Hublot has consistently experimented with various materials throughout its history, and this year is no different
Hublot the material alchemist
Ever the disruptor, Hublot doesn’t just shake up the watch industry with outrageous movement designs, like the MP-05 Laferrari and its 11 stacked barrels that boast a 50-day power reserve. It also makes waves with its use of unconventional materials, many of which are proprietary. The manufacture’s calling cards may be King Gold, a faderesistant alloy that’s redder than typical red gold, and Magic Gold, which melds ceramic and gold to form a scratch-proof alloy. But it has also used many other materials in its watches. Who can forget how the brand steeped tobacco leaves in epoxy before cutting dials out of the hardened blocks and fitting them within the Classic Fusion “Forbiddenx”? Or how leather from Berluti is used in making both the straps and dials of the Classic Fusion Berluti timepieces?
There is, of course, a method to the madness. For one, Hublot’s choice of unconventional materials has allowed the
brand to execute designs that are otherwise impossible to pull off. The manufacture’s willingness to experiment has also set it apart as an innovator—and a daring one at that. Also, there is the brand’s DNA to consider—the play with materials that are inspired/supplied by its partners is yet another aspect of Hublot’s Art of Fusion.
For its 2017 novelties, Hublot has unveiled new materials and brought back old ones. The most difficult to pull off is, without a doubt, the coloured sapphire used in the Big Bang Unico Sapphire. While clear sapphire cases have been used in the industry for quite a few years, the challenge of producing coloured sapphire in suitable sizes and consistent hues has precluded its use in watchmaking—until now. Hublot has developed its own process to manufacture both red and blue tinted sapphire, which are then machined to the necessary shapes for the watch.
Hublot’s continued partnership with Italia Independent, which previously saw the introduction of Texalium (an aluminium-coated carbon fibre), has yielded two other materials this year. The first is velvet, which appears in the Big Bang One Click Italia Independent —the inaugural ladies’ model from the two marques’ collaboration. Velvet’s soft, sensual texture appears on both the dial and strap, to contrast with the timepiece’s ceramic case and rubber detailing, which lend a technical slant to the watch instead. Quite an interesting combination, if we may.
Meanwhile, the Classic Fusion Chronograph Italia Independent features various tartan fabrics sourced from Italian tailoring house Rubinacci. Like their feminine counterparts, the watches here feature the fabrics prominently on the dial and strap, with different case materials to accentuate each fabric’s patterns. Swiss watches with a decidedly Gaelic vibe? Check.
Rounding things up is the Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull Fluo, which brings back the Bischoff embroidery from St. Gallen previously showcased by Hublot. The difference this time lies in the fluorescent embroidery produced specially for the watch—the electric hues contrast sharply against both the black background of the strap and dial, as well as the ceramic case itself.
While many brands are focusing on pushing their limits in creating avant-garde mechanisms, Hublot is clearly taking things in its own hands and charting its course.
Hublot is more than a watchmaker; it’s a material alchemist, churning out proprietary gold alloys (above) and incorporating fluoroscent lace into its watch dials and straps.
Unconventional materials like tartan fabric (top) and sapphire crystals have been employed by Hublot to create watches.