Hublot and Maxime Plescia-Büchi present Big Bang Sang Bleu II.

by Nate Rynaski

This past Thursday night, the Swiss watchmakers at Hublot debut their collaboration with tattoo artist and Sang Bleu founder Maxime Plescia-Büchi to present their second collaboration on the Big Bang Sang Bleu II. During the presentation of this new celebratory piece, guests had the opportunity to get a tattoo from Maxime himself. It was a joyous mingling of artforms into one tangible and elegant collaboration, where guests could take a look at the Big Bang Sang Bleu collection that has not yet been made available in the States. 

The night began with a tour of Maxime’s studio and a performance from his resident artists, continuing with DJ sets from Gene’s Liquor crew. Guests hanging out in the studio made their way to the rooftop for a view of the downtown skyline. The night concluded as guests enjoyed fine Japanese cuisine at Chateau Hanare and were finally take to a sanctuary at the Chateau Marmont.

The Big Bang Sang Bleu II’s angular edges, wrapping around the wrist, tie in the design style and skill of Maxime Plescia-Büchi’s tattoo work. The case mimics the style, with fine lines expressed in depth and dimension. Paired with the technological achievement of the Hublot watches, the Big Bang Sang Bleu II is an achievement in design and style. The partnership exemplifies an outlook on tattoos beyond ink on someone’s body, but an artform to be respected and uplifted.

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Flaunt sat down to talk to Maxime and Hublot’s North American President Jean-François Sberro.

How did you integrate runic symbolism with geometrical shapes? 

Maxime: There are all kinds of runes, but they essentially – as with a lot of early, primitive writing systems – are pretty much based on a matrix, on structures. If you take the geographical origins in addition to that, the syntax can come from the same place and they’ll have similarities in structure. Furthermore, you find the same shapes across human society – circles, squares, triangles. They may be specialized by culture, but there’s a universal quality of writing systems and geometry. It’s not that I brought them together, they come to the start together and are then separated. I just essentially brought them back to the base. 

There’s a video we did with a tattooist who does sak yant, a Thai Buddhist traditional tattoo. All of the sak yants in sacred geometry in India and Cambodia have similar structures, so it came organically by playing with those different elements. I always loved typography, semiotics, and shapes in general. As you play with them and combine them, you realize they all have very similar structures. You see that with this abstract approach and can create a contemporary vision of very localized and inter-cultural symbols that essentially bridges cultures because they are universal or have common origins. I’m always trying to combine them into something that I feel is true to my own identity. I started narrowing down to find elements that created my own base to work on. I build on that and it changes the aesthetic dramatically, but the base might be the same. It was a fairly organic process with a certain amount of reflection.

What about tattooing and watch culture do you think gives them both a collective nature?

Maxime: They don’t come from the same place, but what they produce is very similar. What they have in common is this desire to create something that is permanent and lasting, timeless. It’s something to do with going against the super fast-pace of life today. I think tattooing has this beauty of something that is permanent. It’s not a flaw – it’s actually the whole point of a tattoo. There’s something reassuring, something rounding about the fact that it’s there forever. And there’s something truly good in a world where things are moving all the time, especially in the digital world now. From one moment to the next, something that you see every day can change and no one will remember. 

We live in the middle of single-use products, very fast-paced consumption. The idea of things that you save up for, something that you project a lot of desire for, that you choose carefully, that you wait years and years, and desire for years and years. Finally, you have it and hopefully pass it down to your children like a timepiece – it’s a beautiful thing. I can’t think of very many other things. A house? What else? Maybe an art collection? There really aren’t that many things that have this kind of quality. You can’t really pass on tattoos, but at least they’re there for a long time. I think that’s where these things meet. 

On top of that, it also has to do with manifesting some sense of belonging, some references to what you’re interested in. This watch might reference car racing, or tattooing, or anything you choose. The brand you choose might also say something about yourself the same way the tattooist you choose does. With clothes, of course there’s a little bit of a loyalty and a sense of identity, but it goes so quick. You dress to how you feel on that day. There’s no adjusting with tattoos and with a watch. Not too many people have watches to choose from. Most people have one, and they choose based on what they truly believe will last and what is consistent with how they feel about themselves. I feel that this sort of depth and strength of how we relate to a tattoo or watch is very similar. 

So what was the whole process of having the company work with the geometric shapes expressed in Maxime’s style?

Jean-François: It was a little less direct than that. The company is known for exploring many different worlds. It’s pretty young, so it doesn’t have a huge history. The beauty of that is that we are writing our own history. We were already very active in the art world, so a natural segway was to explore a collaboration with somebody in the tattoo world. The good thing is that Maxime is a die hard watch enthusiast, and as soon as there was talk of a partnership he took it very seriously. He already had a vision of what it could be. He’s one of our partners who has worked the closest on the design of the project. He’s very picky in the sense that he is very clear of what he wants to accomplish. That’s how everything started four and a half years ago.

Are there any other collaborations that you would be dying to tap into one day?

Jean-François: For sure! We have already explored a lot of designers and artists. We’ve work with artists like Shepard Fairey. We also have worked with big architects like Oscar Niemeyer, and we have a potential project with one of the biggest architects alive in the works. So, we are always keen to explore new worlds, and that is the beauty of a brand like this.


Photos courtesy of Hublot