The Swatch x Center Pompidou puts modern art on your wrist
Want a Mondrian on your wrist? How about an iconic Frida Kahlo self-portrait, with Mexican folk motifs? The art world has gotten smaller – and that’s a good thing – all because Swatch had the ingenious idea of taking the world’s most memorable art and making it much more accessible when is worn on the wrist.
The six watches in their Swatch X Center Pompidou reimagine six varied works of art from the Parisian monument, as part of the brand’s ongoing Museum Journey series.
Works on display include those of five renowned artists: Frida Kahlo, Amedeo Modigliani, Robert Delaunay, Vassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian, all of whom have works proudly displayed at the Center Pompidou.
The two collaborators also share a rather similar synergy; With a common goal of making art accessible to everyone, both brands invite vibrant colors and fresh design into their overall aesthetic. The Center Pompidou, in particular, is just as famous for its upside-down building design as it is for its art, made of steel, primary-colored tubing and glazed “caterpillar” escalators that run up the side of its outside.
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Here is an overview of the six models and how the artworks exhibited at the Center Pompidou influenced the iconic details of the watches.
above: PORTRAIT OF DEDICATED, BY AMEDEO MODIGLIANI; RED, BLUE AND WHITE, BY PIET MONDRIAN.
Our first two artworks couldn’t be more different in style. Amedeo Modigliani is an elegant painting of a woman, full of rich textures and highlights that are similarly recreated on Swatch’s Gent watch. The model features a silver dial with an impression of the “Le Portrait de Dédie” painting, with a touch of pink on the case and the transparent shiny plastic buckle to balance out the darker tones on its matte silicone strap.
Piet Mondrian’s piece, on the other hand, should be something you recognize. “Composition in Red, Blue and White II” features clean graphic lines and striking pops of color, which you’ll also find on the minimalist New Gent watch with a black dial. White and red hands stand out against this austere background, while the architectural lines of Mondrian adapt perfectly to the silicone strap of the watch.
above: EIFFEL TOWER, BY ROBERT DELAUNAY; CARROUSEL, BY ROBERT DELAUNAY.
Here we have two modern artworks by the same person – French artist Robert Delaunay. The first sees him tackle a Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower, where the iron monument is depicted rising skyward in vibrant colors. The Gent watch is therefore true to the original paintwork, even to the point of honoring the textured light blue sky on the plastic case and silver dial.
The second piece is made up of colored circles; “Manège de Cochons” is an abstract representation of 1920s Paris, and the Gent watch captures the same dadaist spirit, with the colorful illustrations highlighted on the transparent dial and semi-transparent matte blue silicone strap. There’s also a new detail – a special cutout on the dial reveals a color-changing calendar wheel that reminds wearers of the spinning rhythm of an amusement park.
above: BLUE SKY, BY VASSILY KANDINSKY; THE FRAME, BY FRIDA KAHLO.
If you like a touch of the whimsical, turn to Wassily Kandinsky and the quirky creatures and characters in his painting, “Sky Blue.” What Swatch gets here are the shades of blue and Kandinsky’s textural technique in its playful piece, seen on the semi-transparent matte light blue silicone strap and continuing on the plastic case, silicone buckle and strap. loop. The dots at the ends of the New Gent-style hour and minute hands are also a subtle nod to the artist.
As for Frida Kahlo’s “The Frame,” it looks like we’re seeing double – not one, but two recreations of the Mexican artist’s powerful self-portraits, reflected like a mirror for good measure. The exuberant New Gent shows celebrates the Mexican folk motifs that the artist also used in her works, where the original piece saw her encase her self-portrait in a small frame decorated with Mexican folk motifs, purchased at a village market. These luminous shades are accompanied by matte pink watch details on the silicone strap, buckle and buckle.
above: A special collector’s set.
Naturally, the watches all arrive in boxes that also feature the original work of the artists and descriptions of the art they are inspired by. There is also a special collector’s set of all six watches, with a pouch that features an artist’s impression of the exterior facade of the Center Pompidou.
See close-ups and details of the watches below.
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$149 each. The Swatch X Center Pompidou collection is available in line and in all Swatch stores.