TAG Heuer Alec Monopoly x TAG Heuer
Those that missed buying the debut Alec Monopoly x TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch in 2017 will be relieved to hear that the collaboration with the American graffiti artist is still going strong.
The Miami-based artist and watchmaker have created two new designs, which launched in London last month.
Alec Monopoly has described his work as embodying “positivity, happiness and good energy” and his first two TAG Heuer designs came with his signature peppy, bright colours on a black dial. The two new pieces – the 41mm quartz Formula 1 on a black rubber strap, and the 43mm Carrera chronograph with a 50 hour power reserve and date window at 3 o’clock, set on a steel bracelet – have the same vibe, but now come on a white dial for a more graphic, lighter look. “I wanted something bright and thought white was an inverted version of the last one,” he said. His top-hatted, bandana-faced avatar character, Monopi, also once more graces the dial.
Formula 1 and Carrera Heuer 01 Alec Monopoly special editions © TAG Heuer
As for creating the artwork, TAG Heuer stayed true to Alec Monopoly’s modus operandi: the artist has his own studio in TAG Heuer’s manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where an oversized watch dial was erected for him to graffiti and spray paint at will. The result was then miniaturised for a watch dial.
Despite the familiar medium, it was still a new way of working for the artist. “It’s not a large canvas but a circle with a lot of things on it – the chronograph dials, the date box,” he said. “It took a lot of thought and design placement is very important. It was a challenge – but I love a challenge.”
Alec Monopoly in front of the London flagship on Oxford Street with his Carrera Heuer 01 on his wrist © TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer’s London flagship on Oxford Street hosted the launch, where guests were treated to cocktails, canapés and a live performance of Alec Monopoly at work. But here his canvas was a wall of 50 watch boxes, decorated in the new dial motifs, which Alec Monopoly then further sprayed and applied graffiti. The watch boxes will go to the first 50 buyers of the new timepieces. As for hosting the global launch in London, Rob Diver, managing director TAG Heuer and LVMH Watch & Jewellery, Europe, called London “a creative hub and cradle for emerging and experimental art talent. Our flagship boutique is the perfect destination to welcome Alec with his avant-garde spirit for our customers and fans of his street art.”
Alec Monopoly at work © TAG Heuer
It certainly will resonate with millennials, who are his biggest fans, said the 33-year-old Alec Monopoly, while famous collectors include the likes of Seth Rogan, Adrien Brody and Robert De Niro. Having sold his first artwork before he was 15 years old, Alec Monopoly knows the value of his name and its power. He unabashedly says that those buying his TAG watches do so basically to own a piece of his art.
Formula 1 Alec Monopoly Special Edition © TAG Heuer
“They know it has a certain value to it,” he says. “And after buying, the piece immediately goes up anyways.” But what surprised him, he adds, is how seasoned watch collectors are especially keen. “They own watches that are over $100,000, from all the top brands. And then they buy my watch.”
Calling his work a “journey”, the artist says he likes to explore the cities he’s visiting – Notting Hill was on his list for London – and indeed he has travelled the world anew thanks to TAG Heuer. There have been events in Mexico, Beijing and Hong Kong, the latter of which was a particular highlight.
Alec Monopoly © TAG Heuer
“We had a tram in Hong Kong where I painted the whole thing. It was going around the city and I got to ride it and see everyone’s face looking at it. It was an amazing moment. Painting the subways was like the coolest thing back in the 1980s, but that’s when I was born, so I wasn’t around. Today subways are shut down and you can’t access them for graffiti.”
Indeed, Asia has struck a chord. “Each time I go to Japan I’m super inspired. Everything about Tokyo is related to art – even the stop signs have little art characters. I’m interested in more collaboration in Asia and have cool, new design ideas.”
Fans, watch this space.
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