The Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph
Seventy years of Ferrari are being celebrated by the most powerful 12-cylinder-frontal (central)-engine-car ever crafted; the 812 Superfast is the true heir to that Daytona that represents one of the most sought-after GT-frontal-engine-car ever. Moreover, a collaboration, the one currently in place with Hublot, that seems unstoppable and steadily goes from a co-branding to a joint development of a watch for collectors and lovers of high technology alike.
This is the meaning of the Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph. The Centro Stile Ferrari (“Ferrari Style Centre”) is an internal company structure that has completely replaced the historic partnership with Pininfarina, whose coat of arms has disappeared from the side of the car. Directed by Flavio Manzoni, the centre is now fully integrated with the product development. It is thanks to the skills of Flavio Manzoni and his team that the Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph came to life.
The Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph represents a new chapter in Hublot’s history, a collection in which a case with a trellis frame (dug and lighter but reinforced) similar to a monocoque chassis of a racing car, replaces the layer structure typical of the Hublot and the Big Bang collection. A structure made of titanium, PEEK Carbon or King Gold; the gold alloy patented years ago in the Hublot metallurgical department in Nyon. Despite its incredible constructive complexity and the type of caliber it features (a chronograph with a one-minute-Tourbillon) the aesthetics of the Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph remind us of Hublot's original language, it is almost as if the brand was going back to its roots and the time when it was still an Italian company.
Especially in its Titanium and PEEK versions (a composite made of very long fibers of carbon fiber), the Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph exudes technology: not only the main elements, but also the small components, such as the screws (strictly H shaped ones) are made of the same material as the case. All the titanium parts are micro shot peened; I am not aware of the specific process used by Hublot (or the titanium alloy used) but more generally the shot-peening process is a cold-working-process that involves hitting the surface with a high-speed jet of micro spheres. The impact between the micro spheres and the titanium surface locally plasticizes the titanium surface causing residual compression tensions. These tensions help slow or even eliminate the formation of cracks and possibly fragile breakages of the material following bumps.
The case of a Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph is extremely light despite being quite large (45mm in diameter) and thick (14.80mm). The trellis case is complemented by the quick-release buttons on the extremely elongated lugs, which allow to quickly replace the rubber strap, the case also features a beautiful single-button chronograph lever (that allows to start, stop, and reset the chronograph). The whole lot is painted in the red P485 Ferrari colour; the pantone that identifies the Ferrari red colour (patented and deposited) around the world. The base of this small lever, fully hollowed to reduce its weight, is hinged under the winding crown shaft, located at 4 o'clock, and sports an engraving of the Prancing Horse symbol.
The Ferrari writing is applied to the dial at 9 o'clock, the only entirely free part of a dial that, from 11 o’clock to 8 o’clock respectively contains the following elements: chrono minutes, chrono seconds (a twin half-second counter), arranged in a raised structure on the dial that ends with the Tourbillon itself. The Tourbillon looks like a flying tourbillon because the upper bridge is actually a thin sapphire crystal that rotates along with the tourbillon, that has therefore two pivot points. This is a simply genial idea used to join together visual lightness and the (almost) presence of a double bridge. The numerals use the same Arabic font used by Ferrari on its digital dashboards and the Hublot logo is located at 5 o'clock and is laser-printed on the sapphire crystal, almost as if the manufacturer wanted to leave intact the image of a chronograph that abides by the aesthetic rules of a Hublot timepiece but that is designed by the “Centro Stile Ferrari” instead.
Among the characteristics of the manual HUB6311 caliber (treated with anthracite ruthenium on the bridges), the following elements deserve a mention; the excellent power reserve of 5 days – I assume it lasts that long when the chronograph is not being used –, whose column wheel is visible through a window located at 13 o’clock, and the relatively small number of components; 253 of them if you also consider the presence of a tourbillon and a chrono. The Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph will be released in only 210 specimens; that is to say 70 for each one of the three options available. It might be that there will be a race among those customers, who drive a Ferrari car, and a preferential lane for historical collectors of this Italian car.
The titanium version retails at $127,000, the PEEK version retails at $137,000, while the King Gold version retails at $158,000. This is an item for a selected few, especially for lovers of motor engineering, and a design that, perhaps, opens up a new chapter in Hublot's design that has shown up already with the recently released Ferrari Unico and that has proved a remarkable stylistic maturity and the exploration of new territories. As a big car enthusiast, an engineer and a watch lover too, the Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 years Tourbillon Chronograph just drives me crazy and my hopes are that Hublot hastily translates these same concepts into more accessible collections.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)