What other brand but Hublot would debut their first central tourbillon in a watch shaped like a flower? The outlandish and innovative brand released their latest limited edition with Takashi Murakami earlier this fall in Singapore and the result is the ultimate realization of their series of collaborative watches with the iconic artist. The Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire is a limited edition of 50 pieces that reduces the previously announced one-off for Only Watch 2023 (now delayed until further notice) to its core essentials of watchmaking and art. The notoriously colorful Smiling Flower motif is executed in completely transparent sapphire and the result is a joyful work of case and movement manufacturing.
For some context, Hublot announced its first collaboration with Takashi Murakami in 2021 with the all-black Classic Fusion that was later followed up by an all-sapphire Rainbow model. Last year, we saw the release of thirteen collaboration watches that were led-off with the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Black Ceramic Rainbow. All of these watches explored the artist’s “Smiling Flower” motif in varying levels of elaborateness. However, it is the MP-15 Tourbillon Sapphire that takes the motif into literal “on the wrist” territory.
Done in a surprisingly compact 42mm wide case that is just 13.4mm thick, the MP-15 can best be described as wearable art with an all-sapphire case done in the shape of 12 petals. Luminously marvelous when struck by light and a technical achievement in the working of sapphire, the case houses a horological wallop that shows this watch is no gimmick. The reason I say this is because the MP-15 debuts Hublot’s first central tourbillon which, of course, serves as the pistil.
Done with no upper bridge, the flying central tourbillon has the endearingly goofy smiling flower image embossed over it enough to solidify the artist’s theme without being too much of a distraction. Fascinatingly, the hour and minutes hands are peripheral and pass beneath the tourbillon cage and rest on the same level as the escapement which required the cannon pinion and hour wheel to be pivoted around the tourbillon via Hublot’s own co-axial construction.
This is no ordinary six-figure tourbillon done in an all-sapphire case. The manual-wind HUB9015 movement is comprised of 236 parts and operates at 3 Hz with an impressive 150-hour power reserve. But one can’t be expected to *actually* manually wind it by hand, right? Well, the wonderfully extravagant winding system here takes care of that. The watch comes with a special stylus that is rechargeable via USB socket and completes 100 revolutions to fully wind the movement.
Hublot is always divisive but never dull and this watch is a great demonstration of why. And then there is a certain confidence that comes with making 50 pieces of it which would be a very small number for any other watch, but is quite ambitious for such a niche piece of art in the form of a watch. Priced at $316,000, the Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire is expensive, elaborate, and, at least for some, absolutely exhilarating.
To learn more, visit Hubot, here.