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The Millennium Watch Book
Hublot - King Power 48MM Oceanographic 4000

Hublot King Power 48MM Oceanographic 4000

Hublot's Baptism

The King Power 48mm Oceanographic 4000 is a rather unusual piece that’s mostly escaped collectors’ attention for several reasons. The first of these is that Hublot wasn’t — and isn’t — a dive watch brand. The firm sponsors just about everything that moves on land, including soccer, but hasn’t ventured much beneath the waves. When it does leave terra firma, it’s usually afloat, even if its name (the French for ‘porthole’) does encompass the world of diving as well as seafaring. 

Another factor is that the timepiece in question has had no off-spring. Despite opening up several interesting technical avenues of development, it’s remained in splendid isolation. Then, too, Hublot didn’t really pull off the feat of being “first, unique, and different” here as it has done elsewhere: watches allowing dives to depths of 4,000 metres or more were already available. Unkind souls may also note that the watch was launched 6 June 2011 as part of a partnership with a research project dubbed the Deep Sea Conference — and that a Rolex watch bears the same name. The comparison ends there, however: the 48-millimetre King Power Oceanographic 4000 is a Hublot through and through. 

King Power 48MM Oceanographic 4000

King Power 48 mm Oceanographic 4000 © Hublot

Hublot’s style signature is palpable everywhere you look: the six functional screws in their traditional locations to secure the bezel; the sharp-edged, angular case; the integrated strap (in rubber; what else?); the celebrated in-house One-Click interchange system; the protective side ‘ear’ lug at 9 o’clock; and so on. 

Innovative Materials 

That said, some of Hublot’s customary features are all the more surprising when found on a dive watch: the use of titanium and, even more unexpectedly, carbon fibre, and indeed composite fibre for the side lugs and inlays. Steel is generally preferred for dive watches, being seen as the best compromise when it comes to withstanding pressure, wear, and corrosion, as well as being easy to machine; titanium has the annoying tendency to catch fire when being machined by any but the most skilled of technicians. Nevertheless, titanium can work for a dive watch designed for such great depths, provided the case is single-piece — a criterion Hublot duly took into account for its subsequent King Gold version. 

King Power 48MM Oceanographic 4000

King Power 48 mm Oceanographic 4000 © Hublot

The fact is that combining a range of materials on a single watch is always a risky business when it’s destined to descend to great depths: each material responds in a different way to torque and compression amid changes in critical variables such as temperature and above all, the pressure exerted by the water column. Another incidental feature is that the piece is one of the very few Hublots to feature a pin buckle. Professional dive watches with interchangeable straps are few and far between too: expert divers don’t usually bother with such frills and fancies, especially if they risk falling foul of the ISO 6525 standard requirement for strand of the bracelet to withstand a pulling force of some 20 kilogrammes.

The watch is certified as being water resistant to 4,000 metres, but has in fact been tested to 5,000 metres in the laboratory. That puts it (more or less) in line with industry standards, which require the displayed characteristics to allow for an additional margin of 20%. This performance is made possible by a sapphire crystal no less than 6.5 millimetres thick and a screw-in caseback to the rear. The King Power 48mm Oceanographic 4000 is rare, atypical and a Hublot oddity. 

This year GMT Magazine and WorldTempus have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the divers watch since 2000 in The Millennium Watch Book - Divers watch, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book - Divers watch is available in both French and English here:

 

 

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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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