Hands-On: A 42mm (Yellow Gold) Hublot Both My Wife And I Can Wear? Yes, Please

Hands-On: A 42mm (Yellow Gold) Hublot Both My Wife And I Can Wear? Yes, Please

The Classic Fusion goes YG in 42mm for the first time ever.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time covering the (truly) strange world of watches, it’s to allow myself to be surprised – to not assume my tastes are so ingrained that there’s no way to let another kind of watch in. I’m a very “steel sport watch on steel bracelet” guy, I always have been – and I likely always will be. But that doesn’t mean that the occasional not-to-my-taste watch doesn’t catch my eye. I’ll be the first to admit that it usually comes in the form of something gold – and for me, the hue of choice is yellow.

I stepped into my product preview meetings for LVMH Watch Week with Hublot, where brand representatives were waiting, with a smorgasbord of new novelties unfurled across a rather spartan table in a fluorescent-lit room, in a New York City skyscraper.

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph

All the watches were there, from the Sang Bleu to the Integral to the Big Bangs. I saw, in person, what I’ve come to know and expect from Hublot: An ultra-modern, often openworked design that tends to veer toward the gargantuan in terms of case size. And then I glanced down and saw a piece that wasn’t getting a ton of attention in the presentation. It was just sitting there, gleaming in yellow gold, with a muted matte black dial. It was a watch I had seen before, but not quite like this.

 “What about that one?” I asked.

“Oh, you mean the Classic Fusion yellow gold?”

That’s precisely what I meant.

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph in the hand

This watch spoke to me with its unassuming matte dial and brushed golden case. In a sea of otherworldly timepieces, this thing was assuredly simple. I picked it up and immediately felt its weight (I mean, it’s gold after all). The case is about as Hublot as Hublot gets, with the downward-tilting, thick end links. It was sitting next to two other watches in the new yellow gold collection from Hublot: the Big Bang and Spirit of Big Bang.

If this were the normal 45mm fare, my wrist wouldn’t stand a chance. But I quickly learned this watch clocked in at 42mm – the first time in yellow gold. Despite the fact that it’s a chronograph, it had so much of the spirit of the original 1980 Hublot watch – the foundation upon which the brand is built.

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph on wrist

After zoning out in the presentation room, I finally came to and heard a faint voice in the distance of my mind: “Would you like to take it home for the weekend for review?” I’ll let you guess how I responded to this $26,800 question.

Over that weekend, I wore the watch and tried to distill just what it was that I liked about it. In theory, it runs counter to my tastes entirely. Even when my mind wanders into the shiny world of gold, it tends to be more classic fare like a Rolex Day-Date. In my most adventurous, it’s the Yellow Gold Speedmaster – the one that Nixon refused.

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph case profile   Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph clasp

So what gives? Well, it seems that time has made a classic out of that original 1980 Hublot watch. Looking at this golden chrono now, you see echoes of the original design. Is it timeless? I don’t know, maybe. I mean, this particular combination of yellow gold and rubber is still here after more than 40 years, and it still works.

I’m a sucker for a matte dial, which this watch has. But more than that, the dial is sparse. It tells the time and allows for easy reading of the chrono functionality. Hublot is keenly aware of how much this watch evokes the spirit of the OG – and I applaud them for erring on the side of simplicity.

To that point, the movement – the caliber MHUB1153, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of finishing. If I had my druthers, this watch would have a closed caseback.

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph caseback

There’s a real premium feel to the build of the case, though, from the gold surface, in a combination of brushed and polished finishes, and the black mid-case. Usually, visual intrigue is confined to dial design, but not with a Hublot.

Then there’s the dramatic end-link connecting the watch to the rubber strap. This is no doubt a visual hallmark of the Classic Fusion. In 42mm, it’s still a lot to take in, but I liked it because it’s something different, and different works in yellow gold because it’s … fancy. I highly doubt that I could pull it off in 45mm sizing though. It would look like my wrist was trapped in a golden, high-design, handcuff that told the time.

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph on wrist

Even my wife, Kasia, got in on the fun with this watch. It’s empirically good-looking, and I can write that because both my wife and I say so. I’ll also be the first to admit, the 42mm sizing really worked on her wrist! (See the lead image.)

There’s so much noise in the watch world about what Hublot is or isn’t, or where it stands against other brands at similar price points. To me, Hublot has always been something of a disruptor – whether through price, design, or both. This watch, conversely, feels a lot tamer … for a Hublot, I mean. In real-world scenarios, this piece would never go unnoticed. It’s flashy, and I’m not. Maybe I like it because it represents a bit of a fantasy. Who would I be if this were my daily watch?

The Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph in Yellow Gold utilizes a MHUB1153 automatic chronograph caliber with a 42-hour power reserve. It comes in a 42mm case. Case is 18k yellow gold fitted to a rubber strap and is priced at $26,800. 

Photos, Kasia Milton

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