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“I forgot to take the plastic off,” said Dakota Johnson, removing the protective cover of her new watch — a timepiece from Vacheron Constantin’s “Heures Créatives” collection.
It was Wednesday evening in Beverly Hills, where the luxury Swiss watchmaker hosted a party to unveil a short film while showcasing pieces from its new “Overseas Skeleton” line — models featuring both a tourbillon and skeletonized look, in grade-5 titanium or 18-karat pink gold.
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Johnson — next embodying protagonist Anne Elliot in Netflix’s take on Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” — stood alongside Alexander Schmiedt, president of the Americas for Vacheron Constantin. She handed him the watch, at his suggestion, and he twirled its crown, setting the time — minutes past 7 p.m. — before placing it back on her wrist.
“She chose a beautiful piece,” Schmiedt later said. “You know, for Vacheron, heritage is very important. We always say, we are the oldest Swiss watch brand. But just for the sake of being old, no one cares. You become old-fashioned. Like living in a museum. For us, what’s important is heritage. That inspires us for the future. She chose a watch, which was actually created three years ago, but inspired by a jewelry piece from 1917.”
Founded in Geneva in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron, Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest operating watchmakers in the world. The luxury Swiss company, with brick-and-mortar stores and retail partners globally, runs a number of shops in North America, including in New York, Chicago, Miami and Houston. On the West Coast, its footprint is in Las Vegas at The Palazzo; in Costa Mesa at South Coast Plaza, and Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive.
“We wanted to create something that perfectly fits to L.A.,” Schmiedt said of the night. Bringing together VIPs, top clients and Hollywood faces, there was Kate Mara, Riley Keough, Aldis Hodge, Travis Bennett, professional basketball player Chris Paul, as well as a slew of stylists — Ilaria Urbinati, Jamie Mizrahi, Jeanne Yang, Jenny Ricker, Tara Swennen, Tracy Shapoff, Courtney Mays and Enrique Melendez.
“The link with a film creator, producer, director, the perfect place is L.A,” Schmiedt went on.
The brand tapped filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg (of “Fantastic Fungi”) to create the short, which will live in stores and online. The film was created to bring to life the company’s motto for this year: beauty is in the detail. Screened at the party, it’s a hypnotizing look at the intricate parts of a watch, superimposed with footage of wildlife.
“We always try to create beautiful products, but a watch can only be as beautiful as the sum of all its details,” Schmiedt said. “And that’s why we put so much attention to even the smallest details. When we speak about small, we talk about tenths of millimeters that make all the difference. We wanted to make the link, the parallel with nature, which is exactly the same way. You perceive something as beautiful, but when you look close, you see where the beauty comes from. We were looking for ways to express that and that’s how we met Louie and his work, and we thought it was just the perfect match.”
“I’m always trying to ask the big questions, what is life and doing a deeper dive, looking at the little things,” said Schwartzberg, an innovator in the time-lapse technique. “It’s the little things in life that make the world go round.”