Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinksi Red CeramicBy Suzanne Wong
In some ways, Hublot is the Supreme of watchmaking. At the brand’s core lies two primary lines, the Big Bang and Classic Fusion, but neither one is ever stagnant. Instead, like a streetwear label dropping collabs or special editions, Hublot’s long Rolodex of partnerships and one-offs have kept the brand’s energy and momentum going. That enthuses Hublot’s audience, who are constantly anticipating new releases. One primary effect is that Hublot’s clientele is a lot younger and dynamic compared to many other watch brands in their range. Another is that they develop a loyalty and addiction to the brand. It’s watchmaking hype done right.
Calling it hype however does disservice to Hublot’s research and development team, that continuously works behind the scenes to add innovation and value to each watch. Make no mistake, there’s been plenty. From the scratch-resistant Magic Gold to rare earth metals and high-tech ceramic, they’ve stacked up a long list of inventions in a short period of time. Last year, the brand unveiled its funkiest development in ceramic manufacturing — vividly coloured ceramics.
The development of vibrant coloured ceramics, according to the brand, has been painstaking over four years. The patented manufacturing process uses pressure and heat to sinter the ceramic without losing its pigmentation. The end result is a boldly hued ceramic that’s also harder compared with typical ceramic watch cases. The first model to receive this innovation was the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, in a ruby red hue that’s attention-arresting. But that’s not enough for Hublot. Seeking to better itself, it’s developed a ceramic with a crimson red, inspired by one of its existing collaborators, Richard Orlinski.
Orlinski, 53, is a pop artist known for his transformation of popular icons into totemic sculptures using industrial materials. There’s a Cubist influence to his work, one that he translated to the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski in 2017. The case was a faceted, sculptural design made in ceramic and titanium that gave the watch an almost Brutalist presence. With the Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski Ceramic, Hublot’s taken that design and made it fully in a crimson red ceramic that it calls Orlinski Red. The hue is a nod to his renowned Born Wild series, which he first introduced in a glossy red in 2004.
The watchmaker has gone full red with the limited edition watch, with subdial rings, hands, hour and minute markers and labels all bearing the same shade. The vivid red contrasts well against the black PVD treatment of the Unico movement’s bridges and skeletonised date ring. The crown and pushers are in black PVD titanium to match the composite resin lower bezel. The case screws and deployant clasp are also made of black PVD-coated titanium, with additional ceramic components on the clasp.
The watch demonstrates just how much there is to explore with coloured ceramics in Hublot’s future, and the potential of this technology. To quote from urban street talk, this red ceramic is fire AF, totes cray. Only 200 are in this edition, don’t miss out on this drop. But if you do, rest assured that much more Hublot Orlinskis are headed to a store near you, in sapphire cases, tourbillon pieces as well as gem-set editions for those so inclined.
HUB1242 self-winding movement, flyback chronograph, hours, minutes, seconds, 72-hour power reserve
Red ceramic with black composite resin lower bezel, titanium screws, crown and pushers in black PVD-coating
Black and red structured lined rubber strap with black PVD titanium and black ceramic deployant clasp