A young brand by any standard, Hublot is indeed an infant among the centuries-old Swiss giants with which it competes & helps;Yet within years of its founding in 1980 became known as the watch of European royalty. Few brands can claim such a speedy successful rise as Hublot, a feat made possible by the purity of vision belonging to Carlo Croco. The vision was indeed simple at first, he just wanted his own watch, to break away from his uncle’s watch company, the Italian firm Binda. What he ended up breaking away from were the traditions of luxury watchmaking, in the rubber strap. Hardly a watch enthusiast can be found today without at least one rubber strapped watch in their personal collection. They are standard equipment on sport watches and can be found in the collections of many of the centuries-old Swiss giants: Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain and others.

At the time Croco introduced his Hublot (French for ‘porthole’), rubber was not to be found on a fine timepiece and much less paired with a gold case. Luxurious black leather or reptile would have been an acceptable material to the purists, but it just didn’t offer the clean line that Croco found himself suddenly obsessed with. It cost Croco nearly three years and over $1 million to find just the right type of rubber. A rubber specially formulated to not crack or stain. It had to have the right combination of strength and comfort ­- found by chemically fusing steel with the rubber. It was mixed with an especially rare and potent vanilla to eliminate the odor associated with rubber. In 1980 it was ready for Basel, but not for the watch purists. Luckily for this brand, their advertising caught the eye of the King of Greece, quickly followed by the King of Spain, then the King of Sweden and the Prince of Monaco. The Hublot had found a niche market for it was luxurious, but not flashy, comfortable, but not dressed-down. There was only one Hublot style: porthole-case, black- dial, and black rubber strap. It was perfect for the jet-set of the 1980s.

The porthole-shaped watch case combining polished and brushed metal, the minimalist black dial, and the distinctive black natural-rubber strap came to symbolise the Hublot watch.

Members of royal families were immediately enthusiastic about Hublot and were soon emulated by numerous celebrities the world over. Carlo Crocco had taken a gamble, but in just a few years Hublot watches joined the elite of leading watchmaking brands. Three years of research were necessary to create the unique strap and to demonstrate the exceptional properties of natural rubber, which seems to regenerate when in contact with the skin. The two parts making up the strap are tailor-fitted at the time of purchase. They adapt instantly to the client’s wrist with ease and comfort, offering the wearer a unique experience.

In the mid-90s, rubber became the focus of interest of the leading watchmaking brands, as reflected by the large number of designs. This validated the choices that led to the creation of Hublot watches. As far as the brand is concerned, rubber is not a fashion phenomenon, but rather the perfect embodiment of the philosophy, lifestyle and brand image it had developed from the beginning. Hublot remains one of the last independent family-run watchmaking businesses offering a unique single-product concept. Unbounded creative freedom enables Hublot to preserve its unique personality and to widen its range with an impressive array of collections, some featuring specific complications, and some available only in limited editions.

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