Hublot’s new Classic Fusion High Jewellery is blinged-out to the ninesTom Austin
- Hublot’s new Classic Fusion High Jewellery 42mm features 431 gleaming baguette-cut diamonds, totalling 14.6 carats.
- Reinterpreted in 18k white gold, the Classic Fusion is turned up a notch, blending high horology with artisanal handcraft and material tech.
- Limited to 50 pieces and pushing the limits of gem-setting, the High Jewellery line returns to disrupt the brand’s most subtle offering.
If one thing is for certain in watches, it’s that you can rely on Hublot to rock the boat. Since its inception in 1980, the brand has managed to cause a scene in the Swiss watch industry multiple times, seemingly hell-bent on tearing down convention and terrorising the old guard. While they have been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism, Hublot continue to hammer home their unremitting message of boldness and vivaciousness. Despite the cultural headwinds, Hublot can comfortably operate within their target demographic, and their ongoing success with that deserves to be commended. For 2023, Hublot’s High Jewellery line returns with the Classic Fusion, a watch integral to their history, marking a reoccurrence of the brand being the playful upstart, and delivering something they know will resonate with the kinds of buyers for watches like these. It’s important to remember that as a brand, Hublot don’t have to impress everyone in the watch scene, merely needing to appeal to a niche audience, which has been the cornerstone of the brand’s prosperity over the years.
The Hublot Classic Fusion High Jewellery 42mm perfectly captures this ethos. Limited to 50 pieces, it’s a dazzling display of gem-setting quality and is crammed with different materials. The original Fusion case faithfully remains, sized at 42mm and crafted in 18k white gold. Embellished with 94 baguette-cut diamonds, it leaves the softly curved case flanks on show. Sitting atop the case is a white gold bezel set with 60 diamonds – nice and simple. Finishing the watch off is a rubber-lined leather strap, matched with a diamond-encrusted buckle, and a titanium folding clasp.
All of these components make for an excellently matched set of materials, while loud and shouty, still remaining refined and well-thought-out. The dial is a sea of diamonds, naturally. Bursting from the centre, 241 baguettes adorn it, with 18 white gold and diamond-set hour markers. There’s no lume here, presumably because the diamonds are bright enough as is. Although it has to be said, legibility isn’t exactly high on the agenda, I suppose it doesn’t have to be really. If you’re wearing this watch, it stands a chance you’re never really late for anything, and generally, people are probably happy to wait for you.
If you can draw your eyes away from the dazzling dial and flip the watch over, through the sapphire caseback you’ll find the HUB1710 calibre, an automatic movement based on the Zenith Elite 670. Subtle modifications have been added to personalise it for Hublot’s use, but aside from that it remains unchanged. It benefits from a 50-hour power reserve, 27 jewels and a silicon escape wheel and pallet lever. It is in fact a date-function movement, however a date window would indeed disrupt that clean, symmetrical dial, so it has been omitted on this version. The base movement itself is solid and dependable, albeit relatively old, as it was introduced in 1994. It would perhaps have been nice to have seen Hublot implement something a little more contemporary for such a high-end model. There has always been room for improvement with the Classic Fusion, and it’s getting to the time when we need to see it. With that said, there are some subtle changes to the movement to align it better with the watch’s overall colour, or perhaps the lack thereof. Almost all of the visible gold-toned components have been removed and replaced with silver-toned parts, and the baseplates and bridges have been plated in a slate grey colour. Lastly, the rotor weight has been signified with Hublot’s “H” logo. Altogether these changes make for a subtle attention to detail which makes it worthy of an exhibition caseback.
The High Jewellery line has been intrinsic to Hublot’s success. While to some, on the surface it may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, and let’s face it, there are limited people who could pull this off this side of an international football star, spending 200 hours setting 431 dazzling diamonds into a white gold watch case is no easy task. It blurs the line between watchmaking and contemporary jewellery, creating a statement piece which stands for a lot in the Hublot catalogue. Especially so for the Classic Fusion, a watch that started it all for the company, and caused a stir in the 1980s. Hublot’s back to doing it all over again, offering the Classic Fusion in a divisive, but still a sure-fire hit style.
Hublot Classic Fusion High Jewellery price and availability
The Hublot Classic Fusion High Jewellery 2023 is available now via Hublot boutiques. Price: US$348,000
|Model||Classic Fusion High Jewellery 42mm|
|Case Dimensions||42mm (D) x 10.5mm (T)|
|Case Material||18k white gold|
|Water Resistance||30 metres|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire front and back|
|Dial||Polished 18k white gold, set with 241 baguettes|
|Strap||Rubber-lined leather strap|
|Movement||HUB1710, Zenith Elita 670 base, automatic, silicon escapement|
|Power Reserve||50 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds|