All 23 of The Rolling Stones’ classic albums (including “Steel Wheels”) are made into wristwatches by Jaquet Droz! Interview with the Indian businessman who set up the 60th anniversary collaboration watch

Jaquet Droz released the news of producing the Rolling Stones automaton in 2022. It was to commemorate the Band’s 60th anniversary. In fact, there was a person behind this unique story. The editorial staff, who happened to have an opportunity to meet him face to face, interviewed this important person.

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A “Testament of loyalty & Friendship” for Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones since 50 years

At the end of February’24, the Rolling Stones Automaton, which was in Japan for the first time, was unveiled to selective guests and press at The Jaquet Droz boutique in Ginza. And there, too, was Mr. Dilip Doshi, the man who inspired the creation of this work.

Mr. Dilip Doshi is a former Indian cricketer and now a businessman.

He comes from an Indian family of business background and in his early thirties; he became a very important member of the Indian national cricket team, playing on the international stage. He moved to England to continue his playing career and became a businessman after his retirement. His company in India represented Montblanc Brand exclusively with all the writing instruments and with other luxury goods. Dilip Doshi is credited by one foreign reviewer as a pioneer of the Indian luxury market.

Mr. Dilip Doshi

When he was still a student, he heard the Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now” on the radio in Kolkata in the 1960s. Since then, he has been fascinated with the band. Even today, he only listens to the music by The Rolling Stones. Perhaps his feelings for the Rolling Stones reached out to the band, because after becoming a pro cricketer in the UK, he met Mick Jagger and their friendship evolved over the years.

In plain words, he is a most loyal and a genuine fan of The Rolling Stones. The Japanese person who introduced Mr. Doshi to our editorial department is also a fan of the Rolling Stones. And he has been connected with Mr. Doshi in the fan community for more than 30 years. He chose WatchNavi as the only media to cover Mr. Doshi during his visit to Japan.

It would be fair to say that The Rolling Stones have an enormous base of worldwide fans covering different age groups. This is The most legendary band that has been played for more than 60 years and still rocking like no one else can.. What is truly amazing is the cohesive power of the good old days of the community. I was able to meet Mr. Doshi and ask him about the birth of the Rolling Stones Automaton.

“I am in regular contact with Mick and able to see him at mutual convenience. During the covid period, I came up with the idea of creating something monumentally special that would leave as a lasting mark for the 60th anniversary. Meanwhile, I received a call from Jaquet Droz to become their Brand Ambassador and I felt very honoured. I shared my ideas with both Jaquet Droz and The Rolling Stones management and the project began. One important thing I said was, ‘ if you want to just know the time, all you need is a smartphone. More than anything, we needed a unique design that would symbolize and define the DNA of the Band. There had been some Rolling Stones collaboration items before that were more like copy-and-paste logos, in my humble opinion. In that case, we are never truly doing justice to honour the greatest rock n roll band ever. I knew that Jaquet Droz had a great atelier in that respect, and that they had very passionate and proud artisans in house with supporting technology. So we were convinced that they would be able to give shape to our ideas perfectly.”

As a result, an almost insane project was started to incorporate the artwork of 23 different albums released by The Rolling Stones into an automaton watch. Individual album designs have already been created on the computer for the collectors to appreciate and order.

“If someone wants to order an album of their choice, it would take about 8 to 10 weeks once the design is finalized and approved by the collector. This time to Japan, I brought the “Steel Wheels” album watch that was part of a world tour in 1989 and the band’s first performance in Japan in 1990. When I stopped by the Jaquet Droz headquarters in Switzerland before I came here, they had a Voodoo Lounge timepiece as well, but I chose this one because I was going to Japan.”

A special box is created for each of the watches that is based on the design of the album cover. This box shows the Album title , “Steel Wheels”. On Mr. Doshi’s arm, there is the Dragon Automaton.

If you look closely at the watch, you can see the album artwork on the rotating disc and a miniature band set. The hour and mimute dial is decorated with a gray-toned pattern that is common to the album disc. All this is painted and decorated by the hands of artisans at Jaquet Droz. A super luxury these days.

“The “stage” on the watch is a recreation of the band’s live equipment. Mick’s harmonica, Keith’s 5-string guitar, Charlie’s simple drum set, Ronnie’s guitar and amplifiers are all elaborately miniaturized. The red and blue “Lips and Tongue” logo around the static stage is the one that appeared on the tour poster at the time. Other variations of the watch have been created in a way that will appeal to all the devoted fans watch and unique collectors as well. Without Jaquet Droz, it would have been impossible to replicate the enthusiasm of these fans. Each watch is a one off and only one watch per album.”

A button coaxial to the crown activates an internal mechanism. The Lips and Tongue logo moves from side to side while the lower dial disc also rotates eight times per 30 seconds. The record hand at 9 o’clock indicates the remaining power reserve.

When Dilip Doshi was asked a personal question on his choice of lifestyle, he said, I’ve been a vegan for 18 years. With that background, I did not like to bring leather into our watches and used sustainable fabric materials for the straps of these Rolling Stones watches.” Mick is very respectful of this and appreciated this move.

Mr. Doshi says he became a vegan after a long vegetarian life. He says he sometimes exchanges views with Mick Jagger about such lifestyle.

When questioned about his views on The Rolling Stones’ latest album, Doshi said “This band is constantly evolving and reinventing themselves. Their latest album, Hackney Diamonds, is hugely impressive. For me, The Rolling Stones continue to have a very special place in my heart and for millions of fans as well.”

Mr. Doshi pointed to the strap and explained the focus part.

The Art of Writing ~The Rolling Stones fountain pens~

At the end of our planned interview for Jaquet Droz watches for The Rolling Stones, Mr. Dilip Doshi surprised us further by sharing with us the brand-new series of Montegrappa fountain pens to honour The Rolling Stones Legacy.

The charm of The Rolling Stones is in their defiance and commenting on the state of society through their visionary and daring lyrics. This rare way of creating lyrics is actually “The art of song writing” and a monumental achievement. Therefore, I thought of creating something memorable about their particular style of song writing to celebrate their 60 years anniversary. My daughter Vishakha had some brilliant vision and we brought this idea to Montegrappa. To the real credit of Montegrappa team and Giuseppe Aquila, their President and MD, they could translate our vision beautifully and finally produce 4 breath-taking variations of the most luxurious writing instruments you could ever imagine can exist. The purple/green and the scarlet red fountain pens as 1962 limited edition pieces in 925 sterling silver have Victorian-style engraving and hand enamelled coloring alternately on their octagon shape. On the enamelled side, there are “Steel Wheels” artwork design in hand engraved sterling silver. This colour variation is inspired by The Rolling Stones’ amazing colourful stage outfits over many decades. Mick sometimes wore shirts with Victorian era floral design that is artistically captured in silver hand-engraving in these truly collectible limited edition 1962 writing instruments. 1962 because, The Rolling Stones were formed in the year 1962, a landmark in the entertainment history. 

The Jewelry 60s edition writing instruments were inspired in 18 carat white gold version  named “She’s A Rainbow” and “Ruby Tuesday” in 18 carat yellow gold from the band‘s evergreen hit songs. Cap of these jewelry pens has been hand decorated to bear the famous “ Classic Tongue” in diamonds and rubies to add lustre. The clip of the pen has Keith Richards’ famous 5-string guitar. When you put the pen in your chest pocket, the “Classic Tongue”will be visible to all. A testimony to artistic taste.

I chose to work with Montegrappa because I firmly believe only this super luxury Brand has the artisans and the mindset to express this kind of rare art with the Band’s DNA in each and every piece. The solid gold jewellery pieces adorned with precious and semi-precious jewels are limited to 60 pieces only in each category: to salute The Rolling Stones on their 60th Anniversary. I dearly hope the collectors will appreciate and admire The Band’s legacy that we are celebrating in this form of heritage writing instruments by Montegrappa.

And finally, the super luxury gift boxes for these 4 pens are a joy themselves. Made from wood these boxes will surely be much appreciated by our Japanese friends as each wooden gift box tells the story of the pen inside in a very subtle manner. We have chosen purple ink bottle with The Tongue logo on the lid for every box.

After interview

This interview was triggered by a single e-mail sent to our representative’s e-mail address. From there, personal communication continued, and we contacted Jaquet Droz to confirm the facts. This article is the result of that correspondence. I cannot stop being involved in the watch media because of the interesting connection between wristwatches, music, and fountain pens. At first, I assumed that Mr. Doshi was a watch collector, but it turns out that he is an ambassador at heart for The Rolling Stones and Jaquet Droz as well.

How would the watches shown by him be perceived by the Rolling Stones fans around the world who synergise with Mr. Doshi? At the very least, there is no doubt that it is a most extra ordinary model created by a fan who has been a most ardent admirer of the band for more than 60 years. The association with the Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones is the reason of such creativity. In chatting with the author after the interview, when I mentioned that I was sorry that I was not familiar with The Rolling Stones, Doshi recommended that I could start with the new album, “Hackney Diamonds”. In fact, at some of the live concerts, there are four generations of family enjoying the music together (with grandchildren, sons, fathers, and grandfather). The band’s 60-plus year career has fans that transcend time and space.

Likewise, a wristwatch can be passed down from generation to generation if used carefully. Despite their age in number, and Mick Jagger in particular, The Rolling Stones are still powerful enough to start their North American tour from late April. This interview is an extremely valuable opportunity to learn about the timeless legacy and the greatness of The Rolling Stones through the watch of Jaquet Droz.

Text / Daisuke Suito (WATCHNAVI) Photo / Katsunori Kishida