This is ‘Time Spent With,’ a monthly series where our Editor-in-Chief, Scarlett Baker, trials the broad scope of the watch world, spending time with a different watch each month, from the unique perspective of a self-confessed watch rookie. This week, discover the story behind Hublot’s Classic Fusion Black Magic Bracelet Diamonds model.
There’s a lot to say about diamonds. Most significantly, in the history books, it’ll tell you they’ve long been a girl’s best friend. Historians chronicle that in the early 1570’s, Queen Elizabeth I received a pendant watch “fullie garnished with diamonds, and an appendant of diamonds hanging thereat.” Perhaps that’s why I’ve always deterred from looking at encrusted timepieces in an attempt to defy, in my own internal protest, histories preconditioned values between gender and dress. I surprised myself, therefore, at the choosing of this month’s watch: the Hublot Classic Fusion Black Magic Bracelet Diamonds 38mm. It is, for the most part, distinguished by diamonds.
Growing up with a father who had a penchant for audacious models, opposed to heritage classics, Hublot somewhat a hallmark name in my household. It meant bold and dramatic, and would often result in me parading around the kitchen in my Dad’s Big Bang, clutching at it dearly so it wouldn’t fall off my wrist.
This iteration of Hublot, while vastly different to the experiences of my tweens, was politely noisy in its own unique way. Enticed by the name, the ‘Black Magic Bracelet,’ I was half expecting to conjure up an invocation of evil spirits whilst I wore it on my wrist, but I’m happy to confirm that my spell with the watch only brought the most benevolent kind of magic. So much so that I even had three people compliment me on it at the cashier.
As an avid jewellery wearer, to the point where my ring and bracelets are somewhat a second skin on my body, very rarely escaping my wrists or fingers, the motions and manoeuvres of everyday life give character to the metallic bands. A scratch almost becomes part of their story. But when it comes to a watch – and partly why my high impact Baby-G takes up a space on my arm almost daily – the thought of a scratch sends a shiver through my entire central nervous system. That’s not to say these investment pieces aren’t to be worn, after all, they deserve to see the light of day beyond the box in all their artisanal splendour, but the ceramic composition of the Hublot Classic Fusion meant that I could not only give my wrist a new personality, without worry about my own clumsy personality superseding it.
For Hublot, materials are an integral part of design. Detouring from steel bracelets, and the more conventional metal fastenings that you find on a Rolex or a Cartier, Hublot positions the materiality of the model as high on the agenda as the dial – the canvas of the watch, if you will, while the case acts as the frame. They compliment their design, while protecting the delicate mechanisms inside that allow, through such delicate entanglements, time to do its ticking. On my wrist this week, a satin-finished and polished black ceramic case was in the spotlight, an ultra-tough and almost entirely scratch-proof material with a base of zirconium, sintered at very high temperatures. To spare you from pulling out your periodic table, zirconium is a metal that is malleable and ductile, and highly resistant to corrosion. In essence, this haute piece won’t crack.
While Hublot brands its own identity as “a complete departure from conventions,” I was intrigued by the title of the watch, the Classic Fusion and its origins. Launched at Baselworld – what I like to think of as the Met Gala of the watch world – in 2008, the Classic Fusion is a modern interpretation of the brand’s first designs since its inception in 1980, under the eyes of Italian entrepreneur, Carlo Crocco. It offers a streamlined, yet effective approach, with a refined profile, than let’s say the Big Bang or the Spirit of Big Bang that literally scream “Hi! Look at me.” Marking itself as a unisex model – which I applaud for the dissociation with gendered models – it embodies the attitude of the brand called ‘the Art of Fusion.’
What is the art of fusion I hear you ask? “It’s [a] strong personality emerged through the blend of materials and in the characteristic design of its bezel with 12 titanium screws, inspired by a ship’s porthole (a ‘hublot’ in French‘).” Notably, it is the screw-filled bezel that sets the tone for the brand and makes it noticeable, even to the rookies amongst us what is a Hublot, and what is not.
A brand functioning on hybridity, taking the history of watchmaking and reconfiguring it with a heavy emphasis on aesthetics. I felt this same sense of hybridity when wearing it; adventurous, but subtly so. It’s not the loudest watch in the room, but it certainly has its own voice and can hold its own. With 36 diamonds, totalling 1.20 carats, my time spent with this Hublot model made me realise that, much like a diamond, transparent and pure of motive, there is genuine spirit within the brand to carve out a space in the horological world where style is an aesthete to be not only cherished, but challenged beyond tradition. Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but there’s no reason why they can’t be everyone’s too.