If you attend Baselworld you are signalling your position in the ever moving constellation of haute jewellery. Around the excitement of seeing brilliant design, it’s the place to expand your social network and to form new business relationships.
One of the venues that everybody agrees is a good place to be seen and heard is the elegant Hotel Les Trois Rois. Its two star Michelin restaurant is almost impossible to book during the fair, but if you can’t get in, try the cocktail bar.
At Basel this year, Hublot splashed out on its Big Bang collection: a move timed to coincide with the iconic watch’s 10th anniversary.
It was, of course, Jean-Claude Biver who presided over the launch of the first Big Bang. He loved to talk up the associations that were embedded within the name – pointing up the excitement of creating a watch whose existence was forged from many different metals and materials including: gold, ceramics, carbon, rubber, steel, titanium, tantalum and magnesium. Since then, the Big Bang has lived up to its promise of explosive impact, pushing frontiers in all sorts of extraordinary ways.
One milestone many recall, for instance, is the remarkable Big Bang Ferrari made out of what the company refers to as Magic Gold. The magical element being the fact that 25% of the material changes the composition of the gold to an astonishing hardness – up to 1000 Vickers from the normal 400.
The other consistent element is the long-standing association with the sports world in its infinite variety and glory. So far, for example, there have been over 10 Big Bangs dedicated to the Ferrari car and its drivers. And, as it happens, it is the electrifying associations of fast cars that the design team have decided to reference in their anniversary edition.
At the prestigious fair, Hublot unveiled two exclusive new models developed with Ferrari. The first, Big Bang Ferrari Black Ceramic, plays on Ferrari’s legendary red colour, while the second, the Big Bang Ferrari Grey Ceramic, pays tribute to the historic NART (North America Racing Team) livery.
The details, however, go a great deal deeper than this. First, the sporty design of the new Big Bang Ferrari models has a profiled aerodynamic dial. The movement, for its part, is fronted by a miniature replication of Ferrari’s distinctive grille: a blackened criss-cross mesh.
Other flourishes are in the tiny details. Ferrari’s prancing horse is found at 9’o clock; while opposite, at three ‘o’clock, the minute counter and date window display the colours of its shield. Meanwhile, the oscillating weight of both watches ape the racing car’s five-spoke wheels.
Last but not least there is a rush of strap and colour detail. Wearers, for example, can opt for a leather strap that features a red or grey livery with the stripes seen on racing cars. In fact, in the end, they can have both. For it is equipped with the innovative “One click” attachment system inspired by car seat belts, making it easily interchangeable.
The new Big Bang Ferrari is available in two versions – black or grey ceramic – each numbering 250 pieces. They both have a 72-hour power reserve.
For a long time women were seen as second-class citizens in the watch world.
However, more and more companies have worked hard to dispel this perception in the past decade. In Hublot’s case, the true moment of enlightenment probably occurred with the release back in 2007 of Tutti Frutti. Clearly the idea was to put colour centre stage, enabling women to team their watches with their wardrobes.
Today, the perception of what women look for has changed, possibly matching the strides that women are making the world over. Certainly it seems that way. Hublot’s new brand ambassador for women is Israeli born Bar Rafaeli. In her first appearance on behalf of the brand, she wore the whimisical, all new black and silver Big Bang Broderie. Unveiled at SIHH in January, it was on of the star draws at Baselworld.