PROMISE FOR AID: Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet has teamed up with Estée Lauder and TV host Colin Cowie this month to kick-start a campaign to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The partnership coincides with the launch of Audemars Piguet’s new Promesse collection of women’s watches.

"We have made a pledge to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation because we know how precious time is in this battle….it means saving lives," said François-Henry Bennahmias, president of Audemars Piguet North America.

The companies will host 10 galas starting in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, followed by New York on Nov. 21. There, the company will showcase the new watches, Estée Lauder powder compacts and handbags designed by Cowie. The goal is to raise $1.5 million for the foundation.

The Promesse watches are priced to retail from $5,900 to $49,500, and will ship to specialty and fine jewelry and watch stores next month.

NEW TECHNO CHIEF: Swiss watch firm TechnoMarine has appointed Aldo Magada to the post of executive vice president. Magada most recently has been chief executive officer of Gucci Timepieces.

Magada will oversee the expansion of global marketing programs for the TechnoMarine and TechnoSport brands and the introduction of TechnoMarine’s first jewelry collection next month.

GOING FUR COUTURE: When Timothy Schifter, LeSportsac’s president and chief executive officer, was seated next to Gilles Mendel, J. Mendel’s designer, at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards last year, they discovered they had a lot of respect for each other’s work. A couple of martinis later, the duo cooked up "J. Mendel for LeSportsac Couture," a new collection of handbags that combine LeSportsac’s sporty elements, like ripstop nylon and grosgrain logo, with J. Mendel’s luxurious furs.

"It’s a modern take on luxury," said Schifter. "I always like contrasts, and ripstop nylon and fur was about as stark a contrast as I could imagine."

The four styles feature sheered mink and long-haired fox, in black, oyster and brown. The line will launch at Lesportsac’s Madison Avenue store in Manhattan and Beverly Center unit in Beverly Hills, and at Bergdorf Goodman in New York next month. The line retails from $440 for a fox pom-pom evening bag to $1,260 for an oversized Fox hobo bag."The concept is not designer specific," said Schifter, who didn’t disclose sales projections. "It is a fun platform to do some over-the-top, limited-edition Lesportsac handbags."

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