Dazed and confused? Or fresh as a daisy? However the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow leaves you feeling, be sure to take it on more than just face value
Would there have ever been a pair more perfectly matched than Hublot and Takashi Murakami? United in the creation of the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow, both are unafraid to cross the lines of art and commercialism with gay abandon, opening themselves to the court of public opinion. And both are polarising to the point of love and hate – with the understanding that it doesn’t matter what ‘they’ think, as long as they are talking about you.
But what both Hublot and Murakami do best is giving off a superficial air of almost childish simplicity – Hublot’s primary-coloured chunky buttons and tactile straps, Murakami’s cartoonish creations – yet with layer upon layer of subtlety, history and expertise lying just beneath the surface. So what should such a pairing come up with? Why, a psychedelic, spinning, grinning, gemstone-encrusted flower encased in cut sapphire. Of course. The sickly sweetness of Murakami’s iconic kawaii bloom is tempered by its knowing nod to the artist’s own ‘Superflat’ art movement – the understanding that in Japanese culture, art and business are completely intertwined – transforming this timepiece from simply an expensively cute bit of kit to a statement on art, society and consumerism.
Of course, the same contrast exists throughout Hublot’s work too. The touchable, utilitarian aesthetic of many of the maison’s timepieces bely their intricacies, steeped in savoir-faire and innovation – a fact that didn’t pass Murakami by. “When I visited the Hublot manufacturer in Switzerland for the first time, I realised to what extent the traditional know-how, precision, futuristic technology and craftsmanship were all intertwined in the creation of a watch,” says the artist. “Bringing my art into the creativity of these watchmakers represents a unique adventure for me.”
As the second release in a series of collaborations between Murakami and Hublot, the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow is indeed a unique adventure. Building on the buzz created by the jet-hued Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black, this new multi-coloured timepiece throws out the understatement and pumps up the volume to the max. The 384 rubies, amethysts, Tsavorites and pink, blue, yellow and orange sapphires set into the flower make the most of their polychromatic pattern with light streaming in from all sides of the sapphire case. The 12 petals rotate hypnotically on a ball bearing system created especially for the Hublot-Murakami collaboration. The in-house automatic chronograph Unico movement is wholly encased in 45mm of durable synthetic sapphire, right down to the crown, set off perfectly by the transparent rubber strap. The message here is clear – the focus is on the face and movement, not that you could miss them. The Sapphire Rainbow may not be a watch for everyone, but with an issue of just 100 timepieces it was never going to be. For those with an eye for art and a keen sense of irony, it may be a match made in subversive heaven. Just like Hublot and Murakami themselves. Shop now