Swiss watch brand RAYMOND WEIL has created a special edition freelancer chronograph as a tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Born on 22nd December 1960, Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist who rose to success during the 1980s as part of the Neo-expressionism movement. He is one of the best-known artists of his generation and is widely considered one of the most important of the 20th century. His career in art spanned the late 1970s through the 1980s until his death in 1988, at the age of 27.
This special edition freelancer chronograph was created in collaboration with Artestar, the exclusive licensing agency for the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. RAYMOND WEIL has partnered with Hodinkee as the exclusive retail partner for the World Premiere launch of this unique timepiece on October 24th, 2023.
The new freelancer Basquiat Special Edition highlights Basquiat’s artwork on the exterior and the artistry of Swiss watchmaking within.
A color palette dominated by the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue has been set against a black background to ensure the legibility of all horological functions. At the heart of the dial sits the iconic ‘Pez Dispenser’, the crown-wearing dinosaur depicted in Basquiat’s famous painting of 1984.
Positioned at 12 o’clock, the unmistakable crown boasts a yellow Super-Luminova® embellishment, while the hour hands and indexes are dressed in white Super-LumiNova®, emitting a glow under dim light conditions. This harmonious marriage of artistic expression and functional design transforms the dial into a striking visual testament to both Basquiat’s legacy and the watch’s functionality.
Beautifully intertwining art and mechanics, the sleek black PVD 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.
The watch highlights a ceramic tachymeter bezel and a flange pulsometer scale calibrated for 30 pulsations. The bezel design itself, reminiscent of paint strokes, amplifies the artistic touch.
The bi-compax chronograph recessed counters and skeleton discs carry artistic depth. 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 see-through sapphire crystal case back, subtly enhanced by a discreet blue gasket, provides a captivating view of the mechanical chronograph self-winding movement. At the heart of this timepiece lies Basquiat’s unmistakable signature, merging seamlessly with the W-shaped oscillating weight, RAYMOND WEIL’s horological signature.
The titanium case marries design and function, sized at 43.5mm diameter and 13.7mm thickness for comfortable wear. The watch houses the caliber RW5030 movement, a mechanical bi-compax chronograph with automatic winding offering a 56-hour power reserve.
The watch is supplied in a special box featuring the iconic yellow crown on its side. Opening the box reveals a bespoke logo plate and ‘Pez’ icon. The box is made of black Plexiglass® and printing inspired by Posca™ paint markers, a nod to the mediums used by Basquiat in his early career. The presentation box provides an artistic means of showcasing the masterpiece within.
Model: RAYMOND WEIL X BASQUIAT freelancer Special Edition, Reference 7780-TIC-JMB01
Mechanical chronograph bi-compax with automatic winding – RW5030
Power-reserve: 56 hours
Central hours and minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock
Central chronograph hand
30 minutes counter at 3 o’clock
Round case in titanium with a black ceramic tachymeter bezel inspired from Basquiat’s paint strokes and use of primary colours
Sapphire with antireflective treatment on both sides
Crown: Screwed-down and fluted with Basquiat’s crown
Sleek black PVD pushers at 2 o’clock (start, stop, restart) and 4 o’clock (reset) featuring Basquiat’s iconic symbols: the dollar sign and copyright symbol
Water resistance: 100 m, 330 ft, 10 atm
Screwed-down, stainless steel with titanium-colour PVD coating, with Basquiat’s unmistakable signature, on the sapphire glass back, merging seamlessly with the w-shaped oscillating weight
Subtle blue gasket enhancing the see-through case back and matching with the pusher’s blue detail
Black with the iconic “Pez Dispenser” at the center
Two recessed counters with white “cerclé” back
Nickel plated applique indexes enhanced with white Super-Luminova®
Crown index at 12 o’clock enhanced with yellow Super-Luminova®
Hours / Minutes: Nickel plated, barrel-shaped, enhanced with white Super-Luminova®
Small seconds: Skeleton discs with spiral cut out, a metaphor for Basquiat’s life complexity and personal reflections
Chronograph function: Blue and yellow second hand and a jumping minute disc at 3 o’clock depicting Basquiat’s three core painting themes “Life, Death, Humanity”
Genuine calf leather with titanium double push-security folding clasp