PARIS — Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet stopped over in Paris on its world tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak, alighting at the hip Palais de Tokyo museum for a party and concert that drew an eclectic crowd Tuesday.
Cécile Cassel, Julie Gayet, Chantal Thomass and Thomas Dutronc were among the local luminaries who took in an arty exhibit showcasing 100 models of the Royal Oak, whose fans range from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jay-Z. The show, which has already been seen in New York and Milan, opens to the public today for five days before its next leg: Beijing.
Actor Benoît Magimel, a keen timepiece collector, said his most memorable watch purchase was during filming on French director André Téchiné’s 1996 film “Thieves,” which co-starred Catherine Deneuve. “I had been introduced to some local thugs and they really had the look down pat — they all had beautiful watches. So I went out and with my meager savings, I bought myself a nice suit and an automatic watch. I was very proud of this little watch and rushed to show it to them,” he recalled.
Designer Vanessa Seward sported a gift from musician husband Bertrand Burgalat. “It was his mother’s watch and for me, it brings me luck. I can’t go to an important meeting without having it on,” she explained, showing off the retro-look gold bracelet watch with a tiny face.
Clotilde Courau was less inspired by timepieces than by her current project: The actress is directing her first play, based on never-before-seen letters written by Edith Piaf six months after the death of her lover, boxer Marcel Cerdan. “Bizarrely enough, Piaf has always been part of my life,” said Courau, who played the singer’s mother in the 2007 biopic “La vie en rose.”
Surprise guest Peter Doherty, on the other hand, was all business. “I brought a few. I was hoping someone might be able to help. Obviously they’re not going to look at them tonight, but I got this little job lot,” he said, pulling out a black velvet pouch stuffed with old watches and rusty parts. “Isn’t that beautiful?” the pasty-faced singer mumbled, holding up an Ingersoll pocket watch with a black dial. After stopping at a booth where a master watchmaker demonstrated his skills, Doherty and a female friend posed for pictures in the museum’s vintage photo booth before disappearing into the night.