Throughout his jaw-droppingly impressive 25-year career, typographer, Arabic calligrapher, designer, and artist Wissam Shawkat has designed for brands like Montblanc and Tiffany & Co.
We all have that one uncle who considers his watch to be an extension of his manhood and who has, unfortunately, infected your minds with the knowledge that the timekeeping device is an integral part of your overall look. In a strange way, it makes sense for people who are stupid enough to judge you by your appearance to be totally impressed by your ability to tell the time by glancing at your left hand, but watches are also so damn nice and slick!
A shiny Rolex is all it took for us to be all over Arabic calligrapher, typographer, artist, and designer Wissam Shawkat. Most people are lucky if they can afford one – Shawkat, on the other hand, designed The Rolex day date 40mm platinum Middle Eastern dial. Eat your heart out, Wiz Khalifa!
You have probably come across it on your Facebook newsfeed, and so have we; the artist proudly shared his Rolex Arabic dial design on the social network, captioning his post: "For a person who really [loves] watches and [appreciates] the art and details in every single piece, [it] was such a great honour and pleasure to work with [Rolex] to create the Arabic calligraphy for the [days] for their limited edition day date watch."
What we have discovered, however, is that this isn’t the first time Shawkat has set the imagination ablaze with his creations. “Rolex approached me last year through [their] Dubai agent, but I had done some work for them before,” he says.
A civil engineer by practice, the Iraqi artist has been an Arabic calligraphy designer his whole life. Throughout his jaw-droppingly impressive 25-year career, he has worked with brands like Hublot, Montblanc, and Tiffany & Co., and designed for advertising giants such as Saatchi & Saatchi and JWT.Shawkat is inspired by all the beautiful things the world encompasses; beauty is his kryptonite. His vision of beauty is anchored in typography and Arabic calligraphy, which are present in all of his designs, but that’s not his only strength. Shawkat’s genius is that he can take something as ever-present as letters and make them completely his own, as if he conjured the symbols out of thin air. “I think the quality of the calligraphy and attention to details is what makes this make different than the previous Arabic dial Rolex editions,” he asserts. Earlier this year, the artist created equally brilliant work when he was approached by British luxury mobile phone manufacturer Vertu for a collaboration to ornament their devices with his expressive Arabic calligraphy designs.
Whether it's watches, jewellery, or even electronics, everything Shawkat touches with his exquisite Arabic calligraphy turns into gold.