Over the past decade, Richard Orlinski has firmly established himself as one of the most prominent artists in the global modern art market. Since 2017, the French sculptor’s angular style has also been associated with Hublot, and in the intervening years, the avant-garde Swiss marque has developed a series of uniquely faceted models based on Orlinski’s work. Hublot returns to this Orlinski sub-line as part of its Watches and Wonders 2023 novelties, delivering what might well be the sportiest and most purposeful Orlinski interpretation yet. The new Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski gives the signature multifaceted Orlinski style a more aggressive, function-forward presence, with stark matte blasted finishing and a cleanly minimal dial layout.
At 41mm-wide and 12mm-thick, the micro-blasted titanium case of the Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski should provide a balanced, moderate silhouette on a wide variety of wrists. Although the sharply faceted, almost stealth fighter-esque case geometry of the design is largely carried over from previous Orlinski releases, the predominantly matte case surfacing reframes this complex form in a far more aggressive light in images. Gone are the reflective, gem-like polished surfaces of previous Orlinski models, replaced instead with the clean uniformity of matte titanium. There are still a handful of polished highlights around the edge of the dodecagonal bezel and the trapezoidal pushers, but this is largely a more muted, purposeful look for the series. Interestingly, this sportier finishing along with the angular surfacing makes the Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski less instantly recognizable as a Hublot, and instead brings it closer in line visually with many similar designs from other brands – there’s a passing resemblance to LVMH sister brand Zenith’s Defy Skyline family here, for example. Time will tell if this less distinctly Hublot-esque look will resonate with fans of the brand, but viewed independently it’s an attractive and futuristic integrated case design in photos. Hublot rates the Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski’s case for a somewhat disappointing 50 meters of water resistance.
In contrast to the multifaceted complexity of the case, the dial of the Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski is elementally simple. Apart from brighter flourishes like the tapering faceted indices and the highly polished dauphine hands, the gloss black dial is functional and straightforward, with a 9 o’clock chronograph minutes subdial and a minimal, open running seconds display at 3 o’clock. The 6 o’clock date display virtually disappears in this black-on-black layout, providing useful information without disrupting the overall balance of the dial in images. Even the dial text is kept to a minimum, with only a simple Hublot emblem at 12 o’clock alongside the obligatory 6 o’clock “Swiss Made” text.
Inside the Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski beats the ETA modular-based HUB1153 automatic chronograph movement. Although it lacks some of the modern performance features and enthusiast cache of the brand’s in-house powerplants, the HUB1153 is a solid and reliable platform, with a 42-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. As one might expect from such a complex case design, the two available strap options for the Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski have an outsize effect on the character of the watch as a whole. The minimal black rubber strap gives the design a cleaner, sporty look in images, keeping visual focus squarely on the case and dial. By contrast, the available matte blasted titanium H-link bracelet continues the case’s intricate web of triangular facets around the wrist for a greater sense of visual spectacle.
Thanks to its matte-finished case, cleanly minimal dial, and balanced case proportions, the new Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski offers the brand’s most sporting and purposeful Orlinski-themed model yet, with a charismatically aggressive look that should resonate with a wide range of enthusiasts. The Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski is available now through authorized dealers. Starting MSRP for the Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski stands at $14,600 USD as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.