Weaving together art, pop culture, and innovation seamlessly, these watch collaborations were statement pieces that caught the eye
Words by Karan Karayi
In the realm of haute horology, 2023 proved to be a year of boundary-breaking partnerships and unprecedented creativity. Luxury watchmakers stepped beyond the conventional, joining forces with artists, designers, and iconic brands to craft timepieces that transcend tradition and redefine innovation.
Hublot x Takashi Murakami: The Smiling Flower on Your Wrist
When Hublot and renowned artist Takashi Murakami joined hands (not for the first time, what emerged was a vivid fusion of high-end watchmaking and contemporary art. The result: the stunning MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire, a mesmerising timepiece adorned with Murakami’s iconic smiling flower motif composed of 12 petals made entirely of sapphire. Limited to a 50 piece run, this unique piece of art fuses the case, movement, and dial in a unique arrangement and celebrates the marriage of artistry and precision.
IWC x Lewis Hamilton: A Testament to Racing and Elegance
After the success of earlier collaborations, Lewis Hamilton is going for a three-peat with IWC, whose brand ambassador he has been since 2013. The weapon of choice they came up: IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Lewis. Cool and exuding elegance and precison and featuring a platinum case dotted with 12 diamonds and a sapphire glass back, the timepiece is reflective of Hamilton’s unique taste and the horological excellence of the Swiss luxury watchmaker and can be yours for the low, low price of $169,000.
Audemars Piguet x Marvel: Spinning a Web
Existing at the intersection of haute horology and pop culture, Audemars Piguet renewed their collaboration with Marvel with the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”. This effort has spun a web of excitement among watch enthusiasts, featuring intricate design elements that sees the iconic superhero in his signature pose hurtling through the air. With the tourbillon and rendering impressive technical feats that catch the eye, it’s no surprise to see this limited to a run of just 250 pieces and priced at $215,000.
Hublot x Maxime Plescia-Buchi: Geometric Elegance in Motion
In another stroke of brilliance, Hublot partnered with tattoo virtuoso Maxime Plescia-Buchi. The collaboration birthed the Big Bang Sang Bleu II Titanium White Pavé, a masterpiece reflecting Buchi’s signature geometric aesthetic and dovetailing with Hublot’s established reputation as the enfant terrible of watchmaking. . The watch stands as an elegant testament to the marriage of tattoo artistry and horological craftsmanship. Featuring a 45mm polished titanium case with a total of 172 diamonds, this collab shines bright and will set its wearer apart from the madding crowd.
Roger Dubuis x Lamborghini: Where Supercars Meet Haute Horology
The partnership between Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini has redefined sophistication with the Excalibur Spider Huracan Black DLC Titanium. This audacious timepiece boldly showcases the DNA of both brands, featuring intricate skeletonisation and design elements inspired by Lamborghini’s legendary (and delightfully pantomime) supercars, such as movement designed with strut bars from an engine bay and a rotor reminiscent of the wheel rim. Breathtakingly beautiful, this collab can be had if you splash out $52,500 at your watch dealer of choice.
Franck Muller x Fxxking Rabbits: Illuminating Carbon Couture
Breaking new ground in material innovation, Franck Muller teamed up with Japanese streetwear label Fxxking Rabbits for the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard. This avant-garde timepiece boasts a case made of a revolutionary carbon and glass fiber composite with design motifs that glow in the dark, smoothly marrying haute horology with cutting-edge fashion. Monochromatic it may be, save for the red eye of a rabbit glancing outwards, but fashion-forward and bold it most surely is. Limited to 800 pieces, this vibrant timepiece is priced at a reasonable $11,900. A small price to pay for being avant-garde, surely.
+-The year 2023 marked a milestone in the world of watch collaborations, pushing the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship and embracing the fusion of art, culture, and innovation. These daring partnerships showcase the industry’s relentless pursuit of creativity and the relentless drive to redefine what’s possible in the world of luxury timepieces.
As we move forward, these collaborations stand as a testament to the timeless allure of watches and the endless possibilities that emerge when creativity knows no bounds.