Among my colleagues in the watch industry, I sometimes find myself on an island when it comes to Hublot. I like Hublot, yet seemingly the vast majority of watch journalists… Well, let’s just say they only view it as the big brand most famous for the Big Bang.
Hublot watches have a reputation of being loud, crass, and not very clever. While they may well be both loud and crass, on occasion, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. It is true that not every model contains an in-house movement (and those that don’t, in my opinion, deserve the barbs so often thrown their way). However, more and more models are being equipped with Unico calibers as the industry takes note of just how important that kind of addition is to the modern consumer.
I am not saying the basic Unico movements are anything to write home about. Really, they’re not, but they are attractive, stylistically congruous, and thoroughly reliable. The basic Unico calibers are, in my opinion, the bare minimum that a brand of this standing, operating at this price point, should outfit its wares with.
Things get truly impressive as we climb the pricing tree, however. There are massive power reserves in “traditionally-styled” calibers. They are insane novelties such as the huge, bulging movements with ten barrels set in horizontal series. They are so massive they are forced to overtake the case and crystal themselves, warping them to their will.
It is horological napalm, to quote John Meyer, who also happens to be a massive watch fan and prominent collector. You just can’t get it off your skin or out of your head. It’s infectious, penetrating, beguiling. The more you look into what Hublot does behind the scenes, the more you realize that while its products may not be to your liking, it's thanks to brands like it that there's so much diversity in the industry.
Hating equals rating
Perhaps the old P.T. Barnum quote, “there is no such thing as bad publicity,” should be mentioned at this juncture. Or maybe Oscar Wilde's take on the same notion is even more apt, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
Hublot trades off the hate it receives in the media. It takes an immense amount of confidence to go against any grain, but when one does so at a huge personal expense, it sends a very loud message to the majority: I am different from you, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Perhaps not all Hublot buyers approach with the same attitude. Many simply find the watches attractive. There's a small, but quite vocal, cartel of surprisingly intellectual Hublot fans. They believe watches of Hublot’s nature are perhaps more philosophically aligned with what modern luxury watches should be. And then there are those susceptible to the general Hublot message that tend to interpret the haters’ comments as pure jealousy, which intensifies their desire for an enormous, diamond-studded wrist brick.
Simply put, it's hard to change somebody’s mind when it comes to matters of the wrist. If you aspire to the lifestyle or ethos that Hublot peddles, it doesn't really matter what anyone else says about it or your taste. Because when push comes to shove, you are likely hardwired to believe that you’re right and everyone else is wrong.
However, there is a portion of the Hublot catalog that is genuinely credible. It really pains me that it doesn’t get more exposure. Because of Hublot’s mainstream presence and perception, the good is unfairly packaged up with all of the “bad” as some people term it.
A tireless inventor.
In Nyon, Switzerland, the Hublot 2 factory stands. Opened in 2015, Hublot 2 houses the brand’s “foundry” on its lowest level. Down here, in this enormous space, Hublot’s finest minds spend the entire day messing about with materials, performing horological alchemy. Osmium dials. Semi-translucent cases injected with squid ink. King and Magic golds. Ceramics in ultra-bright and fast colors. Rubbers, leathers, plastics… You name it. If you ever thought about it, the chances are the Hublot factory has created it, destroyed it, and started from scratch again.
Speaking of scratches, one of the aforementioned materials is truly remarkable because it cannot be marked. Magic gold does seem to have some kind of magic properties, as it is practically indestructible and almost entirely scratch-proof. This material is created by melting gold into the pores of a carbon billet and fusing the two under incredible pressure. The art of fusion, updated.
It's often seen as the preserve of flashy, mouthy, disrespectful pop stars, footballers, and general z-list celebrities, who wear the hulking watches in an attempt to appear rich. The brand drags this unseemly association around with it glumly, which is a shame because it deserves so much more! Of course, Hublot could help itself by not pandering to its established clientele by releasing iced-out models. Because ultimately, that's beneath its' lofty goal of integrating as many new and interesting materials with the watch industry as possible.
Magic gold is a surprisingly demure material and perhaps the most practical of the brand’s inventions. As such, there is enormous potential for it to be used in the brand’s simpler models, so it might find its way to more wrists. It's developments like this one that holds the key for Hublot’s potential transformation. However, normalizing a brand that has lived off of its exceptionalism, just for the sake of being more widely liked, is unlikely to happen because it makes absolutely no business sense.
Some of the "ICIEST" Models
Something for everyone
You may chuckle at the suggestion Hublot is in any way a “brand of the people”, so I won’t go that far. What I will say is this: there is a lot more to Hublot than meets the eye. The brand has an identifiable aesthetic. With most of its core models taking some inspiration from the Hublot Big Bang case silhouette — even the Classic Fusion line was conceived as the “dress version” of the brand’s most famous collection. That identifiable aesthetic translates surprisingly well to more elegant and everyday pieces. The same Hublot vibe can be found in the presence of blacked-out cases or multi-faceted rose gold housings if that is what you are after.
And possibly the best thing about this often-overlooked portion of the Hublot catalog is the fact that it is affordable. Perhaps, far more affordable, given the name on the dial than you ever might have believed. By buying into a brand that I feel deserves more love for the tireless work it puts into the creation of genuine novelty, you become a part of that close-knit fraternity that very much feels it “gets” something the rest of the buying public seems yet to understand. If being in that kind of company appeals to you, don’t hesitate to check out the weird and wonderful options of Hublot on Jomashop.com.