A surprise firework display and an exclusive set from R’n’B star Lemar rounded off a night of celebration at Baltic to mark a special anniversary for Goldsmiths and luxury watch-maker Rolex.
With Gateshead Millennium Bridge illuminated green to add to the occasion, Rolex UK and The Watches of Switzerland Group – of which Newcastle ‘s historic jeweller is part – got together on Thursday evening to host a black tie event to commemorate their centenary year of business together.
Goldsmiths was appointed Rolex stockist – the first in UK – in 1919 and is now a major distributor of the brand and at the riverside art gallery specially-invited guests helped celebrate their 100-year partnership with a Champagne and canape reception.
It was, quite literally, a glittering night, with Rolex watches in display cases as the guests mingled ahead of a three-course dinner.
Baltic in Gateshead hosted a night of celebration marking 100 years of business between The Watches of Switzerland Group and Rolex
They had been promised an evening of celebration and surprise and they weren’t disappointed, with Brit Award-winning soul and R&B singer Lemar providing entertainment after guests gathered to watch a post-dinner firework display against the backdrop of a green-illuminated Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge.
The big news of the night was that charity is to benefit hugely amid all the luxury. It was announced that 100 watches -costing around £11,000-£12,000 – have been specially-made, featuring a commemorative engraving to mark the 100-year anniversary, and £3,000 from the sale of each will be donated to The Prince’s Trust.
And the charity, which works with young people and was represented by local young ambassador Tom Rebair who told guests of his own uplifting story, will be spending at least some of that in the region.
Clare Crabb, north regional director at The Prince’s Trust, said the money will help support education projects in Newcastle and beyond.
The night, also a thank-you to North East clients and businesses, was hosted by Richard de Leyser, managing director of Rolex, and Brian Duffy, chief executive officer of The Watches of Switzerland Group, which is the UK’s largest Rolex distributer.
Against a background of big screen images, telling the proud history of the businesses and start of the partnership, they spoke of the enduring bond with the city where Goldsmiths has been providing personalised customer service for generations.
Formerly Northern Goldsmiths, and dating from 1778, the retailer plays a major role for Rolex since its 1919 appointment as stockist for the luxury watch brand.
It has a dedicated Rolex shop within its own corner premises on Pilgrim Street and Blackett Street and is famous for its exterior 24-carat gold leaf Rolex Venus clock.
Craig Bolton, executive director for Goldsmith and fellow group member Mappin & Webb, said: “We’re truly honoured to have partnered with Rolex for 100 years.
“It’s a huge part of Goldsmith’s history and a significant milestone and privilege for our group.
He added: ” Northern Goldsmiths has a special place in the hearts of people in the North East and we look forward to continue welcoming Rolex customers for years to come.”
Goldsmiths, which underwent a £1m revamp to reopen as a showpiece store in 2015, has an extensive back-catalogue of memorabilia taking in the 100-year partnership but, to mark the big anniversary, it is asking any Rolex watch-owners in the region to come forward with timepieces from years gone to help make up a special in-store display.
Anyone with Rolex items of nostalgia and watch collections can email firstname.lastname@example.org with a photograph and brief description.
The 100 watches – some of which feature the iconic Newcastle Goldsmiths store on the engraving – are on sale now from all the city’s Goldsmiths stores and also soon will be available nationwide.
The 36mm version costs £11,200 and the 41mm is £12,350. The higher than usual price tag will see £1,000 of the cost go to The Prince’s Trust along with a donation of £1,000 from The Watches of Switzerland Group and the same from Rolex.