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September 11, 2012

Neighborhood Watch

Swiss watchmaker-to-celebs, Hublot, to open a luxe boutique in Buckhead

By Nancy Staab

Haute Horlogerie meets Hip-Hop with the opening of the upscale Hublot boutique at Phipps Plaza.

The Hublot America's Cup boat; the Hublot $5 Million Big Bang; Model Veronica Verikova with a Hublot, Hublot Big Bang The Hublot America's Cup boat; the Hublot $5 Million Big Bang; Model Veronica Verikova with a Hublot, Hublot Big Bang

The Swiss watchmaker Hublot, part of the luxury LVMH conglomerate, is grabbing headlines with its recently-inked partnerships with Ferrari, America’s Cup, and the Miami Heat. Limning the lines between the discreet, luxe world of leisure sports and its aristocratic patrons and the more blinged-out universe of athletes like spokesman Dwayne Wade and hip-hop mogul Ludacris (who was presented with a $100,000 one-of-a-kind Hublot Gold Pavé timepiece as a local Atlanta spokesperson during a recent Hublot-sponsored fundraiser for his charity foundation), Hublot has cleverly cornered both New World and Old World luxury markets. 
 
A charismatic chairman Jean-Claude Biver; the most innovative watch technology on the block like a game-changing, scratch-resistant “magic gold;” relentless pursuit of innovation and artistry; and catchy, media-friendly watch names like the Big Bang have guaranteed that Hublot has entered U. S. markets with, well, a bang! Now Atlanta has a chance to catch Hublot’s impressive show. 
 
The relatively young, in industry terms, luxe watchmaker emerged from Geneva in 1980 to become one of today’s most covetable and critically-esteemed brands. This international horlogerie house has outposts in Paris, London, Las Vegas, San Tropez and NYC and was folded into the LVMH luxury group in 2008.  Not only have Hublot's pieces been endorsed by the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West (who gave a shout-out to the brand in their song “Otis” off their Watch the Throne album), but the aristocratic, sartorially progressive Fiat scion/designer Lapo Elkann  regularly flashes a Hublot on his wrist. And speaking of fast cars, Hublot recently inked a deal as the official timepiece-maker for Ferrari, a brand that also fuses tradition with the most cutting-edge innovation.
 

Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade with matching Hublots Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade with matching Hublots

Hublot was the first watch company to introduce a macho-industrial, natural rubber watchband. Later initiatives have, how shall we say it, been a bit more high-end, including the introduction of a $5 million Big Bang, diamond-encrusted watch at Baselworld 2012.  Other models of the Big Bang are constructed of space-age metals such as a unique, scratch-resistant, 18K “magic gold;” titanium, ceramics, carbon fiber,  (diamonds optional) and equipped with Hublot’s proprietary in-house movement Unico. A run-away success, the Big Bang was awarded the “2005 Design Prize” at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix. For the rebel (or rocker) watch customer, there’s the impudent Skull Bang, an elegantly edgy, limited-edition piece made entirely of polished black ceramic with a stylized skill on the dial—carpe diem indeed. The King Power is a bestseller in its various iterations, including a sexy black-on-black one dedicated to the Swiss Defenders of America’s Cup (another of Hublot’s cachet partners alongside Formula 1). And for the ladies there’s gorgeous Tutti-Frutti watches with diamond adornments and candy colored straps.  This interesting watch company has even duplicated the ancient Greek watch mechanism known as the Antikythera Mechanism, which was dug up in 1901, for a one-of-a-kind, museum quality timepiece. 

From the inspiration of antiquity to modern race-culture Ferraris, Hublot is all go! 

Hublot Geneve will open in the Nordstrom wing of Phipps Plaza, level one, this fall. For more info visit: www.hublot.com

 

Hublot Tutti-Frutti Hublot Tutti-Frutti
 

 

Hublot Skull Bang Hublot Skull Bang

A version of the customized King Power Gold Pavé given to Ludacris A version of the customized King Power Gold Pavé given to Ludacris

Hublot Ferrari Big Bang Hublot Ferrari Big Bang

Hublot Chairman Jean-Claude Biver (left) with a Hublot  Ferrari. Hublot is Ferrari's official timekeeper. Hublot Chairman Jean-Claude Biver (left) with a Hublot Ferrari. Hublot is Ferrari's official timekeeper.