Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT
Some things in this world are just meant to be; the partnership between Hublot and Ferrari is one of those things. Before Hublot, luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari had collaborated with other watch manufacturers to create official Ferrari timepieces. Frankly speaking, they were all mismatches. What made the Hublot x Ferrari partnership such a success was perhaps the adventurous nature of both brands, especially when it came to pushing boundaries in design and materials. Numerous wristwatches have been produced under this coalition. The most well-known one is arguably the MP-05 LaFerrari, which is shaped like an engine, has a power reserve of 50 days, and requires a drill for winding. The Techframe Ferrari from 2017 was another fascinating piece with significant input from the Ferrari design team. This year, the Hublot x Ferrari alliance continues to show its strength with the release of a new wristwatch that reshapes what we think we know about the design language of a Hublot watch. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the new Classic Fusion Ferrari GT.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
In spite of it belonging in the Hublot Classic Fusion collection, the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT hardly resembles its older siblings. The typical case of a Classic Fusion watch is angular, with an alternating brushed/polished finish. This is unlike the Ferrari GT where the case features plenty of sensuous curves, and an entirely matte finished body. On the flank are the crown and chronograph pushers. The start/stop button is rendered in red, while the reset button (as well as the crown) is black; these are colours you’ll also find on the buttons of the steering wheel of a Ferrari.
It’s hard to describe the case beyond that, because it truly is odd – a design curveball thrown at us by Hublot and Ferrari. Fortunately, odd doesn’t necessarily equate to unappealing. In this case, odd is refreshing and novel. The case is strangely pleasing to look at. It could be the way the body seamlessly flows into the hooded lugs; it could be the softness of the matte finishing; or it could be that it looks like some sci-fi or steampunk device from our childhood imagination. Whatever it is, the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT case design is original and well-thought out.
The dial itself is enigmatic too, for a Classic Fusion timepiece. For the first time, the company marquee is placed at 6 o’clock rather than 12 o’clock, while Arabic numerals mark the even hours. The hour and minute hands, however, remain fairly familiar. They are sword-type, partially openworked and treated with luminescent material for low- or no-light visibility. Meanwhile, the chronograph hands are lancet-style and bright red to ensure that it doesn’t get confused with the running seconds at 9 o’clock. Worth a mention is how the minute sub-counter is tastefully designed to look like a tachometer you’d find in a Ferrari. Within it, you’ll also find a discreet date display. All in all, while not as novel as the case, the dial of the Ferrari GT is balanced, attractive, and fairly special compared to the rest of the Classic Fusion line-up.
Driving the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT is the tried and tested Calibre HUB1280, which also features in various watches from the Big Bang collection such as the Unico Titanium 42 mm, the Unico King Gold Ceramic 42 mm, and the Unico Black Magic 42 mm. The 354-part movement has a 3-day power reserve and operates at a modern 4 Hz beat rate. Protected by four patents, the Calibre HUB1280 is a column wheel (visible dial-side) chronograph movement with the extra perk of flyback functionality. The movement is well-finished, though it lacks the qualities usually associated with haute horlogerie, which is not an issue for Hublot. The industrial finish of the movement suits the image of the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT. We particularly like the design of the rotor, which vaguely resembles a Ferrari steering wheel.
The Competitive Landscape
Hublot, as a brand, is often subjected to criticism from the watch community for various reasons. Historically, these reasons have to do with the brand’s loose limited edition policy, wild marketing strategies, even wilder timepieces, or all of the above at once. That said, credit should also be given where it is due. Hublot have displayed flashes of brilliance plenty of times in the past. Take for example, the MP-05 LaFerrari with its sleek design and absurd power reserve. Then there’s also the Big Bang Sang Bleu with its hypnotic geometrical design. The Hublot manufacture is also famed for its experimental application of materials in watchmaking. The sapphire-crystal-case trend, for instance, was lead and driven by Hublot thanks to the brand’s unparalleled manufacturing capabilities.
The point is, Hublot isn’t afraid of uncharted waters, no matter how perilous those waters may seem. The Classic Fusion Ferrari GT is a significant departure from what one might think of a Classic Fusion wristwatch. Its curvaceous design is quirky and could easily have backfired – luckily for Hublot, it hasn’t. In fact, we think that this is one of those flashes of brilliance from the brand. The watch is available in three different materials: King Gold, titanium, and 3D Carbon (a three dimensional polymer matrix composite). The titanium version – limited to “only” 1000 pieces – retails for USD22,000, the 3D Carbon version – limited to 500 pieces – retails for USD27,300, and the gold version – limited also to 500 pieces – sells for USD38,800.
The first watch that comes to mind when comparing the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT is, strangely, the Singer Track 1 Chronograph. The Track 1 Chronograph is similar in some ways to the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT, yet so very different in other ways. Similarities include a strikingly atypical, curvy case design with a body that flows seamlessly into the lugs. The main difference? The Singer Track 1 Chronograph boasts a calibre that redefines how mechanical chronograph movements can be built. The Calibre 6361, which first appeared in the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph, is also finished to a level beyond the Hublot. The price for such a breathtaking timepiece? A cool CHF72,000 for the gold Geneva Edition, or almost double the price of the Ferrari GT.
For something priced in the ballpark of the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT, look now further than the new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Rock. The Laureato Absolute collection, introduced earlier this year, is Girard-Perregaux’s contemporary take on the Laureato. Think the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore to the Royal Oak. What caught our interest in the new Laureato Absolute family was the Laureato Absolute Rock, with its case made of a never-before-seen material in watchmaking: carbon glass. In carbon glass, the integration of blue glass fibers into carbon results in not just a material 100-fold stiffer than steel with a density close to water, but also a material that looks electric. The case appears to glow under lighting and resembles flowing water or sapphire. And while the dial looks pedestrian at first glance, a closer look reveals that it is a sandwich construction, with the top layer in dark blue, and the bottom layer in black. The Laureato Absolute Rock is a highly contemporary, avant-garde piece that can be seen as a peer to the Classic Fusion Ferrari GT. The watch is also competitively priced, at SGD23,300 or around CHF17,000.
Hublot is a brand you either love, hate, love to hate, or hate to love. This notion extends to its latest addition to the Classic Fusion line, the Ferrari GT. It bears mentioning, however, that the watch is genuinely distinctive, not through shock value, but from charismatic design by the talented people of Ferrari. The Classic Fusion Ferrari GT is more than just a watch with a prancing horse logo slapped onto it. It is the embodiment of a partnership made in heaven that – based on its current trajectory – continues to strengthen with every new model.