published Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Neiman Marcus offers hen house, Spider for holiday

Santa Clause, portrayed by Brady White, gathers an egg from the Heritage Hen House Mini Farm on display during the unveiling of the Neiman Marcus 2012 Christmas Book in Dallas. The Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house including the chandelier in the hen house is priced for sale at $100,000.
Santa Clause, portrayed by Brady White, gathers an egg from the Heritage Hen House Mini Farm on display during the unveiling of the Neiman Marcus 2012 Christmas Book in Dallas. The Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house including the chandelier in the hen house is priced for sale at $100,000.
Photo by Associated Press.

By JAMIE STENGLE

Associated Press

DALLAS — Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus rolled out its annual holiday catalog Tuesday, and the priciest gift this year is a pair of “his and hers” timepieces for just over $1 million from Van Cleef & Arpels.

The watches depict a tale of lost love on the faces and come with a trip to romantic Paris and Geneva.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus is known for featuring expensive and often outrageous “fantasy gifts” in its Christmas Book. The 86th edition also includes a red special edition McLaren 12C Spider for $354,000, a hen house inspired by France’s Versailles palace for $100,000 and a walk-on role in Broadway’s “Annie: The Musical” for $30,000.

Those with smaller budgets can take heart, though — almost 40 percent of the items offered in the catalog cost less than $250. The cheapest item is a $10 monogrammed mug.

The “his and her” watches each show a scene from the love story. One depicts a scene of a woman on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, gazing toward Notre Dame. The other watch features a man on top of Notre Dame looking toward the Eiffel Tower.

“It’s a classic love story. Boy meets girl, a romance is sparked, but fate has intervened and they are separated, but both are left longing to find one another,” said Marisa Neira, watch product manager for Van Cleef & Arpels.

The watches and the trip cost $1,090,000. While in Geneva, buyers receive a tour that includes the Van Cleef & Arpels watchmaking workshops.

Ginger Reeder, Neiman Marcus’ vice president of public relations for Neiman Marcus, said the fantasy gifts are a nod to the spirit of the holiday season and the fantasies children have about what they want for Christmas.

“All we’ve done is notched up what’s on the list or what’s available to be on your list,” Reeder said.

Other offerings include a $90,000 gaming machine, a $150,000 woody tailgate trailer complete with a sound system and stocked bar, a $99,500 water-propelled jetpack, a $250,000 private dinner for 10 featuring four famous chefs and a $70,000 piece of art by Robert Wilson that features a video portrait of a snow owl.

All nine of the fantasy gifts are paired with a charity that will benefit from their sale.

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