Watch brands have always loved to partner with companies and artists from different industries and music is a theme that they find particularly inspiring. We take a look at some of the top musical collaborations.
Lady Gaga became Tudor’s first female ambassador in 2017 and has been one of the faces of the brand’s advertising campaigns ever since. She has also done a series of video interviews for the watch brand, the latest of which was a meeting with another famous ambassador, David Beckham. An accomplished musician, songwriter, award-winning actress, style icon, political activist and philanthropist, Lady Gaga is the perfect ambassador for a watch brand whose slogan is “Born to Dare”.
Daring comes naturally to Lady Gaga who never stops shaking things up in all her different fields. Her latest projects include two two-year residencies in Las Vegas at the Park MGM Theater. The first show, called Lady Gaga Enigma, is an innovative staging of her pop hits, performed through a multi-dimensional art form including live music theater and visuals. The second show is entitled Jazz and Piano and presents a stripped-down version of her songs as well as tunes from the Great American Song Book.
Lady Gaga’s Tudor watches include The Tudor Black Bay S&G with black or gold-colored dials and the Tudor Black Bay with red bezel. You won’t see her wearing her Tudors when performing, although you will spot the Tudor advertisements all over the world.
Price: Tudor Black Bay S&G CHF 3’850 and Tudor Black Bay with red bezel CHF 3’250
Richard Mille and Pharrel Williams
Pharell Williams is a singer, producer, and designer who is perhaps best known for his song Happy that saw a global success. He started his musical career in 1994 with his childhood friend Chad Hugo. As producers, the duo has worked with Britney Spears, Jay Z, Alicia Keys and more. In 2013 he worked with Robin Thicke on Blurred Lines and he also wrote the vocals on Get Lucky by Daft Punk. In addition to his musical career, Williams is also active in the fashion industry with his brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear.
When it comes to watches, you will often see him wearing Richard Mille pieces such as the RM 031 High Performance, the RM 70-01 Alain Prost, and recently he worked on his own timepiece, the RM 52-05 Pharrell Williams. This manual-winding tourbillon shows an image of the Earth on the dial as it would be viewed from Mars, an experience that has been a dream of the artist his whole life. The dial was crafted by the creative development team at Richard Mille and included work by an engraver, an enamel artist and a painter.
Raymond Weil, the Beatles, Bob Marley, David Bowie and more
Raymond Weil is the watch brand with the biggest connection to music. They have made limited editions celebrating the musical careers of The Beatles, AC/DC, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, and Buddy Holly to name a few. They are also the official timekeeper for festivals like the Brit Awards and the MTV Ema Awards, and support numerous charities that promote music. And if that isn’t enough, they also have partnerships with Gibson guitars and Nabucco cellos. Each collaboration is honored with a limited edition of timepieces which often take design cues from the artists’ lives or their instruments.
The latest music legend to be celebrated with a Raymond Weil watch is Jimi Hendrix. This limited edition Freelancer Chronograph is inspired by the artist’s timeless Woodstock performance, which took place 50 years ago this year, and his famous 1968 white Fender Stratocaster. Details from this iconic guitar can be found on the dial of the watch with nine dotted index markers that mimic the frets on its guitar neck and the circular border representing the six guitar strings.
Hendrix was also known for being left-handed which is visible in the Fender guitar counterweight design of the second hand. The second hand and sub-dial hands also feature the unforgettable cyan blue Aztec guitar strap that he used. The timepiece is limited to 500 pieces and they are all numbered on the caseback and come with a certificate of authenticity signed by Hendrix’s sister Janie.
Price: CHF 3,250
Oris and the world of jazz
Oris has long been connected to the world of jazz with a range of limited-edition timepieces celebrating jazz legends of the 20th century. Collaborations include huge talents such as Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson, and Dexter Gordon to name a few. The design of each collection will always feature a discrete element referring to the world of the musician. This year Oris unveiled a watch to celebrate the most pioneering and inventive of jazz drummers, Art Blakey.
Art Blakey (1919-1990) was an American drummer and bandleader who came to fame in the 1940s in the bands of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine. He went on to work with Thelonious Monk, who also has an Oris watch named after him, Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie. In the 1950s he formed the group, The Jazz Messengers, with Horace Silver. The band became an incubator for young talent over the following decades. Blakey was recognized by the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1981, the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and 2001 and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
The Art Blakey Limited Edition timepiece honors the music and legacy of this jazz legend. The watch is based on the Oris Artelier and features a silver dial decorated with the eight claws of Blakey’s bass drum and a case back in the style of a cymbal. It comes in a 38mm stainless steel case and is equipped with an automatic movement. Limited to 1,000 pieces, each timepiece comes with a special box.
Price: CHF 1’950
Hublot and Lang Lang
Hublot is partners with the world-famous Chinese concert pianist, Lang Lang. This talented musician started playing the piano at the age of three and by the age of five, he was already winning competitions. He has played in leading orchestras all over the world, from the United States to Europe, and Canada, in addition to his native China. He has played duets with the Four Horsemen from Metallica, Jazzman Herbie Hancock and the Tenor Placido Domingo, attesting to his phenomenal talent.
Hublot has made two limited-edition timepieces to honor the pianist. The first is the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater Carbon Lang Lang that sounds the hours and minutes using a cathedral double gong. Like the hammers inside a grand piano, there are two small hammers that hit a double gong engraved with the virtuoso’s name. The second timepiece is the Classic Fusion 45 mm Ceramic Ultra-Thin Lang Lang that comes in a black ceramic case with gold details.
Audemars Piguet and the Montreux Jazz Festival
Audemars Piguet is not only the official timekeeper for the Montreux Jazz Festival, but it has been supporting the festival over the last few years in an ambitious project to archive over 6,000 hours of footage from the world’s most famous musicians. This Montreux Jazz Digital Project has even been recognized by UNESCO’s Memory of the World for its cultural value.
“The project was inspired by the work of Claude Nobs. He was a faithful friend and so we are delighted to take part in this initiative. We are proud to participate in the colossal technological efforts needed to transform this unique heritage into a first-class digitized resource for future generations,” says Olivier Audemars, Vice-Chairman of the Audemars Piguet Board of Directors.
Thanks to help from the Swiss universities EPFL and ECAL, Metamedia Center and the ALICE Laboratory, a special booth has been created which can hold 20 viewers at a time in an intense audiovisual experience that showcases flawlessly reproduced live footage along with spectacular audio sound that was recreated to perfection by the finest sound experts. Horizontal mirror partitions relay the images shown on the central screen and heighten the sense of immersion in the space. The booth can be viewed in the Montreux Jazz Café at the EPFL, enabling the public to also be able to enjoy the fruits of this amazing project.