Baselworld 2019: Hublot Gets a New Tattoo and Launches a Tourbillon Too! (Hands-On)
New tonneau-shaped tourbillons and collaborations with sculptor Richard Orlinski and tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Buchi are highlights of Hublot's just-released watches.
Hublot has a long-standing reputation of reinventing itself, pushing the boundaries with innovative materials, designs, creativity, and collaborations. The brand is very much alive and active in the art and sports worlds. At Baselworld 2019, art partnerships took center stage alongside a brand-new in-house tourbillon.
At this year's Baselworld, Hublot expanded upon its eye-catching collaborations with truly modern, forward-thinking artists. Maxime Plescia-Buchi is both a renowned Swiss tattoo artist and a graphic designer. The Big Bang Sang Bleu II is named for Pleschia-Buchi's magazine called Sang Bleu, which translates to "blue blood" in English. With Hublot, he’s developed geometric designs for both the case and the hands, which are skeletonized allowing full view of the new watch's chronograph movement.
Tattoo You - The Big Bang Sang Bleu II
Geometry “carries value, ideas, and messages through time and space, and thus unifies humankind in itself as an ultimate manifestation of the Human Mind,” said Plescia-Buchi. Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe concurs. “Thanks to Maxime Buchi and Sang Bleu, the art of tattooing has evolved to reach new heights,” he said in a statement. “For this second collaboration, we wanted to reflect on this development by extending the motif across the case and hands. Each of these illustrates the graphic style of this illustrious tattoo artist."
Bold indeed! in addition to the case shape seen in the original Big Bang Sang Bleu, the Big Bang Bleu is arguably easier to read than the original, despite the addition of a chronograph. Prices: $25,200 for the titanium, in a limited edition of 200 pieces, and $47,300 for the King Gold version, limited to 100 pieces.
The Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon
Hublot's all-new hand-wound skeleton tourbillon movement, the HUB6020, fits the exact proportions of its new tonneau shaped watch and has a power reserve of a whopping 115 hours to boot. While many brands will simply put an existing round movement in a tonneau case, Hublot took the extra step of making its own movement. “We invest heavily considerably in research and development, as much as [we do] for the materials,” said Guadalupe. Encased in carbon fiber with either blue or black accents, the new tourbillon is sure to become a darling for collectors. While the new movement, which can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback, marks a new feat of watchmaking for the brand, the case adds a new visual dimension, rivaling the movement’s beauty.
The blue and black cased Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon watches will only be available in an edition of 100 for each piece, with a price of $97,400. Most likely they will go directly into the hands of top Hublot collectors. We hope we will see more iterations of the watch with wider availability in the future so that some of us lesser humans can have a chance at owning one. But that’s only for Hublot to know. For now.
The New Classic Fusion Orlinski
There’s a new smaller case size for the Classic Fusion Orlinski. At 40mm, the just-introduced timepiece is a bit more understated than its previous iterations. The newness goes beyond just the size, of course: the watch has a faceted dial that reflects the light at each turn of the wrist and is clearly evocative of Richard Olinski dramatic and bold sculptural style. The pop artist, whose imposing larger-than-life animal sculptures include bears, pandas, and t-rex dinosaurs, is known for his “Born Wild” theme. His inventiveness fits Hublot to a T. Or should we say an H?
Hublot “is a modern brand with a truly innovative spirit…” Orlinski said in a statement. “What brings it all together is our desire to challenge convention.”
The watch’s dodecagon (12-sided) bezel has been the design signature of Orlinski’s watches for Hublot since their collaboration began in 2017. The angles of the dodecagon precisely line up with the watch’s hour indications. It’s a subtle yet precise design element that further distinguishes the timepiece's artful form. “These elegant Classic Fusions turn wearing a watch into an everyday art form,” said Guadalupe.
The new Orlinski timepieces are available in limited editions of just 200 pieces for a titanium case and 100 in King Gold. There are also diamond-encrusted pieces for those so inclined - either partial set with (just) 112 diamonds, and full set with a total of 210 gems. Prices: $11,500 and 22,500 for the titanium and gold versions, respectively. For the diamond pieces, it's $18,800 for the partial-set and $22,00 for the fully-set in titanium, and $29,400 for the partial-set and $32,500 for the fully-set in gold.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)