Introducing Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire RainbowBy Michael Weare
“Our continuing collaboration with Takashi Murakami is taking us to new lands of expression as yet unexplored by the watchmaking world. In this work, artistic creation and our company’s know-how intertwine to give birth to a work of art you can wear on your wrist!”
Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot CEO
Not unlike Hublot itself, 59-year-old contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is noted for seamlessly blending the world of fine arts with highly commercial icons and concepts.
At the beginning of the year, Hublot teamed with Murakami to create an all- black watch featuring his famous “kawaii” smiling flower symbol. It became an instant collector’s must-have. If you’ve never ventured East, kawaii is the culture of cuteness in Japan, a sweet, cute child-like art form hugely popular across all of Asia and probably best known for ‘Hello Kitty’, the multi-billion dollar cuteness merchandising concern owned by the Sanrio corporation.
In this, their second collaboration, Hublot and Murakami have turned to the currently trending appeal of pure crystal sapphire in which to display the smiling flower in what has been described as a whirlwind of transparency and rainbow color. Sapphire crystal’s full transparency enables the owner to admire both the artwork and the intricate mechanics of the 45mm Classic Fusion timepiece.
There are no prizes for guessing the smiling flower features 12 petals, one for each hour. Their sparkly polychromatic effect is achieved by setting 487 stones representing the colors of the rainbow: rubies, pink sapphires, amethysts, blue sapphires, tsavorites, yellow and orange sapphires.
But there’s an extra trick to these luxurious rainbow petals. An intricate ball-bearing system developed by Hublot’s engineers enables the petals to start turning under the watch crystal, thereby bringing Takashi Murakami’s smiling flower to life.
Murakami himself is delighted with the new opportunities presented by a collaboration with Hublot: “This partnership with Hublot has enabled me to express my creativity in what is a totally new medium for me. The mastery of the watchmaker’s technicians has opened up new fields of possibilities for my inspiration. The result is this new watch in the colours of the rainbow.”
Hublot Classic Fusion runs on a Caliber Unico MHUB1214 self-winding movement with 72 hours power reserve. The watch comes on a transparent lined rubber wristband.
Fans of Hublot will know the Nyon-based brand has never been backward in coming forward — especially when a potentially lucrative partnership blossoms. Over the years, Hublot has been involved with football, tennis, sports cars, athletics, cigars, leather goods, denim, art and music, to name but a few. Hublot describes these various partnerships as the Art of Fusion, as originally conceived by former CEO Jean-Claude Biver. With a clutch of top sportsmen and well-known personalities as Brand Ambassadors, new partnerships continue to emerge.
In Murakami, Hublot has found a kindred spirit because he has a long standing collaboration with another key player in the LVMH Group, Louis Vuitton, and it’s his hugely successful work for Louis Vuitton which has made him widely known for blurring the lines between ‘high art’ and commercialism.
Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow
Movement: Unico MHUB1214 Self-winding movement with 72-hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, Rotating design with 12 petals set with 384 colored gemstones
Case: 45mm; polished sapphire crystal; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Micro-blasted, rhodium-plated
Strap: Transparent lined rubber wristband, folding clasp in stainless steel
Price: USD 106,000
Availability: Limited edition of 100 pieces