The Art of Fusion is a philosophy that has allowed Hublot to create some of the most unorthodox timepieces in the market today, time and time again.
It’s an approach that has enabled Hublot to seamlessly have itself become part of universes far removed from its own. Often, it’s a matter of delving into the sciences, through their Metallurgy Department, which has given rise to such novel precious materials as Magic Gold: A chemical mix of ceramic and 18K gold that is the world’s first scratch-resistant gold.
At other times, it’s a matter of partnerships and friendships with corporations and individuals, who are masters in their own domains. These partnerships allow for Hublot to be visible far outside of the immediate watch crowd, such as, in the realms of film, art, music, sports and etcetera. Which then creates the opportunity to become acquainted with someone who might not have known much about the world of horology previously.
But in the most extraordinary instances, it creates, for Hublot, an avenue to tap on the expertise represented by their partner to create watches unlike any in existence. Consider the Big Bang Sang Bleu, which from a distance is the unmistakable Big Bang in form. However, in close proximity is where you’ll realize that what you have in front of you is anything but ordinary.
Now the Big Bang Sang Bleu was made possible thanks to the partnership Hublot forged with Maxime Büchi, who is ultimately the mind behind the unique design with which the watch tells time. Perhaps something more phenomenal in the same vein of watchmaking was 2017’s Techframe Ferrari 70 Years Tourbillon Chronograph. This is a watch that was dreamt up and designed in the stables of Ferrari in Maranello, Italy under the guidance of Ferrari’s own design head, Mr. Flavio Manzoni.
Today, Hublot is announcing its partnership yet another artist, with whom the resultant watch created is again something that is anything but average. The artist in question is Japanese contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami.
Born in Tokyo, Japan Murakami is best appreciated for his ability to mix training in traditional Japanese art with popular culture in a way that is unique to himself. His art, often, deliriously full of color and cheer, melds what is considered high art with that which is considered pedestrian. But Murakami’s seemingly innocent work often hides a dark message, “a subtle critique of Japan’s contemporary culture as well as the West’s intruding influence upon it,” as explained in his artist’s profile on theartstory.org. Take for instance Murakami’s inspiration behind his incredibly recognized Flowers, which originally was meant to carry an undertone of the message of devastation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, in 1945.
Since it’s conception in 1995, Murakami’s Flower has been seen on collaborations with names the likes of Ben Baller Kanye West, Supreme, Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh — just to name a few. Now at long last, Hublot has approached him to bring his art into the world of Swiss watchmaking.
Murakami recounts, “My friend Fed Tan (of fashion marketing agency, Social/Capital) in Hong Kong messaged me, I think about three times back in the fall of 2019, that Michael Tay of The Hour Glass was hoping to meet with me about a collaboration with Hublot. I had already done a deeply involved watch collaboration with a Japanese independent watchmaker, Hajime Asaoka, and it was a complication watch, so I thought perhaps that was enough for me. But after receiving many fervent requests for a meeting, I agreed to it, albeit hesitantly.”
What convinced him then? He continues, “Whether to do a collaboration or not, however, was a different story. My wish was to be involved in watchmaking at the level where I could design a completely original piece, and my decision depended on whether that was possible.
“When I explained this at the meeting, Miwa-san [Miwa Sakai, Asia Pacific Regional Director at Hublot, Japan] said it was absolutely possible, and that she wanted me to visit their factory in Switzerland so that they can prove it. So, I visited and toured the factory in early 2020, and was absolutely, truly blown away, seeing how it enfolded both the super high technology and artisan techniques and values. I was convinced that it would be possible for them to make the kind of watch I envisioned, and so I humbly decided to go forward with the collaboration.”
The clear path from there was to put Murakami’s Flower onto the face of a Hublot watch. But it was his own personal vision and the enthusiastic willingness from the watchmakers at the Hublot manufacture in Nyon, that ultimately possible that we weren’t going to end up with simply a watch dial printed with Murakami’s Flowers.
“People think of the smiling flower when they think of Takashi Murakami, so it was an obvious choice,” explains Murakami. “The one thing I did request was to go all black on our first collaboration. This was because the very first impression I had when I learned about Hublot was its signature black rubber belt. And they made my wish come true.”
In close collaboration, Murakami and Hublot decided watch would a Classic Fusion and that it would have a solitary flower. But the flower had to be three dimensional and dynamic. For this the watchmakers at Hublot, placed the face of the flower in the form of stationary dome on top of a sapphire disc. Then 12 petals were mounted on a ball bearing system, such that they would spin freely as you wear the watch. Lastly, for a finishing touch, the flower’s face and petals are adorned with a total of 563 black diamonds.
The resulting watch, a superb demonstration of creativity, imagined by Takashi Murakami and realized by Hublot. Says CEO Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe, “Takashi Murakami is an international star, not only in contemporary art circles but also with the general public. He shakes up the borders between art and pop culture. It is a real privilege to see him join our team of ambassadors. We are delighted with the launch of this watch-work of art!”
Self-winding MHUB1214 UNICO movement; main plate & bridges anthracite; ruthenium oscillating weight anthracite grey-plated; tungsten oscillating weight with microblasted and satin-finished surface; swiss silicon lever escapement; frequency (Hz) 4 (28’800 A/h); power reserve 72 hours
Case & Dial
Diameter: 45mm, thickness: 13.45mm; satin-finished and polished black ceramic; black lacquered dial rotating decor with 12 black-plated petals set with 456 black diamonds; on top the polished smiling 3d flower head set with 107 black diamonds; water-resistant to 50m
Black lined rubber strap with black-plated stainless steel deployant buckle clasp
Price & Limitation
200 piece limited edition; CHF 25,900
More information: Hublot.com