Hublot Introduces the Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary

A return to minimalism for its birthday.

Originally just a model name for the bestselling watch of the brand MDM (short for Montre des Montres), Hublot got off the ground with one of the “it” watches of the 1980s that a first in combining yellow gold with a rubber strap. The brand is now 40 years old and a global success thanks to a late-in-life rejuvenation.

To commemorate the occasion – which chief executive Ricardo Guadalupe hinted at in January – the brand has unveiled the sleek and simple Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary modelled on the original Hublot wristwatch of 1980.

Minimalist in style, the anniversary watch sticks to the restrained look of the maritime-inspired original – hublot is French for “porthole” – but is substantially larger to cater to modern tastes. And like the original it is available in 18k yellow gold – combining the precious metal and rubber was a novelty in 1980 – but also in titanium or black ceramic.

The 1980 model in steel (left) and the anniversary edition

Initial thoughts

While modern-day Hublot watches are often maximalist and sometimes over the top, the anniversary Classic Fusion is the opposite, a look that works well with the case and bezel. The 1980 original was a compact, pared-back watch that was at odds with the fashionable watches of the era – think two-tone Cartier Santos or Ebel – and proof that less is more.

The dial of the remake sticks closely to the original, with a white-on-black date that is a welcome improvement. But the addition of the “H” counterweight on the seconds hand is unnecessary but probably inevitable.

The only element I wish was not there is the black resin insert between the bezel and case middle. Though it’s now a trademark feature of the brand, it feels out of place; and on the original it was the same metal as the case.

The 1980 original in 18k yellow gold

Though quite large at 45 mm, the watch wears relatively well because it is fairly lightweight and has short lugs. More importantly, the watch is fitted with a double-fold clasp that replaces the uncomfortable, and generally incompetent, single-fold clasp previously standard for Hublot.

The most appealing version of the anniversary edition is the one in 18k yellow gold, but it is also expensive for what it is. Arguably the all-black ceramic version is most faithful to the minimalist style of the original. While pricey at a little over US$10,000, it is still digestible.

The new clasp

Classic

While the original was a dinky 36 mm, the anniversary edition is 45 mm wide and a slim 10.95 mm high. It’s powered by a Sellita SW300-1 – a robust but low-cost calibre that’s a clone of the ETA 2892 – instead of the quartz movement found in the original.

The dial is finished in glossy black lacquer with a large, applied logo at 12 o’clock – and nothing else aside from a reasonably discreet date at three.


Key facts and price

Hublot Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary
Ref. 511.VX.1280.RX.MDM40 (18k yellow gold)
Ref. 511.NX.1270.RX.MDM40 (titanium)
Ref. 511.CX.1270.RX.MDM40 (black ceramic)

Case diameter: 45 mm
Case height: 10.95 mm
Material: 18k yellow gold, titanium, or black ceramic
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: HUB1112 (Sellita SW300-1)
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Black rubber with folding clasp

Limited edition: 100 pieces in gold, 200 pieces each in titanium and ceramic
Availability:
 From Hublot boutiques and retailers
Price: US$25,200 in gold; US$8,300 in titanium; US$10,400 in ceramic

For more, visit Hublot.com.


 

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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph

Smartly skeletonised.

Last year’s debut of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet was widely panned, with with most of the criticism centred on the dial that was widely regarded to be flat. That left the highlight of the new model to go unnoticed – a new case made up of an intriguing blend of geometric forms and intricate edges.

Just after launching warmly-received variants with smoked dials (following last year’s Bolshoi edition in smoked-finish enamel), Audemars Piguet has taken the covers off the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, which follows the aesthetic direction set by the record-setting Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked “Only Watch”.

Initial thoughts

Audemars Piguet did well in combining two classical complications – a flyback chronograph and flying tourbillon – in a surprisingly contemporary and slightly sporty watch, which owes its looks to the complementary movement and case design.

The skeletonised movement echoes the clean, angular lines of the case and open-worked lugs. A newly-developed movement – and one seemingly designed from ground-up as a skeleton – the cal. 2952 is thoughtfully constructed with a neatly symmetrical layout. As important is the high-contrast finish that emphasises the skeletonisation, achieved with rhodium-plated bridges against a matte-black base plate.

The styling of the watch addresses the key shortcoming of the original Code 11.59 – the plain dial – and allows the Code 11.59 to come into its own with a cohesive design. Though the Royal Oak has long overshadowed everything else Audemars Piguet does, the open-worked Code 11.59 – both this and other models – shows that the brand’s round watches can be modern and appealing.

And at 240,000 Swiss francs, the watch is priced fairly relative to the competition – arguably offering good value despite being expensive in absolute terms – offering a finely constructed and finished movement, with a notably novel design.

Attended inside and out

As with the Royal Oak, the Code 11.59 case smartly incorporates a high level of detail, namely polished facets and bevels, to create visual flair. This is most apparent with the open-worked lugs, but also on the octagonal case middle.

The watch is a largish 41 mm and fairly thick at a little under 14 mm high, though the size suits the modern look of the movement well.

But the finishing within is also excellent. It is worth mentioning that although the cal. 2952 is new, it is related to the the automatic-tourbillon cal. 2950 and hand wind-tourbillon cal. 2948, both relatively recent movements created for the Code 11.59.

The cal. 2952 is constructed and styled like the case, especially visible bridges on the front that have straight graining on their faces and polished bevels on the edges. Although the forms of the bridges are aggressive and masculine due to the many sharp corners, they retain an element of grace due to their curves and slimness.

With almost all of the bridges skeletonised, the intersecting lines of the movement allow for many interior angles – a key element to show off artisanal finishing. And Audemars Piguet has capitalise on that with hand-finished anglage done the traditional way and finished with a soft wood from the Gentian tree.

Finishing the polished edges


Key Facts and Price

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph
Ref. 26399BC.OO.D321CR.01

Case diameter: 41 mm
Height: 13.75 mm
Material: 18k white gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 2952
Functions: Hours, minutes, centre seconds, flying tourbillon, and flyback chronograph
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Availability: Only at Audemars Piguet boutiques
Limited Edition: 50 pieces
Price: CHF 240,000

For more, visit audemarspiguet.com


 

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