HIGH TIMES

LUX­URY WATCHMAKER OMEGA CEL­E­BRATED THE OPEN­ING OF ITS NEW­EST AND BIG­GEST STORE WITH A CELEBRITY-STUDDED PARTY ON SYD­NEY HAR­BOUR.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - CULT - STORY GLYNIS TRAILL-NASH PHO­TOG­RA­PHY DAR­REN LEIGH ROBERTS

Omega pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive Ray­nald Aeschli­mann knows why peo­ple covet his com­pany’s watches. “Peo­ple buy them be­cause of the name, be­cause of the look, be­cause of their emo­tional mo­ment,” he tells WISH. Then he adds: “But on the other side, [it’s be­cause] we have a new cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of pre­ci­sion – we don’t want peo­ple with an Omega to be late.”

Rest as­sured that no one wanted to be late for the VIP din­ner the Swiss com­pany hosted in Syd­ney re­cently, to cel­e­brate the open­ing of its new­est Aus­tralian store in the city’s CBD, which also hap­pens to be the big­gest in the world for the brand.

To be fair, the time­keep­ing wasn’t up to guests on this finely tuned oc­ca­sion – they were chauf­feur-driven in con­voy from an in-store view­ing of the ex­hi­bi­tion Her Time, cel­e­brat­ing his­toric women’s time­pieces, to their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

Want­ing to cre­ate an­other emo­tional mo­ment that will long be re­mem­bered by the 100 guests, the com­pany chose the gar­dens and un­der­croft of a pri­vate res­i­dence for the black-tie event, right on Syd­ney’s pic­turesque har­bour in Dar­ling Point.

Be­gin­ning with Omega-branded Bollinger cham­pagne (a nod to its as­so­ci­a­tion with James Bond) on the grass as the sun went down, guests in­clud­ing Lindy Klim, Jar­rod Scott and Cheyenne Tozzi were ea­ger to see the star at­trac­tion: brand am­bas­sador Cindy Craw­ford, who daz­zled in a navy cowl-neck cock­tail dress by Ver­sace.

One of the orig­i­nal 1980s and 90s su­per­mod­els, Craw­ford has been a brand am­bas­sador for the women’s watches for 20 years – the same length of time as its men’s am­bas­sador, the afore­men­tioned 007.

“To­day’s world gets so much in­for­ma­tion and so much in­for­ma­tion about brands, it’s good to have sta­bil­ity and co­her­ence,” says Aeschli­mann. “And I think that’s ex­actly the thing about Cindy, it’s about some­one who has great charisma and a great ca­reer. Even with the kids she’s still an icon of style – it’s good for us.”

Craw­ford seems happy with the ar­range­ment, too. “Omega is all about his­tory and qual­ity and fash­ion and those are qual­i­ties that I want to as­so­ciate with,” she tells WISH. “But it’s also about legacy, and you can’t man­u­fac­ture his­tory to­gether. You have to have it.”

They cer­tainly cre­ated a mem­o­rable evening over din­ner by Cook and Waiter. Against the sand­stone back­drop and white flo­ral dis­plays of or­chids and roses, the feast in­cluded an en­trée of grilled scal­lops with sor­rel emul­sion and salmon cracker, fol­lowed by spice-brined or­ganic spatch­cock with con­fit kipflers.

Desserts in­clud­ing Val­rhona choco­late mousse with lemon leaf, gold-dusted pis­ta­chio mac­arons, and straw­berry meringues with rose, pome­gran­ate and sumac cream, were en­joyed as a roam­ing af­fair back on the lawn, lis­ten­ing to a set from DJ Han­nah and fu­sion vi­o­lin­ist Maddy.

Aeschli­mann be­lieves it’s im­por­tant to of­fer guests some­thing more than just a rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony. “When we open a store in a very large city, it’s good to do some­thing for the city where you are. For me, it is very im­por­tant to have in­vited a lot of cus­tomers and VIPs and jour­nal­ists to ex­plain who we are rather than just [do­ing so] in a store.”

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