What Watches Would You Buy After Ripping Off $1.2 Billion In A Ponzi Scheme Like Scott Rothstein? Most Probably Not All Of These
Scott Rothstein was the ringleader of the third largest Ponzi scheme ever to take place in the United States of America. Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme reportedly defrauded investors of $1.2 billion in a claims-settlement scheme he had set up at his former law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler.
When Rothstein was disbarred in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2009, the courts liquidated most of his ill-gotten gains such as supercars, yachts, and vacation houses rather quickly. However, his now-divorced wife, Kim, had hidden a few million dollars’ worth of baubles, which were later uncovered.
Though Scott Rothstein is busy serving a 50-year prison sentence, Kim was released after serving 18 months (“Orange is the New Black,” anyone?) for hiding watches, jewelry, writing instruments, and gold bars from federal agents in a conspiracy to commit money laundering. She allegedly tried to sell them later.
Though no longer behind bars, she also sadly no longer has the luxury of her dazzling trinkets to comfort her. But you can now acquire these luxurious items.
Hess Fine Art, a Florida-based art, antiques, and luxury goods liquidator, has been tapped to sell these items, including some of Kim’s personal jewelry. The jewelry highlights include a 12.08-carat emerald-cut canary yellow diamond ring, Kim’s 12.38-carat engagement ring that is paved with 300 diamonds topped off by an 11-carat cushion-shaped white diamond, her wedding band containing 18 emerald-cut diamonds, a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond-and-ruby ring with matching earrings, and a bracelet that contains more than 1,300 fine white diamonds.
The collection also includes a large grouping of fountain pens and 50 one-ounce gold bars worth a total of $125,000.
But it’s the timepieces that are most intriguing to us watch lovers. Scott Rothstein had an extensive collection of something like 300 watches that comprised a treasure chest full of Harry Winston, Patek Philippe, Roger Dubuis, Franck Muller, Pierre Kunz, Backes & Strauss, Custos, Richard Mille, Wyler Genève, Piaget, Daniel Roth, Gérald Genta, Audemars Piguet, Corum, Urwerk, Rolex, Cartier, Panerai, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Rado, Ebel, Zenith, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Bulgari, Chopard, and more. (You can see the full listing from the 2011 auction at www.treasury.gov/auctions/treasury/gp/ftl_watches.)
What’s for sale now
No surprise here: it would appear that chiefly Kim’s diamond-encrusted timepieces are what is now available to acquire.
That having been said, in a couple of cases it’s difficult to tell if a watch belonged to Kim or Scott. This includes an exquisite (and extremely rare) Gérald Genta Octo Biretro fully set with black and white diamonds. At 42.5 mm in diameter, this jump-hour watch with retrograde minute and date displays could have been worn by a woman who likes a chunky mechanical timepiece.
Another such example is a fully diamond-set Pierre Kunz double retrograde number in an attractive square case. As most of Scott’s collection was round (statistically speaking, men do prefer round timepieces), I would actually assume this one to have been Kim’s – even if Kunz did originally envision it as a men’s watch. Scott had a number of Pierre Kunz models in his original collection, so this could have been purchased as part of a his-and-hers deal.
There are three Rolex models up for sale, all of which are embellished with beautiful sparklers. One is a fully diamond-encrusted Lady Datejust in 18-karat white gold. Another is the Cosmograph Daytona in 18-karat yellow gold with the much-talked-about 2005 leopard print dial and ring of baguette-cut yellow sapphires around the bezel.
And then there is a men’s Datejust in 18-karat yellow gold with a green wave dial and diamond-set bezel. I would venture to guess that all three were worn by Kim.
Kim Rothstein also seems to have liked Piaget, which I can understand as this brand makes what is probably the consummate cocktail watch. For sale here is one from the Limelight Secret collection with lots of sparklers set against black onyx as well as a cute quartz-driven evening number in white gold and diamonds measuring 39 x 28 mm called Limelight Love Letter Secret.
Truly epitomizing Rothstein’s opulent (and not necessarily always on-the-mark) taste, the pinnacle of the group of watches now up for grabs in terms of blatant cost is the Zenith Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Zero-G, a titanium-encased monstrosity that sold for $545,930 in 2008 when it was introduced. I feel that Hess Fine Art might be hard-pressed to unload this one, so if you’re in the market for the finest pre-2008 example of how “wrong” mechanical watchmaking was able to go in the “fat” days before the economic downturn of 2009’s timely correction of the market, I’m sure you could get a great deal if you’ve got a spare couple hundred thousand.
For more information, please see On Fifth Anniversary Of Rothstein’s $1.2 Billion Ponzi Scheme, Questions Remain.