Often described as “the coolest guy in the room,” Jay-Z is indeed that and so much more. He’s also a rapper turned businessman, party guy turned family man, entrepreneur, investor, memoirist and prominent founding member of Roc Nation, an American entertainment company. The list goes on.
Born Shawn Corey Carter in 1969, Jay-Z is also an authentic watch collector, and Hublot more often than not makes the cut in his daily choice of timepiece. He’s such a fan of the brand, in fact, that he mentions it in his music, including in the hit song “Otis,” on which he collaborated with Kanye West in 2011. And in 2012, it was rumored that his wife, Beyonce, bought him a diamond-encrusted Hublot Big Bang watch for his 43rd birthday.
It seems this next phase of his relationship with the famed Swiss watch brand goes deeper, as Carter and Hublot launch the limited edition and dual-branded Shawn Carter by Hublot Classic Fusion watches.
As the name suggests, it is based on the existing Classic Fusion line, but with a specially designed sunburst dial motif that offers a glimpse of the manually wound HUB1300 movement inside. The edition includes 250 pieces in black ceramic and just 100 pieces in yellow gold, both 45 mm and on black alligator straps.
Late October of 2014 Hublot and Jay-Z officially launched the Shawn Carter by Hublot timepieces at a lunch in Zurich hosted by Ricardo Guadilupe, Hublot CEO. The private soiree was held at the Dolder Grand, a five-star hotel built in 1899 that prides itself on its Michelin-rated restaurant and hilltop location with stunning Alpine views.
“We could not be more pleased to have Mr. Carter here with us today to celebrate both our partnership and collaboration,” said Guadalupe. “As a brand that prides itself on being first, different and unique, we are honored to have been chosen as the first luxury watch brand to partner with one of the most important cultural icons of our time.”
Following the event, Carter debuted the yellow gold timepiece at his performance in Zurich, which was part of his Magna Carta Holy Grail world tour. The tour kicked off in the U.K. in early October.
“As you can see by looking at the watch, this is something to be very proud of—it’s not just a celebrity endorsement or something you just put your name on,” said the performer. “It’s something that is really unique to the partnership and it was done with the highest level of integrity and class.”
With “philanthropist” also on Carter’s burgeoning list of credits, twenty-five percent of all sales from the collaboration will benefit the New York-based Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, now celebrating its tenth anniversary.
“Sometimes, people just need the opportunity to be great. We created the scholarship foundation to be an opening of a door, the first step in a new direction,” explained Carter about the mission of the organization. “No one should be cheated out of a chance at success just because they can’t continue their education.”