iW interviews French contemporary artist Richard Orlinski about creating the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski watch collection with Hublot.
How did your relationship with Hublot begin?
I met Jean-Claude Biver who introduced me to (Hublot CEO) Ricardo Guadalupe. It was a friendship relation, we were not talking about business or work. And one day, we said why don’t we collaborate and do something together. And that was the beginning of the story.
It was very interesting for me to work with this brand because it allowed me to build a watch from scratch. I think in the world today no other brand has let an artist touch the DNA of the cases. It is something I am very proud of. It is something very new. It is a very interesting collaboration for the long term and not just a one-off. We work like a family. I don’t want to do something with people that I don’t know. I have to feel it.
Do you think in the future you might also contribute in designing a movement for the brand?
Honestly, I really don’t know because the movement is something very technical. So, I’m not sure. I prefer to be part of the aesthetic and design story, as design is really in my DNA and I prefer to work on that.
Do you think that this art and watch industry relationship in general is very durable? Do you see it still happening in the future?
More than that, I think we are still at the beginning. Not only with the watch, but also with all the branding and other related things. Nowadays art is taking such a huge place in the world because it gives credibility to the brands and it goes together, it’s matching with everything. Art is a way of life, a way of living, it’s emotion, sharing. Everything is art and so are watches. It’s not so easy to make everyone understand that, but we are coming to that; I think in the coming twenty to thirty years, everything will be linked with art.
How do you see art in terms of innovation in the coming future?
It’s very complicated for me because I think everything is art. It’s an evolution of the human beings, an evolution of the future, of the planet… What I can say is that there is the institutional art, and maybe art for everybody. The institutional art is going to be for years a very small, closed world; it will change but not for the next few years. As for the other part of art, I think it is working with everything, information technology, connecting… Art will take over all the technologies. It is very open. Everything can be art. That’s my point of view.
The Classic Fusion Aerofusion Orlinski was launched last January and now has new variations. How challenging was it to make art for a watch?
It made total sense. I saw what Hublot watches look like. I did it on my computer, with my team. It was quite obvious and we made it very fast. I took some part of my art put it in the watch mixed them together. It’s like a wedding, when two people are in a good fit together, they can marry. And it was easy like that.
By the look of the watch, even without mentioning your implication in it, people can immediately recognize that you were involved.
Yes exactly. But even if it weren’t a Hublot or an Orlinski watch, it’s a nice watch, and nice to wear. That’s the first thing I wanted, no matter the brand or artist. I think when you succeed in something, you make something that makes sense, and this watch made sense.
Was the blue ceramic your choice or Hublot’s?
We decided on that together. We are very open-minded, we collaborate and we share. As I mentioned, it’s like family business. We had meetings, discussed and decided together.
How about the response of the new collection? How was the feedback and what have you heard?
I humbly say it has been incredible! Everybody is so excited about the project. Just like in Geneva when we launched the first collection, and in Basel it was the same. So many people are now big fans of the watch.
If you were to describe the Hublot Orlinski collection to a customer, what would you say?
The best watch ever made (he says with a laugh). I think I’ve taken all the codes from what I know and like, and mixed them to create something perfect. I like perfection. I tried my best to make something perfect.
Vasken Chokarian is director of iW Middle East.