Known for its seriously tough timepieces, up until now Hublot’s relationships have been suitably macho, hooking up with the likes of Manchester United, Miami Heat and Formula 1. But while these may appeal – very successfully – on a tribal level, Hublot is now turning to a modern man’s love of craftsmanship rather than just performance and has joined forces with luxury menswear brand Berluti in a project – appropriately enough – with its Classic Fusion range.
The Paris-based label was founded in 1895, and gained a reputation for selling footwear to the glamorously well-shod of Europe and America, including Marcel Proust, Jean Cocteau and Frank Sinatra. Perhaps its most celebrated client was Andy Warhol – one of Berluti’s best-sellers is still the Andy loafer, designed for the artist.
Today Berluti’s reputation for leather remains unsurpassed and it has now turned its hand to creating limited-edition straps and dials for Hublot’s Classic Fusion, with black leather for the black ceramic model and tobacco-coloured leather for the rose gold. The label’s trademark Venezia leather is treated in the same way as it would be for, say, an Andy loafer, from the patterning and patination to the cutting and the assembly.
The black model’s strap features the Berluti Gaspard slash, which is a deliberate evocation of the potential beauty of the flaw, while the tobacco is engraved with a design inspired by 18th-century calligraphy – another Berluti signature classic. In both cases the process is done by hand, meaning that each strap and dial is unique. The watches themselves come in matching presentation boxes that are objects of beauty in their own right – and as Keats says, a thing of beauty is a joy for ever.