Hublot Enters the Realm of Baseball with Jose Bautista
The longtime power hitter is an even longer time WIS. Meet the player and the Classic Fusion Chronograph he designed.
Last week, the worlds of baseball and watches collided. With spring training right around the corner, free agent right fielder Jose Bautista set the baseball blogosphere abuzz when he posted a Snapchat picture of his plane ticket to Toronto. All of a sudden – baseball writers were sent into a tizzy trying to figure out the cryptic snap. Was Bautista traveling to Toronto to resign a contract with the Blue Jays? What was the purpose of this trip to our neighbors in the North?
While Bautista aroused suspicion and toyed with the emotions of Toronto Blue Jays journalists and fans, he was actually headed to Toronto for a more horological pursuit.
Baseball – America’s pastime since the 18th century, has long been about tradition. While the basic fundamentals and rules of the game haven’t changed since the early 1900s – over the last decade, we’ve seen an infusion of cutting edge technology and innovations. From pitch clocks to sabermetrics, the game is no longer played from the gut – it’s played from the head and computer simulations. It’s safe to say that nerds reign supreme in team’s front offices. Some may even say the player can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of progress. Not true for Jose Bautista!
For well over a decade, Bautista has established himself as one of the premier power hitters of Major League Baseball. Originally drafted in 2000 by the Pittsburg Pirates, this 20th round pick has proven himself time and time again. Bautista has been a standout player on and off the field. Throughout 14 seasons, Bautista has racked up some very impressive numbers. A lifetime .250 batting average, 331 home runs, and 1,430 hits. Jose’s star really began to shine when he joined the Blue Jays in 2008.
Over the course of almost a decade with the Jays, he recorded six All Star appearances and two visits to the American League Championship Series. It’s safe to say, he’s one of the most durable players to play the game. He’s also a watch guy, and we mean massive! Here’s a rundown of the watch and our interview with this baseball icon.
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Special Edition “Jose Bautista”
This marriage of player, sport, and Hublot makes sense. Hublot enters the world of baseball and brings with them cutting-edge materials and watchmaking prowess. For the brand’s first foray into baseball, they’ve produced a limited-edition Fusion Chronograph. An all-black novelty designed and inspired by Jose Bautista. Jose had a major hand in the creation of this watch and the finishing touches demonstrate this collaboration.
Last year, Bautista flew to Switzerland to work hand-in-hand with Hublot’s design team. After three different prototypes were produced, this is the final result. Limited to 19 pieces, the Classic Fusion Chronograph Special Edition Jose Bautista is a 45mm all-ceramic timepiece honoring the baseball legend. Featuring a self-winding HUB1143 chronograph movement fitted inside of Hublot’s trademark Fusion case. The all black ceramic case and bezel have two distinct finishes – stain and polished. Which makes this piece instantly recognizable as a Hublot.
For the baseball elements, you’ll notice a few unique things. Bautista’s baseball number (“19”) is set at 12 o’clock in 21 black diamonds. On the dial, the seconds subdial has an embossed baseball. Lastly, Bautista’s autograph is prominently displayed on the sapphire crystal caseback. Overall, I was quite impressed by this introduction. The watch is quite balanced, and the all black motif lends a subtle, yet dignified sporty look. The piece wore well on even my small wrists and may just be the best baseball themed watch made today.
Interview with Jose Bautista
Watchonista had the pleasure of attending the Toronto launch event for this watch. During which, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jose and talk baseball, Hublot, and his overall love of watches. Here’s an excerpt.
Jose Bautista (JB): It feels great, I get that warm fuzzy feeling having been here for a long time and going through everything that I’ve been through, it’s a great feeling being back
JS: I’ve obviously seen your Talking Watches – which was quite successful. On the overall, how’d you get interested in watches?
JB: I’ve always loved watches since I was little, you’d see me in pictures where none of my friends had watches, I was the one that always had a watch on. Then I went through a period as a young adult where I didn’t get the chance to participate in the hobby of collecting because I fell in love with brands I couldn’t afford. After I got to the point in my career where I was able to – I picked the hobby back up.
JS: How did the Hublot partnership come about?
JB: I’ve been a big fan of the brand from a distance and I‘ve owned a few pieces. Through mutual friends, the opportunity came up to have lunch with a person that used to work at Hublot and introductions were made. I made my love of the brand known to their executives and they were kind enough to invite me to the manufacture in Switzerland and I got to learn a lot about the process. Especially how difficult it is to put a watch together – which was eye opening and very informative. We kept the conversation going, and I wanted to do something to celebrate my career so far, and my stay in Toronto so far.
I wanted to make something happen and they were kind enough to want to work with me on it. They made it happen and we’re here today.
JS: I see the finished product you’re wearing (The Classic Fusion Chronograph Special Edition Jose Bautista) what do you think?
JB: I’m very happy with the outcome, it’s good if you’re a baseball fan or enthusiast, you have the subtle details but it’s not screaming baseball. That’s what I wanted, something that stands the test of time and transcends us. Not only what I do as an athlete but also post-career and my off-field accomplishments as well.
JS: As a baseball fan, I have to ask, are there any good clubhouse watch stories? I’m sure you’ve seen a fair share of cool watches are there any tales that stand out?
JB: There’s cool watches, there’s great watches, unexpected collectors, butchering of watches, and a massive overdressing of cheap watches. I’ve seen $500 watches sprinkled with diamonds everywhere. I’ve seen great watches get ruined and I’ve seen guys that I never expected to have great collections have million-dollar plus collections.
I know a bunch of fellow players are watch guys. Examples like Octavio Dotel, Francisco Cordero, and Howie Kendrick stand out to me. I’ve enjoyed having sit downs with some of them and speaking about collecting.
JS: You’re obviously big on Instagram (@joeybats19), but I don’t see you posting watches. Is there any thought to have a watch centric Instagram and what crazy watch guys do you follow?
JB: None of the crazy ones but I follow brands and a few watch outlets. (regarding having a personal account) It’s amazing how little time we have to indulge in social media just for your pleasure.
JS: What’s your grail watch?
JB: I wouldn’t say that I have anything on my radar right now. But if I were able to afford it, I would splurge on a lime green Spirit of Big Bang with a round tourbillon. Or any sapphire Hublot edition.
JS: Thank you for the time and best of luck this season.
Summary and Pricing Details
I have some good news and some bad news. The Classic Fusion Chronograph Special Edition Jose Bautista is likely sold out. Rumor has it, they were all pre-sold before the launch event. This further solidifies the popularity of the player, and the interest in Hublot’s entry into baseball. If you can find one, the retail price is $15,600. Expect to see Jose Bautista bat flipping at a ballpark near you in 2018.