PARIS — DJ Snake has charmed Hublot. The Swiss watchmaker has tapped the French DJ to create a special edition of its Big Bang flagship timepiece, three years after he joined the house as a brand ambassador.
These things take, well, time. “We worked for maybe like two years on the watch, and it was a big, big, big challenge for me — a lot of pressure because everything I do, I do with my heart. I didn’t want to disappoint myself and I wanted to come up with something different and fresh,” said Snake, who prefers to go by his more sedate given name, William Grigahcine, in conversation.
The final design reflects the DJ’s colorful aesthetic and international ethos, with a sapphire world map face as a subtle nod to his globe-trotting lifestyle.
The music maker and producer is behind some of the biggest hits from Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Cardi B, J Balvin and Sean Paul. He just dropped “Run It” with Rick Ross and Rich Brian, the theme song for Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which opens Friday in the U.S.
It was a complex process to bring his vision to life. They went through upwards of 10 different designs, with Snake sending sketches and the team experimenting with different materials and various colors. Some of the changes were due to technical specs, some simply due to a change of direction.
“One day I was down to work with this type of material, this color and this and that. And then three months later, I changed my mind. They never, ever rushed me about the final result. They gave me feedback and advice, so there was like a real collaboration, 50-50,” he said of working closely with the team.
The result is an iridescent titanium timepiece, the changing colors called the “Newton effect,” refracting pinks and blues in different light. It comes with two bands, the first a black, gray and purple camouflage pattern and a second streaked-black strap. Snake also designed the exterior cutouts on the bezel, which differentiate the watch from its flagship counterparts.
The watch will have a limited run of 100, in part because of the complexity of making the color gradient uniform during the treatment process. “We want this watch to become iconic,” said Hublot CEO Roberto Guadalupe. “Probably in a few hours it will be sold out.”
Snake started out as a fan of the brand and saved up to buy his first Hublot when he was coming up in the music scene; now he carries a suitcase of a dozen Hublots when he travels. But the jet-setting DJ’s travel habit was curbed in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I was very productive for the last couple of years, because I was at home not traveling. So sometimes I was very, very inspired. Sometimes I felt a little bit down because, of course, when you turn on the news you only see bad news, technically and literally and of course it affected my inspiration, my vision, my energy,” he said.
He worked with Selena Gomez on “Selfish Love,” released in March, but like the rest of us, he was stuck on Zoom and FaceTime. “The music video was not easy to do. [Selena] was in LA. I was in Europe, so we had to make it work and we did. It’s always a new challenge, you have to fight, you have to keep going, and you’ve got to figure it out no matter what.”
Snake debuted the watch at an event at Paris’ Bercy arena Thursday night, and he was pumped ahead of the party. “No matter how big the show, being in my hometown there is always more pressure. But it feels good to have a lot of friends, all the soccer players, actors, musicians, DJs, producers, singers [attending]. I’m proud to present the watch in one of the most iconic venues. It’s big,” he said. Adriana Lima was among those in attendance.
The luxury group took precautions. The party at Paris’ Bercy arena was outfitted for the times. “It’s our first important event after this incredible pandemic,” said Guadalupe. The launch had a counter-party in London, and was also streamed live on the brand’s social channels.
As for upcoming collaborations, musically he has an ongoing dream list in his mind. He’s currently rumored to be working with Blackpink’s Lisa but wouldn’t divulge names.
Snake is also behind the ready-to-wear brand Pardon My French along with a design collective of other DJs, which features logo hoodies and branded athleisure. Right now he’s in talks with designers for projects during the Paris Fashion Week shows later this month.
“It needs to be organic. I just need to have respect for the brand, for the designer,” he says. “Because people feel it, and no one is just about making money real quick. I want to be a fan of what I’m doing and of who I’m working with. I’m not trying to make more waves. I’m trying to make some real, timeless work. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since Day One.”