February 9, 2016
by Ariel Adams
A new piece for 2016, the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire dresses Hublot’s Ferrari engine-inspired movement in an all-sapphire case. Several years ago, Richard Mille was a “pioneer” in sapphire, releasing a timepiece produced from a single “monolithic” piece of this super-hard crystal. It cost over $1,000,000, and since then Richard Mille has followed up with a few more sapphire crystal-cased watches each with comparable prices or even higher, reaching over $2,000,000.
Compared to those timepieces, this highly impressive Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire reference 905.JX.0001.RT feels “value-priced” at a touch under $600,000. Though, when looking at mega-watches, the LaFerrari has always been something at the top of many people’s lists for its character, complexity, and overall presence on the wrist. With a mostly all-sapphire crystal case, the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire has a visually grand design that is hard to pass up when you are in the market for models at this level.
The story of the LaFerrari goes back to before its official launch in 2013, when aBlogtoWatch first went hands-on with Hublot’s 50-day power reserve timepiece. In case you are wondering, the connection to Ferrari is that Hublot is their official high-end watch making partner. The complicated movement inside the watch has elements from a series of exotic watch projects developed by Mathias Buttet, who came to Hublot after running BNB Concept.
If you recall, the movement not only has a vertically mounted tourbillon (as it should be, given the original concept of the tourbillon) but also a long series of 11 coupled barrels which offer the in-house-made Hublot caliber HUB9005.H1.PN.1 movement the full 50 days of power reserve. It requires so much time and torque to wind the movement that each Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari watch comes with an electronic drill! Without the drill and special setting tool, you can’t even manually wind or set the watch (to my knowledge). So no traditional crowns of any kind exist on this horological device.
The movement is breathtakingly cool, and inside of the sapphire crystal case, it is more visible than ever. Produced from 637 parts with 108 jewels, the movement operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph) and indicates the time with seconds, plus it boasts a power reserve indicator on rotating drums. No, the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari watch has never been about ideal legibility, but it gets the job done. More important is that the entire case looks like a LaFerrari engine bay, with the mechanical movement inside representing, of course, the engine.
Hublot did not design the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire from a single piece of sapphire crystal, but rather seven parts that fit together nicely. According to the brand, each Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire case requires about 600 hours of machining work. Moreover, the case is said to weigh 53.5 grams. The watch has the same 30 meters of water resistance as the non-all-sapphire versions of the MP-05. Hublot has produced a few limited edition versions of the LaFerrari over the years since its initial debut back in 2013. In 2014, I got some pretty nice shots of the titanium black and yellow version of the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari that remains one of my favorites.
The 50 days of power reserve is a long time, and to my knowledge, no other timepiece on the market has broken Hublot’s record of “mechanical watch with the longest power reserve.” I’ve never had the opportunity to wear a LaFerrari for an extended period of time, but I am curious what it would be like to remind yourself to wind with such irregular intervals. I am guessing that I’d probably wind it each 45 days or so. Think of all the things that can happen each month and a half. Its is as though your life could be totally different between watch windings. In fact, if you like the “over-half-a-million-dollar-watch-on-your-wrist lifestyle,” there is a good chance that a lot happens in your life during each month-and-a-half period.
One of the weirdest things that watch makers do with sapphire crystal watches is take the “transparent” theme a bit far and into the strap. For this model, Hublot has what I believe is a mostly transparent “frosted” silicone strap with a titanium buckle. It is interesting enough, but I have a feeling that owners of this watch will want to swap out the strap for something a bit more fashionable as the transparent theme of the sapphire crystal case is enough on its own without extending to the strap. No doubt Hublot has already thought of this, and the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire probably comes with at least one other strap option.
The Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire ref. 905.JX.0001.RT will be produced as a limited edition of 20 pieces. It feels particularly special in the all sapphire crystal case, and I wonder how far the sapphire crystal case trend will go as luxury watch consumers continue to hunger for new and interesting looks. Price for the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire watch is $575,000. hublot.com