GALA GOSSIP: IWC’s star-studded gala dinner is traditionally the high point of the Salon de la Haute Horlogerie watch show, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary in Geneva, but Tuesday night’s affair was relatively low key.
Regulars like Ewan McGregor and Cate Blanchett were absent, as was Kevin Spacey, the customary master of ceremonies, who was substituted this time by Moritz Bleibtreu, a well-known German actor. However, new friends of the brand Emily Blunt and Christoph Waltz were present, as were models Karolina Kurkova and Adriana Lima, and sports stars Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Actor James Marsden was also hidden somewhere among the guests.
Bleibtreu led the 800 attendees through a presentation on the “celestial origins of time” that included the ancient Babylonians, Einstein’s theory of relatively and the Celtic language.
There was a “Journey to the Stars” theme, chosen to celebrate the 75th anniversary of IWC’s bestselling Portuguese watch range.
Illusionists and Chinese drummers entertained the crowd, but the high point came when Mick Hucknall, Faces frontman and the former lead singer of Simply Red, took to the stage. Guests, standing and waving candles in the darkened hall, joined in the chorus of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.”
The event suggested a new corporate sobriety at IWC. Insiders denied it was cost cutting — the event was still said by some to have cost several million dollars — and the event was planned months before last week’s shock rise of the Swiss franc.