Swatch and pop star Mika have collaborated once again, this time introducing the latest Swatch Art specials.
Earlier this year, the video for the singer’s latest release, Popular Song, sawMika wearing a Swatch Touch Blue. Additionally, television adverts for the Swatch Scuba Libre range featured Underwater by Mika as the soundtrack.
Both the watch brand and the pop star celebrate their 30th birthday this year and now, they have the Kukulakuki (RRP £111) and Kukulakuku (£44.50) watches in common too.
These new Swatch Art Specials were designed by Mika and his sister Yasmine, who have been creating artworks and designing together for the past 10 years. They have worked from their London studio, focusing on the Swatch project for the last 12 months.
Both of Mika’s two designs express his idea of the watch as a totemic object. For this project he imagined a totem pole/watch appearing on an unknown planet. The inhabitants are at first puzzled, then terrified of the alien object, which they come to worship. When it fails to give them what they want, they chop it down, and all that remains of the totem pole is the watch itself.
Mika’s two timepieces feature a bold pattern on the strap, with an image suggesting a traditional African tribal mask on each dial.
Mika said: “The patterns are a mix of designs that can be found in Tunisian, Moroccan, other African and Oceanic tribal motifs. The tribal mask heads are a mix of sources, it’s difficult to pinpoint what they might be, but it doesn’t really matter, because they have the same function – they’re there to inspire curiosity and awe. That was one of the main parts of our idea. We wanted the object to feel a little bit mystical.”
Additionally there is a mask included in the special packaging for the limited edition Kukulakuki. Mika commented: “For that reason it’s not just another watch made of some synthetic material. This display mask is not just a box that you open up – it’s an object meant to intrigue.”
Mika also worked with Swatch specialists to help design the Swatch AR’t app, an augmented reality app, to flesh out the myth that lies at the heart of his design. Several times a day the app animates the spirit world of the mask, revealing new perspectives. It’s available worldwide and can be downloaded from the iOS App Store and Android Market.
Talking about this venture with Swatch, Mika said: “I don’t come from a design background, which is why I have so much fun designing stuff and why I love collaborating with people. Doing this was fun, because for me the process is exactly the same as making music. I don’t see any difference between the two.”