Hublot has updated its Fusion Concrete chronograph by expanding the amount of the material used to construct the watch, and by enhancing the resilience of the material itself.
The watchmaker first debuted the watch in 2016 with only a concrete bezel set on a ceramic case that framed an open-worked dial. Now, Hublot introduces the Fusion Concrete Jungle New York, a second generation example of the unusual watch with concrete not only forming the watch’s bezel, but also its 45mm case and its two-subdial chronograph dial.
With the new watch, Hublot says it has created a more durable concrete mixture, now made of sixty-five percent to seventy-five percent fine cement, twenty-five percent to thirty percent epoxy resin (replacing the water in standard concrete) and five percent to ten percent fiberglass, replacing steel to reinforce the concrete.
Hublot in-house design team upgraded the epoxy resin with an anti-UV additive. This will prevent any color changes from occurring within the concrete components. In addition, Hublot added an anti-graffiti treatment to the finished components to prevent the concrete from becoming contaminated with dirt or other particles.
Like the first edition of the watch, this new limited-edition model is also dedicated to New York City, known historically as the first ‘concrete jungle.’ Hublot will first make the watch available at Hublot’s Fifth Avenue boutique in New York, and online, prior to being launched in stores across the United States.
Hublot has installed its in-house HUB1143 automatic chronograph movement into the watch, which also features black ceramic pushers and crown and an all-black textile strap with black stitching. Limited to fifty pieces, the Classic Fusion Concrete Jungle New York is priced at $18,800.
Specifications: Hublot Fusion Concrete Jungle New York
MOVEMENT: HUB1143 manufacture automatic chronograph, frequency of 4Hz (28’800 bph), power reserve of 42 Hours.
REFERENCE 521.XC.3604.NR.NYC20 Limited to 50 pieces.
DIAL: Composite Concrete Dial, micro-blasted and ruthenium anthracite plated hands, bezel made of composite concrete with 6 H-shaped black PVD titanium screws.
CASE: 45 mm x 13.85mm Composite Concrete, water resistance to 50m, caseback is micro-blasted black ceramic engraved with “LIMITED EDITION XX/50” and sapphire crystal.
STRAP: Black rubber and black textile with black stitching, micro-blasted black ceramic and black PVD steel deployant buckle clasp.
Hublot expanded the role Berluti leather on the latest edition of its co-branded Big Bang Unico with a new 100-piece limited edition called Big Bang Unico Berluti Cold Brown. In addition to boasting a very unusual leather dial, which matches the leather strap, the new version of this stylish watch also features a leather bezel.
In addition, Hublot and the famed Italian leather maker Berluti worked overtime to open the leather dial in the center, exposing gears, portions of the date wheel and even the chronograph’s column wheel.
Hublot and Berluti constructed the leather bezel in two parts. Artisans insert and glue one part of the bezel, measuring about 1mm thick, onto the second part, which is a lower black ceramic base. They then screw both layers, made rigid with a special resin, onto the 45mm black ceramic case.
As with the leather strap, the bezel will also take on a patina over time. The dial, however, is encapsulated between two pieces of sapphire, which means the appearance of the dial remains frozen in time in its Cold Brown hue.
Berluti’s Cold Brown leather color is the end result of artisans applying a new glacé finish on top of a historical Berluti leather color. Inside Hublot has cast its impressive Unico manufacture chronograph movement with flyback function and a lengthy 72-hour power reserve.
Hublot is delivering each watch in this limited in a chest signed by Hublot and Berluti along with a Berluti shoehorn key ring and travel case. As noted, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Berluti Cold Brown will only be available in a limited edition of 100 pieces. Price: $26,200.
Watch companies have been collaborating with artists and designers for years, producing animated timekeepers with distinctive, non-traditional dials, eye-catching engravings and even unusual case finishes.
Brands as diverse as Hermès and G-Shock tout their artistic connections with special editions that typically offer playful, aesthetic variations to well-known collections. The partnerships take many forms, from one-off fund-raisers for charities to long-term collaborations that morph into full-fledged new collections.
Let’s take a look at a few of the latest watch-artist collaborations we’ve seen.
Hublot and Orlinski
This artistic collaboration represents one of Hublot’s most successful, with multiple editions of Hublot’s Classic Fusion Orlinski reaching collectors of both Hublot watches and Pop Art, Orlinski’s domain.
Casual and serious art observers are aware of Richard Orlinski’s brightly colored beasts, including his “Wild Kong” gorilla sculpture in Cannes and his crocodiles in Miami. He and Hublot have teamed on their successful series of angular designs with light-reflecting faceted sapphire crystals for several years.
Just recently, Hublot released a new white-themed Classic Fusion Orlinski series – with gold and diamonds – just in time for the holiday season.
These are 40mm King gold or titanium models, with and without diamond pave bezels and lugs, all attached to a white rubber strap. Prices start at $11,500.
Movado and Lubomirski
Movado has teamed with Alexi Lubomirski for its newest Artist Series dials. The photographer provided Movado with four photographs (Light, Water, Illumination and City Scenes) that will grace the dials of the Movado Museum dial with vegan straps in dark grey, yellow and navy blue.
Each steel 40mm watch ($595) also comes with a vegan reusable watch pouch and packaging made from recyclable materials.
A portion of proceeds from all watches sold (at Movado.com) will be donated to Alexi’s preferred charities Concern Worldwide and the Humane Society of America. Another collection with Lubomirski is expected for Spring 2021.
Rado Designer Series
Rado has released special designer watches for 2020, the latest releases from an annual tradition for the high-tech watchmaker known for its ceramic cases and bracelets and its contemporary design focus.
Rado is working within its True Square collection to offer three models designed in collaboration with the Italian duo FormaFantasma, the British designer Tej Chauhan and Japanese duo YOY. All three have used the automatic True Square Collection as their Swiss watch canvas.
The Rado True Square Formafantasma brings us a partially enclosed dial that refers to pocket watches with protective cases.
The Japanese design duo YOY offers a contemporary interpretation with the True Square Undigital. YOY shows only analog hands within the shape of a typical digital, possibly smart dial.
Award-winning British industrial designer Tej Chauhan brings us flowing shapes, high-tech ceramic and bold colors to evoke “futuristic visions of pop culture.”
Prices for the Rado True Square design collaborations: $1,800 (TrueSquareTejChauhan), $2,550 (True SquareFormaFantasma) and $2,350 (True Square YOY).
Ateliers deMonaco and Luca Stradivari
Produced in partnership with the architect and designer Luca Stradivari, a direct descendant of famed luthier Antonio Stradivari, Atelier deMonaco launches its Admiral Chronographe Flyback Stradivari, available in four limited editions of eighty-eight pieces (steel, rose gold, white gold and yellow gold).
The 42mm flyback chronograph displays a dreamlike dial where elegant hands pass over matching markers and the autograph of the architect and designer.The caseback shows the in-house dMc-760 Calibre, an eye-catching movement beautifully finished with intricate circular satin finishing, perlage, Côtes de Genève and chamfering. Price: CHF 18,000 (approximately $19,600.)
Among Hublot’s many debuts at the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai in mid-January, the new Hublot Big Bang Integral was the brand’s primary focus. As the first Big Bang with an integrated metal bracelet, the 42mm collection debuts with an impressive lineup on its very first showing.
Not only has Hublot offered the new collection in three case metals (titanium, King Gold and a 500-piece black ceramic edition), but also each metal has already been decked in diamonds for three additional gem-set models that extend the debut Integral line.
The namesake integrated bracelet here is a solid three-link design that breaks Hublot’s long held focus on rubber, leather or fabric bracelets for its best-selling Big Bang Unico collections. The new Integral collection is also notable for utilizing the rectangular pushers originally found on the Big Bang in 2005, but replaced in recent years by round pushers.
“For the new Integral, we’ve kept the screws, the bezel and the lugs, but we have changed the pushers to look like those used in the original,” explains Raphael Nussbaumer, Hublot product and purchasing director.
“The new bracelet has three links, and we play with satin brushed and polished finishes and beveling and chamfering to create reflections. The bracelet seems simple, but to have a perfect balance between the case and the bracelet is truly challenging.”
Hublot was up to that challenge. I placed the new watch on my wrist last week, and discovered a solid construction that easily conforms to the wrist. The titanium model is a particular delight, with a lightness that was surprising, especially given the Big Bang’s full-sized 42mm by 13.5mm chronograph case. The King Gold model is as luxurious as you’d expect, with its heavier alloy of gold, copper and platinum presenting a stark contrast to either the titanium or black ceramic models.
In addition to the new collection’s retro pushers you’ll also find a new case construction here that retains the well-known Big Bang sandwich construction but does away with composite resin insert. Instead, Hublot creates the new cases entirely from one material (titanium, King Gold or ceramic). Only on the ceramic model has Hublot utilized black composite resin lugs on the bezel.
Inside each watch Hublot fixes its own Unico 1280 automatic flyback chronograph movement with column wheel and an impressive 72-hour power reserve. The handsome caliber is skeletonized for optimal viewing from front or back. The wearer can eye the column wheel from the front of the watch. All arrive with deployant buckle clasp.
Prices for the new Hublot Big Bang Integral: $20,900 (titanium), $23,100 (black ceramic-500 pieces) and $52,500 (King Gold). Diamond models: $68,400 (titanium) and $100,000 (King Gold).
Hublot also debuted many other new watches during LVMH Watch Week, including a handsome new Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10, a very hot Big Bang MP-11 Red Magic and a colorful set of gem-encrusted Spirit of Big Bang Rainbows.
A handmade watch is a ‘piece of eternity’ Biver tells iW, and as such it will never die.
Last November, Jean-Claude Biver received the 2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Special Prize of the Jury for his more than four decades as a leader in the watch industry. While he stepped down from an operational role within LVMH late last year, Biver does still advise the luxury group’s watch brands. He remains President non-executive of the LVMH Group Watch division, and the Chairman of Hublot, TAG Heuer & Zenith.
Biver’s influence on the watch industry is immense. Starting with Audemars Piguet in 1975, Biver then re-founded Blancpain (in 1983) and went on to work at Blancpain, Omega, Hublot and most recently the entire LVMH Group (including Zenith and TAG Heuer). Every brand he has worked with has enjoyed a higher industry standing, greater consumer awareness and stronger sales as a result of his leadership. His well-known love of the industry and of watchmaking has over the years been recognized as instrumental in the growth of fine watch demand across the globe.
International Watch sat down with Biver earlier this year to speak with him about the state of today’s watch industry, about his passion for watchmaking and about his plans at LVMH and beyond.
The Hublot Manufacture in Nyon.
What is next for Jean-Claude Biver? I have a contract with LVMH and I’m staying here. I’m chairman of Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith. I don’t know when, or if,something will change. For the time being until my contract ends nothing will change.
Making a Unico movement at the Hublot manufacture
Do you have any plans to start your own watch brand? There are rumors that I will start the watch brand, but these rumors have been around for forty years, ever since I sold Blancpain. People might not know that in nine years I will be eighty years old. Is it reasonable to start a new brand when in nine years you will be eighty? When you are twenty-five years old, you have fifty more years to succeed.If you are seventy-one, how many years do you have?
So I don’t think I will start a brand because it would not be reasonable. Once you have succeeded with five brands, and have been in the business for 45 years, you can leave with success. I don’t need it for me. If LVMH wants to start a brand, it’s different.
New in 2019, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Paraíba White Gold
Your passion for watchmaking is clear. How has it served you? It’s a big asset. It is a privilege. I wish everybody would have the same passion.
The Swiss watch industry is my home.It is where I have succeeded and failed, where I have friends and enemies.
Are you at all worried about the Swiss watch industry? Not at all. The industry has never been so successful financially. We have seen a lot of restructuring. All the major brands are extremely healthy. I see a lot of great plans and great shops, wonderful distribution networks, and many young people involved. I don’t think I have seen the industry as strong as it is today.
The watch industry has an enormous advantage over others because everybody else today is surrounded by products that will become obsolete – your car, your washing machine – everything will become obsolete. Everything you have will have to be thrown away. But at the watch is eternal.It will work for hundreds of years.
The watch is a piece of eternity.And it is also a piece of art.And art is eternal, by definition.We all want to be linked to eternity, and the watch is an extraordinary product because it will never die. There are not many such products, but a watch is one. This is why we call watchmaking an art. An Apple watch, a Samsung TV, these will die.
The new Zenith Defy Classic Blue Ceramic
Does the grey market concern you? There have always been people who want to sell things cheaply.There is nothing new about this. But who is responsible for the gray market? Look to the consumers, like with the drug market. Look to those who delivered too many watches to the consumers in order to get a bonus, to show they can sell more watches. It’s done by the brands themselves. If you sell to somebody more pieces then they can absorb, you don’t respect your brand.
Will you begin a foundation or charity or a school? Not the watchmaking school, because I am not a watchmaker. I would prefer a marketing or a commercial school. Or a charity.
The new TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph
How do see the watch industry in five years? It will fly. The art of watchmaking is eternal. That is why in a watch there is something mystical.It has a soul because it is made by hand. It is made hands and fingers backed by 300 years of tradition,
Our challenges are the need to teach the young people to wear a watch. But if they have never worn a watch, or don’t you know anything about watches, have never dreamt about a watch, and they don’t know one brand that makes watches, how can you sell them a watch when they are thirty-five years old? So it is important to educate them when they are young. Maybe we’ll do the Biver education center for Millennials…we teach them to wear watches, and then one day teach them to wear two.
Hublot’s new Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski, made with a clear sapphire, King Gold or ceramic case