Hublot: A Brand History
Metal and rubber have been combined to positive effect in the automotive industry for well over a decade, but these two materials weren’t brought together in watchmaking until Hublot’s inception in 1980.
Renowned Breil watchmaker Carlo Crocco struck out on his own in the 1970’s, and began designing a piece that he named Hublot, after the French word for ‘porthole’. After three years of tenacious development, he had created his masterpiece: the first ever watch to have a natural rubber strap. This material was not only unique, but it offered unparalleled levels of comfort, instantly adapting to the owner’s wrist.
On its first outing at the 1980 Basel Watch fair, the new Hublot failed to attract any interest at all, but it didn’t take long for the highly original concept of teaming a gold watch with a rubber strap to become hugely popular with royal families and celebrities, putting the young company on the watchmaking map. By the 1990s, a vast number of Hublot’s competitors had started offering rubber straps, cementing Hublot as a trailblazer in design philosophy.
In 2004, the single-concept brand was given a new lease of life when Jean-Claude Biver was awarded the position of CEO. Biver had made his name at Audemars Piguet, Omega and Blancpain, and aimed to build on Hublot’s reputation for combining unusual materials with their celebrated “Art of Fusion” concept. Under his watch, the company “fused” the likes of ceramic, carbon, tantalum, tungsten, titanium and rubber with more traditional material such as gold, silver, steel, platinum, precious stones and diamonds.
In 2005, Biver helped to push the watchmaking house into the 21st century with the launch of the Big Bang – a collection that continues to be Hublot’s flagship today. Since its introduction, the Big Bang has been developed with several notable complications, including tourbillon, power reserve indicator, big date display and split seconds. It’s also available in three case sizes: 41mm or 44m for most collections, or a truly generous 48mm for the Big Bang King.
Thanks to its sporty look, comfortable materials and generous proportions, the Big Bang has become increasingly popular in the world of sport. Such is its popularity among footballers that Diego Maradona wore one on each wrist during the last World Cup.
In addition to the Big Bang, Hublot also produce the Classic collection, which around 30% of Hublot customers will opt for. As it lacks a chronograph movement, it is thinner, and is more traditional and understated in appearance.
With Jean-Claude Biver’s experience and passion, Hublot produce innovative world firsts every year, ensuring the continued success of a thriving luxury watchmaker.