TIME TO SAY GOODBYE: As sendoffs go, it could hardly have been more respectful, indeed obsequious, at IWC’s starry party at the SIHH watch show in Geneva Tuesday night. Rather than reprising last year’s sarcasm and irony, compere Rob Brydon – the British comedian amazingly re-engaged – adopted an altogether more cringing tone for brand boss Georges Kern’s swansong.
At an evening highlighting IWC’s new Da Vinci range of women’s watches, Brydon dutifully picked out the particularly big Hollywood contingent – a group assiduously courted by Kern as brand ambassadors and friends during his 15 years as IWC chief executive officer. “Westworld” star James Marsden was joined by newer faces such as Patrick Stewart of “Star Trek” fame. And although stalwarts Kevin Spacey and Cate Blanchett could not attend due to film and stage commitments, surprise guests included Britain’s Vanessa Redgrave and France’s Isabelle Huppert, freshly back from last week’s Golden Globe win in L.A.
Sport was as evident as ever, with archrival Formula 1 motor racing champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rubbing shoulders, and almost an entire team’s worth of top European soccer stars and managers. Top models Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurakova were also prominently in attendance.
For “Orange is the New Black” star Taylor Schilling — a new IWC friend attending for the first time — it all seemed a bit forbidding. But sporting a shiny new Da Vinci on her wrist, she said she looked forward to learning more about watches.
The evening’s typically elusive theme involved an augmented reality show called “Decoding the Beauty of Time” that required all 900-plus guests to traipse from dinner table to adjoining makeshift theater. As usual, few, if any, understood the plot, but all enjoyed two thumping numbers from rising Danish electropop star Mø.
Then again, comprehension was probably not the priority at what was clearly Kern’s night. Introducing his successor, Christoph Grainger, the outgoing IWC boss — now promoted to overseeing all parent company Compagnie Financiere Richemont’s watch brands – assured journalists the show would go on, with another lavish party already being planned for next year.