Hublot divides the watch industry in a way few other brands can manage. Still something of a cheeky upstart, often a little too arrogant and cocksure, too showy and too blingy, and for many just too young, having been established as recently as 1980 by Carlo Crocco.
Despite the naysayers, and without a single customer on the books, Hublot was an instant success, attracting $42m worth of orders at Baselworld 1980 with a porthole shaped watch (Hublot meaning porthole in French) on a revolutionary rubber strap, three years in the making.
The second phase for Hublot began in 2003. By this time Carlo Crocco was more than busy enough for someone else to take over the reins. Although he may not look it, the man Mr. Crocco chose is the Cristiano Ronaldo of the Swiss watch industry (and this is probably the first and last time he will be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo). His name Jean-Claude Biver. He brought with him the gravitas and the outrageous marketing skill to give Hublot powerful wings. The introduction of the Big Bang series was surefooted and spoke to the target audience everyone else had sought to avoid, loads of money sportsmen and rappers looking for something big, new, expensive and shiny.
Having successfully wooed this cash rich audience it was time to get serious. The MP collection was introduced in 2011 with the aim of producing high-end complication watches powered by amazing movements, By this time Hublot could afford not only the time and money for cutting edge research in mechanics and engineering, but also a special forces style team of 30 staff at the peak of their powers to work on the Grand Complications.
When the MP-01 was rolled out in January 2011 it was a watch quite unlike any other. It was barrel-shaped and made of titanium. It had a shaped chronograph movement with an incredible 10-day power reserve all down to not one, not two but three barrels working in harness to provide an impressive reservoir of stored energy. The watch was produced in a series of just 100 pieces and it was snapped up in the blink of an eye.
Two years later, at Baselworld 2013, Hublot launched the MP-02 known as the “Key of Time”. The watch is produced in three versions, the Regular, a micro-blasted titanium case with multi-layered matte black PVD, The Titanium, satin finished and micro-blasted titanium and a version Hublot call King Gold, which is gold with 5% platinum.
The key to this watch – no pun intended – is the one thing top celebrities, sportsmen and moguls lack – time. There is never enough of it. There’s an abundance of money, an abundance of information, an unending number of exciting opportunites but never enough time. Often defined as the true luxury of our age, the MP02 Key of Time time features a three-position crown, which enables the wearer to enables to control the speed at which the hours and minutes pass.
Position 1: Slows down time, or more accurately slows down the speed of the watch hands, dividing time by 4, so that one real time hour is displayed as just a quarter of an hour on the MP-02 Key of Time timepiece.
Position 2: This is ‘real’ time, time as we know it, moving at normal hand speed, telling the time as “standard”, so that one real time hour is precisely one hour on the MP-02 Key of Time.
Position 3: Then for those occasions when the minutes seem like hours and the hours seem like days, you can opt for position three and simply accelerate the hand speed, multiplying time by four, so that everything appears to go four times faster, particularly useful for political debates and arguments with your girlfriend about money. In this position, a real time quarter of an hour is shown as one hour on the Key of Time display.
Happy moments and weekends last four times longer while tedious times pass four times more quickly, always with the option to simply to return to real time at any time.
Three indicators in a star arrangement on the dial indicate the current speed of time, just so you avoid any confusion and find yourself in a time warp. The hands readjust to real time thanks to a mechanical memory integrated into the movement. Not only that, there’s a vertical flying tourbillon cage, with a seconds indicator. The movement is the HUB 9002, with 512 components.
The watch was released in extremely limited numbers; just 20 in the titanium version and 10 in the King Gold, each piece being individually numbered on the case back. And the price for the innovative piece of whimsy? They will only tell you when you make a serious inquiry. And that’s assuming you can get your hands on one.