Copy of a picture that features Charlize Theron wearing the watch that has caused the controversy.
BY JOSE MARTINEZ | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | Wednesday, February 7, 2007
A MAKER OF LUXURY Swiss watches clocked Charlize Theron with a lawsuit yesterday, alleging she violated a lucrative endorsement deal by wearing other designers’ timepieces.
The suit by Raymond Weil accuses the Oscar-winning star of “Monster" of two-timing the company by wearing a Christian Dior watch in public - a strict no-no in her $20 Million deal.
“If you’re the model for Ralph Lauren, you can’t show up wearing Gucci at the Academy Awards," said David Jaroslawicz, an attorney for the watchmaker. “She undercut our entire ad campaign."
The South African stunner signed on as the face of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in October 2005, allegedly agreeing to wear only Raymond Weil watches in public.
As an “international ambassador" for the company, Theron touted the limited-edition line of diamond-covered Shine watches, which sell for $7,000 and have straps made of gold or alligator skin.
But Theron ticked off her sponsors when she turned up in a Tourneau catalogue wearing a diamond-encrusted watch over the words, “Charlize Theron wears Dior." She also had been photographed at a Texas film festival last March allegedly wearing a Dior watch.
“We spent a fortune on an ad campaign centered around her," Jaroslawicz said. “Then she goes off and makes us look silly in the industry by wearing Dior."
A spokeswoman for Theron, 31, did not return calls.
Jaroslawicz said Raymond Weil would try to win back what it paid Theron. “If she didn’t like the line, she didn’t have to take the money," he said.
Charlize Theron could be out more than $20 Million after allegedly two-timing a high-end watchmaker by acting as other companies’ arm candy.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, watchmaker Raymond Weil says Theron broke a deal to only wear its watches by offering her wrists up to at least two other companies.
“She has two hands and felt she could take money from two places at the same time," said the company’s lawyer, David Jaroslawicz.
The company is looking to get back all the cash it laid out for a $20 Million advertising campaign centered on the South African stunner, as well as whatever cash she collected from their competitors.
Theron’s rep did not return a call for comment.
The fraud and breach-of-contract suit says the watchmaker entered into a deal with the “Monster" star in May 2005, agreeing to pay her “very substantial sums" for allowing them “to use her name, photographic image and endorsements in connection with advertising, promoting, public relations and sales of RW products."
She also agreed to only wear Weil watches and jewelry through the duration of the deal, from October 2005 through Dec. 31, 2006 - but the star was repeatedly photographed in ads and at public appearances wearing watches and other jewelry designed by competing companies, like Dior and Montblanc, the suit says.