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Hublot and Takashi Murakami unveil the second timepiece of their collaboration: the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow.

When you think of the most iconic collaboration in the creative industries, who comes to mind? Louis Vuitton x Supreme?  Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat? Or even Fendi x Skims? Perhaps you might grumble at the news of another collaboration, particularly in the eyes of the fashion industry, given that with the advent of the internet, brands are no longer privy to what trends will go viral like a traditional forecaster can predict, meaning that creative directors will try their hands at anything. A sock? A perfume? A pacifier? 

If we’ve learned anything from this often isolating pandemic, it’s the power of community and that sometimes, two heads really are better than one. Particularly in the watch world, a discipline built on tradition and age-old heritage, collaboration brings the practices of a bygone era into the modern day.

Courtesy of Hublot

Hublot zealots will know that collaboration is part and parcel of what makes their watches tick. From contemporary French artist Richard Orlinski, to musician DJ Snake, the art of luxury collaboration taps into an entire new audience of those who might never have considered wearing a watch at all. 

It’s not the first time the internationally acclaimed artist, Takashi Murakami and Hublot have joined forces. After launching the first timepiece at the beginning of the year – an All Black watch, which became an instant collector’s item – Hublot and Takashi Murakami are continuing to transpose the Japanese artist’s Kawaii world into horology, by introducing the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow watch.

The instantly recognizable smiling flower, the hallmark of Murakami’s work, makes its way onto the watch face for the second chapter of this union, but this time with a slight edge.  

This new piece, still based on the smiling flower, the iconic theme of Murakami’s work, has moved from black to colour with transparent effects. The smiling flower presents a mischievous smile on a three-dimensional face that emerges from the watch dial, extending out beyond the sapphire crystal. 12 colourful petals rotate – that’s right, they actually move – around this face, and the rainbow effect is achieved by setting 487 stones representing the colours of the rainbow: rubies, pink sapphires, amethysts, blue sapphires, tsavorites, yellow and orange sapphires. Thanks to an ingenious ball-bearing system specially developed by Hublot’s engineers, the petals start turning under the watch crystal and bring Takashi Murakami’s smiling flower to life. Not only will the watch tick, but turn too.

Courtesy of Hublot

“I always try to keep my mind fresh when I collaborate and cross paths with different industries and creators,” shares Murakami. “When I look at HUBLOT’s past collaborations and watches, they always seem to create new stories that connect the present and the future. That is what I strongly believe we have in common.”

“It reminds me of fidget spinners that were popular a few years ago, but the way it spins inside the sapphire crystal is absolutely gorgeous and incomparable. It’s a wonderful design! And it’s just like the radiance of the rainbow itself. In Japan, there is an artistic tradition of depicting beauty of nature called “Kachōfŭgetsu” and it refers to flowers, birds, wind, and the moon. Since Japan is very rich in nature, I think the Japanese historically had a tendency to depict nature rather than people when painting. While there are many portraits in the West, there are more nature-inspired landscape paintings in Japan, and that’s why I also wanted to paint flowers, but in order to establish myself in the Western art world, I needed to paint portraits. So I invented and developed a character that is a flower with a face, or a flower in nature that is anthropomorphized.”

Developing Hublot’s commitment to the art world, and firmly holding its seat in hybrid watchmaking that merges past and present, this latest model targets contemporary art insiders, and is available in a limited edition of 100 numbered pieces. After all, we’re suckers for exclusivity when it comes to a good drop. Run, don’t walk.

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Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.