The Hublot MP-13 combines signature brand style and haute horlogerie tech The Hublot MP-13 combines signature brand style and haute horlogerie tech

The Hublot MP-13 combines signature brand style and haute horlogerie tech

Fergus Nash

There aren’t many brands that are simultaneously as accomplished and as controversial as Hublot, with the snobbier side of watch enthusiasts being turned off by their mass of sporting sponsorships and hype-embracing business model. However, looking past the marketing and press conferences reveals a company of innovators and technical excellence, and with no range is that clearer than with the Masterpiece collection. Purpose-built to showcase their skills and industrial design, the MP-13 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Retrograde is just one more example of Hublot’s deserved place at the top.

The case

When it comes to watches which cost as much as houses, you can be sure that an equal amount of consideration went into its architecture. Despite being much chunkier, the case of the Hublot MP-13 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Retrograde really is an evolution of the first Hublot watch from 1980. The way the lugs slope down to meet the rubber strap integrates it beautifully for comfort, and the “ears” that jut out from either side are blackened for a more radical contrast. The large crown is black too, with thick ridges for easy grip.

The circular porthole bezel that Hublot are named after has actually been deformed for the MP-13, almost forming a spout at 6 o’clock and evoking a sense of surrealism. It’s a design element that instantly sets it apart from any other watches, and also allows for extra room for the bi-axis tourbillon. This detail also requires a very strange shape of sapphire crystal, but Hublot are no strangers to working with sapphire. In terms of size, the dimensions certainly match the bravado of its personality. A diameter of 44mm meets a thickness of 16.7mm, but the case being made from titanium helps to reduce the weight as well as impart a darkened hue.

The dial

Sometimes an overly complex dial can look incredible from an aesthetic point of view, but owners may struggle to actually read the time. Skeletonisation is one of the main ways to achieve that look, but the MP-13 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Retrograde is actually centred around legibility. It may take some time to get used to reading a clock this way, but the minutes and hours have been split across two registers with retrograde hands stretching to each. This means that the minute hand will begin at 00 and make its way across to 59, before instantly snapping back to 00 as the new hour begins. The hour hand does the same, albeit 12 times slower, with an instantaneous jump at the top of each hour.

Adding to the functionality of the dial is a power reserve indicator with each index on from the red section representing 24 hours of power remaining, but the real focus of the dial is the giant tourbillon cage, twisting and turning. The function of a tourbillon is to reduce the effect of gravity on the balance spring by rotating it constantly, allowing equal force to be distributed in two dimensions. A bi-axis tourbillon goes a step further by rotating in the third dimension as well, in theory extending that function even more. It’s debatable whether they actually make a difference in timekeeping for a wristwatch which would be moved around as you wear it, but they make for a fascinating and dynamic display of technical achievement either way.

The strap

The Hublot MP-13 uses an integrated rubber strap, in typical Hublot style. The black rubber is ridged for a sportier look, and the black works with the overall colour scheme of the watch. The deployant buckle is made of solid titanium, matching the colour of the case and keeping the overall weight down for more comfort.

The movement

There isn’t too much about the movement to be said which can’t be seen from the dial side, but the HUB6200 is certainly an impressive engineering feat. Retrograde complications are intricate and delicate, so to revolve the main functionality of the dial around two of them is quite brave. The inclusion of a four-day power reserve is a welcome one, and the total component count comes up to 374. It beats at 3Hz which is common for tourbillon movements, lessening the strain on pivotal moving parts. The HUB6200 is just as impressive from the sapphire display caseback, with a tourbillon window surrounded by the criss-crossing of skeletonised bridges and various wheels. This view in particular gives off a look of science fiction.

Hublot MP-13 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Retrograde pricing and availability

The Hublot MP-13 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Retrograde is limited to 50 numbered pieces. Price: A$238,000, US$158,000

Brand Hublot
Model MP-13 Tourbillon Bi-axis Retrograde
Reference Number 913.NX.1170.RX
Case Dimensions 44mm (D) x 16.7mm (T)
Case Material Titanium
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) AR-coated sapphire
Dial Matte black, skeletonised
Strap Black rubber, titanium deployant clasp
Movement HUB6200, in-house, manual winding
Power Reserve 96 hours
Functions Retrograde hours and minutes, dual axis tourbillon, power reserve
Availability 50 numbered pieces
Price A$238,000, US$158,000