Introducing Hublot's Classic Fusion Chronograph Shepard FaireyBy Israel Ortega
In this new episode of art and watchmaking, Hublot brings us the Classic Fusion Chronograph Shepard Fairey, its second collaboration with the American artist. This new execution symbolizes the natural cycles of life and the unity between different cultures. The new piece is yet another episode of the philosophy “Be the first, be unique, be different” of the famous Nyon brand, complementing its “Hublot Loves Art” program.
Recently, Hublot had unveiled two other collaborations, those made by Takashi Murakami and Richard Orlinski. Today, Hublot presents its third work of art of 2021 in the Classic Fusion Chronograph Shepard Fairey. A painter, graphic designer, DJ, illustrator, urban artist, skateboard lover, and founder of OBEY Clothing, Fairey —also known by his pseudonym Obey; you can follow him on Instagram at @obeygiant— has become quite the relevant voice for his generation. Fairey’s work is clearly rooted in street art, and he constantly challenges his audience to open up to the possibilities of new messages through different motifs.
Among Fairey’s most recognizable works is the Obama Hope poster, an iconic image from Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, as well as the one titled Liberté, égalité, fraternité, which he created as a symbol of hope for France after the terrorist attacks that the country suffered in 2015. Fairey’s works have been enjoyed in major museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian in Washington, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the MoMa in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, to name just a few. Fairey has been a Hublot ambassador since 2018.
On his second adventure with Hublot, Fairey wanted to fully immerse himself in the technical aspects of a timepiece and create a striking watch that could convey a message to the heart and mind. The South Carolina-born artist decided to bring to life a piece symbolizing a mandala, an ornamental effigy representing harmony, the cycle of life and the elements, as well as the precious nature of time. The new watch takes advantage of the design and technical aspects of the Classic Fusion Chronograph, intending to present a message of alertness employing some ethereal imagery.
In this new customised chronograph, the mandala pattern has been polished and engraved in titanium, material also used for the bezel and the 45 mm case. The dial’s appearance is remarkably detailed: the surface has been chiseled to partially display the self-winding chronograph movement (HUB1155). Right at the center of the watch lies Fairey’s “Star Gear” emblem.
The Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Shepard Fairey watch is available as a limited edition (50 pieces) on Hublot’s e-commerce and Hublot boutiques. Hublot and Shepard Fairey have agreed that this watch will help raise funds for Amnesty International, the well-known NGO which fights to end human rights violations in keeping with the theme of global harmony represented by the meticulous design engraved on the watch.
Almost since its origins, the Classic Fusion has been a sort of new generation canvas for artistic experimentation. It’s hard to remember how many executions have taken advantage of the watch’s style and proportions —either the three-hand version or the chronograph work equally well— to represent a particular moment, idea, place, or story. I think the Orlinski watches are fresh in our collective memory, but there are many more special Classic Fusions, such as those honoring the Italian village of Capri and the always great London; or there are the ones created in honor of the cigar artisan Arturo Fuente and Parisian shoemaker Berluti. And there’s also the Classic Fusion Aerofusion in titanium and bronze created jointly by Revolution and The Rake! So no matter the inspiration, with the Classic Fusion, Hublot managed to become a great partner for a variety of artistic ideas.
Indeed, this collection has served as a literal platform for some of the most creative and artistic watchmaking executions of this watchmaking era. What Fairey accomplished with his carving of the mandala theme on the Classic Fusion case, bezel and dial resulted in a halo of emotions that offsets the usual coldness of titanium. The open-worked dial’s symmetry is incredibly moving, somehow highlighted by the carvings’ textures and curves. The message that Fairey conveys with this incredibly detailed Hublot will resonate with those looking for true, empathetic human ideas but enriched with a different artistic background.
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Shepard Fairey Ref. 525.NX.0137.RX.SHF21
Movement: Mechanical self-winding; skeletonised caliber HUB1155; hours and minutes; small seconds; chronograph, date; 28,800 bph; 42-hour power reserve
Case: Titanium, 45 mm; engraved and black brushed case and bezel; custom printed decoration on dial; engraved screw-down case back; 50-meter water resistance
Strap: Black rubber, stainless steel deployant clasp
Price: CHF 20,900/USD 22,000; Limited edition of 50 pieces