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Hublot – A Radically Modern Newcomer

History, Mission, Manufacture, Movements, Reputation, Ranking & Pricing

Hublot Brand Review By Alexander – Founder and Owner of swissdiverswatches.com


A Review of Hublot’s history

Hublot Big Bang

(Image By Adam Kliczek)

In 1980, the Italian Carlo Crocco established a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer called Hublot – a radically modern newcomer on the market of luxury wristwatches.

This is one of the newer Swiss luxury watch brands. Hublot combines Swiss technology with Italian design.

Despite being wholly owned by the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton/Moët Hennessy) Hublot is still a Swiss brand since its fulfills all the criteria of being Swiss Made: Hublot’s movements are developed, manufactured, assembled and inspected in Switzerland, and Hublot’s headquarters are located in Nyon, Switzerland.

In January 1980, Carlo Crocco launched Hublot.

In May 1980, the brand launched a brand new concept in the world of watchmaking: a natural rubber strap attached to a case made of precious metal. Until then, this concept was completely unheard of since cases made of precious metals were either attached to leather straps or gold bracelets.

In 1982, the luxury brand launched the Classic Diver.

In 1986, the watch manufacturer created its first chronograph watch.

In 1990, the watchmaker launched the Elegant Chronograph, with some unique and distinct aesthetic differences from previous Hublot models involving a lack of bezel screws and a more minimalistic pronounced design.

In 2000, the company launched a 20th anniversary collection called the The Art Collection with beautiful engravings.

In 2004, in May, Jean-Claude Biver became Hublot’s new CEO. He returned the brand to its original concept of “The Art of Fusion” – that is attaching precious metal cases to straps made of natural rubber.

In June 2004, Ricardo Guadalupe rejoined Hublot and Jean-Claude Biver as Product & Marketing Consultant.

In July, 2004, the luxury watch brand launched the Super B Flyback Chronograph collection.

In January 2005, the watchmaker launched the Big Bang Chronograph Collection which illustrates what Hublot stands for – “The Art of Fusion” – that is attaching a precious metal case to a natural rubber strap. The same year, Hublot won a prize for Best Design at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Hublot’s real success started most likely in the year of 2005 since the brand has enjoyed an explosive growth ever since.

In April 2005, Ricardo Guadalupe became the Managing Director of Hublot.

In May 2006, the watch manufacturer launched the “Big Bang All Black Collection”, which means every aspect of the timepiece – the dial, the case and the strap is black. This is what Hublot refers to as “invisible visibility”.

In June 2006, the company launched Hublot TV which is the first Internet based television channel launched by a luxury brand.

In February 2007, the watchmaker launched its very first brand boutique in Paris.

In April 2007, the watch manufacturer launched the Big Bang One Million $ collection. In this collection, the case is fully covered with diamonds- no metal is visible. The strap is made of natural rubber.

In July 2007, Hublot launched the Hublot Big Bang Diver collection.

In October 2007, Hublot released its very first entirely in-house manufactured model called Mag Bang. The case was made of a new and unique lightweight metal alloy consisting mainly of magnesium and aluminium.

In November 2007, the brand’s Big Bang Collection was awarded the Best Watch prize by Wallpaper magazine’s 2007 Design Awards. The One Million $ Big Bang was awarded the Jewelry Watch Prize at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2007.

The same year, Mag Bang was awarded the prize for Best Technological Innovation at Bahrein’s 2007 Middle East Watches, Jewellery & Pens.

In December 2007, the watch producer reached a turnover exceeding 150 million Swiss francs and by this year the workforce has almost doubled.

In January 2008, the brand launched the first Big Bang collection for women.

In January 2009, Hublot launched the King Power collection. The new collection further pushed the limits of watchmaking while staying true to Hublot’s philsophy.

In October 2009, the watch manufacturer inaugurated a new manufacture in Nyon, Switzerland.

In November 2009, the watchmaker received a prize for Best Jewelry Watch at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for its One Million $ Black Caviar collection.

In January 2010, Hublot released its UNICO in-house movement.

In March 2011, the luxury brand released a new line of watches called MP which is a collection with timepieces equipped with Grand Complications.

In January 2012, Ricardo Guadalupe became the new CEO of Hublot.

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A Review of Hublot’s mission

Hublot is committed to Swiss luxury and jewelry watches, combining unusual and unorthodox designs and materials for both the case and the strap.

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A Review of Hublot’s manufacture

Two main things come to my mind when I think of Hublot’s manufacture:

  • An experimental and playful approach to alternative and unorthodox materials used for the case and the strap,
  • and a recent in-house manufacture of movements.

Hublot is a very young brand – it needs to prove itself. The brand does manufacture complications and in-house movements which means Hublot is seriously attempting to compete with the top 10 luxury wristwatch brands on the market. Indeed, many of the top ten brands offer complications and in-house movements.

Based on Hublot’s very short history which started in 1980, it seems that the brand’s accumulated accomplishments would mostly consist of awards and prizes in aesthetics and design. They have received very few prices, if any, for high quality in-house movements. This is a very young brand. The watch manufacturer needs time to grow and mature into an established brand.

Some of the unusual materials, that this radically modern brand uses, would involve:

  • Natural rubber (for straps).
  • Magic Gold – which is a “fusion” between gold and ceramic.
  • Carbon – used for the cases of many Big Bang watches.
  • Ceramic – sometimes used for the Big Bang watches.
  • King Gold – 18 carat gold alloy used by Hublot. Hublot’s metallurgists have added the percentage of copper which makes the gold redder than usual.

These are just a few examples of the unique materials used by the brand.

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A Review of Hublot’s movements

Hublot relies on in-house movements. In the past, Swatch Group supplied several non-Swatch brands – including Hublot – with ETA movements.

Since Swatch Group decided a few years ago that it would no longer supply non-Swatch brands with ETA movements, Hublot simply decided to make their own movements.

Hublot Big Bang:

  • Hublot Quartz/Battery movement.
  • Hublot in-house automatic HUB 41, with 37 jewels, and a 42 hour power reserve. This is a chronograph movement used in ladies’ watches.
  • Hublot in-house automatic HUB 44, with 27 jewels, and a 42 hour power reserve.
  • Hublot in-house automatic HUB 1112, with 21 jewels, 28,800 vph, and a 42 hour power reserve.
  • Hublot in-house automatic HUB 1145, with 57 jewels, 28,800 vph, and a 42 hour power reserve. This is a chronograph movement.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 4100, with 27 jewels, 28,800 vph and a 42 hour power reserve. This is a chronograph movement.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 4104, 28,800 vph, and a 42 hour power reserve.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 4214, with 27 jewels, 28,800 vph and a 42 hour power reserve.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 4300, with 37 jewels, 28,800 vph, and a 42 hour power reserve. This is a chronograph movement.
  • Hublot in-house mechanical hand wind movement HUB 6300, with 33 jewels, and a power reserve of 5 days. This movement contains a tourbillon, a power reserve indicator, a separate second hand indicator and a chronograph.

Hublot Big Bang King:

  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 1242, with a 72 hour power reserve. This movement is used for chronographs.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 1400, with 23 jewels, 28800 vph, and a 42 hour power reserve.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 4100, with 27 jewels, 28,800 vph and a 42 hour power reserve. This is a chronograph movement.

Hublot Big Bang King Power:

  • Hublot in-house automatic movement UNICO HUB 1220, with 37 jewels, 28,800 vph, and a 72 hour power reserve. This is a GMT-movement.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement UNICO HUB 1240, with 38 jewels, 28,800 vph, and a 72 hour power reserve. This movement contains a separate second hand indicator, and a chronograph.
  • Hublot in-house mechanical hand wind movement HUB 1400 CT, with 33 jewels, and 21,600 vph. This movement is equipped with a tourbillon, a power reserve indicator, and a chronograph.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 4143. This movement contains a power reserve indicator, and a chronograph (split seconds).

Hublot Big Bang King Power Oceanographic:

  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 1400, with a 42 hour power reserve.
  • Hublot in-house automatic movement HUB 1401, with a 42 hour power reserve.

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A Review of Hublot’s reputation

Hublot has a good reputation – it’s a young and successful watch manufacturer which has existed since 1980. Retailers all over the world offer Hublot timepieces, and as far as I know the manufacturer is growing steadily. Hublot combines Swiss technology with Italian design – the brand’s true trademark.

As far as ranking is concerned, I’d place Hublot among the world’s top 15 luxury brands.

The brand is known for combining natural materials (such as natural rubber) with precious materials. Mr Crocco who founded Hublot decided to call the brand “Hublot” since he was looking for a very particular form, design and shape for his watches, and he became fond of the round ventilators which can be found on ships. These ship ventilators are called “Hublot” in French.

The main strength of the brand is the experimental and artistic approach to designing watches, and a very creative approach to the usage of alternative materials used both for the case and the strap.

Below: Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Limited Edition: Hublot is the only luxury watch brand with an extensive cooperation with Ferrari, and thusly Hublot makes limited Hublot Big Bang Editions that are inspired by Ferrari’s design philosophy.

Hublot Big Bang(Image By Attila Mexico)

Hublot manufactures its own movements which might interest you if you’re looking for a brand offering in-house made movements.

In the past, the brand did rely on Swatch Group to fit their watches with ETA movements, but Swatch Group announced a few years ago that they would no longer supply ETA movements to brands that aren’t owned by Swatch Group. Therefore, Hublot seized the opportunity to manufacture their own movements.

This is a very positive sign, since it means that Hublot takes itself seriously and wants to be considered by the customer as a real and serious watch manufacturer, and not just a fashion brand that uses movements manufactured by a third party.

Hublot, in my opinion, is a brand which is first and foremost suitable for young people in their 20s and 30s, and possibly for people in their 40s as well. Its design is very modern and fashionable but may not necessarily be in fashion in the future. Time will tell.

Hublot and radical modernity go hand in hand, while Hublot and a classical timeless design don’t go hand in hand. The brand’s design is distinct – it appeals to people who explicitly want a radically modern look.

If you’re looking for something which is aesthetically speaking, radically different from most Swiss luxury watch brands and manufacturers out there, Hublot is absolutely and without a question the right choice for you! Hublot has a very distinct look!

People with a slight streak of snobbery who are looking for a brand which enjoys a long and venerable history, and a brand that belongs to the top 10 Swiss luxury watch brands of the world, will probably be disappointed with Hublot. Since Hublot has a very short history it means it needs to prove itself against more established Swiss luxury watch brands and manufacturers.

It’s difficult to say how Hublot’s in-house made movements measure up to the in-house movements of other established Swiss luxury watch manufacturers, since Hublot just recently started manufacturing their own movements in-house.

For example Rolex’s in-house made movements 3130 and 3135 have stood the test of time, have existed for decades, and have proven to be among the best and among the most reliable automatic in-house made movements ever made, as far as accuracy, durability and serviceability are concerned. Rolex is a tested manufacturer, and so are Jaeger LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain and Breguet.

Other very tested brands that have proven their horological excellence and reliability, would be Omega, Breitling and IWC Schaffhausen. These three manufacturers offer both in-house made movements, and ETA movements, and all of these movements are excellent, accurate, reliable and durable.

Regarding specifically Hublot’s movements: I’m not a watchmaker, but if you take the power reserve and the amount of movement jewels into consideration, it’s evident, based on these facts, that Hublot’s movements are average or mediocre in comparison to the Swiss luxury brands that I mentioned earlier in this review.

Hublot indeed needs time to prove itself. It’s too early to say how its movements compare to other brands.

Considering what you pay for a Hublot timepiece, and considering the technical aspects of its in-house made movements, I definitely think this brand is overpriced. Their watches aren’t necessarily “bad” but they are definitely overpriced.

Even in comparison to other Swiss luxury brands such as Rolex, Omega and Breitling, Hublot’s premium prices are considerable. Their pricing has to do with the frequent use of precious materials – such as gold for example, and supply and demand. There is a very large demand for a relatively small supply of Hublot watches. On top of that you should of course take Hublot’s manufacture and labor costs into consideration.

The nr 1 reason why high end Swiss luxury watch manufacturers charge premium prices, is due to supply and demand: few timepieces are produced relative to the more affordable brands, and therefore they need to charge premium prices.

Otherwise they have no way of making revenues and profits. When the volume of production is small, charging premium prices is the key to the manufacturer’s financial survival. This is true to all industries, and this is certainly true to Swiss luxury watch manufacturers.

Just like Audemars Piguet and Blancpain, I would consider Hublot to be a so called “one collection brand” since it’s pretty much just one collection of watches that has made Hublot famous, and that’s the Big Bang Collection.

The main reason why you should opt for a Hublot is its unique and unorthodox design – that’s my honest and frank opinion on this brand.

Primarily you should use a Hublot as a daily watch or as a dress watch but definitely not as a tool watch.

Hublot is in its real element when used as a fashion timepiece. The main reason for that is due to the fact that the brand likes to experiment with its design and materials, which again refers to the aesthetic aspect of the brand.

This is an excellent brand for those who specifically desire a very playful and unusual design coupled with Swiss luxury.

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A Review of Hublot’s ranking

My ranking of Hublot: 13th.

It’s debatable how you actually rank a brand, and a ranking is never objective, but the best way to turn a subjective ranking into an “objective” one is to rely on certain criteria. My ranking criteria of course are entirely subjective, and they aren’t set in stone.

I use 14 criteria in determining the ranking of a particular brand, such as (1) a long and respected history, (2) limited supply and large demand, (3) reputation/status/prestige, (4) whether the brand is independent or not, (5) pioneering spirit and innovations, (6) impact on watchmaking history and modern culture, (7) general in-house production, (8) whether the brand relies on in-house made movements or not, (9) whether or not the brand makes movement complications, (10) steel grade, (11) build quality, (12) price range, (13) good resale value, and (14) market presence.

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Hublot Big Bang(Image By Ivitech)


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