Hublot began its partnership with best-selling French artist Richard Orlinski in 2017, and expanded its palette of colored ceramic watches in 2018 with the Baselworld launch of the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, notable for its use of the watch world’s first “vibrant-color” ceramic. With the just-announced Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinksi, the “Art of Fusion” brand combines this innovative case material with the sharp-edged 3D sculptural lines of Orlinksi’s works.
The Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinksi Red Ceramic, a limited edition of 200 pieces, makes its official debut in Geneva in January, when Hublot launches new products concurrently with (but not as a part of) the 2019 SIHH watch salon. The ceramic used for the timepiece’s 45-mm case and angular bezel took Hublot’s research and development team four years to take from concept to industrialization, using a special process that fuses pressure and heat to sinter the ceramic without burning the pigment. The totally in-house process has resulted in a secret formula, protected by several patents, whose end result is a ceramic that not only achieves the extremely difficult red coloring but also a greater hardness than previous ceramics (1,500 HV1 vs. 1,200 HV2). The red coloring evokes Orlinksi’s 2004 sculpture, Born Wild Crocodile, which established the use of powerful shades of red as part of his Pop Art-style repertoire. The sharply edged geometrical shapes and angled lines on the case body, lugs, and bezel are also decidedly Orlinksi-esque.
Inside the polished-finish crimson case — and in full view behind the open, sapphire-base dial, with its red-lacquered hands, indices, and subdials, as well as from the clear sapphire caseback — is Hublot’s self-winding Caliber HUB1155, a skeletonized chronograph movement with a 42-hour power reserve and a 28,800-vph (4 Hz) frequency. The subdial at 9 o’clock tallies 30 elapsed minutes, while the small seconds tick away on the subdial at 3 o’clock. The date appears in a window at 6 o’clock. The watch (whose price and availability is expected to be announced by Hublot in January) comes mounted on a tightly integrated red rubber strap with a black-coated steel deployant clasp.