December 6, 2022
by Ariel Adams
There are times when the purpose of a watch is simply to make you happy. That logic is the best way of explaining this $100,000+ sapphire-cased, rainbow-stone-set, limited edition luxury watch produced as a collaboration between Swiss Hublot and Japanese designer Takashi Murakami. Mr. Murakami has a longstanding relationship with LVMH, the parent company of Hublot, and his signature “happy flower” motif is now the sparkling focus point of the 2022 Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow reference 507.JX.0800.RT.TAK21 watch.
Hublot doesn’t normally give the Classic Fusion case its all-sapphire treatment, and this particular watch is the first time I’ve seen it done so far (though there are plenty of other Hublot models, such as the Big Bang, that have plenty of transparent and colorful sapphire variants). The mostly sapphire crystal case (small amounts of metal, such as titanium for the screws, are used as well) is 45mm-wide and water resistant to 50 meters. Hublot attempts to keep the transparent theme and pairs the watch with a semi-transparent lined rubber strap. Since this isn’t a Big Bang model, there isn’t yet a quick release system for the strap, but one could easily swap out straps with other colors that Hublot makes available. Given the rainbow colors on the dial, a series of strap color options would work with this Classic Fusion Murakami Sapphire Rainbow timepiece.
The main visual event of the watch is a three-dimensional representation of the signature Murakami “happy flower” motif that has been set with 384 stones, including rubies, pink sapphires, amethysts, blue sapphires, tsavorites, yellow sapphires, and orange sapphire gems. The structure includes a fixed central “face” that has the hour and minute hands mounted underneath it. To read the time you look at the tips of the hour and minute hands which move normally. Behind the hands and the face is a rotating ring of “rainbow petals” that make up the other main part of the flower motif. This section spins like an oscillator because it is connected to the rotation of the automatic rotor in the movement. This is not a novel concept, but it isn’t something I recall seeing at Hublot and is a new execution of its in-house UNICO family of mechanical movements.
The movement inside the Classic Fusion Murakami Sapphire Rainbow watch is the in-house Hublot caliber HUB1214 UNICO automatic movement. Here it offers just the time, operating at 4Hz with 72 hours of power reserve. You can clearly view the movement through the rear of the case, and as I do so, I think that it would have been interesting for Hublot to figure out a way to put a rainbow color design on the automatic rotor as well.
As a statement watch with both jewelry and art elements, the Hublot Classic Fusion Murakami Sapphire Rainbow is a success. It not only effectively leverages the branding and aesthetic of Mr. Takashi Murakami, but it also offers a relatively practical way of wearing a “wow” watch that will impress onlookers and attract attention. People don’t tend to wear watches like this on days that they do not want extra attention. If you try to analyze the value proposition as though this Hublot is a tool watch, then, of course, it is going to look like a strange product. With rainbows being acceptable for everyone today, I personally enjoy seeing experimentations with the colors on high-end to entry-level men’s watches. This Hublot is certainly in the more high-end segment, and I hope you agree with me that it certainly has the effect of making the person wearing it smile. Price for the limited edition of 100 pieces Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow reference 507.JX.0800.RT.TAK21 is $106,00 USD. Learn more at the Hublot website here.