A Hublot Watch You Can Wear With Jeans
The debut of Hublot’s Classic Fusion Italia Independent collection gives new meaning to the concept of checking the time.
The six watches, their respective dials and straps busy with houndstooth, tartan, and Prince of Wales patterns, are the fruits of a collaboration among a trio of companies: Swiss watchmaker Hublot, design company Italia Independent, and venerable Naples tailor Rubinacci, which supplied the textiles that lend the timepieces their panache and prestige.
Luca Rubinacci, a third-generation tailor and master of the house’s Milan outpost, explained the pedigree of the cloth. “When my father took over the business in the ’60s, he found 8,000 suit lengths of fabric dating back to the 1930s, and we still have a few hundred left,” Rubinacci said. His father was fascinated by the way those fabrics draped, Luca continued, so “we kept buying the remaining stocks of old manufacturers, and we now have the biggest vintage stock fabric, counting more than 20,000 lengths.”
Having a suit made from such distinguished cloth is the province of connoisseurs such as Lapo Elkann, Italia Independent’s founder and artistic director. Elkann’s company has previously worked with Hublot on a special edition of its Big Bang Unico—“very sporty and aggressive,” as Hublot chief executive Ricardo Guadalupe put it. By comparison, these half-dozen watches, each made in the tradition of the 45-millimeter Classic Fusion chronograph familiar to Hublot fans, range from just over $15,000 to $35,100 and carry themselves with swank formality.
“Lapo had this idea of working with these specific fabrics from the 1930s,” Guadalupe said, speaking of the particular nattiness of the patterns, which echo those of suits and jackets Rubinacci has made for Elkann. “It’s very British, very trendy at the moment.”
Guadalupe is the first to concede that one of these will not—at least, should not—be anyone’s primary timepiece. Rather, they’re for the collector looking to spruce up a fairly casual outfit. “It’s not [to be worn with] the traditional British suit,” he said, suggesting “a jacket, but maybe jeans, you know, or very nice shoes.” Highly polished, of course.