We ponder over the subject. A reader requested for this. And we take up the challenge. With a little uneasiness, mainly because we are not streetwear exponents. As is perhaps evident, we are more the classic suit and tie type. But decided to give it a shot. Just for the fun of it. Here we pick six, from Casio, Bell & Ross, SEVENFRIDAY, Hublot, Bexei and Urwerk.
Indeed streetwear is new to this author. But since this is a reader request, and we are all about collector interests, we decided to take a shot at it. Perhaps particularly interesting and poignant as we are also preparing an article on Permanent Style vs Fashion featuring watches from Breguet as the forerunner of the classical and mature. Watch out for that article later this week.
But streetwear it is, so some definitions to start.
Streetwear is a style of street fashion which we understand began and is still rooted in the Californian surf and skate culture. It has grown, and expanded its scope, and now it encompasses elements of hip hop fashion, Japanese street fashion, and modern haute couture fashion. As examples of the essence of streetwear, we recognize brands like Stüssy, Supreme, and A Bathing Ape. But also the likes of Nike, Adidas who are not steetwear per se, but as the sneaker culture is part of the hype of streetwear, is now core to the culture.
So, if one is into streetwear, what watches are suitable, and goes well with the aesthetics as well as the attitude and philosophy? We pick six. Our list spans from the rather inexpensive Casio to somewhat pricier but uber cool Urwerk. Here it goes, from the least to the most expensive. As usual the subtitles open up to full reviews of the watch.
At S$169, the G-Shock GA-700 is a prime example of what might go with streetwear – looks at home with a hoodie, t-shirt, torn jeans, and sneakers. Super durable, extra tough, the Casio is a good choice. The watch is chunky, but light as it is mainly resin and plastic, but in the striking red and black makes a good statement. And we think, a great starting point.
Next up, is SEVENFRIDAY, a brand born out of the street culture. It is unusual, as it has it presents its own twists and turns in interpreting timekeeping. Funky as it features clever design and the pleasing use of colour. For instance, their rounded square form factor is perhaps as anti-establishment a statement as any. And fully encapsulates the spirit of streetwear – a statement of personal style which goes against the grain of the established suit and tie culture.
But our choice for this list is the S3/01. Well priced at S$1,915, it embodies the attitude of street culture.
The design speaks for itself. At 47mm square, it is large, but lugs are hidden behind the case, enabling it to sit rather nicely on most wrists. The skeletonized dial partly shows the movement, but also the cutouts are aesthetically pleasing shapes. The use of colour to underline the design is restrained, but enough to give the dial a pop.
Next, the Bell & Ross BR03-94 Bape Green Camo gets our pick. This is a collaboration between top streetwear darling Bape with Bell & Ross. The design is intentionally steet fashion. With the signature Bape green camo pattern boldly shown on the dial, and carried on with the ape logo prominent on the dial and the strap.
The military inspiration is clear, and the design is based on the traditional BR square aviation instrument style. With a clearly marked dial, legible in good light and in the dark. Thanks to the strong Superluminova indices and hands.
Only 100 pieces are made, and each watch is individually numbered. Priced at S$ 5,600. At this level, we are moving up the budget scale, and here perhaps we cross the threshold into the style of streetwear which has more luxurious fabrics and materials.
A collaboration between the popular Hublot Big Bang and Maxime Plescia-Buchi, founder and owner of the tattoo studio Sang Bleu. With the Hublot, we are definitely cross the luxury threshold. Here, we find the unusual in the geometric shapes, delicious details, and the fine work on the watch. The collaboration is interesting as it blends Hublot’s technical watchmaking expertise with the experimental, daring designs of Sang Bleu.
The design is the brainchild of Maxime, who grew up doing graffiti. And went on to study graphic design and founded the tattoo studio Sang Bleu. The studio also operated the magazine of the same name. The magazine is now defunct, though he continues with the Sang Bleu tattoo studio, now in London as well as in Zurich. His business and artistic interests also involve him in fashion lines, a tattoo magazine: TTTism and a communications agency. The typeface Sang Bleu was created by a companny he owns and directs – Swiss Typefaces.
The Big Bang Sang Bleu design features a dial with a magnificent and mesmerising geometric shaped discs. These discs are marked, and act as the hour and minute hand of the watch.
The Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu is a limited edition of 200 pieces and retails at USD $18,800.
Although not a collaboration, the Bexei Dignitas and Chrome Hearts sterling silver jewelery are a match made in the streets. Or rather in the mind of the collector who commissioned the piece. The collector is a good friend of ours, and wanted the Chrome Hearts design to be incorporated into the watch. He discussed this with Aaron Becsei, the principal of Bexei. And Aaron had a Hungarian artist engrave it on the dial.
Chrome Hearts is a brand founded by Richard Stark in 1988 in LA. It is based out of his enthusiastic desire to march against the grain with regards to almost everything. Over the years, with collaborations with The Rolling Stones, Comme des Garçons, Bella Hadid and worn by music stars ranging from Bono, Steven Tyler, Elton John, Karl Lagerfeld, Jaye Muller, Kanye West, Cher, Kate Hudson, Carine Roitfeld, Britney Spears, Tetsuya Bushi and Fergie; the brand has come to exemplify the street culture.
The Dignitas Pure features a haute horlogerie movement which Aaron crafts from maillechort. The movement is magnificently laid out and exceptionally finished.
Prices starts from €38,500, and is fully customizable.
And the most expensive watch on our list. The Urwerk UR-111C. In our minds, Urwerk has always been a non conformist in design aesthetics and in the technical wizardry needed to realise that. And this seem to meld perfectly into the street culture world.
From the way it tells time, to the unique shape and retro-sci fi looks, the UR-111C is the epitome of cool in an anti-culture way…or perhaps street culture.
Priced at S$201,900, or CHF130,000 limited edition 25 pieces, it may be beyond the budgets of many a youngster sporting streetwear, but we think they go well together. Philosophically as well as aesthetically.
If we sounded a bit tentative. Its because we are. This is perhaps just our attempt to explore streetwear. We enjoyed writing the article, and doing the legwork. We discovered, or think we discovered the elements which make up the essence of streetwear, and have tried to propose watches which might fit.
Starting from the inexpensive, but rugged Casio which cost only S$169, to massively cool Uwerk with a price tag to match. Each has a adventurous streak. A non-conformist or anti-establishment touch. A brave and bold aesthetic which is not classical, but which is still very attractive. Elements which we understand is also shared with streetwear.
What would you wear with your streetwear? Be it Supreme, Obey or Bape. Or others. Tell us in the comments.
Editor’s note: Edited about 1pm SGP time, 12 November, to correct facts about Maxime Plescia-Büchi, based on a communication from him.