A mix of models, actors, Olympic gold medalists and race-car drivers descended on Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday for the annual gala dinner and watch debuts of IWC Shaffhausen.
The Swiss luxury timepiece maker is famed for its classic diver watch, the Aquatimer, a seriously muscular ticker that has its female adherents as well.
“I think that it’s actually very feminine and sexy to have a big watch, especially if you don’t like to wear too much jewelry. All you need is a watch really,” said Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima earlier in the day at IWC’s enormous booth at this year’s SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), where top watchmakers make 2014 reveals.
Also in attendance: actress Susan Sarandon who pulled back the cuff of her jacket to reveal a large-faced IWC and said, “I like big male watches.”
They certainly wouldn’t shy from the new dive watches that the brand showed at the fair. IWC’s 2014 Aquatimer collection, which will benefit the Charles Darwin Foundation with a portion of proceeds, has been given its first major redesign since 2009, with one of the most talked-about being the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. In addition to being the first IWC diver to incorporate a genuine haute-horlogerie complication (the perpetual calendar), it also goes big time. With a 49 mm case (almost 2" in diameter), it’s the second largest watch IWC has ever produced.
The brand also went big -- as in big top -- later that night at Geneva’s Palexpo with its “Inside the Wave” gala dinner where acrobats, trampolinists and other artists from Cirque de Soleil performed for a crowd of around 800 buyers, journalists, collectors and other fans and friends of the brand, including House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey, World War Z director Marc Forster and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton. The evening also saw actor Ewan McGregor don velvet top hat and jacket to narrate the proceedings, while Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson took to the stage to perform such signature hits as “Dreamer,” “Give a Little Bit” and “Breakfast in America.”
The underwater theme of the entire production -- from the schools of fish projects on the booth at the watch fair to the enormous fabric jellyfish decorations at the dinner -- played to both the dive theme and to IWC’s support of the Darwin Foundation and its work to preserve the Galapagos Islands. Said Spacey on the red carpet: “It is incredibly important for us to protect our oceans, protect our world, protect our planet.”
Another new Aquatimer is the Chronograph Edition “Expedition Charles Darwin,” which has an engraving of the famed explorer on the back and is done in bronze, a new case metal for the collection. The brand also has brought out a quick-change bracelet system, which allows the watches to quickly segue from a morning of surfing to a day at the office by switching out a rubber strap for a steel bracelet.
Another female fan making the scene was model Karolina Kurkova who told The Hollywood Reporter she owns almost a dozen IWC watches, which she called “masculine and sexy.” She’s also giving her son Tobin an early introduction to the brand: “For his fourth birthday, he got his first IWC watch with his name engraved on it. It’s super super special.”