Swiss watch maison Hublot began its partnership with Dominican Republic-based premium cigar icon Arturo Fuente y Cia. in 2012, and the collaboration has yielded three limited-edition models all celebrating, in their own distinctive manner, the synergy between the arts of watchmaking and cigarmaking. The fourth made its celebrated debut this week, at a gala event in the Dominican Republic, and may prove to be the most coveted edition yet: the Big Bang Unico Arturo Fuente Ceramic.
Not only is the watch, which is limited to 100 pieces, the first in the cigar-inspired series to feature a laser-engraved ceramic case; it is also the first model created as a direct tribute to Carlos Fuente, Sr., son of founder and namesake Arturo Fuente and father to current company leader Carlos “Carlito” Fuente, Jr. Fuente, Sr., who passed away in 2016, took the reins of the Tampa-based family cigar business in 1956 and after a series of trials and tribulations in the wake of the Cuban embargo, moved the company to its current home in the Dominican Republic in 1980, where it has thrived under the leadership of Carlito Fuente, who worked with his father before succeeding him as president.
Developed in a close collaboration between Hublot’s watch design team and Fuente family designer Manny Iriarte, The Big Bang Unico Arturo Fuente Ceramic features a host of details, some more subtle than others, designed to pay tribute to the patriarch of the “first family of cigars.” The intricate laser-engraved pattern on the 44-mm black ceramic case depicts tobacco leaves gently swaying in the wind, a reference to the agricultural heart of the Fuente family business — and somewhat reminiscent of the decorative engravings on the titanium and rose-gold cases of 2017’s Classic Fusion ForbiddenX editions as well as the actual tobacco-leaf dial of the rare and elusive 2015 edition. A majestic crowned lion emblem adorns the 9 o’clock subdial on the watch’s openworked dial, recalling Fuente’s historical role as a supplier of cigars to the Spanish court. Perhaps most significantly to those familiar with Hublot and its Big Bang models, the dial also sports stylized, applied Roman numerals — a rarity for Hublot and a specific call-out to the clock pictured on the Fuente family crest, which itself inspired the family motto, “We will never rush the hands of time.”
The back of the timepiece also features its share of special flourishes, including the historical Fuente logo inscribed in the center of the sapphire window; the initials “CF” for Carlos Fuente, Sr. replacing the traditional “AF” for Arturo Fuente; and the Spanish phrase “Edición de homenaje” (“Edition in homage”). Finally, each caseback features the personal dedication by Carlito Fuente on behalf of the family and cigar company that he built: “Our Father, Our Friend, Our Hero.” Behind that ornate exhibition caseback beats Hublot’s Unico Caliber HUB1242, equipped with an integrated, column-wheel-controlled flyback chronograph function and a date display that shares the 60-minute chronograph totalizer at 3 o’clock. The movement, made in-house at Hublot’s manufacture in Nyon, outside of Geneva, Switzerland, features automatic winding, a frequency of 28,800 vph, and a power reserve of 72 hours. The watch is mounted on a black calf-and-rubber strap with a ceramic-and-titanium deployant clasp and comes in a gorgeous, lacquered wood cabinet that serves as both a presentation box for the watch as well as a humidor for your cigars. In the U.S., the whole ensemble is priced at $28,300.
Also announced during the watch’s launch event in the Dominican Republic, hosted by Carlito Fuente and Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, was the founding of a new Academy of Arts as part of the Fuente family’s charitable initiative, the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation (CFCF), which will be supported by both Hublot and Fuente in its mission to improve the lives of impoverished rural communities in the Dominican Republic’s mountainous Bonao region. Proceeds from the sales of the Hublot Big Bang Unico Arturo Fuente Ceramic will go toward supporting the new Academy, which also continues Hublot’s own “Hublot Loves Art” charitable initiatives in support of the arts.
|Hublot SA, Chemin de la Vuarpillière 33, Nyon,
VAUD, 1260 Switzerland
|Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph and date
|HUB1280 Unico manufacture self-winding chronograph flyback movement with column wheel, 28,800 vph, 72-hour power reserve
|Engraved microblasted and polished black ceramic, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, water resistant to 100 m
|Bracelet and clasp:
|Black rubber with black calf strap, black ceramic and black-plated titanium deployant clasp
|Diameter = 44 mm