When auctioneer Hugh Hildesley brought the gavel down on the final 25th auction lot, the room at Sotheby's burst into wild applause. The Swatch auction to benefit God's Love We Deliver, an organization that feeds homebound people in New York City living with Aids, had just raised $400,000 with some Swatch timepieces going for over $20,000. The applause erupted into absolute explosion when Nicolas Hayek Jr., board member of Swatch Group, announced that Swatch would match the amount. The additional $400,000 brought the total amount raised to an unprecedented $800,000.
The 500+ guests included a star-studded mix of celebrities, socialites and collectors along with Swatch stores in Milan, Berlin and Zurich that were live via satellite. Among those in attendance were Donald Trump and his companion Melanie Knauss, Blaine Trump and her husband Robert, actors Matthew Modine and Aida Turturro, TV personalities Star Jones and Deborah Norville, fashion celebrities Heidi Klum and Isaac Mizrahi and the who's who of Manhattan Rolodexes.
Heidi Klum, fashion celebrity
Mr. Hildesley stated, "Wristory was one of the most joyful and
provocative auctions in Sotheby's history." Guests received a special
Swatch watch and matching bidding paddle as their invitation. The gavel
that Mr. Hildesley used to conduct the auction was created in Plexiglas
containing the 51 components that make up a Swatch. The specially designed
chairs that bidders sat on were later taken home in Wristory-designed gift
bags. Rarely would one witness a scene where the end of the auction saw
elegant society ladies and their aristocratic partners kneeling on the
floor to dissemble and carry out their chairs.
Regarding the lots, the highest bid was raised for the Swatch Puff
collection by a telephone bidder in Tokyo for $105,000. The unprecedented
"My Swatch" (the first opportunity for an individual to create and design
their own limited edition Swatch-only 100 pieces) went to philanthropist
Henry Buhl for an impressive $40,000. Hard fought bids were cast for the
unique Swatch timepieces "Gold" and "Platinum" which went to a Swiss
collector in Zurich. A set of Swatches that were originally given
exclusively to winning athletes in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games -a gold,
a silver and a bronze - sold for $21,000. An original set of prototypes
for Swatch's first James Bond collection sold for $23,000. Ann Jackson,
the publisher of trendy InStyle magazine, acquired for $11,000 the quirky
Hofkunst set of three food-themed Swatches along with a real dinner for 12
people, prepared in the kitchen of God's Love We Deliver by celebrity chef
David Waltuck of Chantrelle restaurant, hosted by Joan Rivers, with
embellishments by society decorator Mario Buatta and brought to life with
Jes Gordan's floral arrangements. Blaine Trump, co-chair of the evening,
bought the UN 50 Swatch collection, which celebrated the 50 year
anniversary of the United Nations, for $5,000.
Nicolas Hayek Jr., board member of Swatch Group,
celebrates with Donald Trump, Melanie Knauss and Blaine Trump, Event co-chair