One of the things I love most about watches is the ability to be creative with how you present one. This means showing the time in a traditional way but having the watch look unique, or alternatively to display the time itself in a unique way. Such creative opportunity has attracted unique minds from all walks of life to participate in horology – and whether or not I like the outcome, I love the diversity.
The Nubeo brand is one that offers diversity I really like. Offering something extremely unique, Nubeo watches also seem to do it with a high level of refinement and sophistication. I am unclear of exactly what is going on with the quiet Nubeo brand, but you should be familiar at least with what they have done in the past – for me, this is really a one-of-a-kind gem. Released a few years ago, this piece is the Arctic Snowmobile Adventure Chronograph Limited Edition watch. It is one of two pieces that Nubeo made for a little snowmobile endurance race they sponsored in the arctic (duh). The race also has some cool outfits made and if you have one of those jackets (as a few people do), consider yourself incredibly lucky.
Coming from the Jellyfish collection, the Snowmobile Adventure watch (as I will call it) was a sort of evolutionary step between the Jellyfish (see hands-on here) and the later Black Mamba watch (see hands-on here – which didn’t quite make it to retail yet as I understand). The Jellyfish name comes from how the watch is meant to appear from the side with the straps held down. Nubeo’s talented designer Ivan Castro is fascinated by the incorporation of organic shapes into industrial design. The watch includes the look of a Jellyfish, with vertebrae like structures in the strap (which are actually black ceramic inserts), as well as a range of other beautiful curves mixed with into the time telling machine.
Getting attention is zero problem with a watch like this. It is your style? The watch doesn’t care. It is a piece of art unto itself and if you like how it appears on your wrist – more power to you. I personally love how it looks on my wrist. I don’t wear it everyday, but it is one of my most fascinating watches. Art it is, and art for me is about the smooth intersection of talent and skill. When it comes down to it, the Snowmobile Adventure watch isn’t just unique looking but it works and functions well. The dial is amazingly legible despite the complexity, and the comfort of the specially designed steel case is impressive. This is a poster-child watch for something that combines both form and function (even if the form part of it is intense).
To say that the design and construction of this watch is complicated is a bit of an understatement. The Nubeo Black Mamba sort of stole the show by having the most complex watch case in the world, but this one has a case that is made up of 35 pieces (well over 100 for the Black Mamba). The dial is another series of little parts put together nicely, and even the ardillon buckle is complicated. One good thing that Nubeo proves (and I have mentioned this in the past), is that you are a fool if you only look for value in a watch’s movement.
The Snowmobile Adventure watch contains a Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph. Not an exclusive movement by any means, but implement about as nicely as I have ever seen in this watch. The movement is polished up nicely and the engraved black Nubeo rotor is a thing of beauty. This watch really isn’t about some exclusive in-house movement. Rather this watch is about exclusive everything else. I’ve never seen anyone else have a case that even looks close to this. It is so interesting and unique that there are far more fake Nubeo Jellyfish watches out there than real ones.
One of the most impressive elements of the case is the case back. Rounded and smooth, a series of pieces come together here for an underside that is virtually flush. This signals very careful engineering with components that have almost no tolerances. The bezel is also a thing of beauty. It involves machine cut steel and rubber, and is damn cool looking (the numerals are each individually cut and the rubber is there to help protect them). With a range of materials, the Jellyfish case actually follows the Hublot mantra of “fusion.” In this 43mm wide case you’ll find at least steel, rubber, and ceramic. According to Nubeo, the milling process for the case parts takes over 3 hours alone.
A fancy design alone is not enough to impress me but proper execution is. The Snowmobile Adventure is a high-end watch through and through. Details and beautifully crisp and the materials are all very high quality. One down-side of the complex construction is that bits of dust and grime can get in between all the little details. You can of course wash the watch, but with some wear debris will build up given all the hiding spaces on the case.
The large crown and smaller chronograph pushers are a quirky design twist that you won’ find many other places. I think it looks cool, but others might wonder about the lilliputian chrono pushers compared to the monolithic style crown. The dial is really fun by my taste. Sporty and organic, it looks like something I’d expect to claim as loot after fighting (and hopefully beating) some sophisticated space alien that challenged me in combat. The dial is three layers and incorporates some design elements from other brands in a very tasteful way that feels more like actual homage than copying. The lume-lathered leaf style hands are a breeze to read and elegant to view. Can you see a bit of Panerai in the face? I can.
No expense really seems to have been saved in the design and construction of this watch. Even the rubber strap is all Swiss made. Even if you don’t like the aesthetic choices of Nubeo watches, I challenge you to find one and tell me that it isn’t a well made timepiece. Nubeo for me was the first brand that made me want to buy a case and not care what movement was inside (though I am perfectly content with the 7750 inside of it). There are about 300 pieces of this Nubeo Arctic Snowmobile Adventure watch around. Not sure of the original price but it was in the $13,000 – $14,000 range if I recall correctly. For me items like this are why I got into watches in the first place.