A Night of Unbridled (Hour) Passion: Longines, Two Trophies and Melting the Cold Within
The grey, dark rain pelted West 34th Street in Manhattan, in the way that film directors try to re-create. Cold, blood-freezing-cold rain. Rain that gives you a headache, and makes you want to turn around and go back home, to crawl in bed and under the covers. Cold, relentless rain that sets up shop in your bones and refuses to leave until your face is a reflection of the lingering bonechill.
By the time I arrived at my destination–the Swatch Group’s concept store in the heart of The City–I was a soaked mess. I’d waited 45 minutes on 42nd Street in the aforementioned torrent, then crawled into a cab like a refugee Muridae. One harrowing cab ride from Hell, and I dashed into the megawatt-lit, welcoming glass doorway of Hour Passion.
I had fought the elements and my own insecurities (that arose as the result of of my wet-rattedness)–and stepped inside the inviting door. From grey, dark and cold into white, brilliantly-bright, heat. Hour Passion’s physical attributes were a reflection of the spirit of the place: it warmed my soul, if not my bones. Like a sinner going from the freezing grey of Purgatory to the bright warmth of Heaven, I adjusted my eyesight, then my vision.
The Swatch Group is the Swiss watch company on which I have a Corporate Crush: with many brands under its umbrella, including Omega and Longines, Swatch has something perfectly-created for virtually everyone. If Swatch is my crush, Longines is my Love.
Longines, as you know–or should know–is a major sponsor of many equestrian sports, including horse racing. The official timekeeper of the Triple Crown races and most of the world’s major race events, Longines has made a strong, honest commitment to equine sports and to those of us who love horses, and the beauty, accuracy and integrity that are the hallmarks of true horse racing.
The word, “elegance” keeps coming up whenever Longines is discussed, and the flagship store across the street from Macy*s is no exception. From the whitest-white walls to the clean angles of the displays and photography, the room, itself, is an artistic expression of the host company’s corporate soul.
I was at Hour Passion on this night to view two other works of art, the Triple Crown Trophy and the Longines Just a Game Trophy. (The Longines Just a Game is a wonderful Grade 1 race: at one mile on the turf, for 4YO Fillies and Mares, the $700,000 race brings out some of America’s brightest turf stars.) Both trophies sat on their perfect white pedestal, sharing space with two otherworldly-gorgeous Longines watches.
The silver of the trophies shone in the clean, blue-white light blazing down from the ceiling. The silver reflected all that was around it, while at the same time drawing all of us into themselves with their silent, siren calls.
It was an honor to be invited to this event, to see these beautiful works of silver art so closely and personally. Of course, like any symbol, both trophies are meant to point us toward something else, something permanent. Perhaps even something eternal.
In this case, the trophies, these symbols, direct us to look at the races–to the history, the glory, the horses. To the history and all those horses who’ve won over the years. The silver symbols point us to something bigger than themselves–bigger than us as individuals, or our current circumstances.
So the honor–on the outside, appeared to be the honor of consuming soul-stirring gourmet passed foods and delightful Belmont Jewels (the official beverage of the Belmont Stakes) in the company of delightful, horse-loving, intelligent people. But the real honor came from spending time in the presence of the two silver symbols. Of standing there silently, intently, reflecting on the battles fought–the tears wept, the joy realized, the horses immortalized. Those moments alone with these symbols of elusive, glorious goals filled my heart, even as my culinary curiosities were sated that evening.
Sincere thanks to the Longines team: Alysa McKenna for inviting me to partake of this delicious, warm evening on a wretched New York City night. In a city that was soul-stealing cold that evening, behind the doors of Hour Passion beauty and light prevailed. Thanks also to Alysa’s colleagues, Fabiola Deabrau and Jillian Percella, for making me feel so welcome.
And gratitude to Longines for recognizing the importance of horse sports to the human soul–for creating programs, trophies, ceremonies and horse racing advertising that makes me weep. I worry often about the condition of horse racing, but with allies like Longines in our corner–reminding us of the innate, undeniable beauty, elegance and quiet joy of our sport–we are reminded to overcome all obstacles, and soar to new, heavenly heights both as participants in the sport and as souls populating this Earth.*
*(Humans need reminders of heavenly glory; as you know, horses do not.)