So frequent are Hublot’s limited editions these days that one produced for a Middle Eastern retailer might not automatically register beyond the region’s borders. But the Classic Fusion Special Edition Bronze Anti-Clockwise Hublot made for Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, a leading retailer in the region, does far more than splash the corporate livery on the dial. Instead, it’s powered by a mechanical movement that’s been developed exclusively for the retailer. In watchmaking terms, that’s a landmark.
It’s a landmark movement, too. The central conceit is that it’s anti-clockwise, sending the hands the ‘wrong’ way around the dial. Seddiqi, which unveiled the watch today at its Dubai Watch Week event, says the watch took five years from first pitch to delivery, a long-time in traditional watchmaking concerns, although perhaps not given what it is.
The movement is a sister calibre to the unit Hublot uses in its automatics (a bespoke movement produced in partnership with third-party movement specialists Sellita), redeveloped with new parts added and other parts removed, such as the date wheel. As such, it becomes a unique movement, for use exclusively by Seddiqi, Hublot confirmed at the launch.
The playful idea behind the watch is that unlike conventional clocks and watches, life as we know it actually runs backward. The moon around the Earth; the Earth around the sun; both Earth and moon on their own axes; even roundabouts (in most countries) are anti-clockwise. Arabic is read from right to left, too—backward to many orthodoxies.
In line with its planetary theme, Seddiqi said it had hoped to call the watch ‘The Theory of the Big Bang’, but relented given the obvious clash with Hublot’s Big Bang collection.
The movement is not the watch’s only curio. The sunburst grey dial carries hour markers at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, all using Eastern Arabic numerals, an unconventional configuration meant to remind the wearer of the watch’s deft timekeeping switcheroo. It’s also one of the very few occasions the Classic Fusion has carried numerals of any kind on the dial.
Both dial and movement are wrapped in an aged, dusky desert-hued bronze case—a material that’s been treated so it doesn’t age further. That may appease those who find the unpredictability of bronze’s patchy patination irritating, but prove limiting to any who enjoy the spectacle of witnessing their watch oxidize. The final element is a rubberized grey alligator strap with a clasp made of the same treated bronze.
This is also the first 45 mm Classic Fusion without a running seconds hand or a date window, another evolution that further affirms that this watch is an exception in the excess of Hublot collaborations.
This, no doubt, is a coup for Seddiqi, which continues to grow in influence. Dubai Watch Week attracts collectors, enthusiasts and press from all over the world, and by the time the event closes on Sunday, the retailer will have launched a further six limited-edition pieces in collaboration with a portfolio of brands covering Bell & Ross, H. Moser & Cie, Frederique Constant, Ressence and MeisterSinger (the latter, incidentally, also tells the time backward, although with just one hand it’s rather easier to read).
Only 100 of the Hublot Classic Fusion Bronze Anti-Clockwise for Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons are slated for production, but Seddiqi says it’s already planning to showcase its peculiar calibre in a second limited-edition model next year.
A backward movement or forward-thinking? If it fires the starter’s gun on a new generation of movement collaborations, the answer will be both.