With the broad similarities between the car community and the watch community, it’s common enough practice among enthusiasts to liken certain watch brands to automakers. Grand Seiko is often compared to Lexus and TAG Heuer is commonly mapped to longtime brand partner Porsche, but perhaps the most fitting pairing of all is this — Hublot is the Lamborghini of watchmaking. While there may be newer, equally exotic brands now occupying similar niches, both Hublot and Lamborghini carry a spirit of defiance and willful audacity that helped to reshape their respective industries. In addition, like Lamborghini, Hublot rarely ever draws upon its back catalog for inspiration, until recently at least. As part of its LVMH Watch Week 2023 novelties, Hublot has returned in earnest to the design that started it all for the brand in 1980 with a striking new series in a trio of sizes and three case material options. While the combination of a sharp integrated case, (optional) precious materials, minimalist dial design, and a black rubber strap may not be as revolutionary as it was with the debut of the Classic Original over 40 years ago, the new Hublot Classic Fusion Original line is a strikingly handsome and commendably respectful tribute to the ur-Hublot design with enough available options to satisfy a wide variety of tastes.
Available in 33mm-wide, 38mm-wide, and 42mm-wide variants, the case design of the Hublot Classic Fusion Original finds a middle ground between fully replicating the original 1980 model and showcasing its modern case geometry. There’s plenty of visual similarity to the rest of the modern Classic Fusion family in elements like the angular lugs (far broader than the delicate tapering design of the ‘80s model), the organically rounded polished case sides, the black case side flanges at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, and the distinctive set of six H-pattern screws ringing the broad chamfered bezel as opposed to the original’s 12-screw layout. Despite the visual tweaks, it’s still an attractively simple counterpoint to the spectacle of Hublot’s other lines. With available models in titanium, Hublot’s proprietary Black Magic ceramic, and 18K yellow gold, this comparatively restrained design has a chance to show off an array of different personalities. The 38mm-wide model is the closest in spirit to the ‘80s original in photos, particularly in yellow gold, but each size and case material presents a subtly different personality in photos. The 33mm-wide variants offer a decidedly more reduced, feminine take on the overall form, while the broader proportions of the 42mm-wide models abandon some of the timelessness of the original in favor of a more deliberately modern feel. Likewise, the yellow gold models across all sizes come closest to capturing the minimal-yet-opulent ethos of the 1980 original, while the Black Magic ceramic option gives the design a more futuristic cast, and the titanium version provides a contemporary, wearable middle ground. Despite Hublot’s sporty connotations, however, each model in the Hublot Classic Fusion Original series offers a disappointing 50 meters of water resistance. Unfortunately, Hublot was unable to provide images or details regarding the Classic Fusion Original’s caseback before press time.
Like the ‘80s model that inspired the design, each model in the Hublot Classic Fusion Original series offers a truly minimal black dial layout. Other than a dial-matching date window at 3 o’clock and a 12 o’clock applied Hublot emblem, there are no indices, scales, or text (outside of minuscule printed “Swiss Made” text at 6 o’clock) to mar the glossy piano black dial surfaces here. This leaves only the broad-faceted baton handset for timekeeping duties, and it’s where the tweaks to the original format cause one potential issue with functionality. Although the first Hublot design had a similarly featureless black dial, the 12 screws on the bezel could be used as an ersatz hours scale for improved legibility. By contrast, the six H-pattern screws atop the Classic Fusion Original’s bezel are substantially more difficult to orient quickly in images. Potential legibility issues aside, this starkly restrained look remains an effective visual statement for Hublot over 40 years after its debut.
For the 38mm and 42mm Classic Fusion Original models, Hublot turns to the Sellita SW300-1-based HUB1110 automatic movement. This reliable platform powers a wide range of Hublot’s less exotic models. While enthusiasts may complain about the HUB1110’s humble underpinnings and relatively low 42-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate, it is dependable and easily serviced. For the 33mm-wide models, Hublot instead turns to an unspecified quartz movement with a minimum power reserve of three years. To complete the vintage-inspired design, Hublot pairs each model in the series with a smooth, unadorned black rubber strap.
Although it may stand out amid the brand’s Lamborghini-esque relentless tendency towards forward-thinking stylistic spectacle, the new Hublot Classic Fusion Original series offers a sharp and charismatic tribute to the Hublot model that started it all with a broad range of available configurations. The Hublot Classic Fusion Original line is available now through authorized dealers. Starting MSRP for the Hublot Classic Fusion Original series stands at $6,500 USD for 33mm-wide models, $7,900 USD for 38mm-wide models, and $8,200 USD for 42mm-wide models (all pricing figures are accurate as of press time). For more details, please visit the brand’s website.