewel's once held by the House of Windsor.  

Marie Antoinette, who historians say was reviled by much of the French public over her lavish spending in the midst of a national financial crisis, was guillotined in Paris in October 1793 at the age of 37. 

After her death, her jewels followed a winding path highlighting European power dynamics in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

According to accounts written by the queen's lady-in-waiting, Madame Campan, Marie Antoinette spent an entire evening in the Tuileries Palace wrapping all her diamonds, rubies and pearls in cotton and enclosing them in a wooden chest.

They were sent to Brussels, governed by her sister Archduchess Marie-Christine, before being sent on to the French queen's native Austria, and into the safe-keeping of her nephew, the emperor.

In 1792, the royal family was imprisoned in Paris. The king and queen were executed the next year, and their 10-year-old son died in captivity.

Only their daughter, Marie Therese of France, survived. She was sent to Austria in 1796, where she was given her mother's jewels.

She had no children herself, but passed on the treasures to her niece and adopted daughter, Louise of France, Duchess of Parma, who in turn left them to her son, Robert I (1848-1907), the last ruling Duke of Parma.

They have been privately owned by relatives ever since.

Read also: Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland