Right from the start, Swatch has been connected with contemporary art. Like the pop art of the modern times, Swatch watches were inspired by popular culture, and Swatch itself soon became a canvas for world famous artists, musicians and fashion designers.
In 1984, the famous French artist Christian Chapiron (known as “Kiki Picasso”) was asked to design the first-ever “Swatch Art Special”. He elaborated a project in which every one of the 140 pieces of the limited edition was unique.
One of the first major artists to collaborate with Swatch was the American painter Keith Haring, whose Swatch Gents, “Modèle avec personnages”, “Mille Pattes”, “Serpent” and “Blanc sur Noir” are now collectors’ items.
The ongoing relationship between Swatch and art has generated a fascinating series of Swatch Art Specials designed by artists from a broad range of disciplines – painters, filmmakers, fashion designers, videographers, photographers, conceptual artists...
Some of the more well known include Andrew Logan (1985), Jean-Michel Folon (1987), Tadanori Yokoo (1987), Valerio Adami (1988), Pol Bury (1988), Pierre Alechinsky (1988), Mimmo Paladino (1989), Alessandro Mendini (1990), Chérif & Silvie Defraoui, Niklaus Troxler, Not Vital and Felice Varini (1991 or the set “700 Years Confederatio Helvetica 1991”), Alfred Hofkunst (1991, the amazing “Swatchtables”), Massimo Giacon (1991), Matteo Thun (1991), Igort (1992), Sam Francis (1992), Vivienne Westwood (1992 and 1993), Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (1993), Mark Kostabi (1994), Kenny Scharf (1994), Mimmo Rotella (1994), Kenny Scharf (1994), Akira Kurosawa, Pedro Almodóvar and Robert Altman (1995 for the set “100 Years Cinema”), Nam June Paik (1995), Corneille (1995), Bengt Lindström (1995), Bridget Mutji (1996), Yue Min Jun (1996), Arnaldo Pomodoro (1996), Renzo Piano (2000), Pierre et Gilles (2000), David La Chapelle (2000), MoUvEmEnT Dada (2003–2004), Blue Man Group (2006), Norma Jeane (2008for the “once Again, Again” the Club Watch for members of the worldwide community of Swatch fans, friends and collectors known as Swatch The Club), Billy The Artist (2009), Ted Scapa (2009), Grems (2009),Matthew Langille (2009), Ivan Navarro (2010), Cassette Playa (2010) and Jeremy Scott (2011).
For more information on these and other artists and their work for Swatch, see the Swatch Finder on swatch.com.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel is the brand's latest commitment to art and continues this tradition by bringing artists to one of China's most luxurious places, the Bund in Shanghai. Because the real luxury in life is: art.