Hublot vs. Rolex: A Side-by-Side Comparison
Although Hublot and Rolex are arguably two of the top watchmakers in the industry, each brand is incredibly unique. Rolex has been in business for over a century. They take a more traditional approach to watchmaking and focus on classic designs. Yet they still remain relevant through key, high-profile partnerships in sports and other prestigious industries. On the other hand, Hublot is a relatively new watchmaker in the market, only having been in business for a few decades. Hublot’s approach to the fine art of watchmaking is anything but traditional. The brand prides itself in its modern and unconventional design elements. Despite the fact that Hublot and Rolex have very little in common, there’s one thing they share. The founders of both brands each had their own unique vision for their companies that led them to become pioneers in the industry, each in their own right.
Rolex: A Pioneer in Horological Advancements
When Hans Wilsdorf founded Rolex in 1905, he wanted the brand to primarily focus on crafting the highest quality movements. With that laser focus and steadfast dedication to Wilsdorf’s vision, Rolex created the first wristwatch in the world to be certified as a chronometer just five years later in 1910. Since then, Rolex has been a leader in patents and groundbreaking horological advancements. They pioneered the technology for the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch in 1926. And, they patented the world’s first perpetual self-winding mechanism in 1931.
Throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, Rolex developed some of their most iconic models, each of which showcases a piece of horological history.Rolex debuted the Datejust in 1945, and it was the first self-winding wristwatch to display the date on the dial. Then, with the release of the first Submariner in 1953, they created the first dive watch to be waterproof up to 100 meters. Lastly, with the introduction of the GMT Master in 1954, they unveiled the first pilot watch to display the time in multiple time zones at once. And, with the debut of the Day-Date in 1956, they made the first wristwatch to display the date and day of the week in a window on the dial. Even now, Rolex continues to uphold this pioneering spirit. Within the past decade they developed the first watch in the world with a countdown display, the Yacht-Master II.
Hublot: A Pioneer in Modern Materials and Avant-Garde Design
Like Hans Wilsdorf, Hublot’s founder Carlo Crocco had a very specific and distinct vision for his company. He began conceptualizing the brand in the 1970’s. His first idea centered on the name Hublot, which means porthole in French. This inspired the design for the porthole-shaped cases that have become a hallmark of the brand. Still, he wanted something more that would truly set him apart. So, he spent the next three years developing the first rubber straps for watches.
At first, his out-of-the-box idea for rubber straps did not take off. Crocco struggled to keep his business afloat but remained dedicated to his unique perspective. Soon, he recognized that his passion was for the fine art of watchmaking and that his strength was in his creative vision. What he lacked was a knack for business. He believed a new CEO would be just what Hublot needed to take off. In 2004, Crocco finally got his big break. He was able to secure watch industry veteran, the former CEO of the Swatch group’s Omega branch, Jean-Claude Biver, as the new CEO of Hublot.
Biver could see the power and promise in the unique vision on which Hublot was founded. He believed that by returning to those roots, he could take the brand to the next level. And that’s just what he did. In 2005, Hublot debuted the Big Bang, and a whole new world opened up for the brand.
Choosing the Best Brand for You
Hublot and Rolex inevitably attract two very different types of customers. For those with a more conservative style and an appreciation for some of the highest quality horological advancements, Rolex is the brand for you. The design of their watches is classic, crisp, and clean-cut. Plus, they offer a wide array of functions and complications, suitable for divers, pilots, or simply everyday wear. However, those with a more contemporary style and a desire for the most cutting-edge materials and avant-garde designs might prefer Hublot. The Big Bang is just one of many iconic models produced by the brand, and each are truly one-of-a-kind.