Although Hublot has become one of the world’s most prominent Swiss watchmakers, it remains a relatively young brand. Everything started about 40 years ago with a luxury sports watch with an unprecedented combination of materials, in particular gold and rubber. Hublot brings back this now classic model in three different sizes, each available in three materials. Let’s take a closer look at the new Hublot Classic Fusion Original Collection.
The origins of Hublot go back to the late 1970s when the Italian entrepreneur Carlo Crocco left the Binda Group to create his own watch company, MDM Genève, the acronym for Marie-Danielle Montres and later Montre Des Montres (the watch of all watches in French). At Baselworld 1980, Crocco launched a luxury sports watch called the Hublot (porthole in French). The model turned out to be so successful that the name would be used for the brand itself, while this inaugural model was later known as the Classic Fusion.
The Hublot Classic Fusion’s inspiration was highly rooted in the 1970s. The decade had seen the creation of the modern luxury sports watch with an integrated bracelet. In 1972, Audemars Piguet and Gérald Genta defined the genre with the Royal Oak; a sporty but clearly expensively crafted steel watch with a shaped case and an integrated bracelet. Many high-end brands released their own take on the category – Patek Philippe with the Nautilus, Vacheron Constantin with the 222 and later with the Overseas, IWC with the Ingénieur, Girard-Perregaux with the Laureato, etc. Yet, Crocco took the luxury sports watch into new territories. Instead of a classic bracelet, he fitted his watch with an integrated rubber strap. With it, Hublot became one of the first brands daring to combine gold and rubber. What was still absolutely unthinkable at the time turned out to be a hit…
Jean-Claude Biver joined Hublot in 2004, soon amplifying the concept of fusing materials with the powerful Big Bang. He also brought the brand to new heights with its successful marketing. In 2008, the brand was acquired by LVMH.
During the LVMH Watch Week, Hublot brings back the watch that shook up conventions. The 2023 Hublot Classic Fusion Original is available in 42mm and 38mm with automatic movements and in a 33mm quartz version. All three sizes come in 18k yellow gold, titanium and black ceramic.
The overall look of the new Classic Fusion is close to the original. The elaborate case architecture is paired with minimalist black lacquered dials and an integrated rubber strap. Yet, there are several changes.
The case has been modernised with a simpler, more angular design and black details wedged in between the case middle and the bezel, which now has 6 screws instead of 12 like the original. The inky black dial is now paired with a coloured-matched date wheel and broader, faceted hands.
Last but not least, and in a departure from the 1980s watch, which was powered by a quartz movement, we now have mechanical movement options. The new Hublot Classic Fusions 42mm and 38mm are powered by the automatic Hublot HUB1110. Based on the Sellita SW300-1 (itself a clone of the ETA 2892A), this tried-and-tested movement runs at 28,800 vibrations/hour and has 42 hours of power reserve. It is visible via the exhibition caseback of the watch with an openworked rotor and the brand’s logo.
All models are fitted with smooth black rubber straps, black-coated titanium deployant clasps, and either yellow gold, titanium or black ceramic trimmings to match the case material.
With the Classic Fusion Original, Hublot offers a more classic, more elegant (less aggressive) collection compared to the Big Bang and its siblings. It feels luxurious but unfussy, making for a great daily wearer. These latest editions have been tastefully modernised without impairing the design and its DNA. The overall build feels solid, and while the movement is nothing fancy, this reliable workhorse keeps accurate time. On the wrist, the watch wears comfortably, and with 3 different sizes available, most people will find the right match. Prices start at EUR 8,200 for the 38mm editions and EUR 8,600 for the 42mm models.
More information at www.hublot.com.