Graff was the talk of the watch industry’s largest annual trade show in Basel when presented “Hallucination” a watch that cost $55 million to put together, loaded with more than 110 carats of diamonds.
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Laurence Graff, one of the U.K.’s largest and most successful jewelers knows how to put on a show. And that’s exactly what he did recently in Basel, Switzerland at the annual BaselWorld Tradeshow and convention presenting what he claimed to be most valuable watch ever created, at a cost of $55 million.
Boasting diamonds weighing more than 110 carats, as well as thousands of hours of expensive work time from Graff’s team of highly trained genealogists, designers and craftsmen, it is little wonder that Graff named the ladies watch as his personal” Hallucination” and described it as a sculptural masterpiece- a celebration of the miracle of colored diamonds.
In a statement issued during the course of the exhibition Laurence Graff confessed that for a number of years he had been considering creating a truly remarkable watch that illustrates our all consuming passion for diamonds. “The Hallucination has made my diamond dream a reality.” He summed up
this year’s exhibition marks the first time that Graff Diamonds have taken part in Baselworld they certainly succeeded in coming in and creating a lasting impression thanks to “hallucination” a watch which tells everything about man’s passion for beautiful diamonds.
Laurence Graff, a totally self-made man who has assembled a fortune of around $4 billion through his exclusive jewelry retailing empire. Coming from the humble beginnings of Stepney, in East London, which was a hotbed of Jewish immigrants in the thirties, Graff was just a year old when World War Two broke out, and spent much of his early childhood in the London Underground as German bombers blitzed the city.
Growing up in the austere nineteen fifties, the young Graff had no formal business education, and began his career in the jewelry trade when aged just fifteen, first opening a small retail shop and later designing and producing jewelry pieces which he sold to other jewellers. By the early nineteen sixties, Graff, then in his mid twenties, had accumulated enough capital to open two exclusive retail outlets, one of them in the highly prestigious Hatton Gardens, still regarded as the epicenter of the UK’s jewelry industry.
By the seventies, Graff had built himself a tremendous reputation, with clientele seeking out his services from all over the World, extending from the oil sheiks of the Gulf states to the superstars of Hollywood.
Graff’s reputation for designing and producing exquisite jewelry, is matched only by his monument and unrelenting determination to achieve his goals, and being totally unafraid of taking calculated risks along the way. While building up his art collection is nothing more than a hobby, albeit an expensive one, some of the seventy-four-year-old Graff’s purchases in the jewelry world are considerably more spectacular.
In 2010 Graff shattered the world record for a single purchase of any jewel at auction, no less than $46 million dollars for a unique pink diamond. Two years previously he caused an even wilder uproar in the jewelry industry by paying out $24.3 million for the 31.06 carats deep-blue Wittelsbach Diamond.