In 2007, the world was introduced to the Freelancer Collection by Raymond Weil. This family-owned brand has long been a pioneer in fusing the worlds of music and design, drawing inspiration from legendary musicians. From The Beatles to Bob Marley, and David Bowie, they’ve crafted special edition timepieces that pay homage to these iconic figures. However, their latest release takes an exciting turn as they dive into the world of visual art. The Raymond Weil x Basquiat Freelancer Special Edition watch now marries the bold creative spirit of Jean-Michel Basquiat with impeccable design.
Raymond Weil’s latest creation is more than just a watch; it’s a canvas of artistic expression that caters to both watch collectors and art enthusiasts. At first glance, the watch strikes a balance between playful and refined, mirroring Basquiat’s own work. The color palette, dominated by primary colors often featured in Basquiat’s art, is set against a black background, creating a bold yet subtle effect.
The references to Basquiat’s art are evident from the moment you lay eyes on the watch. It’s a thrilling experience to see some of Basquiat’s iconic symbols translated into this horological masterpiece. The prominent motif, the Crown image at twelve o’clock, was Basquiat’s way of bestowing royal status upon his subjects while commenting on power dynamics both in his art and in the world beyond the canvas. Moreover, this crown is coated in Super-LumiNova, making it visible even in the darkest hours.
In the heart of the black dial, you’ll find a recreation of the T-Rex symbol from Basquiat’s famous painting, “Pez Dispenser” (1984). This artwork delves into the commodification of art and pop culture, while the painting techniques mirror Basquiat’s primitive aesthetic.
Encased within a substantial 43.5mm x 13.7mm thick all-titanium case, the ceramic tachymeter bezel embraces the primary color palette. Additionally, a pulsometer scale has been added around the flange, adding functionality to the watch. Even the chronograph functions and pushers are imbued with Basquiat references and deeper meanings, solidifying the bond between the artist and the craftsmanship behind this watch.
The PVD chronograph pushers and crown feature Basquiat’s symbols – a yellow crown on the crown itself, a Copyright symbol on the Cancel/Reset pusher, and a $ symbol atop the Start/Stop chronograph pusher. The chronograph subdials also carry their own symbolism, with the minutes disk featuring recurring themes from Basquiat’s work: Life, Death, and Humanity. The seconds disk at nine o’clock continuously turns, echoing the artist’s fascination with life’s complexity.
If you look through the exhibition caseback, you’ll be treated to a view of the Caliber RW5030 Bi-Compax movement. This self-winding mechanical chronograph movement boasts a 56-hour power reserve and showcases Raymond Weil’s signature W-shaped oscillating weight and blued gasket. To top it off, the caseback bears a reproduction of Basquiat’s own signature.
In essence, this watch is more than just a timepiece; it’s a thoughtful blend of form and function. It’s a unique celebration of Basquiat’s work, all wrapped up in a special edition collector’s box.
These are available now for US$4,495.