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WATCH: Sporting icons celebrate 40 years of innovation at Hublot

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Founded in 1980, Hublot is celebrating its 40th birthday this year and it is taking the opportunity to look back at the explosive journey and what it describes as a  “dizzying ascent.”

As the first brand to combine gold and rubber on a watch, Hublot has turned this audacious approach into a philosophy forming the cornerstone of all of its creations, innovations and partnerships: the Art of Fusion.

Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, said: “The revolutionary concept of the Art of Fusion has forged Hublot’s success throughout its journey, and has led it to be first, unique, and different. Its most powerful expression—the iconic Big Bang in 2005—defined Hublot’s identity and became the driving force behind its Manufacture and its Research & Development department.

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“Today, this best-seller continues to inspire the brand to reinvent itself and look to the future. This principle is part of Hublot’s genetics, and a success story that is only just beginning.”

Iconic watches

Through their performance and their disruptive character, the products that have marked Hublot’s history are both innovative and different.

It all began in 1980 with the Classic Original, combining a precious material—gold—and a modern material—rubber—for the first time in watchmaking. In its wake, the iconic Big Bang Original caused a real impact in terms of watchmaking design in 2005, with its black composite insert, giving the impression that it was entirely crossed by the black rubber strap, and its “sandwich construction” which enabled the materials to be played with.

One year after the  success of this watch, Hublot created the Big Bang All Black and the revolutionary “invisible visibility of time” concept.

Entirely black, this piece with a powerful identity went even further in its combination of all new materials with an extreme design. The Big Bang All Black had a bold monochrome style, which is widely used in contemporary watchmaking. The flagship model was subsequently introduced in an even more virile and sporty version, with the King Power, and then transposed in a barrel shape with the Spirit of Big Bang.

The best-seller also incorporated the first Hublot “house” engine—the famous UNICO chronograph—thus becoming emblematic of the brand’s manufacturing development. From the sapphire of its case, to the innovative movements it incorporated, and its multitude of elegant and joyous feminine variations, the Big Bang become an inexhaustible source of creativity and innovation.

Equally emblematic of the Hublot style, in a timeless sporty-chic register, the Classic Fusion launched in 2008 also reinterpreted the first innovative designs of the 1980s. Integrating a great variety of features, diameters, materials and vibrant colours, it too became an essential unisex model.

Since 2004, Hublot’s growth has been dizzying. This success led the global luxury leader LVMH to buy the brand in 2008. To meet this rapid development and vertically increase its production, Hublot inaugurated two buildings in Nyon, the first in 2009 and the second in 2015.

The high-tech manufacture hosts a rich array of professions, crafts and technologies capable of conceiving watchmaking according to the “Art of Fusion”. At the same time, Hublot took up residence in the greatest luxury metropolises, New York, Geneva, Tokyo, Zermatt, Paris, London, Dubai and Hong Kong; its boutiques, with their modern design, translate this same simultaneously urban, luxurious and technological spirit.

Making history

From the Italian entrepreneur Carlo Crocco, the founder of Hublot in 1980, to Ricardo Guadalupe, the motor behind Hublot’s expansion since 2004 and its CEO since 2012, and to Jean-Claude Biver, its Chairman since 2004, who was the instigator of the Big Bang and the Art of Fusion, these visionary and audacious figures have all forged the success of the brand.

At their side, living legends of sport, such as Usain Bolt—the fastest man in the world—, Pelé—the youngest player to ever win a FIFA World Cup in 1958 and the only triple world champion with the Brazilian team—and Kylian Mbappé—world champion at the age of 19 and double French champion—are Hublot ambassadors and share its philosophy: to be unique, first and different.

Other partnerships in art and music, like the legendary group Depeche Mode, the virtuoso pianist Lang Lang, the contemporary sculptor Richard Orlinski, the tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Buchi (Sang Bleu) or the Italian entrepreneur Lapo Elkann (Italia Independent) have given life to exceptional creations.

Worlds of passion

In addition to its watches, Hublot shapes its identity and tells its story through the worlds that it brings together. In 2006, it was the first luxury watchmaking brand to enter the footballing world, with the Swiss national team.

Conscious of the huge potential of this popular sport, Hublot took to the pitches by partnering with UEFA and FIFA, becoming involved with major events and prestigious clubs (Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus, Ajax, Paris SaintGermain and Bayern Munich), and forming close relationships with footballing stars (Pelé, Maradona, Mbappé).

In a stroke of genius, it transformed the fourth official panel into the Hublot emblem.

New interior design

To celebrate its 40th birthday, Hublot has worked in close collaboration with Samuel Ross, a British fashion creator, industrial designer and new member of the Hublot family.

With his stripped down, textured and balanced style, the ‘wunderkind’ of design has translated 40 years of Hublot history into materials, and dreamed up the new interiors of the Hublot boutiques in an aesthetic and functional line in his style.

A combination of concrete—mineral material—and steel—industrial material—to express the Art of Fusion. Watch stands in poured concrete, etched in laser, to infer watchmaking accuracy. The notion of transparency is expressed across oversized frames with a skeletal appearance and perforated surfaces, thus inferring the lightness of the material shaped by the watchmaker. In a subtle detail, the perforations in the material take the form of hexagonal sockets, like the fundamental form connecting each of the six Hublot bezel screws.

Minimalist, simple and striking, these display cases shed light on the watches thanks to cold LED lamps.

Like the sculpture created by Ross, his concept for the interior display and layout of the boutiques describes Hublot through simple and clean lines, with a palette of monochrome colours, a touch of bright colour and a play with oversizing. This minimalist and dynamic aesthetic approach offers the boutiques a staging centred on materials and functions.

40-year exhibition

Installed in the very heart of the Hublot H2 Manufacture (3rd floor) in Nyon in Switzerland, the exhibition designed by Samuel Ross can be discovered digitally and will therefore be accessible remotely thanks to a virtual visit via Hublot.com as of 23 November.

Visit HERE from the Hublot Manufacture, to immerse yourself in the Hublot 40th birthday 3D exhibition.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas