Takashi Murakami has worked on album covers with Kanye West and designed bags with Louis Vuitton, but he's never designed a watch - until now.
The famed Japanese artist partnered with Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot to launch his first-ever timepiece. Drawing on Murakami’s emblematic smiling flower and Hublot’s All Black collection, the watch marks the union between the art of a watchmaker and that of an internationally-acclaimed modern artist.
The Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black debuted during the second day of LVMH Watch Week 2021. It's a limited edition style. Only 200 pieces are available.
Murakami is the founder of the “Superflat” movement, a style the artist coined which blends traditional Japanese artistic practices with pop culture. Utilizing gold leaf to make his signature smiling flowers, Hublot’s collaboration drew on the artist’s “all black” artistic signatures to create the perfect bridge between each brand's unique perspective.
Black diamonds adorn the face and petals. Thanks to a ball-bearing system developed by Hublot’s engineers, the diamond-encrusted petals rotate within the sapphire glass of the watch. The resulting three-dimensional effect adds dimension to the all-black surface.
“It was all about the materials, design, and movement” says Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. In a virtual launch, a hologram of Guadalupe met with Murakami to discuss the partnership process.
“As my first experience, it was amazing,” Murakami said. Such brand-artist partnerships are usually limited to box designs, and Murakami was adamant that he'd only work with a watch company if they'd would let him in on all aspects of the project. He even admitted to turning the offer down a few times before committing in full. One visit to Hublot's factory in Nyon, Switzerland, changed his mind.
“I’m a very difficult person," he says, "but with this collaboration, everything was smooth.”
Murakami is no stranger to fashionable partnerships and collaborations. In 2002, he worked alongside Marc Jacobs on a series of Louis Vuitton handbags. He’s become a beloved favorite in the world of streetwear, partnering with Virgil Abloh, Kanye West and others. A fan of glitz and glamour, he once collaborated with singer-songwriter and producer Pharell to create a 26,000-diamond sculpture.
Watch Murakami and Guadalupe discuss the collaboration below. See more of the The Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black via Hublot's website.
Photography by: Courtesy Hublot