I am not always sure what Jean-Claude Biver is thinking. The machine-gun minded Swiss CEO covers so many bases when deciding what new Hublot watches are made that it can be almost impossible to predict what will come next. However, I do know one thing: Mr. Biver is watch lover. It might sound ironic, or silly, but when a watch lover runs a watch brand, it is a good thing. And trust me, not all watch brand CEOs are watch lovers.
Mr. Biver is a major watch collector. He can't discuss it much, as he must stay partial to his own brand, but with wide (and high-end) interests his passion pushed his own brand to create some amazing things. I think this is one of the reasons he was so keen on having Hublot become a manufacturer of movements. One of the more recent high-end Hublot watches I got to play with is the King Power F1 Tourbillon. I discussed it in more detail here at Centurion. Why write about it again? For the pictures, of course - and, I suppose, to gush a bit more.
Among the things I wish I could afford, but never will, are sovereign islands, servants, and watches like this. Depending on the material (the watch comes in both zirconium and "king gold") it costs between $180,000 - $195,000. Yes, it isn't the most expensive watch I've written about, but it isn't something to wave your wallet at. Is it possible for people like me to still appreciate it? I think so because, for me, a lot of my appreciation for the watch comes from simply seeing it a few times and knowing things like this are being made. By the way, given Hublot's penchant to offer many different models (some with only minor detail changes), this watch should not be confused with a similar King Power watch released this year that has a carbon fiber bezel and also includes a minute repeater.
As a limited edition of 50 pieces, this 48mm wide watch contains a new in-house movement that is the brain-child of Mathias Buttet. Aside from the time, it contains just two complications albeit done in a very satisfying manner. I can't help but feel as though the watch is staring at me with two eyes and a funny open mouth. The dial displays a large tourbillon as well as a 30 minute chronograph. The two subdials offer both the seconds and minutes for the chronograph while the tourbillon doubles as the subsidiary seconds for the time. This is one of the first times I have seen a watch opt for a subsidiary chrono seconds hand (they are usually centrally placed). For the geeks, you'll be interested to know that the chronograph is operated by the tourbillon carriage and the deep skeletonization on the dial allows you to see this working.
What I love so much about the watch is the movement. It is a testament to modern industrial techniques as applied to the watch industry. The gear teeth are bloody tiny and the wheels are as thin as can be. There is so much cut away here and so little metal it is hard to imagine it working. This movement is more about art than it is about sport, though it is in Hublot's F1 collection. Someone at Hublot has a serious hard-on for the F1. I think Biver and Bernie are pals because some of the most interesting watches Hublot has released as of late have F1 on the dial.
There is a friggin' city of mechanical parts arranged and designed in such a way that I haven't quite seen before. I am very impressed with how well you can see them right through the dial, Hublot really has kept true to their oath of mixing tradition and futurism. The gold mixed with black and hints of red make this one damn satisfying watch to look at.
At the top of the dial, you see an exposed column-wheel for the chronograph placed as if it were the central lobe of a brain. To satisfy the racing nerds, the ceramic bezel around the dial looks like a brake disc, and so does part of the tourbillon. The movement is called the HUB7300 and has five days of power reserve. While large, the King Power case is comfy and very wearable. This is really Hublot at their finest and I don't care if you don't like that the style isn't subtle enough - it is a pretty neat timepiece.
TECHNICAL DETAILS from Hublot
Series Limited to 50 pieces numbered from 01/50 to 50/50
Case “King Power” - Diameter 48 mm — 18K King Gold
Bezel 18K King Gold and black ceramic
Inspired by brake discs - 6 black PVD titanium H-shaped screws
Crystal Sapphire with interior anti-reflective treatment
Bezel Lug Black composite resin
Lateral inserts Black composite resin
Case-back 18K King Gold with sapphire crystal, interior anti-reflective treatment
Crown 18K King Gold with black rubber insert
Push-piece Black PVD titanium with red and black rubber insert
Screws Black PVD titanium
Water resistance 10 ATM or 100 metres
Dial Black, 5N gold coloured baton indexes
Hands 5N gold coloured, with red SuperLuminovaâ„¢
Movement Mechanical chronograph
No. of Components 238
Bridges Satin-finished, 5N gold coloured, microblasted
Screws Black PVD
Barrel With reinforced spring
Escapement Glucydur hairspring
Power reserve Approximately 120 hours
Wristlet Black Nomex® with red stitching on the upper, stitched onto black rubber with the F1â„¢ logo on the inner
Clasp King Power deployant buckle in microblasted black PVD titanium, and cover in 18K King Gold