As most watch enthusiasts are probably aware, Hublot has released a slew of limited-edition “tribute” watches over the past several years, many of them devoted to high-profile athletes. Among the superstars who have been honored with a personalized Hublot timepiece have included Formula One champ Aryton Senna, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, soccer legend Pelé, and NBA all-stars Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant — not to mention the watches devoted to entire teams, such as the NBA’s Miami Heat, the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and, just recently, soccer’s Paris Saint-Germain football club. For this week’s Watch to Watch, Hublot commemorates a different type of icon — the late South African president and civil-rights pioneer Nelson Mandela.
Mandela, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 95, was revered as the father of today’s post-apartheid, multiracial South Africa and one of the world’s most influential advocates for the cause of human rights. In 1993, the man who friends and family knew as “Madiba” was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; the very next year, the longtime political prisoner became South Africa’s first black president. The watch made in his honor — the Hublot Classic Fusion House of Mandela — two models, each limited to 95 pieces, one for each year of Mandela’s life — is the result of a collaboration between Hublot and the House of Mandela foundation, a charitable organization created by his family.
With a case constructed of Hublot’s proprietary King Gold (an alloy that melds gold with a smattering of platinum), the Classic Fusion House of Mandela is available in either a 45-mm-diameter men’s model or a 42-mm-diameter women’s model; the latter has a bezel set with 35 diamonds (1.15 carats total). Both have satin-finished gold dials bearing the engraved totem of the Mandela family, a bee with outstretched, branched wings symbolizing the many branches of the Mandela family tree. The bee imagery takes its inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s name in his native Xhosa language, “Rolihlahla,” which translates as “he who is brave enough to fetch the honey from the honeycomb” or “challenge the status quo.” and also represents, in that culture, the values of “courage, sharing, and compassion.”
Other distinguishing characteristics of both House of Mandela watches include the engraved “Mandela” signature on the bezel, positioned in between Hublot’s trademark six H-shaped titanium screws; an engravings on the caseback reading “SPECIAL EDITION, XX OF 95” to denote the limited-edition number; and an illustration of the African continent and the motto “It’s In Our Hands” added to the caseback’s sapphire viewing window, which has an interior nonreflective coating. The watches are powered by Hublot automatic movements — Caliber HUB 1112 for the 45-mm model and the smaller HUB 1110 for the 42-mm — both of which hold a 42-hour power reserve. They are offered on semi-matte black alligator straps with black stitching and black rubber lining.
The 45-mm version of the Hublot Classic Fusion House of Mandela will retail for $30,900; the 42-mm version with diamonds will be $33,200. Hublot says that a portion of the profits generated by the sale of these very limited Classic Fusion watches will be donated to help the House of Mandela foundation in its charitable efforts, specifically its mission to aid in the education of South African children.
“It is an honor for us to have been able to create this piece as a tribute to such an important figure as Nelson Mandela, who has made a lasting mark on the history of humanity,” said Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe of the new timepiece. “The Classic Fusion House of Mandela is a way for us to ensure the philosophy and actions of this great man continue to live on.”