From MDM Genève to Hublot Nyon
Hublot's origins are in the MDM Genève brand that was established by Italian Carlo Crocco, a member of the Crocco family behind the Binda Group, which owns the Italian brand Breil. In 1976, Crocco left the family company to branch out on his own, setting up MDM Genève and presenting his first watch under the new brand in 1980. It was called "Hublot", from the French word for porthole. The MDM in the company name stood for "Main dans la main" ("hand in hand"), which was also the name of Carlo Crocco's personal charitable foundation. In the early years of the 21st century, Crocco sought to hand over the reins of his company so that he could concentrate on his charitable work. Enter Jean-Claude Biver, who moved from his position at Omega to Hublot to start work on a project that would become the company's flagship collection: The Big Bang.
The first Big Bang was presented in 2015 and just three years later the LVMH group acquired Hublot from Carlo Crocco and a company controlled by Jean-Claude Biver. The Nyon-based brand thus joined TAG Heuer and Zenith as part of the LVMH group's watchmaking division. Since its acquisition, the company has expanded rapidly at its Nyon base, adding a second manufacturing building, with plans for a third already in the pipeline.
The Art of Fusion
As a young brand, Hublot was able to carve out its own niche in the watch industry, free of the constraints of the decades of history of its peers. Jean-Claude Biver thus came up with the idea of fusion in watch design, combining prestigious materials such as gold and ceramic with more lightweight and high-tech ones like carbon fibre, titanium, tantalum and even aluminium, pairing them with a rubber strap. Embodied in the modular construction of the Big Bang case, the art of fusion offered numerous possibilities for combining many different types of material. The brand's intensive research into materials has also led to the development of a patented process for producing bright-red ceramic - a colour that had hitherto been impossible to replicate in the high-pressure process for manufacturing ceramic. Having started to use ceramic only for the bezel, the company developed the expertise to produce the entire watch case in ceramic.
Gold: at Hublot it's magic and fit for a king
Hublot has also innovated in the use of a precious metal such as gold, for which it offers two different varieties for its watches: King Gold has a higher percentage of copper in the alloy for a deeper shade of red, while Magic Gold is the world's first scratchproof gold alloy, produced in-house in Hublot's own foundry in Nyon.
After the success of the Big Bang and the concept of fusion, Hublot has more recently added more classic designs to its collection with the Classic Fusion models. These keep the signature elements of the original Big Bang design but use somewhat smaller case sizes and a more understated combination of materials. They have also seen the use of movements supplied from Zenith, another brand in the LVMH watchmaking stable.
In the spirit of offering numerous combinations of different materials and colours, the brand has also introduced a "One-Click" system for interchangeable bracelets. Using this system, rubber straps on certain models can swapped, as the name suggests, at the push of a buton. Although the straps are interchangeable, they retain the integrated look of the original Big Bang models. This is not the only way in which the company has innovated in the world of watch straps, however. It was the first to offer straps in denim and sheepskin, as well as straps featuring classic fabrics used in tailoring.
Unico - the first Hublot manufacture movement
The rapid expansion of its premises in Nyon has allowed Hublot to install the machines required for the production of its own in-house movement, the Unico. The Unico has been developed into various versions, including a chronograph and a 10-day power reserve.
Pushing the boundaries in the industry
At the extreme end of the power reserve scale, the company's in-house research and development department broke the record for the biggest power reserve in a watch by producing a movement with a 50-day power reserve. Hublot has also set records in terms of price, introducing successive Big Bang models set with diamonds that pushed the price past the limits first one million Swiss francs, then five, then 10. Unusually, the company does the diamond setting of its high-end models in-house at its workshop in Nyon.