While this is ostensibly a story about the collaboration between a tattooist and a watch brand, it’s also the story of two individuals and how their lives intertwined to create a watch. It is a story of the shifting dynamics of contemporary culture where body decoration has joined music and painting to become one of the most revered art forms of today. It is the story of an industry that is poised at a precipice in its relevance to the modern world and the young generation, and of a watch brand with a mission to fuse Swiss watchmaking with the fabric of today.
But our tale has to begin in 16th-century France, with the followers of John Calvin, the man who broke from Catholicism in the 1530s, attacking the assertion that the institution was necessary for salvation by God. The French Huguenots adopted the reformed traditions Calvin espoused and as a result were harassed, imprisoned and killed over two centuries, forcing them – many of whom were members of the French watch industry – to set about establishing their own churches and communities in the French-speaking region of Switzerland.
Because their artistic voices were in some ways muted by their religion, they sublimated their creativity into two fields. The first was, naturally enough, watchmaking; the second was typography, where they would pour their inner artistry into the creation of fonts and – although they didn’t have a name for it yet – “graphic design”.