Hublot - LVMH Watch Week straight from the source - LVMH Watch Week - WorldTempus

Hublot – LVMH Watch Week straight from the source – LVMH Watch Week – WorldTempus

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This week is LVMH Watch Week 2023 and WorldTempus is in Singapore right in the heart of the action. Today, we are with Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, to discuss the event and all the brand’s new watches of course!

This is the third edition of LVMH Watch Week. How do you feel about being here for the first watch launch of the year?
It’s really cool to do an event outside of Switzerland and to be here in Singapore, in a part of the world where watchmaking is very dynamic. You know, Southeast Asia was amazing for us last year, from Singapore to Malaysia to Thailand to Vietnam to Indonesia and so much more. As you know, we have a partner here, The Hour Glass, and they’ve done an amazing job for us. Honestly, it’s great to be back here physically, showcasing some new releases and meeting the press and The Hour Glass crew.

People who follow the sector as well as experts often consider that Singapore holds a special place in the global watch industry, not necessarily in terms of volume of course, but in terms of influence. What do you think Singapore brings to a brand as international as Hublot?
I think the consumer maturity here is amazing. You see some of the most sophisticated consumers in the world. I see this when we meet with our clients. I was also here in October, and we had a dinner party with about 60 or 80 people, and what I saw on their wrists was absolutely amazing. I’ve seen Rainbow watches, our high-end sapphire crystal watches, and complications. The level of appreciation for watches is on a whole different level here. They push the boundaries too; we see Rainbow watches on both men and women, even though we conventionally expect to see these watches on women. I am also very impressed by the respect that consumers have for brands when they attend events: everyone comes with watches from the host brand. It’s really nice to see and I think it’s a great example for other international markets.

Big Bang Integrated King Gold Rainbow © Hublot

I find it really cool to hear that here you can see really extravagant pieces on men and women. We feel that people feel confident with Hublot, that they feel they can experiment, be daring and have fun with what they choose to wear. Do you agree ?
It’s really nice, I must say. You know, I also work in product development. When you see all the watches we’ve tried to create to stand out from other brands on people’s wrists, you get a really positive feeling. It’s very exciting and it gives us the motivation to continue on the same path.

Now on to the new launches, which we all know are planned years in advance. While we hear a lot about how 2023 could be a tough year for business, I see a lot of optimism in the pieces you release this year, even at the very start of the year. Tell us about your 2023 projections for Hublot, in terms of business.
I would say that we are cautious, because, of course, we want to remain realistic. We’ve done incredibly well in 2022, so kudos to my awesome team. The results in 2022 exceeded our expectations, even if each year is a record year for us in terms of growth. Although the same was true for us in 2022, we still see challenges in the United States and China, not to mention the situation in Ukraine. We keep an eye on the economic indicators and we have to be a little cautious. Growth will likely be weaker for us this year, compared to 2022. If China resumes travel in 2023, that could be a welcome surprise.

Now let’s dive into some of the new launches we’ve seen at Hublot. We’re seeing a continuation of the black and gold aesthetic we’ve seen in recent years. It’s kind of a throwback to Hublot’s early decades, especially from the perspective of those who’ve been following the brand for a while. Can you tell us about it?
Yes, absolutely. Overall, I think we can see that there is a trend towards more understated design watches, with a classic yet sophisticated approach. And it is true that the Classic Fusion, which was created in 1980, corresponds quite well to today’s aesthetic trends. That’s why we’re coming back to this watch, which we stopped producing in 2005. Trends in the watch industry generally tend to stick around a little longer than in the world of fashion. So I think after almost 20 years, it’s time to go back to our roots. This new interpretation of the Hublot from the 1980s is also part of the evolution of consumer preference for smaller and thinner watches.

LVMH Watch Week straight from the source

Classic Fusion Original © Hublot

This brings me to my next question! On the one hand, your new launches bring archival pieces and designs to life, which heightens awareness of the brand’s history, and on the other hand, you own that avant-garde Hublot identity with the exciting domain what is the innovation of materials. I refer, of course, to the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem. How do these two directions come together?
Ultimately, the Big Bang collection is our iconic line, and we still have a large following of consumers who want very unique and disruptive things, where they can take a risk with design and materials. We weren’t the first brand to introduce a sapphire crystal watch, but we were the first to really industrialize it, to produce these watches in the hundreds rather than in small limited editions of 10 or 20 pieces. We’ve been doing this since 2016, and we also pioneered colored sapphire crystal. This year we wanted to have that glowing neon yellow color. You can see how amazing the result is. It is not entirely sapphire, as we had to introduce other minerals to achieve this precise color, which is why we use the name SAXEM [un terme déposé dérivé de “Sapphire Aluminium oXide and Rare Earth Mineral”]. But as you can see, the result is quite amazing. It is limited to 50 pieces and is powered by our Tourbillon caliber, which features the micro rotor at 12 o’clock and sapphire bridges. The movement is really an integral part of the design of the watch.

LVMH Watch Week straight from the source

Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem © Hublot

Let’s now move on to a subject which, I am sure, is close to your heart: the Sorai editions. You have just launched the third watch in support of this very significant foundation. How is Hublot continuing to evolve in this partnership?
The idea is really to have sustainable projects that protect the planet. We want to create something that gives back to the earth. And in this case, we support the protection of an animal, the rhinoceros. And when we choose a project, we want to be firmly active – we don’t do things by halves at Hublot. We will continue to support Sorai with whatever they need, of course. We are contributing to their financial power, so that they are able to train more rangers in the fight against rhino poaching. At least every two years we try to make a watch like this to support them and donate a substantial amount to support their activities.

LVMH Watch Week straight from the source

Big Bang Unico Sorai © Hublot

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