Raymond Weil launches their latest collaborative piece, this time honouring renowned artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat in the new Freelancer Chronograph Special Edition.
Raymond Weil is a brand that takes much of its inspiration from music as can be seen with many of their pieces, like the Freelancer Pop Bi-Compax In Titanium or their 2021 Maestro “Let it be” Limited Edition. However, this is the first time the brand, under the stewardship of CEO Elie Bernheim, who is a dedicated art enthusiast himself, has done an artistic collaboration, and in doing so, upholds the artistic legacy of his grandfather, Mr Raymond Weil, the brand’s founder who was a passionate art collector too.
The new RAYMOND WEIL X BASQUIAT™ Freelancer Chronograph pays tribute one of the most iconic artists of the 20th Century, Jean-Michel Basquiat who’s works were renown for being edgy and raw, and who’s paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more. And whilst this piece isn’t music inspired, the work of Basquiat most certainly was. From the very start, Basquiat immersed himself
in Downtown NYC nightlife, a melting pot of dance, art, and music, which he himself understood as a driving force behind creativity:
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. The RAYMOND WEIL X BASQUIAT™ comes in a 43.5mm Titanium Case that is 13.7mm thick, and serves as the canvas to showcase Basquiat’s unique style of art across all areas of the watch.
The primary colours of red, yellow, and blue have been set against a black background to ensure the legibility of all horological functions and on the deep black, come to life on the piece. At the heart of the dial sits the iconic ‘Pez Dispenser’, the crown-wearing dinosaur depicted in Basquiat’s famous painting of 1984.
The crown at 12 o’clock in yellow is fully lumed too, bringing Basquiat’s work to life at night time and creates a stunning visual that draws the eye to the dial and all the artistic elements accentuating their normal functions. 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 black PVD chrono-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 – which in our eyes is a great fusion of the iconography and functional watch element.
The see through case back shows off the automatic winding – RW5030, which is the same found in previous models. Producing 56 hours of power reserve and pivoting on 27 Jewels the movement is encased and enhanced by the subtle blue gasket and on the sapphire crystal, Basquiat’s unmistakable signature, merging seamlessly with the W-shaped oscillating weight.
Raymond Weil is a brand that is doubling down on the collaborations and themed pieces, which in our mind is a good thing. Why? It’s allowing the brand to really convey to its customers and the wider audience part of what makes the brand tick (sorry, pun intended) and the passion and loves of both it’s founder and now the family who run the business.
To incorporate an artist like Basquiat into a watch is a bold move given the styles and colours, but in this instance, it just works. It gives the watch an edgy and bold look especially on the black background and for those that want something unique on the wrist and one that has an association with an iconic 20th century artist.
- Case: 43.5 mm, Lug-Lug 52mm and 13.7mm thick
- Case Material: Titanium with a black ceramic tachymeter bezel inspired from Basquiat’s paint strokes and use of primary colours
- Dial: Black with the iconic “Pez Dispenser” at the center. Two recessed counters with white “cerclé” back.
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating inside
- Case Back: Screwed-down, stainless steel with titanium-colour PVD coating, with Basquiat’s unmistakable signature
- Water resistance: 100 meters
- Movement: RW5030 Automatic Bi-Compax Chronograph
- Power reserve: 56 Hours
- Bracelet: Genuine calf leather with Titanium and stainless steel folding clasp with double push-security system