The watch world has certainly seen its share of collaborations with artists both classic and… edgy. In the realm of the latter, it’s few and far between – most recently Alec Monopoly and his unconventional, bold, and downright polarizing collaborations with Tag Heuer have been on the forefront of my mind. In the same vein (with a lot more street-cred) is OG Graffiti artist C.R. Stecyk III, who has teamed up with Nixon to create the Nixon C.R. Stecyk III Descender Limited Edition watch – a “tactical” model that comes with the option to be packaged in a cool camera backpack and customized Pelican-style watch box.
Nixon is a prominent voice in the surf and skate community that Stecyk is so involved in. As an artist, he’s produced so much staple artwork during the ’70s and ’80s, mostly in the skateboarding and surfing community, that I would argue “well known” would be an understatement – and working through this press release I found so many pieces that I didn’t even know he was responsible for, but were recognizable from my childhood. Not only was he an artist, but many were also familiar with his documentation of the art and skateboarding community – a prominent figure in the Dogtown days. He wrote many articles, most notably following the Z-Boys and their progress as a skateboard crew, something I was obsessed with when I was a teenager. So this collaboration with Nixon feels right at home – natural considering the camera bag and Stecyk’s penchant for documenting the sports both literally and artistically.
The case is based on the Descender Sport, a 45mm steel watch that was “built for the modern Waterman.” The original model was interesting but quite bland. A large modern take on the dive watch design with some added quirks. While the overall design is still there in the Stecyk model, it takes the design and gives it a tactical, rugged look. The case features a matte grey-green Cerakote… er, coat and a graffiti-splattered case. It actually looks quite nice and isn’t too busy. As with many of Nixon’s watches, the crown is moved to the 9 o’ clock position to “prevent wrist bite during active outdoor pursuits” – sure. As a left-handed person, I’ve always appreciated this feature in many Nixon watches because it allows me to wear a watch regularly even on my right wrist – “Wrist Bite” notwithstanding.
The inset bezel is black PVD coated with a stainless steel color filled insert and nicely compliments the grey dial. I find the hour indices a bit cumbersome. Adding “0”‘s to make everything double digits seems very forced and clutters an already aesthetically hefty watch. The color of the numerals is easy on the eyes, however, and contrasts nicely against the dial. The hands match the model nicely, and I had to go back and look to see if the original Descender featured the same handset because I thought the hands were reminiscent of a skateboard deck and a surfboard, as that’s the first thing I thought about when considering the context – it did, a testament to collaborating on the right model. Tying the dial together is Stecyk’s tag at 12 o’ clock, and a graffiti version of “Descender” above 6 o” clock – a nice contrast to the greyed-out hour indices and some added personality.
The watches feature an unspecified Swiss quartz movement, something I know will get a sigh considering the price-point more than merits an automatic movement but is historically in line with most of Nixon’s collections. The case features a water resistance rating of 300m and comes on a grey NATO strap, so taking it with you to swim out to tag that bridge won’t be an issue. I do think an opportunity was missed to add some paint splatter to the strap, as it fits the watch, but is a bit bland.
15 years ago, when I thought I was as good at skateboarding (turns out Tony Hawk Pro Skater points don’t translate to real life skills), Stecyk existed as a prominent artistic voice and recognizable artistic mind in my circle of friends. Hell, I even remember doodling his Rat & Crossbones tag on most of the decks I bought, and God only knows how many pairs of shoes I ruined with permanent marker and little graffiti tags. So that’s what makes this collaboration with Nixon so fitting for both parties. It’s quintessentially Nixon and quintessentially Stecyk. It’s attractive, affordable, edgy, and properly channels the DNA of two entities that seem made for each other.
The watch is limited to 100 pieces and will come with an arguably steep price tag of €400. If you opt for the camera bag as packaging, it’ll add €160 to the price tag. nixon.com