Just recently the GEM Awards, one of the highest honors bestowed on professionals and companies in the fine jewelry and watch industries, announced its line-up of award winners and nominees that will be honored live at the 17th annual GEM Award event on January 11, 2019 at Cipriani in New York. Among the nominees named for several categories of Awards, one person is name as the Lifetime Achievement winner. This year, that is Stewart WIcht, head of Rolex North America. He stated his career at Rolex SA in Geneva in 1975, and has been President and CEO of Rolex Watch USA since 2011.
Over the course of his 36-year career in Switzerland, he was responsible for the oversight of numerous markets in Asia and the South Pacific, as well as having established and managed the Intellectual Property department. At Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc., he heads a team of more than 500 people. Wicht will retire in December of this year, but remains on the board of directors of Rolex Watch U.S.A. According to the GEM Awards committee, he is receiving “the 2019 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement due to his efforts to enhance the jewelry and watch industry’s image and set a standard of excellence that inspired industry colleagues throughout the course of his career. His professional and personal interests led him to join the boards of industry and cultural organizations, including the American Gem Society, the American Swiss Foundation and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He is the Chairperson of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, a position he has held for the past three years.”
In the category of Jewelry Design, GEM Awards nominees include Fernando Jorge, of his eponymous brand, Silvia Furmanovich, of her own brand, and Valerie Messika of Messika.
For Media Excellence (a category I am proud to say I won in the past), the nominees are Brecken Branstrator of National Jeweler, Michael Thompson of IW, and Will Kahn of Town & Country.
The Nominees In the realm of Retail Excellence, which “recognizes the companies who are using innovative strategies to create positive change to how jewelry and/or watches are sold. The retailer — online or brick-and-mortar — may be recognized for their excellence in e-commerce, technological advancements, in-store experience, digital applications or any combination thereof.” are Cellini Jewelers, Broken English and Threads.