Firsts are always nice to have. And in the case of celebrated horologer Bell & Ross, its first foray into the world of art proved to be unexpectedly ethereal. “Since the beginning, Bell & Ross has positioned itself as a maison of creativity, ideas, innovation and newness,” said Tong Chee Wei, general manager of Bell & Ross Asia. “We are indeed creative-driven as we want to engage our audience through collections, inspirations, contents and experiences that evolve, nurture and evoke emotions. Every year, our collections are refreshed with new animations of existing models, new watches and collaborations with brands and personalities we appreciate and with whom we share common values and perspectives.”
Its first venture into the collaborative sphere proved to be more than monumental. The brand partnered artist Jalaini Abu Hassan — popularly referred to as “Jai”, and who is one of Malaysia’s best-known names on the art circuit — and presented his collection of five original artworks called Ghost, of which the fifth and final piece was completed live on launch night. “This is the first time I’ve painted in front of such a large audience. So it was definitely a nerve-wracking experience. But nevertheless, the adrenaline rush was exciting,” said Jai.
The launch brought together watch collectors and ardent art aficionados, but, in all, it was a confluence of people who genuinely appreciate artistry in all its guises. The event was held at up-and-coming arts space, The Godown, which evoked nostalgia among the older guests who remember the location in its previous incarnations as nightspots — as 11LA and later on as the Boom Boom Room.
The apex of the evening was when the ambient lighting was abruptly replaced with UV lights to bring the ghost-themed paintings to spectacularly spectral life, pulsating with the rhythm spun by celebrated deejay-about-town, Blink. When asked if there will be more collaborations like these in the future, Tong replied, “Why not? Bell & Ross is a progressive brand. We look to the past to inspire us to move into the future.”
To read more about the collaboration, see here.
This article first appeared on July 22, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia.