ARTISTIC TOUCH: In New York, Swatch has transformed the main waiting room of Grand Central Terminal into an art gallery for a new exhibit, "Art to Swatch: From Canvas to Wrist."
The show, which opened with a cocktail party for 500 last Monday and will run through July 9, features 23 works by artists -- including Mimmo Paladino, the late Keith Haring and others -- all of whom have been commissioned by Swatch over the last nine years to produce pieces for its Art Special limited edition series.
The exhibit also includes a technology pavilion, where visitors can learn about how Swatch makes its products.
This year's art entry, created by Italian artist Mimmo Rotella, is a pair of watches -- called Marilyn and Bengala -- sold as a boxed set. Rotella specializes in a medium he calls decollage -- collages made from pieces of commercial and political posters. The Marilyn watch has a Marilyn Monroe theme, and Bengala a tiger theme. The Swatch show includes 12 works by Rotella. The watches were launched at U.S. retail on Saturday. This series consists of 22,222 numbered sets available worldwide, with about 10 percent of that amount offered in the U.S. The set retails for $160.
"The art watches have become a very strong tradition for our company, and many artists come to us and ask to do them because the opportunity for exposure is so major," said Nicolas Hayek Jr., worldwide marketing vice president for Swatch and son of Nicolas Hayek, chairman and chief executive officer of SMH, Swatch's parent company.
"We chose to do the show at Grand Central for the same reason," Hayek added. "Thousands of people come through here every day and the level of exposure is tremendous."
NEW FACE AT CARTIER: Cartier's U.S. flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York has a new manager, Mary Elizabeth Grieve. She succeeds Jill King, who left the company to relocate.
Grieve had been main floor group manager at Bergdorf Goodman, overseeing the accessories, cosmetics and fine jewelry departments.
CUMMINGS' NEW CAUSE: Jewelry designer Angela Cummings has developed a new brooch designed for an organization called Concerned Parents for AIDS Research (CPFA.) The piece will be carried exclusively by Takashimaya New York. On Wednesday night, the store will host a cocktail party to launch it.
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