FRIDAY WIND DOWN: At the World Cup with Hublot, final ChaosMaster Save Us Koala Edition available for purchase FRIDAY WIND DOWN: At the World Cup with Hublot, final ChaosMaster Save Us Koala Edition available for purchase

FRIDAY WIND DOWN: At the World Cup with Hublot, final ChaosMaster Save Us Koala Edition available for purchase

Luke Benedictus

By the pool at Villa Hublot, a palatial mansion on the Persian Gulf coast, the French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly is sitting at the corner of the bar drinking a glass of red wine. As a DJ spins upbeat house tunes to usher in the sunset, a waiter circulates among the guests with a tray of Cuban cigars. When I accept one, he advises that it might pair rather well with a glass of Scotch. “What a good idea,” I reply.

The World Cup in Qatar isn’t meant to look like this. But then Hublot have always delighted in doing things differently, ever since Hublot founder Carlo Crocco shocked the industry by daring to put a gold watch on a utilitarian rubber strap. The brand’s decision to get involved in football – they first partnered with the Swiss national football team back in 2006 – was also bold. Although the beautiful game was the world’s biggest spectator sport by far, luxury brands shied away from it, fearing that it was too mass-market for their high-end image. But Hublot realised the sport could be a gamechanger. “We saw the power of football for accelerating our brand awareness.” Ricardo Guadalupe, the brand’s Managing Director explains.

Hublot became the official timekeeper for the 2008 European Championships and followed up with similar roles at every World Cup since in South Africa (2010), Brazil (2014), Russia (2018) and now the current tournament in Qatar. Nor did they miss out on the game’s individual superstars either. Football’s greatest legends – Pele and the late Diego Maradona – were signed as Hublot ambassadors, while France’s Kylian Mbappe, the sport’s rising star, was snapped up last year.

What they’ve won in the process is phenomenal brand exposure. During this World Cup, FIFA project more than 5 billion people will tune into the action and Hublot will be lodged in their peripheral vision. The digital boards held by the match officials to signal extra time and player substitutions are not only emblazoned with the Hublot brand name, they’re also designed to physically resemble the distinctive case shape of the Big Bang.  “Billions of people have seen this board and they now know that Hublot is a watch brand,” Guadalupe says.

But this World Cup, Hublot is enjoying even more attention. Their boards that show extra time are now being scrutinised with greater fascination because of the unprecedented amount of time being added on – England’s 6-2 win against Iran, for example, had 24 minutes of stoppage time. This is down a new FIFA directive to ensure all “unnatural lost time” is added at the end of each half. So much for football being a 90-minute game.

In addition, Hublot is also benefitting from the fact that the number of permitted substitutions has increased by 66%. “We see, of course, an increase in the visibility of the boards compared to the last World Cup in Russia because having five changes instead of three changes for players gives us more visibility,” Guadalupe explains to me by the pool..

Completing a hat-trick of unexpected wins for Hublot is the fact that Doha is a prohibitively expensive host city for a World Cup. The extortionate price of beer ($20 a pint), accommodation and transport mean that the Qatar World Cup has sadly priced out most of the customary fan-base. The ones who can attend therefore tend to be far more cashed up than the usual football crowd and thus more aligned with Hublot’s target market. Consequently, Guadalupe admits that the brand’s sales in their Doha boutiques have rocketed and are currently “four to five times more than they were last month”.

Forever clouded by Qatar’s human rights record and the idiocy of the game’s governing body, there’s no doubt the 2022 tournament will go down as the most controversial World Cup in history. But that was FIFA’s decision not Hublot’s. The brand showed characteristic audacity to launch themselves into football, now their gamble is paying off in style.

Handing it back over to Zach now – have a great weekend and enjoy the football!


Watch meme of the week: Egging on the patina

There is no right or wrong answer, but in my opinion forcing a patina on your watch is the horological equivalent of buying pre-ripped jeans. The romance of bronze cases is that they develop a character unique to your wear experience, aging as you yourself age. To let your watch stew in a sealed bag with a hardboiled egg is hardly a wonderful origin story for the patina of a case. Not only is the patinated character of the case fishy in how it developed, but definitely in how the watch will smell the week after you pull it out of the bag.

Wrist shot of the week: Sleeve and Seiko synergy

Firstly, this Seiko 5 Sports ref. SBSS015 is a very interesting looking piece. The timing bezel has some funky flair to it, and the jubilee-inspired bracelet paired with a squared yet roundedly chamfered case is a total vibe. But, rounding out the look is the seemingly 1:1 colour-matched sweater sleeve to the watch. Very sharp shot, and certainly a blue beaut of a watch as well.

Time+Tide Shop select of the week: Nivada Grenchen x seconde/seconde/ x Time+Tide ChaosMaster Save Us Koala Edition

The main release of the ChaosMaster Editions asked: how do you respond to a world turned upside down? Are you spun out? Are you fine? Are you fantastic? This final ChaosMaster model, called the Save Us Koala Edition makes the concept even more literal, by planting a koala on the seconds / chronograph hand, and having them cling on for dear life when it is activated.

In highlighted letters in the text on the dial, you can read “Save Us”. This references Australia’s diminished koala population, which was so badly affected by the bushfires that destroyed much of their habitat in January 2020. We have a connection to this event as we held a “Watch & Act” Auction that raised $250,000 for various bushfire recovery related services – now we’re revisiting the mission, and continuing to support our wildlife by donating 10% of all “Save Us” Koala Edition sales to the ongoing koala repopulation effort.

The base for this creative collision is the function-packed Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver. It was originally released in 1963 with a form nearly identical to what we see from its re-release. But while the original sported a variety of movements, including Valjoux, Landeron and Venus, the modern interpretation is powered by the excellent, hand-wound Sellita SW500.

The Nivada Grenchen x Time+Tide x seconde/seconde/ Chaosmaster Save Us Koala Edition will only be available this weekend. You can head to the T+T Shop here to purchase. Price: US$1995 (plus taxes)

Brand Nivada Grenchen
Model Chaosmaster x Time+Tide x seconde/seconde/ Save Us Koala Edition
Case Dimensions 38mm x 46.60mm x 13.75mm
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal
Dial Black dial
Strap Tropic-style rubber strap
Movement Sellita SW510 M BH b
Price $1995 USD plus taxes

Our favourite Time+Tide coverage of the week:

T+T Holiday Picks: By popular demand – the best watches to gift under $500 (2022 Edition)

The holiday season is upon us, which means it may be the time you are looking to buy a watch – whether as a gift for yourself or for a family member, friend or that special someone in your life. To make your life easier, the Time+Tide came together with their favourite picks in the under $1000 segment, under $3000 segment, under $5000 segment, under $10000 segment, and under $20000 segment. But, we got a lot of messages asking us for picks under $500. So, by popular demand, the team has once again assembled – picking the best watches under US$500. You can find the team’s picks here.

Dialled Up: Six watch dial finishes that will change the personality of your watch

Chances are that the first thing that grabs your attention about a watch is its dial. No matter how nice the movement inside, or even how suitable the dimensions are for your wrist, the dial first and foremost makes or breaks the deal in the eyes of consumers. And, one of the main topics in that conversation is how that watch dial is finished. Dial finishes can really dictate and distinguish how a dial is read and received. Ricardo walks you through some of the most common dial finishes, and how each can change the personality of a watch. Read the full story here.

HANDS-ON: The Hublot Big Bang Unico Summer Purple embodies the best of the brand



With their mastery of materials, Hublot is an industry leader in case construction and colour variation. And, you know they have exciting products when a watch like the Big Bang Unico Essential Grey is considered a conservative offering. The Hublot Big Bang Unico Summer Purple, on the other hand, embodies the best of the brand, and is distinctly Hublot from a mile away. Read or watch the full hands-on review here.