Introducing the RAYMOND WEIL X BASQUIAT™ Special Edition: a testament to audacity and creativity. This timepiece transcends boundaries, seamlessly merging the realms of art and horology in a truly captivating way. With limited availability worldwide, the timepiece pays homage to the iconic contemporary artist, a visionary whose profound influence continues to resonate throughout the worlds of art and culture. The result is a remarkable fusion of raw neo-expressionism and traditional watchmaking precision, that brings Basquiat’s genius to the wrists of watch enthusiasts and art aficionados alike.
RAYMOND WEIL has partnered with Hodinkee as the exclusive retail partner for the World Premiere launch of this unique timepiece on October 24th, 2023.
RAYMOND WEIL’s decision to honour Basquiat is deeply rooted in the brand’s heritage and values. Elie Bernheim, the CEO of RAYMOND WEIL and a dedicated art enthusiast, continues to uphold the artistic legacy of his grandfather, Mr Raymond Weil, the brand’s founder and passionate art collector. By introducing this special edition watch, RAYMOND WEIL celebrates his spirit and ensures that creativity remains at the heart of the company’s culture.
Recognizing the inherent connection between art and music, Basquiat’s multifaceted influence in both domains emerged as the ideal artist for this inaugural launch. This marks an exciting evolution for the brand, expanding beyond its musical heritage. Indeed, it is music that made Basquiat tick. From the very start, Basquiat immersed himself in Downtown NYC nightlife, a melting pot of dance, art, and music.
“Art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time.”
– Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988).
The new freelancer Basquiat Special Edition timepiece is a true collectors’ item showcasing Basquiat’s artwork on the exterior and the artistry of Swiss watchmaking within. From the moment you glance at the watch, expressionistic energy, and a profusion of familiar references capture the essence of Basquiat’s distinctive style.
A color palette dominated by the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue has been set against a black background to ensure the legibility of all horological functions. At the heart of the dial sits the iconic ‘Pez Dispenser’, the crown-wearing dinosaur depicted in Basquiat’s famous painting of 1984. Positioned at 12 o’clock, the unmistakable crown boasts a yellow Super-Luminova® embellishment, while the hour hands and indexes are dressed in white Super-LumiNova®, emitting a glow under dim light conditions. This harmonious marriage of artistic expression and functional design transforms the dial into a striking visual testament to both Basquiat’s legacy and the watch’s functionality.
Beautifully intertwining art and mechanics, the sleek black PVD pushers are emblazoned with Basquiat’s iconic symbols; the Copyright symbol on the Cancel/Reset pusher; the Dollar sign on the Start/Stop pusher and the artist’s signature crown motif on the screwed-down crown. The watch highlights a ceramic tachymeter bezel, designed for precise measurement, alongside a flange pulsometer scale calibrated for 30 pulsations. The bezel design itself, reminiscent of paint strokes, amplifies the artistic touch.
The bi-compax chronograph recessed counters and skeleton discs carry artistic depth. Located at 9 o’clock, the forever turning seconds’ disc has been covered with a concentric spiral as a metaphor for Basquiat’s personal reflections and life’s complexity. Positioned opposite, the 30-minute jumping disc depicts three of his core painting themes of life, death, and humanity.
The see-through sapphire crystal case back, subtly enhanced by a discreet blue gasket, provides a captivating view of the mechanical chronograph self-winding movement. At the heart of this timepiece lies Basquiat’s unmistakable signature, merging seamlessly with the W-shaped oscillating weight, RAYMOND WEIL’s horological signature.
The titanium case marries design and function, sized at 43.5mm diameter and 13.7mm thickness for comfortable wear. The watch houses the calibre RW5030 movement, a mechanical bi-compax chronograph with automatic winding offering a 56-hour power reserve.
The watch is supplied in a special box featuring the iconic yellow crown on its side. Opening the box reveals a bespoke logo plate and ‘Pez’ icon. The box is made of black Plexiglass® and printing inspired by Posca™ paint markers, a nod to the mediums used by Basquiat in his early career. The presentation box provides an artistic means of showcasing the masterpiece within.
*Artestar is the exclusive licensing agency for the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.