Rebellion Predators customised by Swiss artist Saiff Vasarhelyi
Rebellion has found the perfect person to customise its watches for fans of the brand.
Saiff Vasarhelyi is 30 years old, he was born and grew up in a city at the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry (Biel/Bienne), yet has never had any connections with the industry. He was a software engineer until one day he chose his passion over his career. “It was a difficult choice,” he says, “but I’m glad I made it. Today I can get up in the morning and do something I love.”
The young artist has now teamed up with Rebellion Timepieces for a project to customise the brand’s Predator timepieces. Those familiar with the Rebellion ecosystem will not be surprised to learn that the association between the artist and the watch brand came through motor racing – specifically at the Rebellion Karting track in Switzerland. “This is where I met Calim [Editor’s note: Calim Bouhadra, COO at Rebellion],” explains Vasarhelyi, “and given my art and the rebellious spirit of Rebellion we had some cool ideas that we have been able to realise together.”
But what exactly is that art? The simplest explanation is a mixture of painting and graffiti and the medium and supports that Vasarhelyi uses confirm this. He started painting on canvas but his unique style grabbed people’s attention on a visit to Canada last summer. The artist picks up the story: “One day I was shopping in Montreal and purely by chance the whole road was closed and the sales were on. I passed by the Reebok store, which had an artist inside painting shoes with graffiti. I was immediately intrigued so I entered the store and introduced myself as an artist and said that I would like to paint my own shoes. They were fine with that and so was the artist who was already there. I went to buy my shoes and started spraying them just outside the store. A crowd quickly gathered and I ended up staying there all afternoon spray painting people’s shoes.” Things mushroomed from there, with the likes of Formula 1 World Champion proudly wearing bespoke footwear spray-painted by the modest young Swiss artist. The drivers of the Rebellion Racing team were naturally keen to follow suit.
With the partnership with Rebellion comes an additional challenge. After downsizing from relatively large canvas to much smaller shoes, the next step was to tackle the even smaller watch. Clearly, aerosols were no good here, so Vasarhelyi switched to an airbrush and fine brushes to customise the watches. “The first watch I did was a Re-Volt for Philippe at the go-kart track,” he explains. “I painted his white strap and everyone loved it. Then I did a few more watches for the drivers but I wanted to take things a step further. So I offered to paint some dials.”
This brings us to the ultra-limited edition of just 10 Predator watches, each of which is unique and each of which has been entirely hand painted by Vasarhelyi. Just take a look at the gallery (click on the button at the top of the article) to see the level of detail and the vibrant colours in each piece. The perfect finishing touch is that the use of luminescent paint is Vasarhelyi’s signature, meaning that these miniature works of art glow in the dark, too.