Introducing rockstar watch designer Ronnie Wood

By James Gurney

3 minute read

British watch brand Bremont’s collaboration with Ronnie Wood is truly unique.

While brands increasingly work with designers and artists to create new watch designs, the actual making is almost always left to the brands – watches are just too delicate for anyone but trained watchmakers to work on. To have dials actually painted by the artist is incredibly rare, all the more so when the artist is someone of Wood’s renown.

Rock and roll Hall of Famer and Rolling Stones stalwart he may be, but art is in Ronnie Wood’s blood, almost more than music. Both of his older brothers have made careers as artists and it was their talents that he grew up wanting to emulate. “They were both artists and they were both musicians and I would look up to them. If they painted, I would paint and if they played, I would play,” Wood said, in an interview with Bremont. 

Wood trained in art at Ealing Art College (where Freddie Mercury of Queen and Pete Townshend of The Who also studied) and has continued to practice throughout his musical career, winning commissions from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Eric Clapton (creating the cover art for Clapton’s 1988 box set, Crossroads), along with the respect of critics and galleries. Even on tour, Wood was always driven to keep working: “I’d be doing a painting anyway, or something creative. I always have to keep doing something creative.”

He’s also something of a watch collector and when he discovered that Bremont had used metal from an original Spitfire for their EP-120 watch, he was hooked on the brand. Knowing of Wood’s interest in art, Nick and Giles English, the founders of Bremont asked him to collaborate on a series of dials for Ships Chronometer clocks, which were first shown at London’s Saatchi Gallery in 2011.

The making of the Ronnie Wood x Bremont watch

Feature Ronniewood Courtesy Of Bremont
Top & above: Photography courtesy of Bremont

The making of the Ronnie Wood x Bremont watch

Fast-forward a few years and Bremont suggested a new project that really caught Wood’s imagination. “I had wanted to do a series of miniature paintings, so when Nick and Giles came along and said, ‘Do you want to do some wrist watch faces?’, I thought what a challenge,” Wood recalled, speaking to the watchmakers.

Wood took the dials on a Rolling Stones tour, working on them between gigs – anywhere, as he said, “that I could find a little space to do some art”. The designs draw on the rockstar’s relentless energy and drive, as well as the cultures and places that the tour passed through. In Wood’s words: “They all have an ‘I feel like painting’ connection or a guitar that’s bent to fit into the dial shape. A kind of message to the wearer, so when he looks at the time, he thinks ‘I better keep rocking’.” 

All in all, Wood painted 47 dials for Bremont (1947 being his birth year), before returning them to be preserved and cased up to create an almost wilfully eccentric watch collection. 

As each watch in the collection was a unique piece, it seemed appropriate for Bremont to choose to use a rather special Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier movement with moonphase complication. The exquisitely hand-finished mechanism has been housed in a beautifully designed and engineered 42mm, 18 carat white gold case, using Bremont’s signature Trip-Tick® three-piece format.

Wood’s verdict on their collaboration? “Having spent so much time focusing on the dial designs, I was really looking forward to seeing a completed watch,” he told Bremont. “The white gold case will look fantastic with the guitar/’rock on’ type artwork and turning the watch over shows the wonderful mechanism, with ‘I feel like painting’ around the edge and my signature on the rotor. 

“I look at some of the dials and it brings back memories of having painted them on tour in places like Chicago, Seattle, or Philadelphia.”

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