THE RIGHT TIMING: In an effort to liven up the after-Christmas lull, Hermes is celebrating its newest watch with two huge replicas wrapped around the corner of its Right Bank flagship store in Paris.
The watches, measuring over 39 feet (12 meters) in length and nearly five feet (1.5 meters) in height each, are gargantuan representations of the Hermes Harnais watch by Emmanuel Dietrich that was launched in November and is now available at all HermAs points of sale.
The display at 24 Faubourg Saint-Honore includes giant renditions of a woman’s gold and leather Harnais model and a man’s steel and leather style. The watches weigh 396 pounds and 264 pounds, respectively, and have Plexiglas faces and bands of synthetic material on wood.
“We are celebrating the best year we have seen so far for our watches,” said Jean-Louis Dumas, president of Hermes, who spawned the idea for the large watches. “Our watch sales have tripled over the past four years and contribute to 10 percent of the group’s sales.” The firm has not yet reported 1996 figures; in 1995, consolidated group sales came to $693 million (3.826 billion francs) at current exchange.
LUXE EXEC SHUFFLE: Stanislas de Quercize, president and chief executive officer, Montblanc Inc., who has overseen the expansion of the fine writing instrument and accessories firm in the U.S., has been tapped to take on another division of the company’s parent, the Vendome luxury group. Effective March 31, he has been named worldwide director, sales and marketing at Dunhill Ltd., in London. This new position will also make him a member of VendOme’s strategic committee. Dunhill produces leather goods, men’s wear and watches.
Effective March 1, Fred Reffsin will succeed de Quercize as president and ceo of Montblanc. Since 1993, Reffsin has been president of Tag Heuer USA, the U.S. subsidiary of the Swiss sportswatch maker. A replacement for Reffsin’s position at Tag Heuer has yet to be named.
Montblanc’s North American operations are based in Bloomsbury, N.J. Tag Heuer USA is headquartered in Springfield, N.J.
AN ORNAMENTAL IDEA: “To call this work jewelry minimizes the concept. It’s ornament, just like sculpture is an ornament.” So said Italian sculptor and jewelry designer Gio Pomodoro — speaking through a translator — as he attended the preview last week of an exhibit of his jewelry at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum in New York.
The exhibit, entitled “Gio Pomodoro, Ornamenti 1954-1996,” runs until April 16, with 204 pieces on display. It marks his recent return to jewelry after a 20-year hiatus during which he concentrated on his sculpture, and is sponsored by Unoaerre, an Italian jewelry manufacturer.
A sampling of his recent jewelry is being produced by Unoaerre and is available immediately through Unoaerre’s distributor, Gori & Zucchi Inc. of New York.
Gori & Zucchi co-owner Vittorio Gori stressed the importance of such artistic endeavors to the industry.
“It is something we feel must be regularly done,” he said. “Or else the jewelry market becomes flat with mass-produced items, not something that has a soul.”