German artist Olaf Hajek is the latest in a long series of artists to collaborate with Swatch watches creating a limited edition set for Swatch’s groundbreaking series of Swatch Art watches. This year’s collection, which is a set of two watches, is limited to 888 sets. These watch sets have been on sale since March 21st of this year.
The two watches are titled ‘Flowerhead’ and ‘Nature Man’. Both of these watches reflect Hajek’s past work – the Flowerhead model features an African woman enveloped in a lush jungle with many plants and flowers (Hajek recently unveiled a collection of paintings with African women); while Nature Man focuses on colourful flowers around a man with a bluish green face (flowers have been a central theme in Hajek’s work over the years).
Despite the artistic nature of these collector’s edition watches, Swatch still keeps its core values in the movement, and case design of the watches. As usual, these models are powered by a quartz movement and the case is minimalist by design. One of the nicer touches of this watch is the hands, which are curling, spiked leaves; skeletonized for effect.
Recently, we caught up Olaf Hajek and were able to ask him a few questions:
Watch Marvel: What was the most challenging aspect of working with such a small canvas?
Olaf Hajek: The challenge was to transfer the idea of the painting to the technical requirements of the watches, without losing the magic and idea of the paintings. Texture and patina is very important in my work, so Swatch and I tried hard to obtain this idea of texture in the final print of the production. I think we did a good job and the material of the Swatches feels amazing and light. I was preparing an exhibition in Cape Town at that time and so my Swatches were born in the wonderful atmosphere of my South African studio in which I was painting for some months for my show.
Watch Marvel: You combine elements of nature in your work. Can you breakdown for us how the inspiration came about for your collaboration with Swatch on the Flowerhead and Nature Man pieces?
Olaf Hajek: Through juxtaposing the human figure with his incandescent kaleidoscope of flora and fauna, I try to show humanities fragile relationship with nature and its cycles of birth and death. My immediate idea for the design of the watches was to use some of my significant work: “Black Antoinette” and “Nature Man”. My idea was to create an image of luxury, opulence, and beauty which has nothing to do with wealth and prosperity. I adapted the idea of Marie Antoinette and created a “Black Antoinette” who is wearing the idea of the whole nature on her head—the beauty as well as the birth and death and the evanescence. Out of the first image I painted a whole series was born.
Watch Marvel: Do you see more collaborations into the wearable art medium in your future?
Olaf Hajek: I love this idea and I am open for collaborations which overcome the borders between art, design and fashion.