In February, Nicolas G. Hayek provides access to the virtual world through the Swatch Access to Internet for the 2,000 participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In March, all 1,600 watches in the Swatch Newseum collection are stolen on the way to Nicosia, Cyprus. Despite the involvement of Interpol and the announcement of a fi nder’s reward of 1 million Swiss francs, the priceless collection is never found.
The Guggenheim Museums in New York (USA) and Venice (Italy) open their doors for Swatch and Arnaldo Pomodoro, the designer of Rotor, the first Irony Art Special watch, presented in a limited edition of 700
In May, none of the stars attending the 50th International Film Festival at Cannes (France) can do without the Swatch Access watch 5e Elément. The watch is a tribute to the film of the same name by French filmmaker Luc Besson. Guests who are invited to the Cannes Festival gala dinner wear the watch and “swipe” it past a control point to gain admittance to the dinner.
In May, athletes Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey compete in the 150 m event at the “One-to-one Challenge of Champions” competition. Swatch clocks Donovan Bailey as the faster man, earning him the title of “Fastest Man in the World” and USD 1 million, as well.
In June, Swatch Access watch “Avaton” provides access to the opening of the Museum for Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki (Greece), the Cultural Capital of Europe for 1997. Swatch holds its own exhibition, entitled “Swatch Art Gallery” at the Mylos cultural center, a location that off ers a forum for a great variety of artistic disciplines.
From July to August, “The Sound of Swatch” is the Salzburg version of the Swatch Emotion exhibition, adapted to suit the city and its music festival. During the 5 week show Swatch presents the first electronic orchestra directed using Swatch Access technology, along with musical performances and other attractions. On show at “The Sound of Swatch” exhibition are all Swatch models and collector’s items produced since 1983, the latest Swatch communication products, and the Smart car.
In October, Swatch goes thin, launching the new Swatch Skin. It’s a hit : almost twenty years after Delirium Tremens, Swatch markets the world’s thinnest plastic watch. Top models Tyra Banks and Michelle Behennah show the world’s most costly clothing on the runway, and wear the hottest fashions by the international designer elite. For Swatch, though, all they’re wearing is Skin. Weighing in at just a few grams, the world’s thinnest plastic watch is nevertheless a hefty lifestyle accessory, a must-have for the fashion avant-garde. As the models put it : “Am I naked ? Or am I not ?”. The ad campaign visualizes the feeling of Skin.
In October, Nicolas G. Hayek and Nick Hayek open the Skin Dimension exhibit in Milan, Italy to the press and public. 120 exhibitors show just how tremendous miniatures can be. In October, the first European Megastore opens at Covent Garden, London (UK). In all, some 100 new Swatch stores around the world open their doors in 1997.
The Swatch Access watch is now also in use on the trails at Dolomiti Superski in Italy.
Nancy Dwyer is from the United States, where she lives and works. Her work has been shown in many group and solo exhibitions in North and South America, Europe, and Japan. Her commissioned pieces, though, can be seen in public areas : billboards, subway posters, sculptures, and other artworks for indoor and outdoor spaces in the United States and in Vienna. Nancy Dwyer has taught at various art schools. “Sometimes I think about certain things in life that get me worked up : I want something I don’t have, I regret missed opportunities, and I wonder, why ? Where is the meaning there”.
Nancy Dwyer’s creation for Swatch is called Destime (GG144), which portrays these “hungry” moments. The hands read “Des” and, in combination with the face, they form new word combinations : “desire despair”, “destroy destiny”, or “destroy desire”. The view of things changes as time goes on.
Arnaldo Pomodoro is an Italian sculptor known for his work in bronze based on basic geometric forms (spheres, pyramids, cones, cylinders) with highly polished surfaces and curiously structured interiors governed by the concept of negative space. Examples of his well-known series of large-scale spheres are on prominent display at the Vatican, UN headquarters in New York, the Foreign Ministry in Rome, Trinity College in Dublin, and many other locations. The Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation established by the artist in Milan presents his work alongside that of other artists.
Rotor (YGZ101C) is densely tissued with gleaming metal, tucked and arranged in folds, dunes, waves, and pockets of inner and outer space, imbued with the same indomitable spirit expressed in Pomodoro’s massive bronzes. Definitely a Swatch, this piece packs the brass-knuckled punch of the Italian artist’s powerful hand into a small and elegantly appealing work. The name of the watch is engraved on the bezel, and the dial is coloured a gleaming, rain-cloud silver, with bare tapered hands sweeping across the surface. Full of the play of form and space, this work has an inside-out quality that is as fascinating as it is assertive.
Bruno Munari, an Italian graphic and industrial designer, expresses himself in a simple, humorous way through his watch. What does he base this carefree attitude on ? His work deals with the world of children. Internationally known for innovative learning systems based on his drawings, Munari wants to share his excitement about everyday things with adults, too – helping them to approach things a little freer and easier, too.
Just one glance at this Swatch Tempo Libero (GN172), and the hours dance through space across the dial. One o’clock, five, three, eight… Time is set free from any predetermined order. The numbers tumble about according to the laws of chance. They move at the same pace as the wearer. “Tempo libero” – “free time” in English – is what Bruno Munari’s design for Swatch is all about.
Kveta Pacovskà was born in Prague in 1928 and has worked in a range of creative fi elds, from free-form graphic art, painting to conceptual art and illustration. A multi-talented artist, she paints, draws, creates collages, and works with paper, which becomes a playground for exciting experiments in text and image. In her hands, picture books developed into art objects. Her children’s books have been translated into many languages, including Chinese. The Hans Christian Andersen Prize, which she was awarded in 1992, is the most prestigious international honour an author of children’s book can receive.
The layered structure of the face of her Color Scribbler (GK249) for Swatch radiates joy and open space. The naive, colourful brushstrokes and the talking moon express a certain kind of innocence, and the three-dimensional eff ect suggests a deeper meaning.
American artist Rascal once said, “Everyone can feel art. Anyone who is alive just has to feel it.” He had the experience himself. The street was his first teacher. His impressions of harsh reality matured through visual transformation, and his powerful images leave no viewer unmoved. Pastels and acrylics are Rascal’s favourite mediums. He prefers painting with his fingers, or with other unconventional approaches. He scratches through rough textures with a knife blade, and achieves softer effects by using the end of a wooden match. The subconscious is the source of images that the artist reproduces on the canvas. The rhythms of everyday life and music drive him forward.
With Moonchild (GN173), Rascal celebrates his favourite time : night. “Moonchild was created during the full moon. I am a moon child.” A happy man is dancing – a magical, special energy fl ows through him. Rascal’s work for Swatch celebrates life and art.
In 1997, the work of American illustrator and designer Steve Guarnaccia was everywhere, appearing in books and magazines, on greeting cards and on the clothing in the Swatch collection. His drawings showed up regularly in the New York Times, Abitare, and in other media publications. He has earned awards from such professional organizations as the Art Directors Club and The Society of Newspaper Designers.
For Swatch he brought RoboBoy (GR135) to life. RoboBoy is a somewhat old-fashioned looking robot, but that just makes him all the more appealing. He stands for a by-gone vision of the future. RoboBoy still functions mechanically, not electronically. “He is not a high-tech steel robot ; no, he’s a toy, more like an android,” said Guarnaccia. The last robot still standing when software made its way into the factories is still in operation. With his ticking second-hand, he lives on as an important reminder of the history of time.
Sue Huntley is English, Donna Muir Canadian. Their creative partnership has produced impressive images across a range of artistic disciplines, working in digital imagine, multimedia collaboration, painting, drawing, video animation, 3D design and installations. Based in London, they have taken inspiration from architecture, colours, a fusion of American and Hispanic street art and culture and other sources.
Windmeal (GG145) is a tribute to housewives, and to a world that revolves around washing the dishes, doing the laundry, shopping, cooking, and watching TV. Their work is as repetitive as the revolving blades of a windmill. Colour helps things run more smoothly.
Lipstick (GK248) deals with the puzzle we call conversation. What lies behind it ? It is multifaceted, and takes place face to face and over the telephone. Words pass, like time.
Chip Kidd is an American designer and writer from New York City. He has won a number of awards for his design of book covers. He won the National Design Award for Communications and the Use of Photography Design Award. Aside from his work on book covers he has written novels, and books about comics. He is also a lecturer and speaker.
In collaboration with Swatch he created a colourful and individual piece named Find The Code (GK720).
15 members of Swatch The Club give 15 correct answers to 15 questions and become Swatch The Club Gold Members for the year 1998. Existing members advance to the “Pioneers” category.
Garden dwarves, the Gnomes of Zurich, Snow White and Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy and… gnomania ? This 1997 Club Special is issued in a limited edition with numbered pieces, available only to Members of Swatch The Club, and comes in special packaging (modelled on the poisonous and hallucinogenic amanita muscaria). Gnomania is a Swatch Loomi, which means it lights up in the dark. The strap is populated by gnomes who join hands and invite all Club Members to join in a universal dance. A perfect complement to plastic grass and the Club Watch 1997, garden Turf.
Garden Turf (SKZ103)
Grass ? Year 1997’s Club Watch is an ode to artifi cial turf, the plastic grass used instead of the real thing on playing fields for football (soccer), baseball, miniature golf, and… Believe it or not, the strap of the Club Watch
for 1997, a Swatch Access, is covered with green grass, and the dial of this entertaining piece is covered with little black ants who appear to be crawling over the watchworks beneath their feet. garden Turf is closely linked with the 1997 Swatch Special, Gnomania…
In collaboration with Red Bull, Swatch steps into Inline Downhill Skating and sponsors the second edition of the Red Bull Inline Beton at the bobtrack of Koenigssee (Germany).
Swatch is for the first time official sponsor of Verbier X-treme in Switzerland.
New disciplines and athletes are added to the Swatch Proteam 1997 with snowboarders Karine Ruby (FRA) and Gilles Voirol (SUI) ; speed skier and mountain biker Carolyn Curl (USA) ; mountain biker Thomas Frischknecht (SUI) ; skateboarder Brian Howard (USA) ; surfer Conan Hayes (USA) ; wakeboarder Cyrille Cornaro (SUI) as well as the Beach Volleyball teams Efi Sfyri & Vasiliki Karantasiou (GRE) and Vegard Hoidalen & Jørre Kjemperud (NOR) in addition to the existing members of snowboarders Jean Nerva (FRA), Shaun Palmer (USA), Omar Cundie (CAN) and Steve Klassen (USA) ; mountain bikers Hans Rey (SUI) ; kayaker Arnd Schaeftlein (GER) ; canoeist Claude Stahel (SUI) and Beach Volleyball team Paul & Martin Laciga (SUI).
The first Swatch Scuba Access is created with Swatch Proteam member Shaun Palmer (USA) to create a hip watch (Palmer S, SHB100S) for all snowboard enthusiasts featuring the U.S. flag and word “Snowboarding”.