Spike Lee & Artisans De Genève Part 2: The Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton Spike Lee & Artisans De Genève Part 2: The Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton

Spike Lee & Artisans De Genève Part 2: The Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton

Ricardo Sime

Custom. A word rarely used in the world of horology. The watches we wear, by and large, are the results of someone else’s designs. Someone else’s passions. We buy into their vision of what works. And even when we do have a say, as one may see with a piece unique, we’re still limited to whatever that brand has to offer. Yet, at Artisans De Genève, custom is really custom. As proof of that point, one should look no further than their recent design collaboration with Spike Lee; the Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton.

Main Shot
Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton

The story of the Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton starts off with Spike Lee’s love of three things: the actor Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke), the New York Knicks, and his hometown of Brooklyn. With that in mind, Spike Lee worked with Artisans De Genève to create a watch that reflected all these things. The first time they worked on such a project, the Cool Hand Brooklyn (pictured below) was the result. It made use of the Rolex Daytona as a foundation, building upon it the references to his other loves. This time around, to commemorate his nomination as Jury President for the 74th Cannes Film Festival, Spike Lee decided to skeletonise the theme.

CHB V1
Cool Hand Brooklyn

With marching orders in hand, Artisans De Genève started from scratch. Gone are colour-coordinated pump pushers and bare crown. Instead, a Rolex® 116520, with it’s crown guards, is used as a base. From there, the Artisans create a new bezel and crown, accenting both with their own “Bitter Orange” with “Lee Blue” used as a backdrop on the bezel. Next came the dial and hands. The new dial, skeletonized and featuring a larger than normal subdial at 6, features a smaller set of register hands and replaces the main hands with a rose gold, sword set. That mixture of materials and colours could have been a jumbled mess but it all comes together quite well here.

Case Back
Cool Hand Brooklyn (Caseback)

One of the main reasons for this harmonious design is the treatment Artisan applies to the 4130 movement inside. That movement is skeletonized as well and comes in rose gold. It is beautifully decorated and further put on display through a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback. Dominating that display is a blue, skeletonized rotor, with BKLYN (an abbreviated form of Brooklyn) built into it’s center. When taking this all in, what makes it work in my opinion is the fact that the movement isn’t the fully see-through kind seen on other watches. Its parts still dominate the visible real estate, making it less skeleton and more beautiful exhibition.

To bring the overall look of the watch home, in addition to the bracelet, Artisans De Genève had a rubber strap made. They worked with RubberB and created a fitted rubber strap that uses Velcro with a loop to fasten the strap. It adds another level of comfort and ease of use to the total package.

On Rubber
Cool Hand Brooklyn (on rubber)

Overall, the Cool Hand Brooklyn Skeleton is an amazing testament to the limitless realm of custom horology. There will be some who will look at it and just not get it. But it’s not really for them to get, because the beauty of this watch lies in the fact that it was made with one person in mind; Spike Lee. Countless watchmakers came together to bring his vision to life and I have to say, they absolutely smashed it.

For more on this collaboration and to hear Spike Lee’s thoughts on watchmakers, check out this link.

Artisans de Genève is an independent company specialised in the personalization of timepieces. Artisans de Genève is not affiliated with Rolex SA nor authorised by them to intervene on their products for any reason whatsoever. This personalisation was ordered for his private use by a customer who owns a Rolex® timepiece.