Tag Heuer Announces Graffiti Artist Alec Monopoly as Brand Ambassador

by Paige Reddinger

Tag Heuer announced graffiti artist Alec Monopoly as its new brand ambassador, or “Art Provocateur,” as the brand put it, during Art Basel Miami Beach at The Mondrian Hotel. The New York-born street artist originally made a name for himself depicting the Monopoly board game banker in a series of creations, a nod to the discontent in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and Bernie Madoff scandal. Since then, he has used other pop-culture icons, like Scrooge McDuck and Richie Rich, to further his message.

Monopoly said his first big break came courtesy of a New York real estate titan in 2012, who saw his street art and tracked him down for his first big-money project. “I don’t know how he got a hold of me, but he reached out and asked me if I paint canvases,” Monopoly told The Daily. “I said that I used to when I was younger and I asked him if he wanted me to paint a wall in his office. Instead he told me he wanted to purchase 20 canvases. I was so taken aback, but that’s when I created a body of work for him. Then we did an art show, and that’s when things really took off.”

But what might prove to be his biggest break of all was a chance meeting with Tag Heuer CEO, Jean-Claude Biver, in the South of France one summer. “It was kind of fate,” said Monopoly. “I was in the South of France at my friend’s house painting. Mr. Biver has a house there. He came over just to buy some work. We met and we hit it off immediately, and that’s how this all came about.”

However, it was Biver’s 14-year-old son who clued him in to Monopoly’s work. Aside from his vast collection of 19th and 20th century watches, which all are rare hallmarks of the art of watchmaking, Biver’s second passion is collecting Impressionist paintings. “After I bought my last two Impressionist paintings, my son said to me, ‘Can you please stop buying these old paintings?'” said Biver. “He told me I should be buying Alec Monopoly.”

Expect this to be a long-term partnership between Tag Heuer and Alec Monopoly. Biver, who is laser-focused on bringing the art of watchmaking to the attention of younger generations of collectors, said he has even built a workshop for Monopoly in Tag Heuer’s Swiss headquarters and they have plans to travel the world to promote the partnership. In a time when the watch industry is trying to find its place in a difficult market, Biver says Tag Heuer owes its success to the brand’s team and forward-thinking mindset. “Some people want to stay inside when there is bad weather,” said Biver. “We are the opposite. Without creativity and innovation, there is no future. As a brand, we must be active every day somewhere in the world. Wherever the customer goes, they must see us.” And anyone who has been witness to the increasing hype surrounding Art Basel Miami Beach knows there is no better place for high-impact visibility to a global clientele.

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