A gold watch on a rubber strap scarcely raises an eyebrow among the watch-aficionado set these days, but in 1980 the idea was wildly unconventional — and, as it turned out, visionary and revolutionary as well. It was an upstart brand called Hublot, founded in 1980 by Italian entrepreneur Carlo Crocco, which first produced such a timepiece, and the concept of “fusion” that it represented would pave the way for that Swiss company’s amazing growth over the subsequent four decades. This year, in commemoration of its 40th anniversary, Hublot has reinvented that groundbreaking original watch for a contemporary audience, with some subtle but substantial modern upgrades. Here is what you need to know about the Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary models.
The new watch is available in three different case materials, all measuring 45 mm in diameter and featuring the screwed “porthole” bezel from which the brand derives its name (“hublot” is French for “porthole”). The model in 18k yellow gold, the one most evocative of the 1980 trailblazer, is limited to 100 pieces. The other two, limited to 200 pieces, are more representative of the modern-day Hublot and its forays into alternative metals and avant-garde materials, one in titanium, the other in black ceramic. All the cases feature a combination of satin-finished and polished surfaces and are adorned with a “40 YEARS ANNIVERSARY” printed inscription on their sapphire caseback.
The black-lacquered and polished dials, hosting only three faceted hands for hours, minutes, and seconds and an applied “Hublot” and “H” logo at 12 o’clock, are a contrast with the more complex dials of Hublot’s Big Bang models, which helped rocket Hublot to new heights of popularity after Jean-Claude Biver, shortly after taking over as CEO in 2004, introduced them to the collection in 2005. The Classic Fusion collection, from which these limited editions hail, remains alongside the Big Bang (and more recently debuted families like the tonneau-shaped Spirit of Big Bang and the high-complication MP series) as the more understated, dressier alternative, and the 40th Anniversary models are perhaps the purest expressions of that style.
The movement inside the Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary timepieces would also be considered by most to be a substantial upgrade from the quartz calibers in the 1980 watch, at least in terms of luxury. All three models contain the Hublot Caliber HUB1112, a mechanical self-winding caliber built on a Sellita SW300-1 base. The movement runs in 21 jewels, beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz) and holds a power reserve of 42 hours. In keeping with the “disruptive” approach of the original watch, the first to unite a precious-metal case with a natural black rubber strap, all these models feature that same style of strap, albeit one updated with Hublot’s easily adjustable strap-change design and a deployant clasp made of the same materials as the case.
Prices for the Hublot Classic Fusion 40th Anniversary timepieces are $25,000 for the 100-piece edition in yellow gold; $8,300 for the 200-piece version in titanium; and $10,400 for the other 200-piece model in black ceramic. And while it was Biver who coined the phrase “The Art of Fusion” for Hublot’s mission statement 15 years ago, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe reminds us that the concept of fusion has been at the heart of the brand since the beginning, describing these limited editions as “a brand-new contemporary version that celebrates Hublot’s innovative approach of the last forty years.”
Formex have reestablished their brand this year with new branding and product design direction, and we see the first fruits of these efforts in the Reef dive watch, which we reviewed here. With this watch, the brand looks to open new roads for themselves, and we sat down with Formex CEO Raphaël Granito to discuss how. Granito reveals their manufacturing prowess and how they were able to create a watch like the Reef to such exacting standards.
Some of the details of this watch might surprise you, such as the clasp mechanism which allows for easy adjustment, or the dial color and texture, which went through many variations to get just right. This is a welcome shift from Formex, and Granito sheds light on their process to provide this quality at accessible prices. Enjoy the video below!
Since reviving its fondly recalled 1970s sport-luxury watch, the Laureato, in 2016, Girard-Perregaux has introduced several bold variations on its classic design, from a concept piece in carbon glass to the racing-inspired Absolute Passion model in black PVD titanium with red detailing. The latest, unveiled this week, emerges from a partnership between the Swiss manufacture and the British watch customization experts at Bamford Watch Department — and it’s probably the last thing we would have expected from either of them. Here’s a look at the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Ghost, a limited edition of only 45 pieces.
The 38-mm case of the Laureato Ghost is executed in pearly white ceramic, a first for both the Laureato collection and for Bamford, whose customized timepieces tend to go for all-black looks (as an example, check out the carbon-cased TAG Heuer Monaco from 2018). This ceramic’s attributes include being lighter than titanium, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant and hypoallergenic; the particular grade used for the Ghost’s unisex-sized case was specially selected “for its perfectly vitrified surface and its uniform, lustrous appearance, allowing for finishes characteristic of classic steel and gold Laureatos,” according to Girard-Perregaux. These alternating finishes also distinguish the white ceramic bracelet found on some of the models.
Like its predecessors, this watch’s round case is topped by an octagonal bezel — the emblematic design that has defined the Laureato since 1975. Other attractive details abound on the case and dial: the crown is in black PVD-treated titanium, with a relief “GP” logo. A white Clous de Paris texture, another hallmark of the current Laureato family, is found on the dial, whose hands and hour indexes bear the same baton shape. A splash of contrasting black comes from the borders of the hands and markers, as well as the minute flange on the dial’s periphery. Luminous material coats the hands and indexes, the counterweight of the central sweep seconds hand has a striped black-and-white “zebra” motif, and the date appears in an aperture at 3 o’clock.
Ticking behind a sapphire caseback engraved with “One of 45” and “Laureato 45th Anniversary,” is Girard-Perregaux’s manufacture Caliber GP03300-0139 (below), a self-winding movement with 27 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 46-hour power reserve. Its plentiful high-horology finishes include circular côtes de Genève on the rotor, circular graining, engraving and snailing. The Laureato Ghost is integrated into either a white calf strap with black stitching or the aforementioned white ceramic bracelet, each with a triple-folding blade closure. Priced at £10,300 on a strap and £12,000 on a bracelet, the timepiece will be sold exclusively at Dover Street Market and Harrods in the U.K. for a limited period of one month, from November 2020, before becoming available worldwide through authorized Girard-Perregaux retailers.
“I am known for my black watches and loving everything black,” says George Bamford, founder of Bamford Watch Department. “However, consistent with the other watches I have worked on, I wanted to push boundaries by designing a white watch this time. Whenever I collaborate with another company, I always look to achieve a synergy where both parties create something they probably wouldn’t produce on their own.” Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux, adds of the collaboration, “In this first true collaboration between Girard-Perregaux and Bamford Watch Department, we have come together and created something forward-looking and neoteric, a model ideally suited for today and beyond. The Laureato Ghost respects the spirit of the Laureato but looks new, fresh and original. Most of all, this is one ghost you don’t need to fear.”
Vortic has expanded their production capabilities in 2020, with an impressive workshop dedicated to preserving and repurposing pocket watches of old. We sat down with Vortic Watch Co. CEO RT Custer to discuss the brand’s capabilities, their outreach to the Veteran Watchmaker Initiative, and get an inside look at their facilities in Colorado. The watches Vortic produce are unique, and each tells a story not just of the watch itself, but of their American built roots.
Earlier this year, Vortic Watch Co. raised $50,000 for the Veteran Watchmaker Initiative, which seeks to provide veterans opportunity and training within the industry to help close the skilled wage gap. In our interview, RT discusses what that has meant to Vortic, along with some of the unexpected rewards of their hard work. Enjoy the full interview below and visit Vortic Watch Co. right here.
It is a well-acknowledged fact that theJaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin collection signifies the brand’s unique ability to unite technical innovation with enduring beauty. Keeping this philosophy in mind, the maison has introduced an all-new model, the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon, which unites a moon-phase display with a tourbillon. Interesting, right?
It is, in fact, the first time in the long history of Jaeger-LeCoultre that a moon-phase and a tourbillon have come together in a single timepiece. Additionally the watch also houses the brand’s signature peripheral “jumping date.” The watch is available in a 41-mm case made of “Le Grand Rose” gold, which is a new rose-gold alloy that offers remarkable sheen and depth of color and is highly resistant to fading over time. Complementing this shade is the presence of an eggshell-white dial that acts as the perfect backdrop for the moon-phase display and tourbillon. Adding the extra oomph are the Dauphine hands and the elongated, arrow-shaped golden indexes. A dash of red on several key details not only increases legibility but also adds a discreet touch of color.
Living on the upper half of the dial are the moon phases of the Northern Hemisphere, displayed in the traditional way with a polished golden disk set against the backdrop of a deep blue sky scattered with stars. Surrounding this is a ring with applied Southern Hemisphere moon phases on the left and the Age of the Moon on the right, each indicated by a double-ended hand. The lower half of the dial houses the tourbillon, with its newly designed bridge in polished rose gold.
Powering the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon is the new automatic Caliber 983, which was capitalized on the award-winning 978 movement introduced in 2009 for the manufacture’s Master Tourbillon timepiece. Apart from that movement’s tourbillon complication, this version alos features the moon-phase and “jumping’ date” complication. It beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz) and offers a power reserve of 45 hours.
Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon carries an eight-year warranty in addition to the 1,000 Hours Control certification, one of the watch industry’s most stringent testing protocols.
A version of this article first appeared on our sister website, WatchTime India.