Shepard Fairey is a name that is known worldwide for his (mostly) street-art masterpieces that are (mostly) hard to miss. He gained significant notoriety after the world caught wave of his “Hope” poster, created during Barack Obama’s campaign for president of the United States in 2008. It depicted a graphic-style portrait of then-candidate Obama, with the words HOPE in block letters—not-so-subtly echoing the sentiment of his entire campaign.
Hublot is also a name that is known worldwide, but for manufacturing some of the world’s finest, luxury timepieces. Its slogan, “The Art of Fusion,” has lent itself to several incredible watch collaborations with various artists, athletes and public figures including Lang Lang, Richard Orlinski, Usain Bolt, Floyd Mayweather and Pelé.
The two brands—Fairey himself and Hublot—have come together for an epic creation in the Big Bang Meca-10 Shepard Fairey. Limited to 100 each of the two variations of the watch, both are beautifully artistic and technologically innovative designs that perfectly marry the ethos of the street artist and the watchmaker.
“I’m not an anachronistic at all,” begins Fairey. “I’m not saying that looking at your cell phone for the time is a bad thing or that sending an email versus a letter is a bad thing, either. But in some ways, the symbolism of a watch is a different approach to time that’s maybe a little less scattered and impatient versus all the other digital things. As a symbol, this is now something I’m even more excited about because if I have to say which side of the line I’m on, it’s craft and appreciation for not wasting time.”
To announce the collaboration, Hublot and Fairey hosted hundreds of guests for a new-age style party at an art studio in Los Angeles—Fairey’s hometown. Hublot timepieces were on display in lighted vitrines while Fairey’s art pieces were mounted on the walls in the oversized space. Before taking the stage to serve as the DJ for the evening, Fairey spoke briefly about the exciting project with global CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe.
“Once again, Hublot teams with the best of the best,” began Guadalupe. “For the first time, the street-art star gives life to a miniature ‘mural’ on a time object. The ever-creative rebel has transformed our Big Bang Meca-10 into a canvas on which he distills his iconic aesthetic codes. The watch becomes a creative work fusing the Hublot take on watchmaking with Fairey’s street art.”
The two-year development features Hublot’s signature in-house movement, a 10-day power reserve, a “gear-driven mechanical aesthetic… [and] an unusual architectural design based around a construction set, with a stylized skeleton revealing the originality of a cogwheel power reserve indicator,” according to the brand. Additionally, the watch has two barrels, and at 3 o’clock, Shepard Fairey’s Star Gear logo, which reveals a red dot when the power reserve is reaching its final days, as well as a 6 o’clock gearwheel to show the exact number of days remaining. At 7 o’clock, there is also a small second regulator with the regulating organ. Hublot’s signature “one click” technology is also part of the watch, allowing the owner to quickly swap the strap with ease. Available in black and navy blue colorways, both color options arrive in a presentation case signed by Fairey and numbered letterpress print, reading either “Star Gear Collage Red” or “Star Gear Collage Blue,” framed in concrete.
When asked about working with such a powerhouse LVMH brand, Fairey was humbled. “I make everything from very expensive paintings to very inexpensive prints,” he noted. “I want to have my work available, but I also want to be able to do things that are really finely crafted and premium. I look at a Hublot watch as an art piece. It’s like they’re putting the same care into what they’re doing that I’m putting into a painting. Anyone that appreciates my paintings, I think, can understand that mentality and really the craft.”
Quintessentially Shepard Fairey, one of the most prominent physical features of the watches is the collage texture on the casing. While showing some of his art pieces, he said, “I decided to go with the more subtle but still very recognizable collage texture in the casing. You can see that some of the graphics that I actually used in the case are from these [art pieces]. I like the feeling of organic decay that you get on a street wall. When I would put grids of posters up, and somebody else would come put something else up, and some would rip and then expose a bit of brick, I became fascinated with the idea that this layering suggests that there’s a life to everything behind what you’re seeing on the surface.”