At the 2016 Geneva Show, there’s always one exhibition that seeks to stand apart from it’s horological compatriots – and we don’t mean the overzealous buyer at the free champagne bar. Ladies and gentlemen, we present another sterling example from Hublot.
There will always be a place for the classic Swiss dress watch. Maisons such as Vacheron Constantin, Bremont and Cartier produce variations of these thoroughly traditional designs to much applause year after year, and that’s because they’re rather good at it. However, just as these labels know their strengths, so too does Hublot. Nyon’s black sheep manages to rearrange the status quo with every new release and as such, has carved a global identity through Jean Claude Biver-esque blue skies thinking. Hublot may be different to the rest, but that doesn’t mean it’s the horological equivalent of the weird kid at school that ate crayons – they know exactly what they’re doing.
And as for the 2016 Geneva Show, our expectations were simultaneously fulfilled and exceeded – we always know there’s something coming, we can just never guess what it is. The first element of surprise was the new limited-series Big Bang Big Bang 41mm Broderie, available in two designs. In recent years, ladies watches are finally being taken seriously by Switzerland, and the Brodierie is definitive proof. The Sugar Skull iteration fuses the craftsmanship of haute couture with haute horlogerie, the dial enduring heavy embellishment of fine Lurex threads to paint the eponymous skull motif. A ceramic bezel is reinforced with 36 spinels and a multitude of precious stones throughout that compliment the overarching colour theme. Whilst the Sugar Skull sports a design that is by no means unknown to the world, it’s a far cry from the botched Dia de los Muerto facepaint that clogs up your Instagram feed every Halloween.
Another highlight came in the form of the limited edition MP-05 ‘La Ferrari’. Hublot and the world-famous sportscar manufacturer are old friends which makes the latest collaboration all the more impressive; a robust sapphire case houses a movement designed to appear as if levitating. An engine-inspired aesthetic showcases the finest aspects of both Hublot and Ferrari with a complex reading system, a manual-winding tourbillon 11 series and (our favourite part), a movement that involves over a massive 637 individual components. Furthermore, the 50 day power reserve is nothing to be sniffed at it; the MP-05 may be an acquired taste, but you cannot doubt the level of engineering. Bravo, chaps.
Hublot has always continued in the tributory vein with another commerative piece. After immortalising the plight of Nelson Mandela in clockwork form last year, the brand has paid homage to martial arts demigod Bruce Lee with a limited edition Spirit of Big Bang. With all of the associated elements that made Lee so iconic, the watch features a tonneau case created from microblasted ceramic in black alongside a black and gold alligator strap, bumblebee colours throughout (a la The Bride in Kill Bill) and a traditional Chinese dragon. Better yet, the self-winding chronograph amassed $270,000 Hong Kong dollars at an auction for the Bruce Lee Foundation which promotes martial arts for children across the world. He might not have made it to this 75th birthday, yet the piece is an almighty tribute to an almighty star.