• Switzerland's news in English

Swatch jeweller buys auction-record diamond

Nina Larson/AFP · 16 May 2013, 08:39

Published: 16 May 2013 08:39 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Christie's representative Raul Kadakia told reporters after the sale that Harry Winston was the buyer of the diamond that smashed the previous auction-price record for a diamond in its category by more than $10 million.
"Twenty-three million francs! Your last chance! Twenty-three 
million, sold!" shouted Francois Curiel, the head of Christie's jewellery division, referring to the $23.5-million price before tax and commission, and clinching the deal in front of some 150 people gathered for the auction at a luxury Geneva hotel.
As the first ever buyer of the new diamond, Harry Winston had the 
priviledge of naming it and decided to call it the "Winston Legacy," Kadakia said.

He noted this was the diamond dealer's first major purchase since it was snapped up by the world's leading watchmaker for $1 billion in March.
Switzerland's Swatch Group, most known for its brightly coloured plastic 
watches, has been eagerly expanding its luxury offerings.

Story continues below…

Wednesday's sparkling purchase should perhaps especially tickle the group's chairwoman Nayla Hayek, who was named chief executive of Harry Winston earlier this month.
"Diamonds are still a girl's best friend," she said following the January 
announcement that Swatch would buy the company, referring to the famous Marilyn Monroe song that mentions Harry Winston, from the 1953 musical film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes".
The American Institute of Gemology has handed the Harry Legacy the top 
colourless grade "D" and the best clarity grade, "flawless", which is characterized by its "absolute symmetry", according to Christie's.
The diamond, sold at the auction by a diamond merchant, was 236 carats in 
the rough when it was extracted from the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, before it was meticulously sculpted for 21 months, Christie's said.
Wednesday's sale marked the highest price ever paid for a flawless 
colourless diamond at auction, although Christie's had hoped the new diamond — the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer — would rake in $30 million.
The previous auction-price record-holder in the category was the 
84.37-carat Chloe round diamond, snapped up at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva in 2007 by Guess Jeans founder Georges Marciano for $16.2 million.
In the "colourless, flawless" category, the reigning world champion in 
terms of size is meanwhile the Cullinan Diamond, a gem weighing 530.2 carats that is part of the British crown jewels.
Last November, Christie's sold the 76-carat Archduke Joseph Diamond, in the 
initially flawless category a notch below flawless, on auction in Geneva for $21.5 million.
And in May 2011, a heart-shaped 56-carat diamond was auctioned off for 
$10.9 million.
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, which is in the same D-colour category but 
weighs in at only 33.19 carats, was meanwhile sold for $8.8 million on auction in New York in December 2011.
While Swatch's low-end plastic watches are perhaps its most recognisable, 
the Swiss company operates in every price range, from the Flik Flak kid's watches to prestigious timepieces under for instance the Breguet brand which can cost more than one million Swiss francs a piece.
Swatch's acquisition of Harry Winston — one of the world's most 
prestigious diamond dealers — comes after it ended a partnership with luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co in September 2011.

Nina Larson/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available