A meeting between the senior management of Hublot and fashion marketer Lapo Elkann at a 2012 New York charity event proved highly fortuitous for the watch brand. Not only did Elkann—a member of the powerful Agnelli automotive family—play a key role in securing a partnership between Hublot and Ferrari, but his own ability to marshal fashionable touches for Hublot watches is beginning to pay dividends in the form of a series of limited editions designed in conjunction with his company, Italia Independent.
Whereas the first edition matched a Big Bang watch model clad in Texalium laminate with a similarly constructed pair of sunglasses, the second edition, released this year, has taken Hublot into new stylistic territory. Elkann tapped his friend Luca Rubinacci to provide access to the Italian tailor’s fabric archives. The two selected several patterns: a bold black-and-white houndstooth, three varieties of Prince of Wales check, and a pair of lively tartans.
Hublot then applied the chosen fabrics to 600 limited-edition timepieces from its relatively conservative Classic Fusion Chronograph collection in titanium, ceramic, and its proprietary Magic Gold material ($15,100 to $35,100). The fabric is encapsulated under a layer of sapphire for the dials and glued and stitched onto rubber straps. With complementary chronograph counters, the watches are arresting yet refined—like the menswear from which they are derived.
“I was surprised by the impact it has had,” says Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. “This watch is more chic and elegant and appeals to a different kind of client than our more sporty watches. We are already working on a second edition with different fabrics for release later in the year.”