Hublot began its partnership with the Fuente cigar company — maker of the Fuente Fuente OpusX, one of the world’s most rare and prized premium cigars — in 2012, releasing the limited-edition King Power Arturo Fuente. The Swiss brand famous for its pioneering use of unusual materials followed that up in 2015 with the launch of the Classic Fusion Forbidden X, which famously featured actual cigar tobacco leaves in its dial. Last week, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the OpusX, Hublot unveiled three limited editions sure to entice both watch fanatics and lovers of the leaf alike. Here’s what you need to know about the new Hublot Classic Fusion Fuente 20th Anniversary Special Editions.
The three watches — presented at a lavish international press event at Chateau de la Fuente in the Dominican Republic by Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and Fuente Companies president Carlos “Carlito” Fuente, Jr. — are each limited to 20 pieces and offered in three case materials: black ceramic, titanium, and Hublot’s proprietary King Gold.
The satin-finished, black ceramic-cased model is probably the most understated of the trio. Its bezel, also cut from black ceramic, surrounds a deep blue dial that is accented by a “doubled” version of the legendary (at least to cigar aficionados) OpusX logo, with the two stylized X Roman numerals representing the 20 years since the launch of the Fuente Fuente OpusX. The cigar was the first high-end Dominican puro — meaning that all of its tobacco — including the wrapper leaf, which had traditionally been outsourced — was home-grown in the Dominican Republic. It was a game-changer for the cigar industry and a significant contributor to the late-‘90s cigar boom.
The dial — in a gradient color scheme from matte blue in the center to cigar brown on the edges — has rose-gold-plated hands and indices, with a “20 Years” notation in elegant script at the 6 o’clock position. Its caseback is engraved with the image of Carlito Fuente and his father, Carlos Sr., which appears in advertising for the OpusX cigar. “Château de la Fuente, Fuente Fuente Opus X 20 Years,” along with model’s limited edition series number, is also engraved on the back. Mounted on a black alligator strap lined with rubber to provide greater comfort, the watch is priced at $13,600.
Both the titanium and King Gold versions of the Special Edition feature ornate engraved, black-brushed patterns on their brushed-finish cases. Both the case middle and the bezel are adorned with a motif of tobacco leaves interlocking to form the letter “X.” The dial’s indices are rhodium-plated. On the caseback of the titanium watch, the engravings are also partially lacquered in blue, echoing the blue used for the dials of each of the timepieces. The use of blue is a nod to the 20th anniversary edition of the Fuente Fuente OpusX Cigar, which uses blue prominently in the packaging, differentiating it from the “standard” OpusX, in which red is the more dominant color. Carlito Fuente chose blue as a tribute to his father, who preferred the color in his early cigar packaging and who passed away in 2016. Blue also appears in the stitching on the titanium version’s gray alligator leather strap; the watch costs $14,600.
The third limited edition has a case made of King Gold, which boasts a more intense red color than traditional rose gold due to the addition of platinum and a higher percentage of copper. The case shares the titanium model’s intricate engravings, while the blue dial hosts the same 18k rose-gold-plated indices as the ceramic model. The alligator strap is brown, lined with rubber, and fastens with a deployant clasp made of King Gold. The price: $30,400.
The cases of all three Hublot Classic Fusion Fuente 20th Anniversary Special Editions are 45 mm in diameter and 10.95 mm thick, their bezels secured firmly in place by Hublot’s signature H-shaped screws, made of rose gold in the ceramic model, titanium in the other two. A blue composite resin is used for the bezel lug. Inside beats the self-winding HUB1112 caliber (based on a Sellita SW 300-1), with a 42-hour power reserve and a 28,800-vph frequency.
At a Q&A during the press event, Hublot’s Guadalupe hinted that a more widely available version of these 20-piece limited editions would be coming later this year, but for now these timepieces will remain as rare and elusive as the coveted OpusX 20th Anniversary smokes (prices and availability to be announced shortly).