Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT
A new unexpected take on the classic Hublot sports chronograph, designed by Ferrari.
Many are the partnerships in force between a Formula One car maker and a watch brand, just a few, however, are as enduring as the one signed by Ferrari and Hublot in 2011, soon after the "Prancing Horse" had closed their short experience with an Italian brand instead. Over the course of these years, the Scuderia Ferrari has changed management and engineers, yet old and new team members sported and still do a Hublot watch when caught on camera during a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend. Also, Sergio Marchionne, while attending a race, was used to wrap a Hublot Big Bang around his wrist. It was and still is not just a matter of sponsorship, in my opinion, given the technical prowess and allure of a Hublot watch.
Hublot and Ferrari like Pininfarina and Ferrari, but with their roles reversed.
Co-branding has radically changed; just adding a team's logo and colors to an existing timepiece doesn't work any longer. Co-branding has slightly turned itself into something that has more to do with technical partnership, where the R&D departments from two or more brands join their forces and expertise to create cutting-edge products. It is the same approach we were used to during the good old days of car design, where a design firm was in charge of a car's exterior. Today, each new Ferrari is entirely sketched and designed by the Ferrari Design Center and, ironically, the Ferrari Design Center was responsible for drawing the lines of a new wristwatch.
The strategy of insourcing a new car's design is familiar to most hi-performance cars manufacturers today, including Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and many others, and has marked the end of an era where design firms like Pininfarina, Bertone, Italdesign, ruled.
Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT: are you the next Big Bang?
I believe that Hublot had to come with a new design, and launch a collection to strengthen the technical partnership between Nyon and Maranello further while developing an alternative to the multi-layered signature Big Bang case. The current trend, in the high-tech and high-end business, is to produce a one-piece case, as Hublot did when it originally introduced the Techframe.
In doing so, both brands set-up a joint development team by involving designers and engineers coming from both R&D teams. It is not anything new, considering Ferrari and Hublot jointly created the super-exclusive LaFerrari, but the Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT is an unexpected and more accessible take on the classic sports chronograph and the first-ever entirely designed by Ferrari.
The outcome is an almost single-looking structure, showcasing a central case secured to an outer frame via the patented Hublot screws in the shape of an H. The lugs are fully integrated and extend to create a somewhat mixed strap design. The overall look reminds me of the very first Hublot watches, those belonging to the pre-LVMH age. I reckon Hublot was looking for a streamlined and simplified design in comparison to the latest bulky and somehow over-designed Big Bang editions; I believe therefore we're not in front of a one-off exercise.
The dial is a nod to a Ferrari GT's dashboard: the font is the same for example, and the two Chrono counter layout draws inspiration from a sports car's analog gauges although the latest Ferrari to date, the SF90 Stradale, sports a fully digital dashboard.
The Classic Fusion Ferrari GT in King Gold highlights better than any other version the contrast between the 45 mm wide case with a two-register dial design and the Unico caliber that is visible through a sapphire glass, with the column wheel mechanism placed on the dial side. Hublot launched three versions of the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT at Baselworld 2019: one in titanium, one in King Gold and a tech-savvy 3D carbon fiber composite for a total production of 2000 pieces (1000 for the titanium version, and 500 for the other two). All of them are powered by the Unico caliber HUB1280 featuring a Flyback function and three days of maximum power reserve.
Final thoughts on the Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT.
Rather than three new limited edition watches, I'd instead consider this collection a Ferrari's take on the classic Hublot sports chronograph. After growing and inflating the Big Bang, while exploring new territories with the Techframe, Hublot comes with a new option, i.e., a modern interpretation of a vaguely 70s case inspired sports chronograph, showcasing a mixed metal and leather bracelet. I like the idea, carbon version excluded, as I think the contrast between the metal sandblasted curvy case and the partially visible mechanical movement is what makes the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT different, and that distinctive trait is missing on the full carbon. A winner or a loser? We will see.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Hublot)
Gaetano C @Horbiter-R by Horbiter®