Brooklyn, N.Y.–based newbie watch brand Daem was cofounded last year by Milo Dee and Michael LoFaso, who conceptualized the collection as students at Harvard Business School, where they studied under branding savant Pauline Brown, the former North American chairwoman of LVMH, who taught a class at Harvard called The Business of Aesthetics.
Daem (an anagram of made) is designed in Brooklyn and manufactured in Switzerland—but is affordably priced. Its first-ever collection, the Brooklyn-inspired Kings series, offers serious-looking Swiss-made watches for $300 a pop.
The line’s latest drop is a trio of cool and covetable watches created in collaboration with the estate of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The three timepieces—Skull ($1,250), Now’s the Time ($425), and Warrior ($425)—feature familiar imagery from Basquiat’s work. Each is packed with a Swiss ETA caliber 2824-2 25-jewel automatic movement and topped with luxury watch-caliber sapphire crystal glass.
Cofounder Dee said in a prepared statement that the atelier’s design aesthetic and inspiration “come from a beautifully diverse set of sources around us—from street art in our community to famous cultural icons to causes we care about in the world. We want every watch to have its own story that tells more than the time.”
Dee and the atelier’s lead designer, Kirk Halliburton, are both African American—and the Basquiat launch was intentionally timed to drop during Black History Month as a way to celebrate the legendary black artist.
Speaking on the subject, Dee added that he was aware of the lack of diverse perspectives in Swiss watchmaking, but is happy to see that that’s changing. “For generations, most of the traditional European and American luxury houses have not had diverse voices and perspectives at the heart of their ethos,” he said. “They design products with diverse groups of customers in mind, but often the heart of the operation is not as authentically aligned. We do think this is starting to change. New voices like Rihanna’s [who’s collaborated with Chopard on collections] are changing the way luxury houses bring authenticity into their operation. We love to see that.”
(All photos courtesy of Daem)
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