Hublot was founded in Switzerland in 1980. In those days, it was the first luxury watchmaker to combine gold and natural rubber. This creative concept, dubbed the “Art of Fusion”, caused a real stir in the watchmaking industry at the time.
The original design of these watches (the case on the first watch took its inspiration directly from a boat’s porthole, an hublot in French) and their comfortable fit quickly made them very sought-after pieces. Indeed, members of royal families were the first to show their enthusiasm.
In 2004, Mr Jean-Claude Biver – one of few people to have genuinely left their mark on Swiss watchmaking – took over control of the brand and gave it tremendous momentum, leading to impressive growth.
In terms of products, in less than a year, the Big Bang met with success on its launch in 2005. This was a chronograph with a contemporary and distinguished design, widely acclaimed, and which brought Hublot success, records and awards. Its design – brand new to the world of watchmaking – was immediately recognisable: with sharper corners and screws which passed right through the case, it represented the perfect illustration of the concept of fusion, the philosophy of the brand.
Since then, there have been 4 collections – Big Bang, King Power, Classic Fusion and Masterpiece, housing movements ranging from the most simple to the most complicated (chronograph, tourbillon, minute repeater, minute repeater with cathedral chime, split-seconds, jumping seconds, retrograde date, GMT…).
Thanks to these pieces, Hublot continues to write the history of fusion combining materials such as carbon fibre, zirconium, tantalum, tungsten, magnesium, cermet, Hublonium (a brand new alloy of aluminium and magnesium), ceramic, titanium, gold, King Gold (a gold exclusive to Hublot with 5% platinum), platinum, steel, rubber, sapphire glass, diamonds, precious stones, Nomex…and others yet to be seen.
After attaining almost a tenfold increase in turnover in four years, on 24 April 2008 the brand was bought by the world leader in luxury products, LVMH group, to supplement its watch segment. In 2009, Bernard Arnault and Jean-Claude Biver jointly oversaw the inauguration of a new high-tech manufacture in premises over 6000m2, set on the banks of Lake Geneva.
This was an important step for the autonomy of the brand in its creativity and innovative research “to continue to wow the world of watchmaking”. The site is currently dedicated to grand complications and the creation of the UNICO movement, a column-wheel chronograph integrated into the dial side, conceived, developed and manufactured entirely by Hublot.
In terms of marketing, the constancy and consistency of Hublot’s development is just as remarkable as the brand’s need to keep turning received ideas on their heads, as illustrated by its strategy: “Go where potential customers can be found”. This approach made Jean-Claude Biver the first to make a luxury brand part of the world of football. In 2008, Hublot became the “Official Timekeeper” for Manchester United and “Official Timekeeper” of the European championship.
In 2010, the firm became the historic first “Official Watch” and “Official Timekeeper” for FIFA and the next two football World Cups, just after having been chosen as the “Official Watch” of Formula 1. These two masterstrokes offer Hublot exceptional visibility on a global scale.
The brand is also involved in the sailing world through the Monaco Yacht Club, whose president is H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Real Club Nautico in Palma, the Copa del Rey and even the last America’s Cup, and in the worlds of golf, polo and skiing through major competitions.
Hublot has also created an exclusive club of ambassadors who go beyond sport, all real living legends in their field, with which Hublot works hand in hand on several charity projects: Jet Li in martial arts and cinema, Diego Maradona and Manchester United in football, Ayrton Senna’s family in Formula 1, Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat from the NBA, Maria Riesch, Bode Miller and Dario Cologna in skiing, Facundo Pieres in polo to name but a few… “the connection is all about sharing. If you don’t share, you miss out. Hublot has been fortunate and has a duty to share some of its success”.
With Jean-Claude Biver still at the helm, Hublot is also the first luxury brand to have launched an online television service (Hublot TV) and to continually explore new revolutionary interactive showcases. Commercially, the network of exclusive boutiques and approved retailers has rocketed since 2007-2008 and now boasts 650 points of sale and around 40 exclusive boutiques in the most prestigious of world addresses (Geneva, Place Vendôme in Paris, New York’s Madison Avenue, Miami, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Cannes, Saint Tropez, Berlin, Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur …) which feature interiors recently redesigned in collaboration with New York’s famous celebrity architect, Peter Marino.
A member of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, anchored in the present and always evolving, at the forefront of new advances in technology and fundamental research into new materials, Hublot remains committed to traditional expertise creating timepieces which bear the mark of the most talented master watchmakers.
In this way, the brand represents the Art of Fusion between watchmaking culture and cutting-edge technical developments, between the past and the future… as, in the words of Hublot’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver, “we are not breaking with the past, on the contrary we are paying homage to it by connecting it to the future”.
For further information: