High-end Swiss watch brand Hublot has debuted its first-ever collaboration with one of the world's most famous Japanese artists, in the form of the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black. Priced at $27,300 USD and limited to just 200 pieces, the 45mm stealth-luxe timepiece is festooned with black diamonds.
Murakami is well known to many through his cover art for Kanye West's Graduation as well as his collabs with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Supreme. In 2000 he coined the term "superflat" for the artistic movement he began, and in 2008 one of his now-iconic anime-inspired sculptures sold at Sotheby's for $15.2 million.
Murakami based the 3D-effect timepiece on one of his best-known "artistic emblems," the smiling flower. "His visually very modern style offers a subtle reflection between Japanese tradition and pop culture," Hublot notes.
Murakami first visited the Hublot manufacture in Nyon, Switzerland in February of 2020 to "familiarize himself with the work of a watchmaker and timepiece design." The collaboration inspired Hublot’s engineers to create an "ingenious" ballbearing system that enables the "petals" on the watch's dial to rotate.
The center of the "smiling flower" is inserted onto the watch's sapphire crystal creating the unique three-dimensional effect. The petals are set with 456 brilliants (brilliant-cut) black diamonds, while the face is set with 107 brilliants. The bezel and case meanwhile are made of satin-finished and polished black ceramic.
The piece is equipped with Hublot's self-winding Unico movement offering a 72-hour power reserve, and comes presented on a black-lined rubber strap with a black-plated stainless steel deployant clasp.
"When I visited the Hublot manufacture in Switzerland for the first time, I realized to what extent the traditional know-how, precision, futuristic technology, and craftsmanship were all intertwined in the creation of a watch," Murakami says. "Bringing my art into the creativity of these watchmakers represents a unique adventure for me.”