While many watch brands are turning to brand ambassadors and so-called “social media influencers” to get further exposure in households around the world, Hublot has been successfully taking another tact: global partnerships. Over the past fifteen years, the brand has aligned with a variety of sports, arts and lifestyle organizations.
Don’t get me wrong. Hublot still has ambassadors (approximately two dozen), but its real far-reaching impact occurs when the Hublot name is magnified in the market as a result of these creative partnerships.
“Every year Hublot has an important partner theme,” says Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot CEO. “In 2020 it will be soccer. Soccer has been instrumental for world awareness. Millions of people follow it and maybe they can’t all afford to buy a Hublot watch, but they are seeing the brand on the referee board, which is now in the shape of a clock, and all over the soccer fields.”
Hublot holds a variety of soccer partnerships ranging from partner to official watch and official timekeeper with organizations such as FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Nations League Finals and Euro Cup. It also has had an important relationship for nine years with Scuderia Ferrari.
More recently, the brand has been delving deeply into lifestyle partnerships that enrich both partner brands, working with fine design houses like Berluti and Italia Independent, as well as with artists, musicians and world-class resorts.
It is a continuance in these lifestyle relationships that spawned the release of the recent Hublot Eden Rock Limited Edition watches.
Hublot Classic Fusion St. Barths Watches
The new Hublot Classic Fusion and Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Special Edition Eden Rock St Barths watches were unveiled to the world this past December during a celebratory weekend in the French West Indies that marked the grand re-opening of the iconic Eden Rock Hotel. The hotel, like the rest of the island, had suffered a blow from Hurricane Irma in 2017, and has been closed for renovations ever since.
Eden Rock, long a hot spot socialites and celebrities, is situated atop a quartzite bluff that extends on either side to swank beaches (Nikki on one side and St. Jean beach on the other side) with tranquil turquoise waters. The hotel was frequented by the likes of the Rockefellers, Howard Hughes and Greta Garbo, among others, and continues to be a fan favorite.
The two new watches designed to celebrate the re-opening of Eden Rock are his and hers (though they can be bought separately) styles with red accents indicative of the hotel’s signature color.
This is not the first time that Hublot has partnered with a hotel to unveil watches. In fact, a couple of years ago, it joined with a sister-hotel of the Eden Rock in the South of France for a similar re-opening event.
“We always try to find a way to talk about the brand using different platforms,” says Guadalupe. “In lifestyle, we have so many possibilities to be in the best and most iconic spots around the world, such as Hotel Eden Rock, with limited-edition collections that appeal to their customers. Partnerships like these are about opportunities, meeting more people and expanding your scope.”
The larger-sized watch is a 45mm Classic Fusion Aerofusion Limited Edition Eden Rock chronograph ($18,700) that features a skeletonized self-winding movement (HUB1155) and is sold with three different straps (white alligator with red stitching, and red and white ribbed rubber).
The watch is created in satin-finished and high-polished titanium making it light in weight and comfortable on the wrist. It features an outer chapter ring in red and white, along with a red central seconds hand. It is water resistant to fifty meters and the 207-part movement is endowed with 42 hours of power reserve. This watch is being sold at Eden Rock and in select Hublot boutiques.
The smaller timepiece ($15,800) is a 38mm titanium watch set with thirty-six brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and with ten ruby markers on the white lacquer dial. Also water resistant to fifty meters, the watch is powered by the self-winding HUB1100 movement with 42 hours of power reserve.
For several years, Hublot has worked with artists such as street artist Tristan Eaton, tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Büchi of Sang Bleu, Shepherd Fairey, and renowned sculptor Richard Orlinski, each of whom has designed special collaborative watches as part of the brand’s initiative to reach new communities. Late last year in Miami (during Art Basel Miami), Hublot also announced some new relationships and unveiled creative partnership timepieces that are making their way to stores now.
“We live in a global world and art is a platform that allows you to express yourself through another type of communication,” says Guadalupe. “We need creativity and inspiration. With these partnerships, there is a new way to express art, combining the art of watchmaking with real art put into a watch.”
Such is the case with the most recent partnership, a collaboration between the family of the late Carlos Cruz-Diez and Hublot. In 2015, Hublot collaborated with the artist, considered one of the 20th century’s greatest color theorists. This second collaboration, now with his family, is a tribute to his work.
The Classic Fusion Cruz-Diez is a kinetic work of art that reflects his ideas on color and motion. The watch features saturated Pantone colors on the two-level dial that seem to be constantly in motion thanks to parallel disks with printed black lines on them that rotate in a sequence, changing the color patterns constantly.
Two versions – a 38mm and 45mm size – are being offered in three materials (titanium, King Gold, black ceramic) in limited numbers.
Additionally, in December Hublot announced a new piece by Sang Bleu, the Big Bang One Click Sang Bleu Steel Turquoise Special Edition. A feminine interpretation by Maxime Plescia-Büchi, the watch features a dial framed with a hexagonal bezel set with diamonds and paired with a turquoise strap to match the dial. Both the dial and strap feature lines traced by the artist in a reinterpretation of the art of tattooing. Just fifty pieces are being made, especially geared for the Russian market.
“We try to work with artists whose values correspond to the brand and our values,” says Guadalupe. For him, this collaborative project in the lifestyle realm (as well as in sports) has really helped the brand evolve in the 21st century.
“We went from being young and not very well known in 2004, to becoming, in the past 15 years, one of the top reference brands in the luxury watch industry,” he continues. “It was not easy work, but these partnerships, along with our drive to be different and innovative all the time, have helped to put us up in the top five, six or seven brands.”