No watch company understands brand partnerships and how to use them quite as well as Hublot. Obviously, not everyone is going to appreciate these collaborations that span a wide range of products, interests, personalities, and activities. But certain combinations will resonate with certain consumers in a way that not much else does. Hublot’s association with fellow LVMH brand Berluti will likely go right over the heads of watch lovers who don’t get menswear. But for fans of Paris-based Berluti, which is known for leather footwear, the release of the new automatic movement Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Berluti Scritto copy watches will make a lot of sense.The new black or brown calf-skin straps Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Berluti Scritto fake watches build upon the success of last year’s Classic Fusion Berluti watch. And like last year’s model, the new watches use Berluti’s distinctive patinated leathers for the straps as well as the dials, creating an effect of the strap continuing right through the watch for a very cohesive look.
Two models will be offered, one in 18k King Gold with a brown leather strap, and the other in black ceramic with a black leather strap. Case diameter is 45mm, and the case design is unchanged from the non-limited edition Classic Fusion Chronograph watches. In other words, the traits that define the Classic Fusion Chronograph case, like the H-shaped screws, integrated lugs, and differing finishes on the case, are all intact. Water resistance is rated at 50m.
The 18k King Gold model will get a brown strap and dial while the black ceramic model will get a black strap and dial – both are made using Berluti’s Venezia leather. The hues of the leather are achieved by using a special tanning technique, and the dial’s leather is specially treated to remove all moisture before it is cased. The Hublot logo as well as the hour markers on the dial are all embossed onto the leather.
Powering the watch is the trusty HUB1143, Hublot’s basic self-winding chronograph movement. It’s no integrated chronograph movement, but instead uses an ETA base and a chronograph module from Dubois Dépraz. Nevertheless, it runs at a thoroughly modern 4Hz and provides a power reserve of 42 hours, so even though it isn’t an in-house made and integrated chronograph movement, I don’t think that many will complain about its functionality.
The Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Berluti Scritto watches will come in a large presentation box that is lined with the Berluti’s Venezia leather. And inside, apart from the watch, owners will find wax and brushes to help keep their straps in tip-top condition.
At the end of the day, the new Classic Fusion Chronograph Berluti Scritto watch is, very much like its predecessor – a polarizing watch. People who “get it” will appreciate its design and crafts, while people who don’t will wonder what on earth Hublot is thinking. I can’t say that I’m into menswear or shoes in particular, but I can definitely appreciate the spirit behind these new replica fantastic watches and their unique and rather attractive looks. The Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Berluti Scritto in 18k King Gold will be limited to 250 pieces.
Do you remember when Hublot was all about “the art of fusion?” To this day, I can easily recall one of the many characteristic instances when Jean-Claude Biver started shouting at his audience with great enthusiasm about Hublot and “fuuusion,” where different materials and ideas come together to create something new. I also recall being very impressed by this novel, expensive, and consistently innovative approach that was new not just for Hublot, but any major luxury brand as well. I had to wait until now, though, to have a watch in for review that featured what I expect to prove itself as the greatest achievement of Hublot’s dedication to fusion: Magic Gold, their proprietary gold that “cannot be scratched.” So, my curiosity has at last been cured by spending some quality time with the Arabic numerals Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold copy watches, and I couldn’t wait to see just how magical it really was.
Hublot And Its Love Of Fusion
This whole “the art of fusion” thing appears to have taken the backseat a bit as JCB’s attention is now delegated not exclusively to Hublot but also enjoyed by Zenith and TAG Heuer. These two, in fact, needed his guidance more than Hublot which has been so much more consistent than its “historical” brethren inside the luxury group LVMH.
The “fusion” approach began for Hublot with the earliest Big Bangs and their then-outrageous merging of a full gold watch with a rubber strap – this unusual coming together of materials was a heresy comparable to the Royal Oak’s 1972 coming in steel and costing what it did. Steel luxury watches have for long been completely normal when the gold-rubber combination of the Big Bang caused turmoil among luxury watch lovers… and yet, today, you can walk into any high-end watch store and find a wide range of watches from multiple brands that they will offer for sale in gold, but on a rubber strap.
As they grew, largely thanks to JCB’s marketing genius, Hublot soon had more resources – financial and intellectual – to develop its own niche as being “the brand of fusion.” Credit where credit’s due, Hublot’s success does not only come from a marketing strategy comparable to WWII carpet bombing, but also from merging consistent and, hence, widely recognizable design (which most luxury watch buyers want as, admit it or not, people want others to see how much greenback they dropped on a watch) with bold, new, refreshing ideas and executions.
And while by now Hublot’s fusion approach has given us the gold watch on a rubber strap, we’ve also seen the cool but remarkably confusing idea of a non-transparent-transparent watch in black sapphire (hands-on here), a Classic Fusion with a concrete bezel, and watches in blue Texalium (hands-on here) – oh, and one very funny April Fool’s article where many actually believed Hublot did a “fusion watch” with a tiny amount radioactive uranium.
Hublot has its own proprietary recipe for its success, but elements of that recipe were clearly not tuned to prioritize the taste of the hardcore, traditionalist watch enthusiast. In other words, many other brands, by doing the same thing over and over and over again, make it much easier for “purists” to like them, while Hublot, in truth, doesn’t seem to be bothered that much and would rather do as much in 10 years as many others do in 100 (if ever).
However, if you look at that previous and, mind you, not even remotely complete list of Hublot’s achievements in pushing the boundaries of what a watch can be and/or is accepted to be made from, you’ll see that they try much harder than the majority of others – and the most serious achievement of all this self-imposed busyness is Magic Gold, a gold that “cannot be scratched.” Magic Gold – How It’s Made
It has a catchy name, that much is immediately apparent. Most things “Magic” in the life of the ordinary human (myself) include washing powder, non-chargeable batteries, and anything made in Mainland China with a retail price below $5. So, “Magic Gold” sounds just as controversial as it is for a luxury brand to use the term “Magic.” But, unlike the aforementioned items, Magic Gold truly verges on being magical when compared to regular precious metals. Here’s how it came to be.
It was in 2011 that Hublot unveiled its Magic Gold, a scratch-resistant gold that is both certified as 18k by the Central Office for Precious Metals Control, and has a hardness rating of about 1,000 Vickers – 18k gold is 400 Vickers and most types of hardened steel are 600 Vickers. In the words of Mr. Biver, “You can have a [Magic Gold] watch and wear it for any sport, any use, it will just not scratch. It never ever will scratch. It will constantly look totally polished, as new (…), not scratch-able – only diamond can scratch it.” Further, Magic Gold used for the luminescent dial Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold fake watches will never oxidize and weighs less – but more on that latter property in a bit.
Hublot worked with the Swiss Polytechnique School of Lausanne (EPFL) to develop Magic Gold and by early 2014, Hublot had developed and installed its own, fully integrated gold foundry inside their manufacture in Nyon, Switzerland. So, although the know-how was more or less ready in late 2011, it took Hublot over two years to bring it to a stage of volume production.
At Hublot’s opening event for its foundry in 2014, Andreas Mortensen, professor at EPFL, described the project as “fun” but also highlighted some interesting details. They were not allowed to use any coatings in creating a gold alloy that is visually interesting and “makes absolute technical sense.” Not a whole lot more in the project was defined, just the goal of “If you guys could make gold really hard, that would be great” – yes, that’s an actual quote.
The professor, being a professor, also highlights the fact that while Hublot’s “marketing term of fusion” is very descriptive, the actual process of creating Magic Gold is not through fusion but alloying. Magic Gold starts its life as 24k pure gold and ceramic powder. The ceramic (boron carbide) powder is put into a silicon mold very similar in shape to that of the desired finished part. It is here that we should add that boron carbide is “the third hardest thing” ranking behind diamond and cubic boron nitride. The pre-formed boron carbide powder is then compressed at some 2,000 bars of pressure under cold isostatic pressure. The compressed ceramic is then sintered at 2,200°C while the 24k gold is melted at 1,100°C.
After this operation is when the magic happens: 24k gold alloyed with 3% molten liquid gold is injected under very high pressure with inert gas at a high temperature, allowing the metal to fill the ceramic pores and create a “fusion” of the two to produce Magic Gold. Raw Magic Gold is yet to be machined and, because it is so hard, it can only be shaped by diamond-tipped tools, laser- and ultrasonic machining, or wire cutting.
So, while fusion sounds good and is arguably “sexier” than “alloying,” the latter is what better describes the process. Magic Gold is a combination of gold, made hard through alloying. Alloying is the addition of other atoms to a liquefied form which, when you cast it, forms an alloy that then solidifies and retains its identity as something that, in this case, is fully metallic with the ceramic as part of its structure. If you’re a chemistry professor/teacher and have a technical comment on this, you are invited to leave it below.
Magic Gold – How Magical Is It Really?
So, all this technical who-do-you-think-you-are and the result, again, is an alloy that is certified to be 18k gold (like any other watch) but is 2.5 times harder than those and almost twice as hard as most hardened steels. The alloy and the manufacturing technology is protected by a bunch of patents and, Hublot says, the brand has been approached by other brands from the watch and other industries to purchase it – but Hublot says they have not and will not share the Magic Gold technology anytime soon. Last but not least, they say this alloying process can be used to merge ceramics with other precious metals and that other “magical” materials can be expected – though no word on when.
I’ve had the Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold charming fake watches for 10 days or so, which really isn’t enough time to emulate the trials imposed on a watch case through years and decades. But, that hasn’t stopped me from trying. I have not refrained from wearing this Big Bang as much of the time as possible and haven’t practiced too much concern or excessive care. I reached into my backpack (seven layers of watch hell in there) looking for stuff, wore it when washing the car, and just generally, wore it through the day…
To commemorate the beginning of their fruitful partnership, Hublot have released the special edition “SELECÇÃO BENFICA LISBOA” replica watches with black crocodile straps. Limited to only 113 pieces to celebrate 113 years since Sport Lisboa e Benfica’s inception in 1904, the “SELECÇÃO BENFICA LISBOA” is one badass looking watch. As a football (or soccer) enthusiast, I think it’s wonderful to see watchmaking brands and footballing institutions coming together to create timepieces of passion, reflecting both the watchmaking atelier’s genome and the rich history of such an iconic sporting club.
Now onto the piece itself, and I must say, I am a fan. The black schematic theme that Hublot have implemented is quite breathtaking. I am a huge advocate of full-black watches. I find them versatile, good looking and super wearable. The Classic Fusion Chronograph “SELECÇÃO BENFICA LISBOA” Special Edition replica watches further reinforce my thoughts about full-black watches. But with those hints of red on the dial and black alligator leather strap, the whole piece comes to life. The 45mm wide, 13mm thick satin-finished and polished black ceramic case is a work of art. It’s a simple design that has resonated with Hublot for years now, and it’s one that we will identify with Hublot for many years to come. The bezel is also made of the same material as the case, and the uniformity of the piece comes together quite effortlessly. The matte black dial is simple and informative. The time function is where you’d expect it to be, the date window at 6 o’clock is subtle and welcoming, and the added BSL17 logo on the 3 o’clock sub-dial counter reminds you just how special this piece is.
Turn the piece over and the magic continues with the automatic Hublot calibre HUB1143. Ticking at 4Hz over about 42 hours of consecutive timekeeping, this calibre is in itself a workhouse. Imagine something containing 280 components moving along effortlessly while you go about the day. Therein lies the magic of any mechanical watch. The artistry and symbolic nature of the piece continues onto the back of the piece, too. Renowned Portuguese artist Diogo Machado has created the story of the Hublot-Benfica partnership into the ceramic. He has combined the representation of an eagle, motifs inspired by the watch’s movement, the red colour emblematic of Benfica’s club colours with the torn and overlaid images typical of his work to create a micro work of art at the back of the black dials HUblot Classic Fusion copy watches.
While I’m not a fan of Benfica, I do respect their heritage and what they’ve done for Portuguese football. I think it’s wonderful when such iconic and highly regarded watchmaking brands like Hublot take the time to integrate themselves in other passionate ventures, like football. Benfica join the ranks of Chelsea, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Ajax to be part of a family of footballing giants supported by a horological giant, Hublot. The Hublot fake watches with self-winding movements are interesting and well designed. The integration of Benfica’s motifs onto the dial and caseback adds that element of exclusivity to the lucky purchaser of the piece (no doubt a Benfica fanatic, too!). While I’m unsure of pricing (of which I will update this article as soon as I have it confirmed), I don’t expect this piece to be super expensive. A solid daily wearer with a touch of footballing passion, how can you go wrong?