There’s supposed to be an old Chinese adage that risk and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. The problem, of course, is that usually you see only one or the other. Many luxury watch houses are pulling back, going classical, looking for the broadest appeal with the smallest risk. Hublot is not one of them. Led by one of the few CEOs in the buttoned-down world of fine watchmaking to be a household name, the mercurial and fiercely energetic Jean-Claude Biver, (“JCB” to his fans) Hublot has become the powerhouse it is today by making powerfully designed, broad-shouldered watches that unapologetically advertise the alpha-maleness of their wearers.
The financial crisis created a once in a lifetime opportunity for Hublot when thanks the downturn, one of Switzerland’s most respected complications specialists became available for acquisition and Biver lost no time in making what had been one of his suppliers one of his own. The first fruits of that fusion (a keyword for Hublot, which freely combines traditional and exotic materials in its watchmaking) include the new über complicated King Power Répétition Minutes Tourbillon Chronograph. It’s a black beast –48mm across, cased in carbon fiber, titanium and black resin, it combines a tourbillon regulator (a 200+ year old rotating cage for the timekeeping components that is intended to battle the harmful effects of gravity on accuracy) with a minute repeater that chimes the time on demand, and a classically engineered column wheel chronograph for tracking elapsed time intervals.
Instead of the usual sliding lever for activating the repeater, the King Power uses a seamlessly integrated push piece set into the case flank that’s perfectly symmetrical with the crown guard opposite it, and rather than clutter the case with extra buttons, activation of the chronograph is via a single pusher integrated with the crown itself. Clean but complicated, traditional but cutting edge, the King Power Répétition Minutes Tourbillon Chronograph shows there’s still some truth to the bad boy motto that nothing succeeds like excess.
Jack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating the world of fine watchmaking, and he also manages Revolution Online www.revo-online.com the foremost information and discussion site on the internet for watch enthusiasts.