What is Hublot? In essence, Hublot is a watchmaker that has perfected the art of fusion. Fusion of materials: carbon fiber, fine ceramics, and hard-wearing, waterproof rubber. Fusion of traditional and modern design. Fusion of the Hublot brand with sports icons and institutions.
But above all, the creative spark of Hublot was triggered through the cohesive fusion of two men, both possessed of superb watchmaking pedigrees: founder Carlo Crocco and Jean-Claude Biver, the man who made Hublot a modern household name.
Let’s be clear—assembling watches using different materials and techniques is not in itself unique. But what makes Hublot watches revolutionary is that the process is done so seamlessly.
Crocco launched the Hublot (named after the French word for ‘porthole’) at Baselworld in 1980, following three years of painstaking research and more than $1 million in development costs. It was the first luxury watch ever to feature a natural rubber strap and it met with instant commercial acclaim. The distinctive porthole-shaped case gave it a nautical flair, and it was soon a favorite among the jetset crowd and royalty—the Kings of Sweden, Greece, and Spain were all said to have worn Hublot watches, as was the Prince of Monaco.
But that initial success didn’t last long. Later modifications such as a white dial and mechanical movements failed to set the market aflame, and it appeared as though the well of inspiration had begun to run dry.
Then came the arrival of Jean-Claude Biver, a man with talent to spare in search of a new challenge. He found it in Hublot.
Biver was installed as CEO in 2004, and quickly moved to revitalise the company’s reputation for innovation. Biver launched his flagship ‘Big Bang’ collection just a year later, which proved a hit both commercially and critically, winning numerous awards. The watch’s unique mix of materials: steel, ceramic, and rubber, had the effect that Biver wanted. The Hublot Big Bang also heavily influenced the trend for large watches, a trend which is still seen in today’s preference for bigger dials and case sizes.
In 2008, Hublot was acquired by luxury goods firm LVMH, after which several other models were launched that became instant classics, including the Hublot King Power and the Hublot Classic Fusion.
Though still a young company in the field of luxury watchmaking, Hublot has consistently demonstrated a maturity in design. Precision craftsmanship, a natural flair for novel combinations of materials, and far-sighted leadership ensure that the history of Hublot watches has a long way yet to run.
Below, we’ve put together a brief overview of some of the most commonly seen Hublot watches in the marketplace.
First released: 2005
Jean-Claude Biver’s first collection has plenty of ‘bling,’ but don’t be mistaken—the Big Bang has substance to back up its style. While the watch is unquestionably robust, there’s also a refined elegance to its design, which explains the Hublot Big Bang’s enduring reputation. A 44mm case with a ceramic bezel holds a highly legible woven carbon fiber dial and an ETA Caliber 4100 movement. The Big Bang has seen numerous variations in colors and materials over the years, but the original design remains a firm favorite among collectors.
First released: 2009
The sheer size of the Hublot King Power’s 48mm case divides opinion, but with its rubber strap and lightweight materials, it’s still comfortable on the wrist. The King Power has a sophisticated, almost military look—all straight edges and sharp corners, but as one might expect from Hublot, the design displays a meticulous attention to detail, from the visibility of the movement to the deep, multi-leveled dial. The King Power features an Hublot-designed UNICO movement and has been worn by sports stars such as Diego Maradona and Usain Bolt.
First released: 2010
As a simplified version of the immensely popular Big Bang, the Classic Fusion has a thinner profile with a less-crowded dial. It retains the iconic porthole case design, and the bold hour markers and hands that make the Big Bang so recognizable. You have a choice of case size, 42mm or 44mm, both of which are available in either steel or red gold. You can also choose from either a matte dial with a gold or steel bezel, or the sportier carbon fiber dial with a ceramic bezel.
With Hublot watches, tradition and innovation co-exist in symmetry. They are eminently stylish, but never at the price of function. With a restlessness that has reshaped the watchmaking industry on more than one occasion, the Hublot brand is defined by its willingness to break the rules.