Master collaborator Takashi Murakami finally put his smiling floral motif on a Swiss watch


You’ve seen the vibrant artwork of contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami on t-shirts from Supreme and Uniqlo, shoes from Crocs and Vans and, of course, handbags from Louis Vuitton. But until this week, it had never appeared on the face of a Swiss watch.

To hear the enigmatic pop icon describe him, he had to embark on a collaboration with Hublot, but the resulting timepiece, the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black, testifies to his deep immersion in the project.

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“Sometimes collaborations with watch companies only involve the printing on the packaging, so I used to say that I would only collaborate if I could be fully involved,” says Murakami in a video on the new watch, which was presented Monday during the LVMH Virtual Watch Week. “But I knew that was never an option and I kept saying no because I had no interest in just printing a package. I think I also declined this project a few times.

Thank the gods of art, he finally gave in. The finished product, which features the front and center of Murakami’s smiling flower, is the result of a visit he made to the Hublot manufacture in Nyon last February. Dotted with more than 560 black diamonds, the flower is made up of 12 petals which rotate around the head of the pistil in the center of the dial thanks to a clever ball bearing system designed by Hublot engineers.

Under the attractive display hides the manufacture caliber Unico, a self-winding movement offering 72 hours of power reserve.

Housed in a 45mm satin and polished black ceramic case on a black-lined rubber strap, the model is limited to 200 pieces and costs $ 27,300 (while supplies last).

For now, the long-standing debate in the luxury watch industry over whether a piece of fine watchmaking is art or craft is settled.

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Rosalie M. Dehner