hublot ambassador daniel arsham wearing the arsham droplet 8

Erosion of Time: The Daniel Arsham x Hublot Arsham Droplet is Amazing!

The American artist Daniel Arsham has collaborated with the Swiss watchmaker Hublot to create a visionary timepiece: the Arsham Droplet.

By Rhonda Riche
Editor-At-Large

For those who may be unaware, Daniel Arsham’s artwork is centered around the notion of fictional archaeology. Using multiple platforms, including sculpture, architecture, drawing, and performance, he builds ambiguous environments that he calls “future relics of the present.”
 

The story sold around high-end timepieces – that they are objects meant to be passed down through the generations and current owners merely stewards – lends itself well to Arsham’s artist statement. Thus, in collaboration with Hublot, the artist has created a spectacular work of speculative non-fiction by reimagining the traditional pocket watch, blending antique form with futuristic materials and production methods.
 

Dubbed the Arsham Droplet, this timepiece can be enjoyed in three ways: as a pocket watch, a pendant, or a table clock. So, for this story, we will save the specs for later and examine the Droplet first as an artwork.

Turn to Stone

Arsham’s best-known works are sculptures that look like excavations. First, Arsham takes casts of objects that typify recent culture (like cereal boxes, clothing, cassette tapes, magazines, etc.) and contemporary characters (like Pikachu, Mickey Mouse, Mario, etc.).

He then uses these molds to re-form the objects from a variety of materials, but a favorite is a compound of sand, selenite, or volcanic ash. Through this process, Arsham removes the object from the everyday, thus cleverly recontextualizing our current culture.
 

Like Andy Warhol, Arsham’s work is also a comment on consumerism. However, Arsham’s love for the objects that he turns into stone is why pieces like his “Eroded 911 Turbo (Porsche)” are not three-dimensional derivations of, say, Warhol’s soup cans and Brillo boxes, which evince a cool pop art detachment. At heart, Arsham is a romantic.
 

The precariousness of time is another frequent subject in Arsham’s work. And there is good reason for that. For you see, Arsham may have been born in Cleveland, but he was raised in Miami, which means Arsham was only 12 years old when Hurricane Andrew destroyed his family home in 1992.

The Arsham Droplet represents an aesthetic departure from his bruised and battered surfaces and instead focuses on organic, fluid forms found in nature. But like a raindrop in a hurricane, the shape of this pocket watch is powerful and unpredictable.
 

Surface Tension

Arsham has built his practice around dismantling the walls between sculpture, architecture, and performance. The Droplet is not his first watch partnership; that would be Arsham’s 2015 partnership with Bamford Watch Department to create a special edition Rolex Milgauss called “The Black Moon.”
 

He has even collaborated with Hublot before on an installation called Light & Time. This interactive piece was a 20-meter-wide Hublot-inspired sundial that could only be viewed while visiting Schwarzsee near Zermatt, Switzerland.
 

“The Arsham Droplet is a true testament to the power of collaboration,” commented Arsham in the press release. “By combining Hublot’s technical expertise with my artistic vision, we have created a timepiece that transcends the traditional pocket watch, blending the past, present, and future in a captivating and unexpected way.”

The Droplet does represent a significant shift from what critics have called Arsham’s post-apocalyptic aesthetic.
 

As an example, consider the ravaged surface of a 2023 work called Ash and Pyrite Eroded Wrist Watch 4, which bears an uncanny resemblance to an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, except this “timepiece” is made from volcanic ash, selenite, pyrite, and other unspecified materials.
 

“These materials make us think of the revolution of time. Much of my work is about the collapse or confusion of time,” Arsham wrote at the time of the piece’s unveiling. “Erosion makes us think in two ways: in one part it looks like it’s in a state of decay, but we also associate chrystals as growth of something that happens over a very long span of time.”

In contrast, the Hublot Arsham Droplet is a smoother experience: Crafted, as it is, from a blend of titanium, rubber, and sapphire crystal, this teardrop-shaped timepiece is as much a reflection of Hublot’s expertise with innovative materials as it is of Arsham’s worldview.
 

“The Arsham Droplet is a testament to Hublot’s unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of both form and function,” said Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe in a press release for the timepiece. “This groundbreaking timepiece is a true work of art, seamlessly blending our horological expertise with Daniel Arsham’s visionary artistic vision.”

Thus, together, they have created an experiential timepiece that challenges the status quo simply by not being a wristwatch and because it transforms the idea of what a pocket watch should be.
 

The Details

Measuring 73.2mm (length) x 52.6mm (width) x 22.5mm (thickness), the sandwich construction and tactile design fit perfectly in the hand, like a pebble with a surface that has been smoothed by the river’s currents.
 

The titanium case boasts a double sealing system with no less than 17 O-rings to ensure a perfect seal. The timepiece also makes use of Hublot’s iconic design codes, including the brand’s signature six H-shaped screws.

Beating inside this watch is Hublot’s Meca-10 manufacture movement, which boasts a 10-day power reserve that ensures the Droplet can be enjoyed without the need for frequent winding (it wouldn’t fit on any watch winder anyway), further cementing the wearer’s connection to time.
 

The organic nature of the Droplet is further complemented by two chains made from micro-blasted titanium that make it possible to wear the Droplet as either a pendant or a pocket watch. This chain is also easily removed, transforming the Droplet into an objet d’art you can display via the titanium and mineral glass table stand included with every timepiece.
 

Limited to only 99 examples, the price of the Arsham Droplet is $88,000. For more information, please visit Hublot’s website or danielarsham.com.

(Images © Hubot)

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