Hublot is a modern Swiss luxury watch brand known for classic timepieces that feature boldly innovative materials and designs. Founded in 1980, the Hublot brand is relatively a newcomer compared to the other century-old brands in the industry. Yet, the company has managed to seal its place as one of the leading brands in the market. Hublot leverages clever marketing strategies and groundbreaking partnerships with sports stars and celebrities to promote its luxury watches.
An Overview of the Hublot Brand
Hublot was founded by Carlo Crocco. The Italian watchmaker left his Uncle’s Company, the Binda Group in 1976 to start his own brand of innovative timepieces. It took years to establish prominence in an industry saturated by long-established brands, but Crocco’s innovative designs eventually caught on in the market.
The Hublot brand’s first product was announced at the famous Baselworld watch fair in 1980. It was the first luxury watch with a natural rubber strap, a deviation from gold, leather, and other exotic materials that were the norm with luxury brands of its day. The Hublot Original Classic was marketed as an elegant luxury watch with a sporty flair.
Hublot’s first watch was a product of years of design and over $1 million in development. Expectedly, the market did not immediately respond positively to a product that deviated so much from the norm.
The first few years of the company’s existence were an uphill sales battle to convince shoppers to try the incredibly innovative product. But the company was soon able to overcome the initial lukewarm reaction to seal its place as one of the leading brands with a reputation for innovation.
Hublot’s most popular model was the Big Bang, an elegant timepiece that featured a unique mix of materials and became an instant trendsetter in the luxury large watches category. Since it was purchased by the LVMH group in 2008, the company has launched other successful models including the Hublot Classic Fusion and the King Power Line. Hublot continues to operate as a fully-owned subsidiary of the LVMH group.
Although it doesn’t have a clearly stated vision and mission statement, Hublot has always focused on driving innovation with its product. The company makes simple watches with innovative materials and unconventional watchmaking concepts. Hublot’s philosophy is to “Be the first, be unique, be different”. This ideology has helped the company create a remarkable reputation for itself in the watch-making industry.
Hublot’s motto is “the art of fusion. True to this motto, the company produces classic timepieces by combining different materials and fusing traditional design with modern elements. Hublot also integrates its innovative design identity with established partners and iconic institutions.
Important Moments in Hublot’s History
The moment that defined Hublot’s history was in 1976 when 32 years old Carlo Crocco decided to leave his role at Binda Group, one of the most prominent Italian watch companies of the era to start his own company.
Over the next four years, Crocco managed to raise $4 million which he invested in building a modest watch factory and developing the design of the first Hublot timepiece.
In 1980, Crocco introduced the first Hublot watch at the Baselworld watch fair.
After an uphill sales battle throughout the 1980s, Hublot started attaining mainstream prominence the following decade. By 1993, the brand was popular among celebrities like Elton John, Giorgio Armani, Candice Bergen, and Prince Albert of Monaco.
In 2004, Jean-Claude Biver, a former CEO at OMEGA took over from Crocco as CEO of Hublot.
Leveraging his industry experience and marketing genius, Biver sought to revitalize Hublot’s reputation for innovation.
The Hublot Big Bang, one of the company’s best-selling product lines to date, was announced in 2005. It was a commercial success, winning numerous awards and confirming the company’s place as a leading brand in the watch industry.
By 2007, Hublot reported a net revenue of more than 150 million Swiss Francs.
A year later, the Hublot brand was acquired by the luxury brand LVMH, becoming an independent subsidiary of the group.
Hublot’s first watch, the Classic Original, was an innovative invention on its own. The watch’s band was made from durable and lightweight tempered rubber. At the time, it was the first luxury timepiece to come with a rubber strap.
This principle of fusion has become Hublot’s main identity. The Big Bang line of Hublot watches follows the same principles of fusion and innovation. The watch was designed with a unique mix of materials including steel, rubber, and ceramic.
In 2013, Hublot launched the MP-04 LaFerrari, a tourbillon watch powered by 51 jewels. It was a technical marvel that helped to solidify the company’s reputation as one of the leaders in watchmaking innovation.
Since the launch of its flagship product line, Hublot has created several other memorable models. Each of these new product lines builds on the company’s reputation for innovation and daring material combination. Among some of the most recognized Hublot watches are The Big Bang, King Power, and Hublot Classic Fusion.
The Big Bang
The Big Bang product line was launched in 2005 by the company’s new CEO, Jean-Claude Biver. The large bold watch was made from a unique mix of materials. The commercial successful model was subsequently expanded with the introduction of new materials and sizes. Special limited-edition models such as the Big Bang Unico Full Magic Gold and Unico Ten Years Haute Joaillerie were introduced during the 10th anniversary of the product line.
The Hublot King Power was introduced in 2009 shortly after the company was purchased by LVMH. It features the company’s signature rubber strap matched with a 48mm watch face. The Hublot King Power has a lightweight design with a sophisticated, almost military look. It has been worn by sports stars like Usain Bolt and Diego Maradona.
Hublot Classic Fusion
This model is a slimmed-down version of the Big Bang. It has a thin profile but still retains some of the most notable features of the big bang like the bold hour markers and porthole case. The original model came in two sizes (42mm and 45mm) but has now been expanded with even smaller options (38 and 33mm)
Hublot prioritizes collaboration with industry leaders, media personalities, and athletes in various sports to create innovative timepieces.
Former NBA player Kobe Bryant and Brazilian Football star Pelé became Hublot’s ambassadors in 2013. The company’s collaboration with Kobe led to the creation of a limited Big Bang Unico Chronograph watch called the Kobe “Vino” Bryant and a model of the King Power Black Mamba.
Jose Mourinho, nicknamed the “special one,” is one of the best football managers in the world and a brand ambassador for the Hublot brand.
More recently, the 2018 world cup winner Kylian Mbappe was announced as a Hublot ambassador, joining other renowned sports stars like Hussain Bolt, Novak Jokovic, and Micheal Clarke.
Hublot’s repertoire of brand ambassadors also includes other celebrities outside of sports. This includes supermodel and venture capitalist, Bar Rafeali who was the first female ambassador of the brand, and chef Yannick Alleno. Others in the arts include concert pianist Lang Lang and artist Takashi Murakami along with countless others.
Hublot’s Sports Partnerships
Following the success of the Big Bang line of Hublot watches, the company has entered into partnerships with various sports organizations.
Hublot’s first notable sports partnership was a £4 million per year sponsorship deal with Manchester United signed in 2008.
In 2010, FIFA announced Hublot as the official timekeeper of the World Cup. The partnership continued in the 2014, 2018, and 2022 editions of the competition. The limited-edition Big Bang Referee watch for the 2018 FIFA World Cup watch was the first big bang smartwatch by the Hublot company.
Hublot has also been a long-term partner with Formula 1 and has released numerous Formula One themed watches including the Hublot F1 King Power Austin watch released in 2012.
Apart from the partnership with sports organizations, the company also sponsors several teams directly such as American football club Dallas Cowboys and NBA teams like Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. More recently, Hublot became the official timekeeper of the premier league, starting from the 2020–21 season.