McDonalds, Connected Cannabis, Dior, and now… Audemars Piguet? At first glance, this string of companies seemingly has very little to do with one another. Yet they all have one thing in common: they have all collaborated with Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack brand. Audemars Piguet is the latest brand to become part of this very unusual club. As part of their collaboration, Travis Scott and Audemars Piguet are introducing a limited edition of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, marking a first for the brand.
The king of collaborations: Travis Scott
Travis Scott knows how to stage his collaborations as a cultural phenomenon like no other, having skilfully established himself and his Cactus Jack brand across a diverse range of industries, mastering even the most random of collaborations with his unmistakable Cactus Jack aesthetic. For example, fast food chain McDonald’s geared up in 2020 by letting the rapper create his own Travis Scott menu, dressing their staff in specially designed Travis Scott uniforms, and whetting the appetite of so-called Hypebeasts across the USA. Scott’s menu for McDonald’s sold out nationwide within days. Footage of the rapper outside the oldest McDonald’s restaurant on Florence Avenue in Downey, California, surrounded by a hysterical crowd of fans, was living proof of the rapper’s power to create a spectacle. As King Midas turned everything to gold, Travis Scott has the unique ability to create hype around every brand he touches.
Credit © McDonald’s
Nike even reversed their famous ‘Swoosh’ logo for him in 2019. The mocha-coloured Air Jordan 1 sneaker, with the logo facing backwards, brought enough change to the simple design to create unprecedented hype. So much so, that Nike accelerated the release date after Travis himself wore them during a Grammy performance in May 2019. However, there were also some collaborations that didn’t attract as much attention, such as Scott’s first beauty collaboration with the brand Byredo. The collaboration, called ‘Travx Space Rage’, consisted of an eau de parfum and a candle that ambitiously promised the scent of outer space.
Audemars Piguet X Travis Scott
This time, however, it’s not a hamburger that the King of Street Style is designing, but a ‘Chocolate AP’. As part of their collaboration, Cactus Jack and Audemars Piguet are introducing a new, open-worked Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar limited edition using ‘chocolate brown’ ceramic – a first for Audemars Piguet. In addition, both brands designed a complete merchandise package consisting of a fashion and accessories collection with hoodies, T-shirts, jackets, pyjamas, shorts and caps.
The brown ceramic case has a height of 9.9 mm and is water-resistant to 20 metres. The sapphire crystal and brown ceramic caseback is decorated with the engravings ‘Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar’, ‘Limited Edition of 200 Pieces’ and ‘Utopia is a state of mind’ – the latter being a reference to Travis Scott’s new album. The open-worked oscillating weight in 22-carat rose gold has been finished with alternating satin-brushed and polished bevels and is engraved with the ‘Audemars Piguet’ and ‘Cactus Jack’ emblems. The movement is visible through the caseback, as well as the front of the dial. The highlight of this collaboration between two opposing worlds is the ‘Cactus Jack’ logo, unapologetically positioned in the centre of the oscillating weight.
Audemars Piguet gave the rapper the freedom to put his Cactus Jack stamp on numerous design elements of the dial. The typography of the calendar and week displays was created by the Audemars Piguet design team, based on a sketch by Travis Scott himself. Even the hand of the day counter recalls the shape of the brand logo. The most striking reference, however, is the design of the moon phase display at 6 o’clock. The usual depiction of the moon has been replaced by the emblematic smiley face of Cactus Jack with its sewn-up mouth, with its coating glowing blue in the dark. By contrast, the other calendar displays (with the exception of the week display) glow green at night.
Bennahmias goes out with a bang
Travis Scott’s flair for creating pop culture outside of hip-hop, such as his collaboration with the video game Fortnite or his own Travis Scott action figures, ensure that people outside of hip-hop are also enthusiastic about him. The result is a very young and almost fanatical fanbase that literally devours everything the rapper releases. However, this raises the question of exactly who Audemars Piguet is trying to appeal to with this collaboration. The watch community, at least, seems to have almost unanimously agreed that this is a clear miss of the target group.
So, is the collaboration more to be understood as the final act of current CEO François-Henry Bennahmias before he makes his own departure from Audemars Piguet – with great fanfare – and hands over the sceptre to Ilaria Resta? In the words of Travis Scott: “For it to be my brother Francois’ final project as CEO of AP makes it even more epic – we are sending him out with a mega […] epic mic drop.”
|Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition
|Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 9.9 mm
|2 bar (~20 m)
|Sapphire dial, subdials with pink gold frame and calendar indications with luminescent coating glowing green in the dark
|Brown calfskin leather strap with textured jeans effect
|19,800 vph (2.75 Hz)
|Perpetual calendar with week indication, day, date, astronomical moon, month, leap year, hours and minutes