Singer-songwriter Robin Thicke has had an unusual career trajectory from the get-go. The son of ’80s sitcom star Alan Thicke (of Growing Pains) and soap opera actress Gloria Loring, Thicke had to work extra hard to gain credibility in the music world. Perseverance paid off, and soon he was collaborating with the coolest kids in R&B and hip-hop. Then came the massive hit “Blurred Lines,” which was followed quickly by some backlash: criticism of the song being misogynistic, a lawsuit by the estate of Marvin Gaye, and a public divorce from wife Paula Patton.
So it surprised many in the watch world when Harry Winston announced that Thicke was to become their first brand ambassador. But when you compare Thicke—seen here in Germany last month wearing the new Opus 14 limited edition concept watch at a private Harry Winston event—and the venerable jewelry house’s histories, this pairing makes more sense.
The Opus collection is Harry Winston’s line of limited edition haute horology timepieces. When the series was launched, the idea was that the independents would get wider recognition while Winston—a brand best known for diamonds—would gain credibility with world-class watchmakers.
The series launched in 2001 with a watch created by Francois-Paul Journe. This year’s model (a complicated timepiece inspired by 1950s Americana) was developed with Swiss watchmakers Franck Orny and Johnny Girardin of Telos Watch. In fact, the Opus 14’s star attraction is an automaton complication that operates like a jukebox, with four disks stacked up in what Harry Winston calls a “store.” When you select a function (local time, GMT time, the date or a star bearing the signature of Mr. Harry Winston), a disk pops up in a display window just like a jukebox used to serve up 45s.
One thing that has always been consistent in Thicke’s story is that he is undeniably suave. The Opus 14, for all of its technical marvels, is also a good-looking watch. The whopping 54.7 mm case is made of white gold. The face is also fun, with graphic homages to Route 66, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the good old red, white and blue of the American flag.
And just as there were rumblings that Thicke’s reputation was irreparable after all the scandal, he went away for a while and regrouped. There had been rumors that the Opus line would be discontinued after Swatch bought the brand. And when there was no Opus introduced at Baselworld in March, collectors got really nervous about the future of the collection. Turns out, Harry Winston was just taking its time to get the watch just right.