A Week of Big Apple Events = Major 2018 News

What a week! I flew to New York City last Monday to attend back-to-back photo shoots for our colored stone–themed January-February 2018 issue [teaser: the look for the new year is all about hard stones (such as tiger’s eye), colors like lavender, and BEADS].

What I didn’t bargain for was a week of back-to-back (to back!) jewelry and watch events. Here are three highlights (chief among them a brief, shining moment with a very handsome global superstar)/

Forevermark Fetes Tribute Collection and TV Commercial

Between singer Zendaya; actors Chrissie Teigen, Freida Pinto, and Chloë Moretz; and models Halima Aden, Arizona Muse—along with my hero, Ashley Graham—the star power at Forevermark’s Tribute collection launch event on Tuesday, Nov. 7, was on the order of a red hypergiant.

Halima Aden, Chloë Grace Moretz, Freida Pinto, and Chrissy Teigen attend the Forevermark Tribute event on Nov. 7 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Forevermark)

Ashley Graham at the Forevermark Tribute event (photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for Forevermark)

Despite the rain, celebrities, editors, and Forevermark retailers converged on an event space in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood to pay homage to Forevermark’s new line of layered pendants, stackable rings, and drop earrings with retail prices starting at $498. Relying on a spot-on marketing approach that highlights women as individuals (right in line with remarks by Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier that I reported back in September), the responsibly sourced diamond brand unveiled its new national television commercial.

The stylish and effective ad departs from past holiday campaigns by highlighting women not solely as mothers or wives, but as people with multiple interests and talents, including family but hardly limited to that one-time be-all and end-all. Naturally, diamonds are positioned as the best way to thank a woman “for all that you are.”

The Forevermark Tribute collection (photo by Andrew Werner, courtesy of Forevermark)

The party also touted a new collaboration with fifth-generation diamantaire and designer Jade Trau, whose 5-year partnership with the brand just gets better and better. Due in stores in early 2018, the Forevermark x Jade Trau Alchemy collection features easy-to-wear yellow gold pieces set with stones in emerald, round, pear, and marquise shapes.

Forevermark x Jade Trau Alchemy collection diamond ring stack

Forevermark x Jade Trau Alchemy collection Envoy diamond stud earrings

Casio G-Shock Turns 35 With a Bang

On Thursday, I was inducted into the cult of G-Shock and its super-fans at Casio’s massive 35th-anniversary event at the theater at Madison Square Garden, where I learned something truly, er, shocking:

“Thirty-five years, 100 million watches shipped,” said speaker Adam Craniotes, president and founder of the RedBar Crew, a New York City watch collector’s group that has spawned similar meetups around the world. “Within this industry, that’s unprecedented.”

Take that figure in for a moment. One hundred million watches. That makes Casio’s G-Shock the best-selling timepiece of all time.

Introduced in 1983 as “an unbreakable watch,” the original G-Shock (plus the countless iterations it has spawned) seduced members of the military, sports stars, and collectors with its image of ultimate toughness, its myriad designs, and its unbeatable affordability (most pieces retail for less than $400).

The new 51.2 mm G-Shock GA135A-1A comes with a matte black finish and features magnetic and shock resistance, 200 m water resistance, a speed indicator, and mute function, $160; exclusively at G-SHOCK Soho Store

Matt Hranek, Condé Nast Traveler editor and author of the just-released A Man and His Watch, a book of stories about, well, men and their timepieces, said that even though most people associate watch connoisseurs with pricey luxury brands, the book has “more G-Shock stories than any single brand.”

The highlight of the evening was Japanese creator Kikuo Ibe’s moment on stage, when he unveiled a prototype due to be released in 2018.

“Everybody knows my first dream was to create an unbreakable watch,” Ibe said in careful, heavily accented English. “Another dream was to create a G-Shock with metal that still retains its toughness. Then I wanted to create a watch that fused toughness with the softest metal.

“This dream was realized in 2015 when we unveiled a pure gold G-Shock. This year, we fused one of the most fragile materials with G-Shock’s hallmark toughness. Do you know what the most fragile material in the world is?”

It’s crystal. And the Sapphire Crystal G-Shock, rumored to be priced around $100,000, is poised to usher the brand into luxury territory.

Spotted at Madison Square Garden: a prototype of the Sapphire Crystal G-Shock

Tudor Names David Beckham New Brand Ambassador

Thursday night presented a dilemma: Tudor had timed its much-anticipated fall event to begin just one hour after G-Shock’s start time. Would I blow it off? Of course not. I RSVPed to both.

While that meant I had to leave Madison Square Garden before all the fun began—the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob (among others) was due to perform—I can’t complain. Five minutes after arriving at the Tudor event at the Edition Hotel on Madison Avenue, and arming myself with a Negroni, I was introduced to my literary idol and fellow Leningradian, the novelist Gary Shteyngart, who also happens to be a new but devoted member of the NYC watch tribe.

We geeked out over our shared love of Soviet-made Raketa watches before a concert of bulbs and a sudden swoosh in the crowd alerted us to the arrival of David Beckham. The exceptionally handsome, tatted-up soccer star is Tudor’s new brand and #BornToDare campaign ambassador.

I’m happy to report that he’s also exceptionally genuine, which he made clear in a brief speech about how he discovered Tudor at a retail store in London:

“I came across this watch that I actually thought was a Rolex and I picked it up and they said, ‘This is a 1967.’ And I looked at it and I could see the snowflake on it. And I said, ‘It’s not a Rolex?’ and they said, ‘No, but it’s part of the Rolex family. It’s actually a Tudor.’  So I got the watch—it was a 1967, an amazing, beautiful piece. That was my first introduction to Tudor as a brand.

“And then, funnily enough, a couple weeks later, I was contacted—which I found very weird, that I’d been into the store, seen the watch, and then two weeks later, I was contacted by the guys at Tudor and they said, ‘We have a proposition for you. Are you interested? We’re a part of the Rolex family.’ And I said, ‘I know all this.’ That was something very strange that led me into this amazing partnership.”

David Beckham at Tudor’s #BornToDare event wearing a Black Bay Chrono wristwatch (reference 79350, $5,050 on bracelet) (photo courtesy of Tudor) 

Beckham then proved that, in addition to being genuine and good-looking, he’s also extremely gracious. How do I know? He said yes to anyone who asked for a selfie, including me and my +1, the publicist Katie Kinsella. When I got home at 1 a.m. that night, I was still swooning!

WatchTime’s Mark Bernardo, publicist Katie Kinsella, David Beckham, and me

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JCK Magazine Editor