HONOR ROLL: Not only is Severin Wunderman, chairman of Corum, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Swiss watch company he owns this year, on June 30 he will also be awarded France’s legion of honor in a ceremony in the French Riveria town of Menton. France is honoring Wunderman, a Holocaust survivor, for his extensive charity work.
DO-GOODERS: Speaking of charity, Baume & Mercier, the Richemont-owned brand, has enlisted sports legends Edwin Moses, John McEnroe, Nadia Comaneci and Michael Jordan to codesign a limited-edition watch that will be sold to benefit the Laureus Sport foundation. Laureus fosters sports programs to keep kids off the streets. With a steel case and white dial, the watches all have the Laureus logo.
HAMMER TIME: Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 250th anniversary with a blowout auction at Geneva’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, during which 250 historic pieces were put on the block. The sale, presided over by Osvaldo Patrizzi, the charismatic chairman of Antiquorum auctioneers, generated more than 18 million Swiss francs, or $15 million at current exchange, and set several world records for Vacheron Constantin pieces. Perhaps the most sensational lot was a 1929 pocket watch that belonged to Egypt’s King Fouad. It sold for a record 3.3 million Swiss francs, or $2.75 million.
SEEING BIG: Cartier is gearing up for several important retail reopenings. On May 9, it will inaugurate its renovated Beverly Hills “mansion” with a celebrity-filled fete. Panerai, another Richemont-owned brand, will open its first boutique in the world in the same complex a couple of days earlier. Meanwhile, in Paris, Cartier is putting the finishing touches on its flagship on the tony Rue de la Paix, which it plans to rechristen this fall.
SEEING STARS: Chanel introduced a tourbillon watch at Basel, but it’s also focusing on its fine jewelry roots. A spokeswoman for the Paris house said it has teamed up with avant-garde French artist Xavier Veilhan to conceive a presentation in Paris for its next jewelry collection, called Celestial Elements. It will be unveiled in July during the couture shows and then travel to New York. Chanel has already shown the line in Japan.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: Victoria Casal, an up-and-coming Paris jewelry designer, is resurrecting an icon of Seventies French style. During the Basel fair, she unveiled the first fruits of a licensing agreement to revisit Pascal Morabito’s so-called “captive” diamond designs, known for pendants with diamonds floated in clear silicon. Casal tweaked the designs to give them a contemporary edge while staying true to the original’s DNA.