C2-GraffitiGrey by Watchonista
To make people dream, one usually puts a watch on the wrist of an athlete, an actor or a race car driver. If it looks like a token of efficiency to a public of laymen, connoisseurs make fun of it.
I was surprised and filled with admiration when I discovered Concord's new marketing campaign, for the launch of the new C2, which one did not expect.
So it is a real (nice) surprise from every standpoint.
First of all, let's talk about marketing. Following a campaign worthy of "Transformers 4" for the launch of the Blackspider, Concord strikes even harder with the launch of the C2 Graffiti, through a marketing campaign based on the "Street art" theme. "Street art" happenings have been organized in Paris, Milan & London in entirely tagged squatter locales. It is a cultural shock, when one is so bored that one subjects oneself to watchmaking smorgasbords held in "prestigious" locations.
Based on the traditional criteria of watchmaking communication, "one gets wet when it rains". Here, it is the exact opposite: Concord appropriates a theme deemed sulfurous by the horologic marketing standards.
In of itself, spontaneous wall painting is not news in human history; it probably was the first form of expression, together with engraving. The painters of the fabulous Lascaux cavern, maybe were young offenders of the prehistoric times, wearing caps (made of mammoth leather)...
Tagging, graphing, spotting, frescos, slogans have been around since the beginning of time; they are sometimes political, sometimes ludicrous and often funny. With their inextinguishable thirst for communication, humans often put pithy messages on the walls.
After a very political period, in the 60's, assuming a revolutionary flavor, graffiti progressively transformed into street art in the 70's, through the African-Americans from the Bronx. Paradoxically, these minorities who had the most grievances chose to escape through art rather than using it as a way to protest....
So, with the help of the Hip-Hop culture, Graph magnified misery through techniques originating from many influences, from German surrealism to Japanese calligraphy.
Ironically, these frescos embellish urban landscapes. While enduring a painful commute by train, when one seeks to escape the grayish atmosphere, a nice Graph brings some life into this environment made of concrete
The theme of the C2 Graffiti is particularly interesting, as it is probably the first watch to pay such an emphatic tribute to urban environments. When a majority of the fine watchmaking customers live in megalopolis, watchmaking's classic storytelling always stages magnificent bucolic environments very far from reality.
The other question triggered by this watch concerns luxury in 2012. In fact, its codes have completely exploded. When one meets great Italian collectors at Genevan auctions, they wear jeans, sneakers and for the most elegant, jackets. The only classic garments that still survive are shirts...
The guards from "Securitas" are definitely better dressed, at least by the "classic" standards. However, they do not wear these extremely rare Patek worth millions...
Likewise, the success of neo-vintage military watches like Panerai, confirms a shift in the codes that govern luxury.
In short, luxury appears in new areas, because today this market repositions itself to fill all the available stylistic niches... Finally, someone proposes a watch totally dedicated to the urban world.
This C2 Graffiti's watchcase is a radical evolution of the Concord C1's... The C1 Blackspider featured the hints of this restyling. With the C2, the marriage of sports-chic and streetwear is consummated.
In fact, the design of this watch could be best defined as sports-chic crossbred with cyberpunk...
The bezel is a real success: the improbable union of this sleek bezel and its crenellated rim works perfectly.
Likewise, the lugs look like they were borrowed from a suspension bridge. The result not only looks nice, but it is also convenient, as one can easily switch from a wristband to another; it is very useful when one can't afford to miss the train to the office.
The stainless steel watchcase is 43mm by 21.75mm (see the photo of the prototype) and is fitted with a Valjoux caliber with a chronograph complication plate. But if the watchcase is very stylish, the chief innovation is elsewhere.
It sits with the design: The C2 blends into the urban background. Contrary to showy watches, this Concord represents the ultimate stealth; it is more than "All black", which could stand out from urban grayness, it is a tone on tone integrated gray; the final evolution could be an urban "digi-camo" finish.
In order to improve stealth (but is it an improvement, in the end ?) , the smoked crystal reminds us a bit of the office towers' windows; let's say it like it is, if this finish looks very urban and is quite original, it seriously impairs the legibility of the dial.
One thing we know for sure is that your neighbors on the train will definitely not be able to tell time or know the brand of your watch, by peering over your shoulder; it is the opposite of a "Show-off" watch and could be deemed a "Show-in" piece. In some ways, it even returns to the Calvinist basis of classic watchmaking: a neat piece without ostentation.
This watch is therefore one of the biggest surprises to the start of the 2012 business year, as it shakes-up many aesthetical and marketing codes. It is a perfect interpretation of "Zeitgeist", a piece that we hadn't expected in a long time.