If you were to describe Hublot, what are the words that come to your mind? Innovation? Exclusivity? Or cutting-edge? For me, it has always been “fusion”. The brand’s philosophy of ‘The Art of Fusion’ has always been one of the most attractive aspects for me. From the initial launch, where it combined gold with rubber for the first time in 1980 on the Classic Original to the recent Big Bang iterations made entirely from coloured sapphire crystal, Hublot has been the frontrunner when it comes to the art of fusion.
Recently, this philosophy of ‘The Art of Fusion’ has evolved from craftsmanship and uncompromising contemporary aesthetics to a new world of collaborations with talented artists and notable creators from different fields.
Keeping this in mind, we bring you a rundown of Hublot’s top artistic collaborations:
Hublot and Takashi Murakami
Hublot’s most recent collaboration is with Japanese artist and sculptor Takashi Murakami. The partnership has resulted in two fantastic pieces of horology: the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black and the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow. The former is an all-black animated iteration of the artist’s iconic smiling flower design, while the latter is a blingy version of the flower put through a “whirlwind of transparency and colour”.
Murakami is well-known for his visually modern styles that subtly reflect Japanese tradition and pop culture. He coined the term “Superflat” for the artistic movement he began. The term is based on Japan’s long history of “flat art” and is influenced by the 2D images seen in manga and anime. Its key characteristics include bold cartoony outlines and flat planes of colour with no realistic perspective or depth elements.
The two watches under the partnership between Hublot and Murakami feature the artist’s signature flower in a different aesthetic. The All Black (image on the right) comes in a 45mm satin-finished and polished black ceramic case. The black lacquered dial set gets a rotating smiling flower with black diamonds. The Unico caliber 1214 automatic movement runs the watch and clocks in a power reserve of 72 hours. Limited to 200 pieces, the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black is available in a black rubber strap.
The latest limited-edition Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow is set in a colourful aesthetic with transparent effects. Crafted in a 45mm complete sapphire case, the dial features a blingy smiling flower with a mischievous smile on a three-dimensional face that emerges from the dial. The flower is set with 12 colourful petals studded with 487 stones — rubies, pink sapphires, amethysts, blue sapphires, tsavorites, yellow and orange sapphires — representing the colours of the rainbow. These rotate around the flower’s face, giving it a polychromatic effect of bringing the flower to life. The Sapphire Rainbow is limited to 100 pieces.
Hublot and DJ Snake
The partnership between Hublot and DJ Snake was established when the artist performed at the closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018. Since then, it has evolved to Hublot releasing its first collaborative timepiece with the most-streamed French artist in the world — Big Bang DJ Snake.
DJ Snake is one of the most famous French DJs globally. A world music star, he’s played on the top of the Arc de Triomphe in 2017, has performed concerts on every continent, attended the most prominent international festivals, and achieved numerous global hits. His first album was platinum certified in France and placed eighth on the American top albums chart.
The Big Bang DJ Snake timepiece is a watch boasting a myriad of facets, just like the talented artist who inspired it. “To be able to wear — and also offer my fans — a watch which reflects my personality is something that has been very important to me since the start of my partnership with Hublot. I am delighted to have been able to combine my inspiration with the expertise of the fantastic watchmakers and technicians at this Swiss brand,” said DJ Snake about the collaboration.
The 45mm Big Bang DJ Snake features a bezel and case with an iridescent polish with blue and purple hues. The satin-finished titanium is treated with a unique technique that offers an optical effect where the colours change depending on the light or when viewed via different angles.
The artist has been involved in the design process of the watch, especially the cut-outs on the outer edge of the bezel. The upper face of the sapphire dial houses a globe in the same colours as the case, which symbolises the signature of the electronic music star. Flip the watch and the semi-transparent case back gives you a clear view of the famous HUB1242 Unico movement that offers a flyback chronograph function and a power reserve of 72 hours. Limited to just 100 pieces worldwide, the Big Bang DJ Snake is available in two rubber straps options: a grey, black and purple camouflage pattern echoing the myriad colours on the watch case, and a black ribbed strap.
Hublot and Shepard Fairey
The Classic Fusion Shepard Fairey timepiece is the second instalment of the collaboration between Hublot and brilliant American artist Shepard Fairey. The first partnership came about in 2018 when Hublot launched the Big Bang Meca-10 Shepard Fairey. The association was one of the most prominent additions to the Hublot Loves Art series.
Painter, graphic designer, DJ, illustrator, street artist, skateboarder and founder of the OBEY Clothing company, Shepard Fairey is one of the most politically influential artists of his generation. Also known by his pseudonym Obey, his most popular work includes the famous “Obama Hope” poster and the piece entitled “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” which he created as a symbol of hope after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.
The 2021 Classic Fusion Chronograph Shepard Fairey features a mandala that represents harmony, the cycle of life and the elements, and the precious nature of time in the mind. This symbol or pattern is brought to life by engraving it into titanium — the same material used to create the bezel and 45mm case of the watch. The pattern continues onto the watch’s dial, finely cut to reveal the chronograph movement Calibre HUB1155 working within. The dial’s centre houses hands that display Fairey’s signature “Star Gear” mark. Currently a limited edition, the timepiece will help raise funds for Amnesty International — an NGO formed of over 10 million people in 150 countries, which campaigns to end human rights violations, per the theme of global harmony represented by the design on the watch.
Hublot and Orlinski
Richard Orlinski’s emblematic edges, facets and bevels have been a part of Hublot watches since 2017. Since then, the artist’s symbolic and masterful faceting has been incorporated into each new timepiece or watch material released by the Swiss watch manufacturer.
Orlinski is a French best-selling contemporary artist and sculptor whose work is popular globally. Also known as “The sculptor who breaks the rules”, Orlinski puts forward his version of reality to reveal the relation between archaic instinct and civilised emotion. The artist is well-known to display his work for free, so chances are you will have seen his brightly coloured Pop-Art style multifaceted beasts somewhere before.
The latest timepiece released under this long-standing partnership is the 2021 Classic Fusion Orlinski 40mm, now available in a monochrome mode in two editions made entirely in ceramic (apart from the strap and the crown). The new editions come in vivid blue and gloss black colours, reminiscent of the colour codes used in Orlinski’s XXL bestiary. The use of ceramic allows the watch to highlight the multifaceted three-dimensional folds of the artist’s sculptures.
“I’m delighted to unveil two new versions of the Classic Fusion Orlinski. These two monochrome editions are perfectly in line with the DNA of the fusion of our two worlds, that of the House of Hublot, which shapes precious materials and dreams up extraordinary products, and mine, a world of pop and colour,” said Orlinski.
Hublot and Sang Bleu
Hublot’s partnership with brand ambassador Maxime Plescia-Büchi and his London-based tattoo studio Sang Bleu is one of the oldest creative collaborations. Since 2016, the collaboration has been producing numerous timepieces that represent the DNA of the two brands. Like Hublot, Maxime Plescia- Büchi too is keen on merging the arts to bring together fundamentally contrasting worlds.
Maxime Plescia-Büchi is a world-renowned tattoo artist who has worked with music stars like Kanye West, FKA Twigs, and Adam Lambert.
In 2021, the collaboration between the two names led to the creation of Big Bang Sang Bleu II — a trio of colourful watches in ceramic. Available in blue, grey and white, the new models unveil a new watch architecture that continues to defy tradition. Sharp angles, structural case and multiple facets, the Big Bang Sang Bleu II combines the creativity of the tattoo artist and the watch manufacturing expertise of Hublot. The case, bezel, case middle, strap and dial are constructed with geometry and they come together seamlessly.
The grey version illuminates the ceramic steel, titanium and aluminium. The blue ceramic version echoes the “blue blood” (sang bleu) used in historical literature to denote the nobility of a lineage. The third version in white ceramic symbolises an enigmatic and simple version of the All-Black edition released last year. Limited to just 200 pieces of each colour variation, the newly released models share a 45mm case made of high-tech ceramic with the Unico manufacture automatic chronograph that clocks in a three-day power reserve. Each piece comes in a corresponding rubber strap with Hublot’s One-Click system.