Originally founded in 1980 by Italian designer Carlo Crocco, Hublot was one of the first watch brands on the market to equip its luxury gold watches with rubber straps. The concept turned heads, something Hublot continues to do to this day with its innovative watches and Fusion concept. Today, Hublot is based in Nyon, Switzerland, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the LVMH Group. It has an extensive research and development laboratory on sight and is known for its inventive materials and designs. Of particular note are the Big Bang collection and the MP series.
Renowned Breil watchmaker Carlo Crocco struck out on his own in the 1970s and spent three years designing a piece that he named Hublot, which is the French word for a ship’s porthole. His masterpiece was the first steel watch that was paired with a natural rubber strap. Nobody in the watch industry had done this before. Crocco presented the Hublot to the public in 1980 at the Basel Watch Fair. At first, it failed to attract much attention but soon developed a following among royal families and celebrities.
In 2004 the single concept brand appointed Jean-Claude Biver as CEO and minority shareholder. Biver was already a big name in watches, having produced one success story after another at watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Omega, and Blancpain. Building on Hublot’s existing reputation for combining unusual materials with their “art of fusion” concept, he was the perfect man to breathe some life back into Hublot. In 2005 Biver unveiled the brand’s flagship collection, the Big Bang, which was a phenomenal success and remains one of its bestsellers today.
The Big Bang has been produced with several complication variations ranging from the chronograph to the tourbillon and is offered in three case sizes: 41mm, 44mm, and 47mm. Other Hublot collections were introduced after that and included the Classic Fusion collection, which is more traditional, the Spirit of the Big Bang, and the MP collection, which are extraordinary timepieces.
Hublot has many partnerships in the domains of sport, art, automobiles, music, and more. It was the first luxury brand to get involved in soccer, starting with the Swiss National team’s sponsorship in 2006. No watch brand had sponsored soccer before, but it was a smart move as the players wore their Hublot Big Bang ASF worldwide, drawing attention to the Swiss watch brand. Even Diego Maradona wore one on each of his wrists during the World Cup.
They went on to partner with the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA EURO, the Champions League, and the EUROPA League. Today many watch brands have followed suit by supporting football teams, and rarely does a team not have a watch sponsor.
The LVMH Group acquired Hublot in 2008 and today is managed by CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. The manufacture is based in Nyon, Switzerland, and recently expanded into a second building.
Most brands decorate their stores in the same style across the globe; each Hublot boutique reflects a design in keeping with its location. So in Verbier, there is a cozy Swiss chalet style, and in Miami, the boutique is decorated with contemporary art in tune with Miami’s place in the art scene.