There are few brands in the watch space that do it quite so well, but I’d argue that Hublot is at its very best when taking a page out of the streetwear and fashion world’s book and producing unique and highly collectible collaborations with artists, musicians, and design houses. Like the excellent Sang Bleu capsule built around the legendary designer and tattoo studio, the Orlinski is another ongoing series of super-interesting Classic Fusion watches drawing inspiration from French pop artist Richard Orlinski’s distinctive faceted sculptures. New for 2021 is a pair of 40mm Orlinski watches rendered entirely in either “Black Magic” or blue ceramic, which join the existing 40mm titanium variant, though they do come in at a slight price premium, of course.
As cool as the titanium variant is, the Classic Fusion Orlinski really comes alive in ceramic as a more pure expression of Orlinski’s own medium, with its smooth surfaces, sharp angles, and solid color-blocking. It’s an effect that’s heightened by the Classic Fusion’s own clean strap and case lines, which are really best served in this time-only display. Orlinski’s influence can be seen across the bezel and on the lugs at 12 and 6 o’clock, but the watch’s real highlight is in the solid, multi-faceted ceramic dial formed around a series of peaks and valleys designed to resemble the surface of a sculpture of the artist’s own creation. The dial’s unique surface, angular applied hour markers, and faceted sword hands combine to yield quite a cool effect on the wrist, as the dial comes alive under light from pretty much any direction.
Hublot uses its standard HUB1000-series of automatic movements in the new Orlinski watches – the same Sellita-based calibre deployed across the Classic Fusion line. Let’s be honest, though, if you’re after Hublot’s in-house movement manufacture prowess, this ain’t it – maybe check out a Big Bang Unico to scratch that itch. Like the Sang Bleu, the real selling point of the Orlinski isn’t the engine, but its chassis, which does a marvelous job highlighting Hublot’s technical prowess around case design and manufacture. This is, after all, the same brand responsible for the world-first red ceramic case, which was introduced as a Big Bang and later brought over to the Orlinski to complement the artist’s own colorful work. But since red’s already been done, blue was the next natural choice, and it’s still quite impressive to behold, even if it’s no longer a world debut.
Model: Classic Fusion Orlinski
Dimensions: 40mm x 11.1mm
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Case Material: Black or blue ceramic
Movement: Hublot HUB1100 (Sellita SW-300 base)
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Integrated rubber with deployant clasp
Price & Availability: $13,600 USD
If you’ve found Hublot’s standard Classic Fusion line with its smooth, flat bezel and countersunk screws a little too close to some of the brand’s own Swiss contemporaries, the Orlinski delivers a very cool and colorful pop-art twist on the increasingly staid “integrated strap sports watch” look. The price of the Classic Fusion Orlinski 40mm in either ceramic variants is $13,600, up from $11,500 for the titanium variant. You can learn more about the Classic Fusion Orlinski collection at hublot.com.