Omega hosts a wind-whipped dinner at Case Study House No. 22
The Nov. 30 dinner party thrown by Omega-- for which the Swiss watch brand rented out the iconic Midcentury Modern Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills -- was intended to be an opportunity for a select number of celebrity guests, stylists and members of the media to focus on a selection of the company's timepieces.
But the Ladymatic, Speedmaster Moonwatch and Seamaster Planet Ocean watches -- on display in a trio of museum-quality vitrines -- could hardly compete for guests' attention with the show Mother Nature was putting on behind the tempered safety glass walls of the hillside home, which buckled and rattled in their casings as the Santa Ana winds (which, by morning, would leave Pasadena in a shambles and topple trees and light posts across L.A. proper) whipped past.
Before dinner, Hamm -- who was seated across from us and facing the window -- recounted in real-time as a handful of transformers sparked and flashed on the city streets below.
But surprisingly, it wasn't even the record 60- to 80-mph wind gusts buffeting the glass-walled, cantilevered Case Study House No. 22 (designed by Pierre Koenig, the home was captured by photographer Julius Shulman in 1960 and the image became one of the most famous architectural photos in the U.S.) that made the biggest impression on me. It was a childhood memory from an early occupant of the house.
Bruce Stahl, son of the late owners Buck and Carlotta Stahl, moved into the house in 1960 at the age of 2, along with his brother, sister and parents, and was keeping a watchful eye over his family's legacy throughout the Nov. 30 dinner. As I was leaving, I asked Stahl to share his earliest childhood memory.
"My earliest memory was a Christmas tree -- set up right there in the corner where that woman is seated," Stahl said as he pointed to the glass-walled corner overlooking Los Angeles, to about the self-same spot that Shulman's famous photograph has made so familiar.
I squinted, stared out where Stahl was pointing, but at first it didn't sink in. Then, I tried to imagine the scene through the eyes of a 2-year-old child and, suddenly, there it was: the vast city of Los Angeles in all its twinkling glory, set out beneath my family Christmas tree.
I didn't need an Omega watch to tell me I'd just had one of those rare and magical L.A. moments.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: At top left, president of Omega North America Gregory Swift, left, and Jon Hamm at the Nov. 30 dinner at the Stahl House. At right, a view of the Stahl House with the city of Los Angeles visible in the background. Watches on display included (from middle to bottom) Omega's Seamaster Planet Ocean, Ladymatic and Speedmaster Moonwatch timepieces. Credit: Omega