Swatch x Verdy: 5 watches and a bronze statue at the Biennale

The Japanese graphic designer brings all the coolness of his characters to the lagoon and to a series of watches from the Swiss brand.

Verdy was in middle school when he discovered Swatch. The watch was trendy in the punk rock scene in Osaka, his hometown. He also had one, says the illustrator and graphic designer: his projects like Wasted Youth or Girls Don't Cry have been a reference for global coolness for years. And now they transform into Swatch watches for a very important occasion: the Venice Biennale.

Verdy and Giordanetti in front of the Vick bronze statue at the Biennale Gardens

The Swiss brand, famous for its unorthodox approach to watchmaking, has been a true cult for over 40 years and has had a flirtation with the Biennale for more than a decade, as told by the company's CEO Carlo Giordanetti to Domus. At the 2024 Biennale, Swatch brings a pavilion to the arsenal with selected works from the Art Peace Hotel by Swatch in Shanghai, a residence that hosts visual artists and more from all over the world, with the aim of mutual creative exchange. Some will then participate in projects related to watchmaking. “But it's absolutely not a constraint,” explains Giordanetti, emphasizing that the selection is not based on criteria related to the Swatch aesthetic. “Indeed, some have nothing to do with it, and we also have writers, screenwriters…”

Also from the Far East comes Verdy, who brings his famous character Vick to the Biennale Gardens with a bronze statue. “In an edition that celebrates the concept of the foreigner, we do it with an anarchic, strange character,” explains Giordanetti. “He's a rabbit-panda who loves punk music,” explains Verdy himself to Domus, whom we meet during the pre-opening days of the Biennale: affable, concise in his responses, wearing a pair of round glasses under the cap of his brand Wasted Youth. For this occasion, Vick has become a bronze statue for the first time. “It was the first time, but it was natural,” explains the artist.

Swatch x Verdy Vick Bronze

Bronze also returns in the first watch that Verdy has created for Swatch, presented at the Biennale. It's the first time an artist selected for the exhibition has also created watches. Following the first watch, presented during the pre-opening days of the Venice exhibition, four more follow - “it wasn't difficult to find ideas,” Verdy comments. There's one with Vick as the protagonist, where a gigantic A recalls the X of the Swatch so beloved in the Japanese punk rock scene. Another one features Girls Don't Cry, Verdy's brand closely associated with his partner, who approves every project. And then one with the Wasted Youth logo and a last one featuring another of Verdy's characters, Visty, also in a maxi edition.

All images are courtesy Swatch

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