FrontRunners: Rubber Soul

Carlo Crocco created a sensation 20 years ago when he introduced Hublot watches, solid gold timepieces with natural black rubber straps that are delicately scented with vanilla. Clearly ahead of his time, Crocco pioneered a concept that has become one of the most prevalent trends in the watch market, despite the fact that rubber straps are typically relegated to sporty and casual purposes. But Crocco is out to alter that perception with Hublot’s first made-to-order Haute Joaillerie collection (800.536.0636). “Many of our private clients requested jeweled watches,” says Crocco.

The striking contrast of sparkling Top Wesselton diamonds and pink sapphires against the brand’s signature smooth black rubber strap is not for the traditionalist. Each timepiece is handcrafted in Geneva by master stone setters who meticulously position hundreds of gems in a process that takes several weeks. A stainless steel model set with 264 diamonds and 44 pink sapphires around the bezel sells for $29,900. But the height of the collection is a $73,900 gem-encrusted model featuring 705 diamonds and 46 pink sapphires set around the bezel, as well as on an 18-karat gold cover.

From Around the Web...
Here is a sneak peek of five of the dozen minute repeaters that will be demonstrated on August 30…
Within the 18-karat-gold case is a dial depicting the schooner America sailing to victory in 1851…
2016 is a big year for the manufacture as it expands global reach and watchmaking capabilities…
Photo by Chris Loomis
Watchmaking all but died in the U.S. after WWII, but Geoffrey Roth is helping to bring it back…
The watchmaker’s collection of minute repeaters is the largest shown together in the United States…
Diamonds and mother-of-pearl find protection in stainless steel for this latest release…
A definite dazzler, the timepiece touts 677 diamonds along with a movement by Franck Muller…
Photo by Lisa Charles Watson, Styling by Charles W. Bumgardner
Arnold & Son’s UTTE Skeleton watch is an elegantly thin tourbillon…
Six timepieces with displays that are redefining timekeeping…
Watchmaking’s long history with motorsports has been honored by several Swiss brands…