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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ulysse Nardin's $1.1 Million Timepiece Highlights Superyacht Charity Event

The $1.1 Million Royal Blue Tourbillion Haute Joaillerie

PALM BEACH, Fla. – The guests circled the marble outdoor pool area Saturday at the Mar-A-Lago Club, Donald’s Trump’s Mediterranean-revival palace, as night fell. The men wearing formal tuxes, the women in flowing gowns with jewelry that sparkled like stars against the night. They entered the main banquet room with drinks in hand and sat down for the final gala and live auction of the 24th Annual Showboats International Boys & Girls Clubs Rendezvous.

Patrik Hoffmann
In the midst of it all, playing a prominent role throughout the three-day event, was Patrik Hoffmann, CEO of the Swiss luxury watch brand, Ulysse Nardin. Hoffmann and the watch brand helped the event raise more than $1 million for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County by contributing about $200,000.

Held November 10-12 at the Rybovich Yacht Club, the exclusive Rendezvous is the largest gathering of superyachts in the U.S. Twelve yachts, measuring from 44 feet to 197 feet participated this year. There are daily and early evening events at the yacht club and evening galas throughout the Palm Beach area.

On November 10 during a tour of the superyachts known as the “Rendezvous Yacht Hop,” Hoffmann commandeered the 197-foot Lime Light to showcase a selection of watches that would be featured throughout the event, including the $1.1 million Royal Blue Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie (top picture). The platinum watch case and bracelet are paved with 568 baguette-cut diamonds and 234 baguette-cut royal blue sapphires. The bridges and main plates are crafted in blue sapphire, allowing the flying Tourbillon to appear as if it is floating in an empty space. While this watch made the headline of this story it was actually overshadowed by some of Ulysse Nardin’s other offerings when it came to its impact on the event. Among the watches:

The Admiral, a marine chronometer specifically designed for and given to 16 members of the Rendezvous Fleet Admirals Club. These are persons who contributed $50,000 per year for the past five years to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. Each watch is engraved with the recipient’s name. The men’s model is on a rubber strap and on an additional crocodile strap with steel deployant buckle. The matching women’s model has a diamond bezel. The watch dial, caseback and strap also contains insignias and other descriptions identifying the person as a Fleet Admirals Club member. During the formal gala, each member was called up to the stage to be acknowledged, and to personally receive their custom timepiece from Hoffmann.

The Classico, the official auction watch. The sleek gold watch includes a caseback that can be personalized for the owner through a hand-engraved image. Five of the watches were auctioned off for $25,000 each during at the final night’s ball.

The Blue El Toro perpetual calendar timepiece was the surprise auction watch. It’s the newest GMT Perpetual model from the company and the only one currently available in the world. “It is the only perpetual calendar that you can set back and forth,” Hoffmann said. “Whereas many perpetual calendars work with springs and clutches, obviously, once it springs you cannot go back. Ulysse Nardin perpetual calendars work with wheels and gears. That’s why you can go back and forth.” It’s a patent owned by Ulysse Nardin used for all of its perpetual calendar timepieces that will end in about two years.

Hoffmann said Friday that there was a possibility of it being placed on auction but he didn’t sound too keen on the idea. However, later that evening, during the Palm Beach Celebration party at the Flagler Museum, all it took was a little “nudge” from Rick Case, founder of the Rendezvous event. In this case, the nudge by Case, one of the top car dealers in the U.S., involved calling Hoffmann in front of everyone in the room and telling them that the timepiece will be auctioned off the following night. The watch sold at auction during the final night’s gala for $75,000, well over its retail price of $55,000.

The Genghis Khan Unique Piece. This latest version of the limited edition Genghis Khan is the only one in the world with a mother-of-pearl background. The figures on the watch face are made of threaded gold. It also has a Westminster chime sound that signals the hour, quarter hour and minutes. The visible one minute tourbillon is integrated into the aventurine dial. It sells for $725,000 Swiss francs ($786,000).

Those who received an Admiral Watch are:

Felix Sabates

John Rosatti & Dawn

Robert Tomsich

Leslie & Tom Murphy

Linda & Doug Von Allmen

Leslie & John Dane III

Cindy & Terry Taylor

Christine Lynn

Suzanne & Larry DeGeorge

Gene Reed

John Devaney

Marti & Wayne Huizenga

Rita & Rick Case

Richard & Mary Anne Kull

From left: Wayne and Marti Huizenga receiving an Admiral timepiece from Patrik Hoffmann and Rick Case.

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