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Findings: Birthday Bash … Swatch’s Sound of Music

<STRONG>BIRTHDAY BASH:</STRONG> As part of a birthday celebration honoring dance legend Merce Cunningham, Cartier is auctioning off birthday cards designed by Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Donna Karan and other prominent designers and artists....

BIRTHDAY BASH: As part of a birthday celebration honoring dance legend Merce Cunningham, Cartier is auctioning off birthday cards designed by Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Donna Karan and other prominent designers and artists. Proceeds will go to the Cunningham Dance Foundation.

Both the silent auction and a birthday celebration will take place tonight at Cartier’s U.S. flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue. More than 75 cards, bearing minimum bids ranging from $100 to $1,000, will be on display. Others participating include designers Gemma Kahng, Mary McFadden and Byron Lars; artists Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenny Scharf; dancer Bill T. Jones; Tommy Tune; Gene Kelly; Joan Rivers, and Yoko Ono.

Some of the designers’ cards focus on a fashion-in-dance theme. Armani’s depicts a ballerina wearing one of his trademark jackets, while Versace’s shows three men wearing dance unitards in his signature prints. All cards will be on display at the store through next Tuesday.

SWATCH’S SOUND OF MUSIC: Swatch is launching its newest product, the MusiCall watch, on a high note.

The company is debuting MusiCall this month to the public in a retail launch and to the music industry at the Grammy Awards nominee party, which takes place in New York next Monday.

The watch itself, which is priced to retail at about $50, has as an alarm a tune composed by French musician Jean Michel Jarre, rather than the standard beep.

Bloomingdale’s in New York is the chief store for the retail launch, which began over the weekend. Bloomingdale’s was chosen because its chairman and chief executive officer, Michael Gould, is a member of the New York Host Committee for the 1994 Grammy Awards, according to a spokeswoman for Swatch.

As part of the introduction, an interactive kiosk that allows shoppers to experiment with designing their own MusiCalls was set up at Bloomingdale’s. The kiosk’s touch-operated screen allows people to experiment with designing watch faces and composing personalized MusiCall tunes.

At the end of each designing session at the kiosk, a printout of the user’s watch design is produced and the personalized tune is played back. While consumers are not able to get models of the watches they design, the screen does display a list of suggestions — based on the user’s watch design — for purchasing from the general Swatch line.

The next stop for the kiosk will be next week’s Grammy nominee party, slated for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.