Style to the dial

Style to the dial

Maurice Lacroix adds Thai street artist Benzilla to its 'circle of friends'

Style to the dial
Aikon #tide Benzilla Special Edition of 1,500 pieces.

July has been a busy month for Parinya Sirisinsuk, aka Benzilla, with his works shown at "What The Cube" exhibition at Mahanakhon Cube in Bangkok, Art Taichung in Taiwan, and the "Remember To Forget" solo exhibition at All About Art Gallery in Singapore.

His vibrant paintings star the three-eyed character named Loook, an alien who came from nowhere to live among us.

"Loook is a character that represents an outsider," explained the Thai street artist and painter. "He is a mirror of the world to tell a story. He's looking with three eyes and he has no mouth because I believe we can see what's happening in our world and don't need to judge by words. So Loook has no bias and he's just an innocent creature."

A sculpture of Loook at the Maurice Lacroix boutique in Gaysorn Village, Bangkok. (Photos © maurice lacroix)

Benzilla is the only artist in the Maurice Lacroix Crew, which includes tennis player Daniel Altmaier, free diver Lidija Lijić, sprinter Hannah Lucy Williams, and dancers Dakota and Nadia, to name a few.

His attitude, creativity and curiosity won over the Swiss watchmaker based in Saignelégier in the heart of the Jura mountains. Also because of his talent, Maurice Lacroix finds Benzilla a perfect addition to the brand's circle of friends.

A collaboration has the playful Loook occupying the dial of the Aikon #tide Benzilla Special Edition, powered by a quartz movement. The dial in eye-popping colours is framed by a black bezel while the case body is in vibrant orange and rubber strap in light blue.

Maurice Lacroix Crew member and Thai artist Benzilla.

Benzilla working on Loook for the dial of the Aikon #tide watch.

"I worked with Maurice Lacroix to bring my original art style to the dial. I love playing with bright colours, drawing inspiration from pop culture and graphic design, and maybe because I'm colourblind," said Benzilla, who graduated from the School of Fine and Applied Arts, Bangkok University.

The street artist started professionally 10 years ago, and his recent works include acrylic painting on canvas, spray painting on wood, and sculptures.

"I love the idea that my art emits a positive and quirky energy. My work is an outlet that erases every doubt or discouragement from daily life," he said.

Benzilla feels a personal connection with the Aikon #tide initiative. A partnership between Maurice Lacroix and #tide works on collecting plastic bottles from the seas surrounding various islands around Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The bottles are turned into upcycled plastic, which is eventually used for making Aikon #tide watches such as the special edition that has Loook eyeing the world from its colourful dial with the flat sapphire crystal augmenting readability.

Watchmaker has eye on youth with ocean clean-up efforts

As marine pollution has become a global crisis, Maurice Lacroix has entered a long-term partnership with #tide, a specialist in upcycling ocean-bound plastic waste.

Maurice Lacroix’s beach clean-up in Phuket.

The focus is on promoting cleaner seas surrounding various islands in Thailand as well as Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Swiss watchmaker sponsors plastic collection activities, pays for longtail boats and warehouses, and finances various types of equipment.

The goal is to collect 10 million plastic bottles, which will be sorted, shredded into flakes, washed and compacted close to the point of collection and then transported to #tide's upcycling facilities in Switzerland.

The flakes are compounded into smaller granules and then combined with an undisclosed formula, culminating in the upcycled plastic used by Maurice Lacroix to make Aikon #tide quartz watches.

Mint and pink versions of Aikon #tide powered by a quartz movement.

The bezel, 40mm case, case back, crown, end-piece and buckle on this new model are all made from the composite material, which is twice as hard as standard plastic, five times more resistant and has a carbon footprint significantly less than the production of virgin PET.

It takes 17 bottles to make one watch and its tailor-made packaging, 100% made of #tide ocean material.

The variations in funky colours target a new generation who value sustainability, affordability and striking style.

Later this year, Maurice Lacroix intends to unveil a second version of the Aikon #tide equipped with a bracelet made of the ­composite material.

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