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LVMH Swiss Watch Manufactures Exhibition
Hublot  - A feminine art of fusion

Hublot A feminine art of fusion

A new Big Bang Integral, new rainbow-set pieces, a Gold Crystal limited edition: Hublot had plenty to tell during the LVMH Watch Week. Their CEO tells us more about ladies' timepieces, and men’s too.

What is your approach to ladies' watchmaking?

We sell around 20% of our watches to women even though we don't have a dedicated collection. I wish it were 30 or 40 but we've built our brand on a strong identity and it happens to be masculine; by its concept and its materials. So we've managed to put a feminine touch on our collection by applying our Art of Fusion concept, using materials and colors that have brought us a fair amount of success. We've done denim, embroidering, multicolored, gem-setting… all within our existing ranges.

A feminine art of fusion

Spirit of Big Bang Rainbow © David Chokron/Worldtempus

Will you ever create a range dedicated to women?

No. We'll bring women to consider our products by making them more feminine. We address a clientèle that already has considerable horological experience, women who get a crush on our watches because they're unlike anything else out there. We would have to tell a story and support a ladies' collection with a muse or an ambassador. But we didn't take that road, we didn't choose an incredible top model or actress to represent us.

How do you get the message across to that audience?

We have friends of the brand. We favor women who have accomplished something exceptional. Mostly they're athletes like the American soccer player Alex Morgan, the English sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, the Dutch track and field athlete Dafne Schippers and tennis players like Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina. They don't do advertising for us, we'd rather include them in our events and social media strategy.

Is there a country, a market where Hublot is stronger with women?

Russia is a special market for us, because women represent 45% of our business there. That of course includes men who buy for ladies, and also women with mature tastes, who are sophisticated and who buy for themselves. For example, we did a 50-piece limited turquoise Sang Bleu edition that quickly sold out.

Hublot has something special to say when it comes to watchmaking. How does that translate into the language of feminine watches?

After the rainbow-set, multicolored and embroidered timepieces, we made pink, blue and transparent sapphire cases within the One Click collection. We've sold a total of 300 of them. Women have taken over sapphire as a precious material rather than a technical one. Several entrepreneur have bought those sapphire timepieces, with hefty prices, which shows that successful women know to come to us.

L'art de la fusion au féminin

Spirit of Big Bang Meca 10 © David Chokron/Worldtempus

Do you sell many complicated watches to women?

We've explored a ladies' tourbillon series in the past. But I've decided we should bring added value through materials rather than mechanics, although that could change… The fact is, we're a brand apart when it comes to complications. Just a tourbillon is just not us. But doing a ladies' version of a typical Hublot complication, like the MP-11 and its 14-day power reserve, wouldn't work.

L'art de la fusion au féminin

Big Bang MP 11 Green Saxem © Hublot

Even if said timepieces are heavily gem-set?

Those pieces are bought by men. In our sector, the baguette-cut full-set watches beyond the 500'000 € mark are actually men's watches. Ladies would go for a full-set piece but it would be with round diamonds.

So which is the collection that would best serve women's needs?

There's a perfect line for that: One Click. With its quick strap change system, it can be animated and constantly renewed with an entire collection of straps: manchette, fur, or sheepskin which is hip in the winter. 

Regarding the Big Bang Integral, what was the need for that product at a time when the field of bracelet watches is more crowded than ever?

You have to go where there's a challenge. A bracelet is a complicated matter because it offers very little creative leeway. And we've been working on this one for three years. But Hublot has come to a point where its maturity, its size, its strength as a brand allows us to go for that experiment. And we've done it in earnest: we've started with the bracelet and then designed the case according to that design. It’s a qualitative growth driver for us. Our current size doesn't allow us to significantly grow our production. But this segment can bring us value. Yet our fundamental strap will remain the rubber one.

L'art de la fusion au féminin

Classic Fusion Gold Crystal © David Chokron/Worldtempus

Are you feeling cramped?

Our manufacture areas, both buildings, are full. I want to dedicate a third one to the manufacturing of special materials, like ceramics. Not necessarily in order to regroup all of our components there. For instance, black ceramics are mostly standard issue and we use really large amounts of them. It would be on specific, high added-value pieces like we do for Ferrari or our red ceramics. But these are big investments and they also skill-intensive

A feminine art of fusion

Big Bang Integral © Hublot

Since you mentioned Ferrari, are you going to follow on their footsteps, with the split they made in their range by introducing the GT named Roma?

We already have our Classic Fusion Ferrari GT, which has been designed by them. It's the vision of their creative director Flavio Manzoni. It's elegant, smooth and very GT.

 

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The brand

From the outset, Hublot has embodied design and innovation that differ markedly from the established watchmaking order. With the impetus provided by Jean-Claude Biver, by 2004 these values had already become the basis of a new DNA, leading the brand, which is currently headed by Ricardo Guadalupe - its CEO since 2012, to develop particularly audacious timepieces – most of them with a highly-developed sporting aspect.

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