Artisans de Genéve and Spike Lee have collaborated before in 2017 when Lee helped customise a Rolex Daytona 116520. Now they are taking the next step.
Now the initial Cool Hand Brooklyn was essentially a Daytona with orange and blue on it and a little nod to Paul Newman. The name of the watch comes from Lee’s favourite Newman film, but why Paul Newman?
Lee told HODINKEE, “He was a great humanitarian. He marched with Dr. King – he was involved in the Civil Rights movement in the early 60s. It’s not even about me, it’s about Paul Newman and his legacy and my favourite of the many great films he made; Cool Hand Luke is my favourite.”
So what did Lee bring to the watch? He said he focused primarily on “his own flavour” and respect. “I knew I wanted to incorporate orange and blue … those are the colours of New York City. When you wear a Daytona on your wrist, you’re wearing a piece of art.”
It seems that now, Lee wasn’t finished with the watch because he sent it back to the workshop to have the dial, movement, and rotor all skeletonised.
Seems like a simple enough task, right? Wrong. It took 30 watchmakers months to complete.
You can see now that there is a matte blue dial that only includes chapter rings and some sub-dials highlighted with orange. Under the dial you can see the transformed Rolex 4130 movement that’s been open-worked, beveled, and sandblasted. You can also see a custom blue ceramic bezel and open-worked rotor with the little ‘BKLYN’ monogram as the little cherry on top.
It looks like a stunning watch. A lot of custom Rolex’s tend to go for something ridiculous or spectacular but this is something different. There’s taste and style here that can only come from someone who has a genuine love for watchmaking and doesn’t just use them as a status symbol.
And Lee basically says as much, “My career has been my life’s work and I’m constantly seeking to improve. Laziness is not an option — success takes heart and tireless effort. This is what I try to teach my students: you need to work, work, and then work some more. Like the master watchmakers who have laboured for hundreds of hours to achieve a level of excellence and continue to surpass themselves. When I look at their work on my wrist, I’ve got so much love and respect for their talent.”