Introducing Hublot x Arturo Fuente Ceramic Big Bang UnicoBy Bhanu Chopra
The Low Down
Since 2012, Hublot and Arturo Fuente Cigars have collaborated on limited editions to celebrate the love of fine craftsmanship as well as support charitable initiatives to help the people in Dominican Republic through the Fuente Family Foundation.
This latest collaboration pays tribute to the remarkable story of legendary founder, Carlos A. Fuente Sr. His story is an emotional rollercoaster filled with hard work, great tragedy and, ultimately, perseverance to become a legend within the cigar industry.
Calos Sr. was born in 1935 in Ybor City, a Cuban neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. In his pre-teens, he began working in his father Arturo’s small cigar business. Even as very young children, part of the household duties was to first make 50 cigars a day before they could start their homework. Carlos Sr. worked alongside his father Arturo until his father’s retirement, taking over the family business in 1956.
Carlos Sr. set upon an ambitious plan to expand the business in other parts of Florida and then to New York City. The Fuente cigar company flourished in the 1960s until the United States embargo against Cuba forced the family to move their cigar production to Nicaragua. In 1978, Fuente factory was burned down by Sandinista revolutionaries. The Fuentes were forced into exile and moved their operations to Honduras. Tragedy struck again in 1980 when the new factory also burned down.
“You have a choice: give up or fight on. The first is not an option.” Despite this run of bad luck, Don Carlos did not give up the fight, and he opened a new factory in the Dominican Republic. Since then, Arturo Fuente cigars have become a gold standard among the cigar aficionados.
The Big Bang Unico Arturo Fuente Ceramic incorporates various aspects of the Fuente family with assistance from Fuente family’s designer, Manny Iriarte. The 44-mm ceramic case has an engraved pattern of the tobacco leaf, dancing to the rhythm of the mountain breeze, which is one of the key motifs for the Fuente family. Other key elements are the Roman numerals on the dial, taken from the clock that has historically appeared on the family crest. The crowned lion at 9 o’clock marks the brand’s status as the cigar supplier to the Spanish court and in honor of its great patriarch.
The Big Bang is fitted with the UNICO caliber HUB1242 manufacture movement, a Flyback chronograph with 72-hour power reserve. The case back is engraved with “Big Bang Limited Edition” along with the edition number. The Fuente cigar logo appears in the center, and “CF”, in reference to Carlos Fuente Sr., along with the words “Edición de homenaje” (Spanish for “edition in homage”). A dedication to Carlito Fuente Jr. reads: “Our Father, Our Friend, Our Hero.”
This special watch is limited to 100 pieces, and comes with a lacquered wooden gift box which can be used as a cigar humidor as well.
I am personally excited to see this continued partnership between Hublot and the Fuente family. The fact that this Big Bang Ceramic is a tribute to Fuente Sr. makes it even more special for any cigar aficionado. I remember attending Big Smoke in Las Vegas since the early 2000’s and the endearing personality of Fuente Sr., which I can liken to Mr. Biver – both energized their respective industries and attracted folks from all walks of life.
One funny incident I still recall regarding Hublot and the Fuente family. It was 2014 or 2015, when I went with my good friend from Austin to Vegas for Big Smoke. I met Carlito Feunte at the show and as he autographed my OpusX cigar set with music CD by Arturo Sandoval, I pointed out, hey that’s the limited edition Hublot on your wrist. He laughed and said, “That’s right!”, and then immediately nodded to his security detail to stand closer to him. I found that amusing.
I was honored to be invited to attend the launch of this timepiece in Dominican Republic this week. However, due to a medical emergency, I had to back out. It was always a dream to visit the Fuente factory and appreciate firsthand the craftsmanship required to making some of the best cigars in the world. While OpusX and Don Carlos are appreciated by connoisseurs, I prefer the Hemingway series, which is sublime mild-to-medium strength with volume of creamy smoke.
Hublot truly takes their collaborations seriously with the creativity left to the artist. They do not make just a namesake piece with a branded dial or an unimaginative plug for the collaborator. They let the artist create a vision, then work diligently to execute his/her vision in the way it was intended. Hublot accomplished just that with a fitting tribute to Fuente Sr.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Arturo Fuente Ceramic (Ref. 421.CI.0190.VR.OPX21)
Movement: Hublot caliber HUB1280, UNICO 2 manufacture automatic flyback chronograph, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronograph
Case: 44mm x 6.75mm, black ceramic, water resistant to 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber and black calf
Availability: Limited edition of 100 pieces