Hublot has once again partnered with its favourite contemporary artist for Only Watch 2023: the MP-15 Takashi Murakami Only Watch Sapphire is a one-of-a-kind creation for the biennial charity auction that is entirely unique from case to movement. Not only it is the brand’s first-ever central tourbillon, the watch has a sapphire crystal case in the shape of a flower with a bezel set with rainbow gemstones.
While Hublot is sometimes made fun of for its often repetitive limited editions that are colour facelifts, the creation for Only Watch is entirely new and entirely unique. Hublot and the Japanese artist have collaborated in the past, but on watches that were variants of standard models. In contrast, the Murakami Only Watch pushes boundaries even by Hublot’s extravagant standards with a case entirely in sapphire, and flower-shaped no less.
The Murakami Only Watch is also interesting mechanically. The calibre inside has a 150-hour power reserve along with a large, central tourbillon on the front. And the movement is unique to the Murakami Only Watch, at least for now.
The aesthetic and mechanical novelty of the Murakami Only Watch are impressive and certainly makes this one of the highlights of Only Watch 2023. While Hublot will almost certainly create variations of this in the future, the effort expended in creating Murakami Only Watch is commendable.
The Murakami Only Watch has an estimate of CHF350,000 to CHF400,000, with the high estimate being a little more than the result for the fairly ordinary Big Bang Tourbillon made for Only Watch 2019. This will almost certainly sell for more, perhaps even over seven figures, which will still be relatively modest compared to the values of some of Murakami’s artwork.
Clear sapphire and rainbow stones
While the earlier Hublot and Murakami timepieces were iterations of the Classic Fusion, the Murakami Only Watch quite literally embodies the artist’s trademark “smiling flower” motif.
The watch case is a flower, with the tourbillon in the centre forming the smiling face. The 12-petal case is made of clear sapphire crystal with a steel bezel on the front that is set with 444 rainbow-hued gemstones. Measuring 42 mm in diameter and 13.4 mm high, the case is large, but perfectly sized the extravagant, contemporary aesthetic.
According to Hublot, the central-tourbillon movement was chosen by Mr Murakami himself. The movement construction required the cannon pinion and hour wheel to be relocated to the same axis as the tourbillon. As a result, the tourbillon seemingly rotates in mid-air, while hour and minute hands sit just under the periphery of the cage. The “face” of the flower is formed by the domed sapphire crystal over the tourbillon that has twin sapphire inserts for the eyes and an engraved mouth.
The Murakami Only Watch is equipped with the manually-wound HUB9015, a calibre found only in this watch, for now. In addition to the central flying tourbillon, the movement has a 150-hour power reserve thanks to twin barrels.
In addition to the watch, the winning bidder of the Murakami Only Watch will also receive Time of Rainbow, an ink calligraphy artwork painted by Mr Murakami. The artwork is a drawing of the watch on used coffee filter paper.
Key facts and price
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Only Watch Sapphire
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.4 mm
Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Water resistance: 30 m
Functions: Central flying tourbillon, hours, minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hours (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 150 hours
Strap: Rubber strap with sapphire and titanium folding clasp
Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on November 5, 2023
Estimate: CHF350,000 – CHF400,000
For more information, visit Onlywatch.com.
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