When shopping for a luxury watch, you will likely find yourself exploring both Rolex and Hublot timepieces. As you investigate both watch brands, it can be a bit of a challenge to determine which one best fits your style and expectations.
Both Rolex and Hublot offer high end watches that garner consumer confidence and attention. However, the products of these two watch manufacturers are significantly different, and they cater to different tastes and styles.
The Hublot company was founded in 1980 by Carlo Crocco, who was previously part of the Binda Group, another family-owned watch company that Crocco left in 1976. The Hublot founder wanted to create something on his own and had a completely different vision than many of the traditional watchmakers.
Croco’s goal was simplicity, so he focused on the watch strap. After much trial and error, he finally perfected a new rubber strap that created a compelling union of sportiness and elegance.
The Hublot rubber strap doesn’t stain or crack with wear thanks to a special mixture of steel and rubber. This mixture even contains vanilla to mitigate the odors associated with the rubber itself.
Hublot then paired the revolutionary rubber strap with a gold watch case to give birth to a new and innovative combination of style. European royalty quickly took notice of the brand, which propelled Hublot into the watchmaker’s spotlight.
Hublot Changes Hands
In 2004, Jean-Claude Biver became CEO, board-member and minority shareholder of Hublot. Under new management, Hublot returned even stronger to the original sporty elegance principle.
The Big Bang
With Hublot’s renewed focus on marrying unlikely materials in the creation of luxury watches, the Big Bang was born in 2005. This watch almost immediately won a Best Design award in the 2005 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.
The company released innovative versions of the Big Bang, including All Black, One Million, Diver and Mag Bang. Each variation featured different materials and settings to create unique masterpieces within the Big Bang family.
In sharp contrast to Hublot’s more recent foray into the watchmaking world, Rolex has been instrumental in defining the standards of modern timepieces throughout its entire history. Hans Wilsdorf, a young London entrepreneur, founded the Rolex brand in 1908 with the goal of creating watches that would be beautiful and reliable.
The first goal of the Rolex watchmakers was to design watches with chronometric precision. Rolex focused on intricate and minute movements to achieve this goal.
Rolex eventually broadened its scope to focus on waterproof and dust-proof watches, designed to protect the precision movements inside the watch case itself. By the early 1930s, Rolex invented the first self-winding watch mechanism, eliminating the guesswork involved in the winding of a wristwatch.
Rolex sought to create watches that served as tools for adventurers — the rugged explorers spending endless hours deep-sea diving, commanding sea-crafts, climbing mountains, racing cars and traveling the globe. Since 2013, Rolex has been in a long-term contract with Formula 1 Racing – serving not only as the Official Timekeeper, but also as the Official Timepiece of the sport.
Some of the most well-known Rolex watches include the Cosmograph Daytona, the Deepsea, the Sky-Dweller, the Submariner and the Yacht-Master. Rolex makes watches for both men and women.
Some consumers treat luxury items as potential investments, and watches are an example of a hot commodity used for that purpose – especially when it comes timepieces under the Rolex umbrella. That shouldn’t be surprising, given that Rolex is one of the watch brands with the highest return on investment and resale value in the market (see our article, “Is Investing in Rolex Watches Better than Stocks,” for a historical example of the investment potential of the Rolex brand). The exclusivity of Rolex watches and the innovative technology that sets these watches apart from the competition keep Rolex’s prices relatively high for both new and preowned models. In fact, Rolex watches do not typically depreciate in value, but instead, tend to increase in value over time (especially when customers exercise caution and avoid paying retail price for their purchases).
Even though Hublot has a shorter history than Rolex, it has carved its niche deeply in the watchmaking business under the leadership of Biver. What Hublot doesn’t have in longevity, it makes up for in innovation and courage to be distinctive and even luxuriously irregular.
This innovation and desire to buck the typical trends in watchmaking may just be what helps the”underdog brand” capture consumer allegiance over the long run. Nevertheless, due to the relatively short lifespan of this company, the long-term investment potential of Hublot watches has yet to be determined.
At the end, the decision between buying a Hublot or a Rolex comes down to your objectives. Do you desire a marriage with the more “traditional” or a quest with something a little more avant-garde? Is long term appreciation potential something high up on your reasons-to-buy-a-luxury-watch list or not? If you are more of the long-term marriage type than a transient-spirited Bohemian, then Rolex is your definite choice. But before you decide, just wait one second…who says you can’t be both?!?
If you need help making up your mind between Rolex and Hublot or if you want to savor the different models each brand offers, pay CRM Jewelers a visit or give us a call. Feel free to also visit the Hublot (click here) and Rolex (click here) sections of our website.