In early November 2011, under cloudy Florentine skies, then-Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Jean-Claude Biver, then-CEO (now chairman) of Hublot, arrived at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, the practice track for Scuderia Ferrari, to make an announcement bright with promise: For the fifth time since its founding, Ferrari was entering a long-term fine-timepiece collaboration, this one with Hublot.
Officially, Hublot was dubbed and remains the “watch and timekeeper of Ferrari” as well as the “timekeeper of Scuderia Ferrari” (the company’s racing division) and the “timekeeper of the Ferrari Challenge” -- a unique mono-marquee FIA-approved race series held across three regions: Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America. The Challenge culminates every year in the Finali Mondiali, a final race series that pits the regional champions against one another. This year’s Finali was held at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where Hublot and Ferrari introduced the all-new Hublot Big Bang Ferrari.
So, under blinding Sunshine State skies, at yet another classic race circuit, almost five years to the day after the companies announced their initial joint venture, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and North America managing director Jean-François Sberro, along with Scuderia Corsa Ferrari driver Martin Fuentes presented the 45 mm Big Bang Ferrari Chronograph Unico to the U.S. market in the presence of a select few watch journalists, other Ferrari Challenge racers and privileged Hublot and Ferrari collectors.
From left to right: The Flavio Manzoni-designed Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Chronograph Unico 45 mm in titanium (limited to 1,000 pieces), carbon (500 pieces) and 18k King Gold (500 pieces).
The new timepiece was redesigned by Ferrari chief designer Flavio Manzoni to reflect the curves and angles of some of his most notable car models: the California T, 488 GTB and LaFerrari. “The new design combines cutting-edge technology and contemporary style, featuring a new silhouette and advanced features such as improved readability on the dial, countersunk notches on the case for improved ergonomic fit, and new stylistic attributes to better represent Ferrari characteristics, like elongated push buttons fixed to a rotating staff in the likeness of pedals on a car,” said Sberro.
As its name indicates, the Chronograph Unico comes equipped with the in-house-produced Unico automatic flyback chronograph caliber, whose Ferrari model oscillating weight echoes the classic star-spoke design of Ferrari rims. The movement is housed in one of three limited-production case-metal options in this reimagined Big Bang: titanium (1,000 pieces), carbon (500) and 18k King Gold (500). The automotive dashboard instrumentation–inspired dial discreetly features the prerequisite prancing Ferrari horse at 6 o’clock.
“The watch is not the most important part of this partnership,” Hublot’s Biver, a larger-than-life character who owns a vintage 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, has said. “Ours is an ‘ambassador partnership’ in which Ferrari is an ambassador of Hublot. Ferrari brings awareness, prestige and exclusivity to Hublot in countries where [Hublot] lacks recognition. Ours is a marriage.” To which Sberro adds, “Each new edition of the Big Bang Ferrari represents our quest for innovation, excellence, and performance; values that both of our organizations embody, and we look forward to the continued celebration of our long-standing partnership.” And so, it seems, the honeymoon continues.
Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe.