The worlds of watchmaking and creative arts have more in common than you may think. Indeed, some of the main aspects the two have in common include the underlying technical ability that takes years of practice and the importance of the visual aesthetic. As artists of all kinds continue to involve themselves more and more in fashion and culture, watchmakers have begun recruiting some big names for limited-edition watch collaborations.
With watchmakers teaming up with tattoo artists, musicians, and everything in between, these watch collaborations have resulted in some very iconic pieces. Maybe you are looking to incorporate a splash of vibrancy onto your wrist, or you just want to add some of the most exclusive watches to your collection. Whatever it is, here are some of the most sought-after watch collaborations with artists today.
1: TAG Heuer & Alec Monopoly
Alec Monopoly is a world-famous graffiti artist. He is best known for his signature tag of the top-hatted Mr. Monopoly from the classic Monopoly board game. Since 2016, this contemporary street artist has been working with TAG Heuer as an “Art Provocateur”. This was part of an initiative to help improve the Swiss watchmaker’s overall artistic efforts.
TAG Heuer and Monopoly linked up for a memorable take on the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Alec Monopoly Special Edition. This is a watch collaboration that reflects the groundbreaking spirit of the original Formula 1 41mm and also has the rebellious American artist’s stamp all over it.
The dial of this watch is, without a doubt, its star. Mr. Monopoly himself makes an appearance on the watch’s dial, with a top hat on his head and a scarf covering his face. The final touch is an engraving of Monopoly’s signature “ALEC” graffiti tag on the back of the watch’s dial.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Alec Monopoly Special Edition was limited to just 200 pieces.
2: Hublot & Shepard Fairey
While you might not have heard the name Shepard Fairey before, it is more than likely that you are familiar with some of his work. Most notably, Fairey was the creative mind behind the now-iconic Barack Obama “HOPE” poster that was ubiquitous during the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Shepard Fairey is a street artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and activist. His “OBEY” art project, found on the streets of Los Angeles, challenged viewers to question authority. Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot teamed up with Fairey as part of its Hublot Loves Art series.
The result was the manually-wound Big Bang Meca-10 Shepard Fairey. This timepiece featured the brand’s signature in-house TAG Heuer HUB 1201 movement, a 10-day power reserve, and a stylish gear-driven mechanical aesthetic. The watch’s design also boasted the artist’s iconic “STAR GEAR” logo next to the 3 o’clock aperture.
As a limited-edition watch, there were only 100 pieces of the Big Bang Meca-10 Shepard Fairey produced.
3: Audemars Piguet & DJ Surkin / GENER8ION
For a few years now, Audemars Piguet has been linking up with various creatives. This includes a number of watch collaborations with well-known musicians like Quincy Jones and Jay-Z. One of its most popular offerings, however, comes from a team-up with DJ Surkin. Known primarily for his beat-laden electro house, Surkin is also famous for founding a music platform known as GENER8ION.
Together, Audemars Piguet and DJ Surkin created a watch they called “a celebration of sound”. As part of this effort, the French musician spent three days working at the Audemars Piguet headquarters. The result was a revamped version of the iconic Royal Oak watch: the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie x GENER8ION.
The Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie x GENER8ION has four distinctive chimes that play at different times. The first comes at 6:03 am to indicate the start of the day around the Audemars Piguet headquarters in Le Brassus. This is followed by a chime at 10:45am, which uses sounds that came directly from the rhythm of Audemars Piguet’s workshop activity. The 4:15pm chime was made using weather sounds from the valley. The final tune, at 10:17pm, mixes outdoor sounds with synthesized tunes to indicate the end of the day approaching.
This Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie x GENER8ION also comprises a glare-proof sapphire crystal, a titanium bezel, a black ceramic screw-locked crown, and titanium push pieces. However, the coolest part of this watch might be its skeleton dial, which shows off the impressive and sophisticated craftsmanship of its movement.
4: TAG Heuer & Bamford
Sometimes, iconic pieces are best when they are just that, right? Just like the exact manner in which they rose to fame. In this entry, we are looking at George Bamford. Bamford rose to fame through his Bamford Watch Department, in which he took iconic timepieces and customized them to their owner’s preference.
TAG Heuer took notice of Bamford’s success and enlisted his talents for an official watch collaboration. Bamford took the Carrera, Autavia, and Monaco, three of TAG Heuer’s most iconic watches ever. He fitted these timepieces with super-lightweight carbon fiber cases, crisp black dials, and light blue details, giving them a fashionable revamped edge.
5. Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng
If you are a fan of classic Chinese paintings, you might be acquainted with the Chinese-French artist Wang Yan Cheng. He is a great artist, renowned for his astonishing and spectacular artworks. Today, Wang is recognized as one of the central painters in the Chinese contemporary art scene.
In 2022, the renowned Italian luxury watch brand Bvlgari announced its intention to bring together culture, time, and the contemporary by raising the personalization of Art and the Art of personalization to the next level. To this end, Bvlgari entered into a strong partnership with Wang.
Together with Wang, Bvlgari presents the 44mm Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng. It is crafted from sleek, sandblasted black titanium, with a refined black onyx middle case. Through its skeleton dial, you can also admire the watch’s robust flying tourbillon movement, which grants it extreme stability and accuracy. Each piece of the Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng bears the inscription “Pièce Unique”.
6. Corum Bubble Watch ‘Mona Lisa’ By Elisabetta Fantone
Elisabetta Fantone is a Canadian-Italian contemporary artist who stands out for her labyrinthine and colorful paintings. Her works have been featured in many notable art galleries worldwide. As a testimony to the quality of her work, Fantone’s celebrity clients include big names such as Celine Dion, the late Muhammad Ali, and the Kardashians.
In 2016, Swiss luxury watch brand Corum was delighted to announce its new artistic watch collaboration with Fantone. The brand gave her full liberty to design its next quintessential bubble watch, resulting in the Corum Bubble Watch ‘Mona Lisa’.
The Corum Bubble Watch ‘Mona Lisa’ presents a new, modern take on a classic Haute Horlogerie design. It comes in two different sizes, 42mm and 44mm, with the 44mm model being limited to just 88 pieces. The highlight of this watch is its masterful dial. It bears a beautiful, vibrant portrayal of Mona Lisa, which was originally painted by the famous Leonardo Da Vinci.
7. Parmigiani Fleurier x Marcello Lo Giudice
A few years ago, the Italian artist Marcello Lo Giudice painted the Eden Universe, Eden Ocean for a New York art exhibition. This sensational work of art captured the Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier’s attention. This led to a new watch collaboration between Parmigiani Fleurier and Lo Giudice.
This artistic team-up produced the Limited Edition Tonda 1950. This is an ultra-rare limited-edition timepiece, with only 12 pieces available. Each Limited Edition Tonda 1950 model boasts a smaller recreation of the Eden Universe, Eden Ocean artwork on its dial, highlighting Lo Giudice’s greatest masterpiece. The brand achieved this using a unique layer technique, which allowed it to design each dial to perfection. It made the inscription and delineation of the raw dial plate’s design easier. This gave the Limited Edition Tonda 1950s dial more volume and dimension, adding to its sophisticated, well-built look.
Featured image courtesy of Audemar Piguet’s official website.
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