Watches: Hublot "Goes Street" with Artist Collaborations
watchmaker Hublot are celebrating their ongoing "HUBLOT LOVES ART" campaign by partnering with street artists Hush and Tristan Eaton. The results of this collaboration are two new limited edition watches based loosely on the concepts of "Fame" and "Fortune," as embodied by Hollywood on America's West Coast and Wall Street in New York's Financial District respectively. Hush was tasked with designing "Fame," in the form of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White. Tristan Eaton's collaboration piece is therefore "Fortune," in the form of the Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Chronograph East Coast Bronze.
Street artist Hush is representing America's West Coast with his timepiece, in particular Hollywood and its association with fame. Although Hush is actually based in London, he is known for his work with frescoes throughout Los Angeles, including areas of West Hollywood, Melrose, and Santa Monica. The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White is Hush's first collaboration piece with the brand, designed around a monochromatic portrait of a posing woman who is unnamed but for some reason reminds me strongly of Milla Jovovich's character in Zoolander.
Tristan Eaton has a creative agency called Thunderdog Studios based in New York, and many of his large-scale murals are featured in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Accordingly, Eaton is representing America's East Cost with the Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Chronograph East Coast Bronze, and in particular New York's Financial District (tying into the "Fortune" theme). The bronze case is meant to symbolize the iconic Charging Bull sculpture on the bowling green of Lower Manhattan. This is Eaton's second collaboration piece with Hublot, having previously designed the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Concrete Jungle watch for the brand in 2016.
The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White looks at first glance very much like something produced by Richard Mille, with the skeletonized dial and tonneau-shaped case. This is a chronograph watch, although such isn't immediately apparent due to the discreet black pushers and a lot of detail on the dial which initially can distract the eye from the chronograph's registers. Featured at 3 o'clock is the 30-minute counter, followed by a 12-hour counter at 6 o'clock, and running seconds at 9 o'clock, which is also signed with Hush's name. An exposed date ring runs the periphery of the dial, framed by a perforated white border at 4:30. The central second hand features a Hublot-logo counterweight and black-plated tip with a thin strip of white luminescent material, which also features on the chronograph register hands and hour markers.
The case of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White is made of micro-blasted black ceramic, which should provide the watch with good scratch resistance. Keeping the monochromatic theme is a contrasting white ceramic bezel, affixed to the case with six titanium screws with a polished black PVD coating. The case measures 42mm in diameter and is 14.10mm thick, and although Hublot haven't specified the case length, I expect this watch will wear quite big. The case is also water-resistant to 10 ATM (approximately 100m) which combined with the tough ceramic should make this a capable sports watch. Note, however, that while ceramic is very hard, it is also brittle, which is a concern for a watch that stands 14.10mm tall and can thus be prone to knocking against things.
Powering the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White is the HUB4700 movement, which is a Hublot-branded and skeletonized El Primero high-beat chronograph caliber (both Zenith and Hublot are owned by LVMH after all). This movement oscillates at 36,000 A/h or 5Hz, features 278 components and 31 jewels, and offers a rather generous 50 hour power reserve. The watch comes with two straps, a black rubber and multicolored calf leather strap for a bolder vibe, or a black rubber and plain white alligator leather strap for something a bit more restrained. Both feature white contrast stitching and a black ceramic deployant clasp. The caseback features Hush's "Fame" artwork (hereafter known as Katinka Ingabogovinanana) that fills the caseback, along with the text "SPECIAL EDITION" and the watch serial number denoted as "XX/50."
Moving on to the "Fortune" timepiece, Tristan Eaton's creation looks much more subdued by contrast. The Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Chronograph East Coast Bronze features a brushed, all-bronze case with very similar styling to the Big Bang Bavaria released earlier this year, sans the Lederhosen strap. This is a dual-register chronograph with a 30-minute counter at 9 o'clock and running seconds at 3 o'clock, which also features Eaton's signature as a stylized T-and-E insignia.
A date aperture is visible at 6 o'clock in contrasting black with white font, which stands out well against the brown-and-gold color scheme of the dial. At 45mm by 13.05mm this is by no means a small watch, and combined with gold-plated hands and hour markers and the gold-toned case it should stand out as an ostentatious sign of fortune. Like the "Fame" timepiece, this is a limited edition of 50 units and has a corresponding "SPECIAL EDITION XX/50" inscription on the caseback.
The Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Chronograph East Coast Bronze also comes with two straps, one in black rubber and brown calf leather extensively embossed with geometric patterns, and the other in black rubber and brown alligator leather with an embossed Hublot logo but no other detailing. The case is water-resistant to 5 bar (approximately 50m), which is fine for the occasional immersion but not suitable for swimming with. The caseback is made of micro-blasted black ceramic to avoid the bronze coming into contact with the wearer's skin, and decorated with Eaton's artwork of the Wall Street themed bull motif. Powering this watch is the HUB1143 movement, which is a Hublot-branded ETA 2892-A2 with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. It features 280 components and 59 jewels, oscillates at 28,800 A/h or 4Hz, and offers a 42 hour power reserve.
These are two very different watches by Hublot, despite the unifying theme of "Fame" and "Fortune." The vivid use of reds and blues for the artwork on each caseback shows a common heritage of eye-catching street art from both Hush and Tristan Eaton, but there the similarities end. The Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Chronograph East Coast Bronze is by far the more traditionally-styled of the two, offering greater legibility, a cleaner dial, and a rich gold tone which does a good job of capturing the "Fortune" design goal. For those with a keener interest in the movement, the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White brings the excellent El Primero high-beat caliber to the table, along with a more avant-garde design approach. The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White is being offered for a price of 25,800 CHF/$27,200 USD, while the Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Chronograph East Coast Bronze is priced at 18,700