There’s nothing quite like Miami during Art Basel and Design Miami. The annual fairs that run concurrently prompt hordes of the American glitterati to descend upon the city to indulge and imbibe during one of the art world’s most anticipated weekends. On top of all that, brands of all sorts turn up to host events and dinners that offer up a who’s who platter of influencers and celebrities. It’s perfect timing then — just as I discussed with the Managing Director of Hublot America Jean-Francois Sberro recently — that the worlds of watchmaking and art have never been as closely aligned as they are now.
This year, Audemars Piguet acted as a sort of horological vanguard over Art Basel as the Le Brassus-based brand lent its support to its third consecutive art commission. Slow-Moving Luminaries by the multidisciplinary artist Lars Jan is an installation that spans over 100 feet on the Miami Beach oceanfront and allows visitors to walk through its multiple levels and explore the temporal pavilion.
Across town, the handkerchief-clad artist and TAG Heuer ambassador Alec Monopoly scaled the Fontainebleau hotel in a demonstration of his artistic prowess. Afterwards, he spray painted three hundred white-rubber straps that will be included in the release of his upcoming Connected Modular 45 limited edition.
Over at Design Miami, Panerai continued its annual tradition of sponsoring the Visionary Award. This year’s recipient? A collaborative project between Selldorf Architects, the 14+ Foundation, artist Rashid Johnson, and architects Christ & Gantenbein that sponsors the construction of an elementary school in rural Zambia. This is the fourth year that Panerai has been involved with the award.
Panerai also used the occasion to release a new version of its Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio, a simple timepiece that embodies the brand’s recognizable look with a twist. Classic Panerai design ideals are abound here, including the cushion shape, sandwich dial, polished steel case, and Arabic numerals. The twist? It’s totally unsigned, leaving the dial an inky landscape that opens it up into an interesting play of three-dimensional forms. At 47 mm, it is definitely targeted toward hardcore Panerai enthusiasts and doesn’t shy away from it. The blued hands add a bit of levity to the dial and are infused with lume. Inside the watch, the P.3000 caliber is hand-wound with a three-day power reserve. The P.3000 movement is also equipped with a quick-set mechanism that allows the hour hand to be moved forward or backward in jumps of one hour at a time without interfering with the movement of the minute hand or the running of the watch. Currently, it’s exclusive to the United States and limited to 30 total pieces. In 2018, it will have a global release. The Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio is priced at $9,800.
While viewing the latest Damien Hirst provocation over bubbly definitely has its perks, there’s nothing quite like seeing what Corum will do next with its own Bubble. Over the weekend, we got a taste of the Bubble’s next appearance and it is out-of-this-world. The Corum Bubble 47 Magical is the brand’s latest collaboration with the artist Elisabetta Fantone. Here, we have a timepiece with a brass dial depicting one of Fantone’s artworks inside a black PVD-coated, grade 5 titanium case and bezel. It’s a supremely funky timepiece that turns the watch into a platform for the artist’s work while still prioritizing the ability to tell time. There are no hands on this timepiece; instead, the watch tells time through a glowing blue circle that acts as an hour marker and a smaller blue circle that acts as a minute hand. It’s an uncommon application of the time-telling mechanism, but by embracing its inherent peculiarity, the watch becomes an intriguing canvas to blend horology and Fantone’s artistry.
Hublot, hot off the heels of debuting two new watches with the artists Tristan Eaton and Hush, introduced a new ambassador and a new watch during its presence over the long weekend. Richard Orlinksi, a French sculptor and new Hublot representative, helped design the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski with his playful figures in mind. Twelve sharp facets — spread out across the case, crown, bezel, and pushers — all immediately draw attention and create a frame for the skeletonized dial. The 45-mm Aerofusion Orlinski is limited to 400 total versions with 200 in blue ceramic and 200 in titanium. It’s powered by the HUB 1155 Caliber, which offers up a 42-hour power reserve.