40 years in the making, the new Hublot Classic Fusion models are a beautiful re-edition of the 1980’s Classic Original
Editor’s note: This is a Mind, Body & Soul review of the new Hublot Classic Fusion models. In addition to our standard long form reviews, we sometimes preview watches in the form of short descriptions, technical specifications and a creative infographic. These short form reviews, or Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) reviews as we like to call them, are meant for those who are in a rush and wish to get their watch fix fast. For our standard reviews, please head to our review section here.
What is it: Three new Hublot Classic Fusion models in Yellow gold, titanium and ceramic
Why: To mark Hublot’s 40th anniversary, based on the 1980 Classic Original
When released: September 2020
Where: Online for now, limited edition of 500 pieces overall spread across the three types
Who is it for: For the lovers of the brand, and for collectors who wish to own a new piece of old watchmaking history
How does it do: Very understated and minimalistic for the usually ultra flamboyant brand, they satisfactorily recreate — barring the MDM Geneva branding at 6’o clock, reduction by half to the number of screws on the bezel and the inclusion of a counter-weight on the second’s hand — the watches that got the world to sit up and notice the brand.
They remind us of why Hublot is where it is today and showcase the fabulous foundations that the modern Hublot watches are based on. Pure lines and simplicity rule this release. They also manage to marry the worlds of past and present by releasing these new versions with a mechanical movement.
Missing: As impressed as I am by the watches’ looks, the retention of the details from the original models, and the fact that the brand decided to go with a mechanical movement, it is the latter that lets down.
Why? Because beauty fades, but essence lasts. Like I said, in the looks department, they are stellar: simple, understated, classic, elegant.
But the mechanical movement is a borrowed, out-sourced Sellita SW300-1 movement. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the calibre SW300-1 or the brands that use it. It is, after all, a very trustworthy and reliable movement, hence its widespread use. But for a watch that marks an important anniversary, and is released by a brand that has the capability to manufacturer in-house movements, I personally would have liked them to go for a movement more exclusive.
I feel that Hublot for this specific special limited edition release should have gone for a completely in-house UNICO movement.
That said, to give credit where due, I do appreciate that Hublot has worked on the movement and not only made it better for date placement on larger dials such as the 45mm case of this release with their own in-house date module, but also finished it to higher Hublot standards and increased the power reserve from 38-hours to 42-hours.
The new Hublot Classic Fusion models are released in three references, with the only difference in specifications being the use of different case materials.
- The reference 511.VX.1280.RX.MDM40 is the satin-finished and polished 18K Yellow Gold version released in 100 pieces, retailing for 23’900 CHF, and my favourite of the lot given its close resemblance to the 1980’s Original
- The reference 511.NX.1270.RX.MDM40 is the satin-finished and polished titanium version released in 200 pieces and retailing for 7’900 CHF
- The reference 511.CX.1270.RX.MDM40 is the satin-finished and polished ceramic version, again released in 200 pieces and retailing for 9’900 CHF
All references feature the automatic winding calibre HUB1112 movement which is based on the Sellita SW300-1 which in turn is based on the epic ETA 2892. The 25.60mm diameter movement comprises of 21 jewels — as compared to SW300-1’s 25 jewels — and 63 components, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28,800 Vph), and offers a decent 42-hour power reserve.
The movement is encased inside a 45mm diameter and 10.95mm thick case with a water-resistance of 100m (10 ATM). The cases feature matching bezels with the iconic visible screws, an easily adjustable rubber — rubber just like the original — strap with a triple deployant clasp, and a sapphire crystal case-back with engravings.
The watch face shows the functions of hours, minutes, seconds and date — at 3’o clock — on an elegant and timeless black lacquered and polished dial that so beautifully acts as the backdrop for nothing but the pure essence of time. This display of almost poetic filtration of time is subtly assisted by the minimalistic presence of faceted hands, an appliqué Hublot, an H logo at 12’o clock, the counter-weight of the second’s hand and the small ‘Swiss-Made’ text at 6’o clock.
In the complex year that 2020 has been, this stunning, understated black dial is the sheer simplistic antidote to this craziness.
Frankly, I could summarise this review with two quotes. For most watch enthusiasts reading this, I believe that the new Hublot Classic Fusion models we are looking at today will bounce off between these two quotes, that mark the spectrum between ‘yet-another-limited-edition-re-edition-watch’ to ‘that-actually-does-make-sense-and-I-would-love-to-collect-it’.
On the corner end of the spectrum is the Sylvester Stallone quote that goes: “You know you’ve been around when they start to remake your own movies when you’re still alive”. Hublot is a young company, that’s not been around for as long as the big guns of the Swiss watch industry. Remaking a watch that was first launched a century ago inspires praise. Remaking a watch that been around for not even half that time may seem frivolous to some.
Then on the other end of this spectrum — coincidentally this is where my feelings about this release lie — is the second quote by another actor Liev Schreiber: “If you are going to remake a film, you may as well remake a classic”.
Watches, like movies these days, get their remakes or re-editions very frequently. Please someone put a stop to Batman and Spiderman reboots. Sorry I digress. Most watch brands, they take the opportunity of an anniversary or a special sports event or anything else and sort of justify a limited edition release. Sometimes these work, sometimes these don’t.
Remakes like in the cinematic universe are not always a good idea. But like the quote above, if a watch brand has to remake one of its watches, why not its own classic? Define classic you would say; after all, Hublot is a young company.
Well, how about a watch that redefined the very norm of wrist luxury, one that was truly disruptive before this word became the cornerstone of any and every company in existence? Jog down the memory lane and you will find that in 1980 Hublot founder Carlo Crocco introduced to the world of horology the concept of ‘Art of Fusion’ with the first watch brand that boldly combined the precious material of gold with a modern rubber strap. This started off a reaction that’s led to the introduction of the likes of Big Bang and the Spirit of Big Bang watches. So yes, I would say that the 1980 Classic Original is a classic watch and one that is the perfect timepiece to mark Hublot’s 40-year ascent.
And this is where the new Hublot Classic Fusion models inspired by the 1980 Classic Originals stand apart. Without needing crutches or excuses, they simply and quite remarkably mark the young and dynamic brand’s 40th anniversary with a remake that’s sure to impress the collectors.
I don’t think I often associate the word timeless with Hublot watches. Ahead of the game? Yes. Innovative? Yes. Unique? Yes. But timeless? Occasionally sure, but not always. With the release of the new Hublot Classic Fusion models, they force me to change the way I look at the brand. It may be flashy, but when it comes to the world of Haute Horlogerie, Hublot sure knows how to keep redefining. One step ahead, the brand is always innovating, whether be it by being the new Premier League Official Timekeeper or through the release of the new Hublot Big Bang e .
To me, they symbolise the best of the brand as per my personal watch tastes. Honestly, if I could afford to buy one of these, I would. With just the right measure of brand’s quirky DNA, the new Hublot Classic Fusion models are the living embodiment of stealth elegance.
To find out more about the new Hublot Classic Fusion models and other Hublot watches, please head to their website here. All images unless separately specified are courtesy © 2018 HUBLOT – ALL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS RESERVED.