The biggest hypebeast in the streetwear jungle, Nigo, founder of Bathing Ape and Bapesta, and now artistic director of KENZO, is an apex predator of the finer things in life. Just like Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren, Nigo is an obsessive collector of objects which reveal a lot about his own design aesthetic and worldview. In 2014, a Sotheby’s sale dubbed ‘NIGO® Only Lives Once’ auctioned off collectables including a Charles and Ray Eames DKR chair upholstered with BAPE’s camouflage fabric, a mink Louis Vuitton blanket, a Philippe Starck Floor Gun Lamp, as well as various other bits of exclusive BAPE curios, and of course, some extra special best 1:1 replica watches. The pieces share the same colourful pop art sensibility, love of post-war Americana and kitschily expensive objéts that we’ve come to expect from the designer lovingly nicknamed ‘The General’ by friends like Pharrell, Ye, Pusha T and Tyler, the Creator, who all sat front row at his debut KENZO show last month.
Nigo’s taste in high quality replica watches leans heavily into the blingy baroque and slightly mad mechanical wonders made by similarly disruptive enfant terribles of fine watchmaking such as Franck Muller and Richard Mille. The latter is one of the most name-dropped brands in hip hop, and a favourite of his friend and Billionaire Boys Club collaborator Pharrell Williams. Pieces in the Sotheby’s auction included a white gold diamond-set Crazy Colour Dreams by Franck Muller, a white gold automatic chronograph bedazzled with diamonds and rubies and featuring the BAPE logo at 6 o’clock on the dial, and a white gold and diamond-set tonneau-shaped semi-skeletonised Richard Mille replica for sale, a Girard Perregaux tourbillon, a Jacob & Co and a Roger Dubuis tourbillon.
More recently, we’ve seen Nigo in an Adidas Varsity jacket and blue jeans, wearing a midsize luxury fake Cartier. With diamond-encrusted case and bracelet, it looks like it might be a ladies watch. This combination of a mind-bendingly flashy timepiece with casual clothes shows how a beautiful super clone watch can be worn with practically anything – so long as you have style.
Elsewhere, we’ve spotted Nigo posing with a preposterously oversized dollar-sign medallion made by Jacob The Jeweller while wearing an AAA replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept with selection indicator, chronograph and tourbillon. Again, we see that trademark blend of the absurd and the sublime intermingling quite happily with one another. It’s what makes Nigo, Nigo. All hail the BAPE.