EVENT: Hublot rallies for Australia at the Ashes 2017-18 with a limited edition all-rounder EVENT: Hublot rallies for Australia at the Ashes 2017-18 with a limited edition all-rounder

EVENT: Hublot rallies for Australia at the Ashes 2017-18 with a limited edition all-rounder

Melissa Pearce

Michael Clarke loves that Hublot loves cricket. And three years into their sponsorship of the International Cricket Council, Hublot has definitively put its hand on its green and gold heart with its latest partnership with Cricket Australia for the Ashes Series 2017-18 (23 November – 8 January).

Clarke, himself, steered two Ashes series as Australian captain and was the last man to lead the Aussies to an Ashes victory on home soil, the history-making 5-0 triumph in 2013-14.

Prior to leading an exclusive lunch at the SCG’s Members Pavilion to celebrate the global unveiling of a special limited edition Hublot Classic Fusion Ashes Chronograph, a beaming Clarke took to the mic.

Joel Ruiz, Hublot’s Australia/New Zealand brand manager, and Hublot ambassador Michael Clarke each made speeches ahead of the launch lunch.

“What better team can Australia ask for to partner up with in regards cricket?” he asked, steps from the shade of the Members Reserve seats. “Hublot wants to be the best they can possibly be. I think it’s a really positive stepping stone for our game to be able to be aligned with a luxury brand that sits at the top of their tree.”

Hublot’s cricket endeavours are going from stride to stride. The watch, which is capped at 32 pieces to represent the number of series won by each side throughout the history of the Ashes, is to be promoted by a new advertising campaign, fronted by Clarke, who became Hublot’s first Australian ambassador in 2014. It was same year that Hublot, always fond of doing things first, made a landmark luxury entry into cricket, simultaneously announcing their sponsorship of the International Cricket Council, to become the body’s official timekeeper.

The muted grey aesthetic of the Hublot Classic Fusion Ashes Chronograph, in line with the Ashes theme, is expressed on the wrist in polished and satin finished titanium, grey dial and strap.

That outing saw two limited edition Classic Fusion Aero Chronographs with distinctive red and white leather straps, and several cricket salutes. The main cricket nods remain – hands in the shape of a bat and a triple appliqué at 12 o’clock to refer to the stumps – but the triple white saddle stitching on the calfskin and rubber strap is a variation on the earlier strap’s homage to cricket ball surfaces; and the case-back now bears the Ashes series logo. Most significant is the muted grey colour scheme.

The tonal choice was a highlight in Clarke’s eyes, as he took a quick break to tell us about the watch before dashing off to another function.

T+T: What do you like most about this special edition’s design?
MC: It’s very specific to the game of cricket and the Ashes, but for me, I love the colour. It’s a watch you can wear every day. It’s very versatile.

Have you found cricketers have certain watch leanings? Is there a type of watch cricketers love?
You’re not just spending your time in sports gear, there are many things you do as a professional sportsman; you’re in a suit a lot with media commitments. I think generally the boys like to have a couple of different watches, and it might even be the band that is the deciding factor more than the actual watch — something that’s not restrictive when you’re hot and sweaty when you’ve finished training. And then when you go home and put your suit on for a function you’ve got a classy piece as well. Certainly, as an Australian cricketer, you’re travelling in a suit, you do media in a suit, and you go to functions in a suit. So, for me, if I was travelling I would wear the day-to-day watch I was wearing and take a dressier watch for my suits.

You were saying in your speech that you’ve noticed the guys in Australian cricket are getting more into Hublot. Do you think you can take any credit for that growing interest?
Oh, no! Hublot’s marketing team deserves the credit. It’s their associations with some of the greatest sporting teams in the world. And Hublot’s pieces speak for themselves because they are absolutely quality.

What can we look forward to this Ashes?
I think we’re in for a big summer. There’s no doubt about it. There’s been a big build up to this Ashes series. A lot of talk about selections, about the women’s team’s fantastic job winning the Ashes. That puts a bit of pressure on the Aussie guys now to make sure they follow in those footsteps. I’m excited about having the chance to commentate this Ashes series and cheer the Aussies on. Hopefully we will be seeing some really entertaining cricket from both teams, but I’d be lying if I stood here and said I didn’t want Australia to win.

Hublot Classic Fusion Ashes Chronograph Australian pricing

Hublot Classic Fusion Ashes Chronograph, limited to 32 pieces, $16,200