Death Tells No Time? Takashi Murakami’s Incomprehensible Watch Design to Debut in Basel

“Death Takes No Bribes,” Takashi Murakami and Hajime Asaokasel, 2012

In collaboration with the Tokyo-based, self-taught, solo watchmaking wonder Hajime Asaokasel, Murakami has designed a tourbillon watch bound for the venerated Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendant in world luxury watch capital Basel, Switzerland. While Murakami has made watches with the likes of Citizen, Louis Vuitton, and Casio in the past, his latest, the unfortunately named “Death Takes No Bribes” is the manliest one to date. Shedding the girlish undertones of his previous, brightly colored timepieces, this watch bears all the signatures of status-bearing male ornamentation: the tourbillon (an 18th-century development invented to improve accuracy and provide balance, but now serves as a purely decorative fixture on the world’s most expensive watches); its rarity (unlike Murakami’s previous collaborators, Asaokasel runs a one-man show out of the basement of his home); a sleek black-and-silver scheme; and a clear disregard for the clarity of its timetelling (the minute-hand in the picture above looks buried within the skulls, along with the subtle floral motifs).

To be clear, when we call this the “manliest” of his watches, it is not to recommend that men wear it. Its cartoonishness is better suited, rather, for the the best high school graduation present for the boy who has everything.

– Janelle Zara