Hublot is a Swiss watch manufacturer, currently part of the LVMH group.
In 1980 the Italian Carlo Crocco founded the watch manufacturer MDM Genève. He developed a watch in a style not seen so far: The luxury housing was made of gold held with 12 titanium screws, and the bracelet was in black rubber. According to the shape of the watch it was called "Hublot" (French for porthole).
The "Big Bang" of Jean-Claude Biver
In April 2005 the luxury brand based in Nyon on Lake Geneva caused a sensation with a true "big bang": Big Bang was the name of a new chronograph from Hublot, created by the former director and co-owner of the brand Blancpain, Jean-Claude Biver. At the end of 2003 he had withdrawn from his managerial position at Blancpain and at the Swatch Group and had planned to sit down temporarily for a rest. But then he had met Carlo Crocco, who had just looked for a successor for the leadership position at Hublot.
With the Big Bang chronograph Biver now is announcing his comeback as a brilliant creator of watches. Instantly this watch won prizes at watch and design competitions and attracted the attention of the audience. With it the message of the fusion is elevated to a cult. In the models of the Big Bang series Hublot skillfully blends together all kinds of materials: Kevlar®, carbon, ceramic, magnesium, tungsten, tantalum, titanium, cermet, steel, gold and, of course, rubber again. Again the watch band is a striking design feature: by inserting a layer of Kevlar® into the watch case the impression is created as if the bracelet runs smoothly through it.
With the 2007 appeared model Mag Bang, this concept has been pushed even further, because now the whole movement is made from the synthetic material "Hublonium" (which is completely produced by Hublot). This gives the watch the incredibly low weight of 78 g.
The Big Bang range now comprises a considerable number of variants, both concerning horological refinements such as a chronograph with tourbillon (Model Bigger Bang), and relating to colors, different materials (up to the One Million Dollar Watch with 493 Top Wesselton baguette diamonds) as well as numerous special models for different occasions and themes.
Unusual variations of the concept of "fusion"
The "All Black" series confirms the avant-garde approach of Biver and Hublot: It even is not shying away from "bad-to-read", that is completely black watches, where not only the case, but also the bezel is black and, even further, the hands and indexes. But by the use of innovative materials such as black ceramic, rubber, PVD-coated steel and black nickel the dark tones shimmer depending on the light and viewing angle and give the watch something of an enigmatic mystery. Thus, the limited edition was then quickly sold out, and it was followed by further editions as the tourbillon model Solo Bat Bang, as oversized Big Bang "All Black King" and as Big Bang "Aero Bang All Black".
Successes and Awards
After the Big Bang in 2005 at the prestigious Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève had won the winning prize in the category "Best Design", two years later with the super-expensive jewelery watch One Million $ Big Bang followed a victory in the category "Best Jewelry Watch". Also commercially Biver is doing well with his flashes of wit and ever new ventures: thus, the turnover increased tenfold in just four years, and a loss of 2.6 million francs changed to a gain of 34 million.
LVMH buys Hublot
In April 2008 it was announced that the luxury goods group LVMH takes over Hublot. Originally Biver himself had wanted to buy the company from Crocco, but the latter had jacked up the prize, contrary to a previous statement, to an unaffordable level. The LVMH was certainly liquid enough (it is spoken of an estimated price of CHF 500 million - mind you, an amount which is mainly due to Biver's performances).
Hublot purchased high-end movement supplier BNB Concept in 2010. A key supplier, BNB produced high-end tourbillon movements for Hublot and others but went bankrupt. Hublot retained the Confrérie Horlogère team from BNB as well, producing high-end concept products as Confrérie Horlogère Hublot.
In recent years Hublot is increasingly involved in the area of the top football. So, one already joined with the Swiss team at the Football World Cup in 2006, and at the European Football Championships in 2008 the company became one of the main sponsors. There has also been a cooperation with the Mexican Football Federation, for which a special watch was designed. In the fall of 2008 Hublot, together with the English football club Manchester United, presented the special edition Big Bang "Red Devil Bang", which, like many of the previously created football special editions, was equipped with 45-minute counter for the half-time.
Strong commitment to charitable and humanitarian organizations
Both Jean-Claude Biver himself and Hublot are heavily involved in humanitarian organizations and donate substantial funds for this purpose, without shouting it from the rooftops. Firstly, there is the MDM Foundation (Main Dans La Main - hand in hand), who cares for orphans in India, and the Ayrton Senna Institute and the Smiling Children Foundation. Another such activity is part of the project Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE). Under this sign are also launched limited series of watches that are regularly part of the series Big Bang and which will now be seen with new eyes, because a portion of the profits is donted to each of these facilities. For Biver, this approach is closely linked with his personal vision of luxury, where it is not just about getting, but also about giving and parting together, and he emphasizes, that especially the luxury is destined to lead with good example.
44 route de Divonne
Tel +41 22 990 90 00
Fax +41 22-990 90 29
- Biver interview in the Berner Zeitung, 8.7.2008 (as of 21.12.2008)
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