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Hublot and Takashi Murakami Release 13 Unique Watches Linked to NFTs

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Hublot and Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami have announced their latest collaborative project: 13 unique watches paired with 13 unique non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. 

While 12 of the new watches, inspired by Japanese video games and television shows from the 1970s, will not be unveiled until the Watches & Wonders event in Geneva next month, Hublot offered a sneak peek at the 13th piece in the series, the 45mm Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Black Ceramic Rainbow. 

The design, which continues to focus on Murakami’s famed smiling flower motif, combines the black ceramic case of the first Murakami watch, Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black, and the colorful rainbow gems of the second Murakami piece, Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow. Both limited editions hit the market in 2021.

While Murakami at first rebuffed Hublot’s offers to team up, a visit to Hublot’s headquarters in Nyon, outside of Geneva, impressed him enough to sign on to the project. However, he was not content to do a basic limited edition. One of his conditions was that they would have to make “super unique stuff” together. Having celebrated his 61st birthday the evening before the unveiling, Murakami noted that he can’t waste time on banal projects. 

“When I think about it, a watch is not something to just measure time,” Murakami said last week during a news conference at The Standard, High Line hotel in New York’s trendy Meatpacking District. “A watch is something like conceptual art to present the concept of time. It is not only a piece of equipment to measure time, because you don’t need many of them if it’s just a piece of equipment.”

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe & Takashi Murakami at the Hublot launch in New York.

Courtesy of Hublot

Similar to the preceding Murakami Hublots, the new piece places the domed center of the smiling flower on top of the sapphire crystal creating a 3-D effect. In the latest iteration, the smiling raised center is set with multicolored gems. Under the glass, each of the flower’s 12 petals is set with single-hued gems—rubies, sapphires, amethysts, tsavorites, and topaz—to form a subtle gradient of shades from one to the next with a total of 384 gemstones. 

For all the Murakami pieces, Hublot’s engineers developed an ingenious ball-bearing system that allows the flower petals to spin on the central axis creating a dynamic spectacle on the wrist as it moves. 

Reinforcing the exclusivity and special perks of the collector community, the 13 unique pieces will play hard to get, while reinforcing a link to the digital-art world through NFTs. 

Last year, for the third Murakami project, Hublot offered 324 NFTs to those who purchased the first two Murakami limited-edition watches before the NFTs were allowed to be exchanged on the decentralized NFT trading platform OpenSea. 


Courtesy of Hublot

With the new launch, owners of those NFTs will have the exclusive opportunity to purchase the 12 new NFTs, which provide access to purchasing the corresponding watches, which run CHF50,000. Collectors have from now until April to acquire one of the 12 NFTs before watch sales open. And from then until April 2024, collectors can freely trade the 12 NFTs on the OpenSea platform even if they hold on to the physical watch. 

If one manages to acquire all 12 NFTs, they will have the opportunity to purchase the 13th unique piece, the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Black Ceramic Rainbow and receive a corresponding unique NFT. If no one accomplishes that feat, the watch will be auctioned by Hublot to raise funds for charity.

For Murakami, understanding what makes collectors tick has been key to his career’s longevity. 

“When you’re collecting, there are a lot of chemicals that are released in your brain, like dopamine, that make everyone so excited,” he says. “So, I am always thinking about what kind of experience I can create that would trigger that kind of chemical release in the collectors.”


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