Thursday, January 17
9 am – The first get-together
220 journalists from all over gathered in the lobby of Geneva’s five-star hotels. A two-day tour of de GRISOGONO’s glittering jewellery and watch world was about to begin, filled with discoveries. To begin with, a visit to the company’s jewellery workshop, which began operations in March 2005, followed by a tour of de GRISOGONO’s new watchmaking workshop which measure 850 square metres (some 9,150 square feet) . After a pause for a cup of tea in the sales boutique, the day continued with an interview with Fawaz Gruosi, press conferences and evening receptions for the launch of the Otturatore at the Espace Sécheron congress and exhibition facilities, followed a day later by that of the Meccanico dG at Geneva’s Grand Théâtre with a performance by the celebrated Ballet Béjart company.
12 noon – Fawaz Gruosi press conference
For its founder’s press conference, the company could have chosen as the venue one of the halls of Geneva’s many luxury hotels, with views of the lake. However, as always Fawaz Gruosi chose somewhere different, somewhere more intimate, the garage of his private home, in Prangins, near Geneva. Not quite what you’d expect, of course, although the space does cover nearly 1,000 square metres (nearly 3,300 square feet), was specially rearranged for the occasion and opens directly on the reception area of his luxurious home. In the kitchen, looking like a cross between an antique shop and a first-class restaurant, a selection of delicious risottos had been prepared for guests to enjoy under the veranda, with a fabulous view of the lake below. Champagne flowed freely, not least in the dining room where a variety of appetising dishes lured visitors, admiring the old masters on the walls as they ate.
7.30 pm – Launch of the Otturatore
Huge and impressive, the Espace Sécheron hall slowly filled with people. Some 1,000 square metres of the premises had been completely redecorated by de GRISOGONO, 400 sq. m. of which featured an exhibition highlighting the seven deadly sins… Which brings up a thought: what if those sins actually provided Fawaz Gruosi with the initial inspiration for his unique horological visions? Gluttony, lust, envy, pride… Each sin revealed its mysteries as you wandered through an interactive show, where curiosity was the prime companion of anyone trying to fathom the overactive creativity of de GRISOGONO’s founder. Finding your way through a forest of suspended birch trees to experience the pride of creating the impossible, peeking through a keyhole to observe a watchmaker assemble a movement, lustfully following the undulations of a sublimely sensual dancer’s watch-covered body… truly an evening to remember!
9 pm saw Fawaz Gruosi invite his guests to move from the exhibition to the dining area. But getting there took you right through a watch crown, no less! Inside, decorated in black and white, tables set on watch-movement gear wheels rotated smoothly. A grand piano seemed to float in mid-air while perched a few metres above the floor, a DJ’s console surveyed the entire scene. Extravaganza with a touch of magic… Pure Fawaz Gruosi, the man with a knack for surprises.
Around 11 pm, watch expert and Antiquorum auctioneer Brandon Thomas finally presented the first of de GRISOGONO’s newest entries. A film detailing the new watch filled giant screens before beautiful female models unveiled the coverings that had been hiding the Otturatore. Along with the hours and minutes displayed by a pair of centre-mounted hands, this inventive timepiece displays on demand the seconds, the date, the moon phases and the power reserve. Its originality resides in the selective display of each of the four latter indications by actioning a bidirectionally rotating dial. The press was visibly impressed.
Friday, January 18
9 am – initial rendezvous
The same 220-strong legion of press representatives gathered once again in the lobby of the area’s finest hotels. The day featured more visits and more interviews – as busy a programme as the previous day’s one, culminating in the introduction of the second new de GRISOGONO entry, the Meccanico dG.
12 noon – Hotel Le Richemond: the Meccanico dG revealed
Suspense? Did you say suspense? Press curiosity was palpable. At a lunch-cum-press conference, the 220 newspeople finally got some idea of what this second watch was all about. British journalist and writer Nick Foulkes, reputed for his sharp pen and biting humour, described how the watch worked before yielding the floor to Fawaz Gruosi, Brandon Thomas and René Droux, head of the company’s watch operations. The three of them detailed the inner workings of the new design, explaining the fine points of its digital second time-zone and power-reserve indicators. The press heard a lot but saw practically nothing except shots of a few components. The suspense thickened.
7.30 pm – Launch of the Meccanico dG at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva
Attired in formal evening wear, guests invited to de GRISOGONO’s black-tie cocktail party gradually filled the Grand Théâtre foyer. A sumptuous programme awaited them. The Béjart Ballet Lausanne company would be dancing for de GRISOGONO: Stravinsky’s The Firebird, excepts from Presbytère, to music by Queen and Mozart, and finally Ravel’s celebrated Bolero, featuring principal dancer Elisabet Ros. All in all, a memorable evening for some 450 of Fawaz Gruosi’s guests, who all rose to give the dazzling performance a standing ovation.
Following so impressive an artistic performance, the evening climaxed with the unveiling of the Meccanico dG. On the first floor of the Grand Théâtre, newspeople crowded around the showcases until dinner was served to animated discussions regarding de GRISOGONO’s latest entry. The Gold Singers then brought two memorably event-filled days to a pulsating musical conclusion.