5 Things Rocking the Industry: May 2019



RETAIL

Hudson Yards, New York City’s highly anticipated $25 billion residential and commercial development, opened on Manhattan’s West Side in mid-March. The mega-project, spearheaded by real estate firm Related Companies, boasts 4,000 luxury residential units, several ­superstar-chef restaurants, a performing arts venue, a planned green space, and 720,000 square feet of retail that features boutiques from some of the most illustrious names in jewelry and watches: Cartier, Forty Five Ten, ­Pandora, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and Watches of Switzerland—not to mention a three-level, 188,000-square-foot Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-based retailer’s first-ever space in NYC.

(Above) Van Cleef & Arpels’ newest high jewelry collection, Folie des Pres, debuted at the Hudson Yards opening.

DIAMONDS

dutch diamond technology ringLast year, Apple’s Jony Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson fashioned a ring out of material grown by Diamond Foundry that was later auctioned by Sotheby’s for $256,250. While the ring is being cut and polished to fit the winner’s finger, Dutch ­Diamond Technologies has created, arguably, a more impressive version of the same concept, which has already been graded by Belgium lab HRD. The 3.9 ct. creation, laden with 133 facets, is very comfortable, ­according to HRD’s Katrien De Corte: “You forget it’s on.”

SHOWS

Patek Philippe Ref 5520P grand complication watch
Ref. 5520P Alarm Travel Time grand complication in 42.2 mm platinum case; $226,805; Patek Philippe; 212-218-1240; patek.com

Will Baselworld survive without the Swatch Group’s brands (and the hundreds of others who have defected)? That was the question hanging in the air before this year’s show in late March. Though radically smaller than years past—down to 520 exhibitors, from some 1,500 in 2016—Baselworld has a cautiously optimistic new management team with plans to transform the buying fair into an interactive event that lures consumers and lowers pricing for participating brands. And, for the watch crowd, there are still plenty of trendspotting opportunities. This time around, green watches and steel sports models were the must-haves. If it can retain marquee brands Patek Philippe and Rolex, which rumors suggest it is likely to do, Baselworld’s future may, indeed, be bright.

TECHNOLOGY

helzberg next gen storeIt’s one thing to let customers try on items, at least in regular reality. But Helzberg Diamonds’ seven next-generation stores use augmented reality to allow customers to virtually sport more than 100 designs. The “virtual ring experience” works like this: The customer chooses a style, slides his or her hand under a table mounted with a double-sided tablet, and voila, the ring appears on the hand—or at least it looks like it does. The custom-built technology can even determine ring size.

CELEBRITIES

J Lo ringWhen baseball legend Alex Rodriguez proposed to his sweetheart, superstar ­Jennifer Lopez, on a beach in the Bahamas in mid-March, the high-profile couple shared their joy with their combined 90 million–plus followers on Instagram via photos of the actual proposal and—­drumroll, please—the truly gargantuan diamond ring A-Rod slipped on J-Lo’s finger. (The emerald-cut diamond design—so huge that it blankets much of Lopez’s finger—is ­reportedly worth $1.8 million.) Rodriguez was mum about who made the ring but said he bought the diamond “overseas.”JLo ring close up

Jewelry watchers have remarked that J-Lo’s emerald-cut-and-baguette ring resembles Grace Kelly’s.

(Lopez: Mega/Newscom [2])