I love the visionary idea that Carlo Crocco had in the late 1970s to create a watch that combined different materials. With the Hublot Classic, launched in 1980, Crocco created a watch that combined a yellow gold case with a rubber strap. At the time it was considered pure blasphemy. The combination of a precious metal with the material usually associated with cheap quartz watches was unheard of. Four decades later, however, it is a commonly seen combination of materials. Furthermore, the Classic Fusion is still part of Hublot's current collection and is a good reminder of Crocco's legacy. I had a chance to test drive the current green 45mm Classic Fusion in Titanium and determine if his visionary idea deserves the "industry icon" tag.
Pushing the limits always generates some controversy. Especially in the conservative watch industry, anything out of the ordinary quickly becomes a serious topic of discussion. ThatAudemars Piguet Royal Oakis obviously the perfect example. But five decades later, we have embraced both the watch and its designer as two of the industry's greats. The same thing happened when Carlo Crocco unveiled hisHublotClassic in 1980. A gold luxury watch with an integrated rubber strap was new and controversial at the time. But that didn't bother the many celebrities, royals and watch collectors who bought one. The Hublot Classic was a great success. Not long after its introduction, the watch also won the award for best design at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève. An icon was born... or was it?
Hubot classic design
I think it's safe to say that the original Hublot Classic has become an industry icon. At the same time, it is not as renowned as Royal Oak and Nautilus, for example. However, it has become a classic and I love the overall design concept that Crocco came up with. His origins lie in his love of sailing. He based the entire concept on creating a sports watch that he could wear while sailing, combining luxury with practicality. That's where the fusion of gold and rubber comes from. Plus, he explains the well-thought-out porthole design, from the angled 37mm case shape to the integrated rubber strap and the screws on the bezel that act as hour markers.
The minimalist approach to design still looks great, in my opinion. Which is why I was delighted to see a re-release of the original Classic Fusion two years ago to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Crocco's creation. Although it lacked the original 12-screw hour markers, it was still a nice homage to the original. And just a few weeks ago we saw the introduction of42mm Fusion Classic Chronographin the iconic combination of yellow gold and black rubber. Both watches showed that the original combination still looks great, and on top of that, it also reminded me how much I love Hublot's Classic Fusion design.
Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm
Which is why I jumped at the chance to review the current 45mm Classic Fusion in Titanium. The watch is part of Hublot's extensive Classic Fusion collection. It has models for men and women in four different sizes, from 33mm to 38mm, 42mm and 45mm. The brand offers ten different 45mm models in titanium or a combination of titanium and gold or diamonds. The full titanium model comes with a black, grey, blue, green or white opaline dial on a rubber strap. The black and blue dial versions also come with an integrated titanium bracelet.
The biggest question for me going into this review was whether I could figure out the 45mm size of the watch. My first choice would always be the 42mm version as it seems like the best option for my wrist. Then again, I am quite tall and have several large watches in my collection, so I am no stranger to wearing oversized watches. For the review, I wore the Classic Fusion with a green dial and a strap that is a combination of green alligator and rubber. While not my first choice in the series, it's a pretty stylish combination.
The slim case design
The first thing that catches your eye is the design of the cabinet. At 45mm, the grade 5 titanium case is large, but since it's only 10.95mm thick, it doesn't feel chunky. The watch has a nice slim profile. It's also great to see the shape and layered construction of the case. Wedged between the case and the ring, you will find two pieces of rubber on the left and right sides of the case that emphasizethe art of fusionthe philosophy of the brand. While nice touches, the standout features are undoubtedly the bezel with its six H-shaped titanium screws and the steeply sloping "tabs" with two additional screws for the integrated rubber strap.
In my opinion, Hublot updated the case design very well. It still retains many of the details that made the original cover so special, but the brand has added a modern touch that fits perfectly with the style. The case has a clever combination of brushed and polished titanium. The satin parts dominate the overall feel and therefore the watch is far from flashy. By today's Hublot standards, it's a very elegant and sophisticated design. However, the watch is only water resistant to 50 meters, which isn't impressive considering its surroundings. After all, the 40th anniversary model was waterproof to 100 meters and is essentially a nautical watch inspired by the world of sailing.
The simple design of the dial
Compared to the original 1980 watch design, today's dial design is not as minimalist. But to say that a lot is happening would be a lie. The first thing that stands out about this watch is the green sunburst color. It's a vibrant dial that changes color under different lighting conditions, the effect changing depending on the angle you look at it from. The dial has twelve polished applied hour markers with a double marker at the 12 o'clock position. The markers shine brightly and perfectly bring the watch to life in combination with the polished hands. I have to say that I like the large faceted sword-style hands in combination with the thin seconds hand counterbalanced by the Hublot logo. It's a combination that feels perfectly balanced, as does the overall design of the dial.
Hublot HUB1112 calibre
If you turn the watch around, you will see the Hublot HUB1112 automatic caliber through the sapphire caseback. The movement is based on the Sellita SW300-1 and runs at 28,800 vph. It has 25 jewels and has a 42-hour power reserve. I have to say that visually two things stand out when you look at the movement. The finish on the gauge is simple and feels industrial. The rotor has the name of the brand, but the movement has no special decoration.
Another thing that stands out is that the movement is small in relation to the overall size of the watch. The movement measures 25.6mm in diameter and is also used for the 38mm and 42mm versions with a slight variation. The only difference is that for the 45mm version, Hublot provided the movement with a module to position the date more towards the edge of the dial. This is a necessary design solution, because otherwise the date would have been placed too far towards the center. But seeing the movement through the caseback actually reminds you that it's pretty small for the 45mm case. Combined with the industrial finish, it's not a movement you want to turn your watch around to admire.
Iført 45 mm Classic Fusion
The slim profile, low weight and comfortable stainless steel clasp strap make the watch a breeze to wear on the wrist. Speaking of the strap, the base is black rubber over which Hublot layers green alligator leather with green stitching. The tone of the strap matches the dial perfectly, which is important because it is not an ordinary shade of green. The strap is nice and flexible and the lock is easy to use. It opens easily with a push button release and closes with a firm click.
Once on the wrist, the size of the watch itself was not an issue. On the contrary, the overall design feels balanced and the watch is very easy to wear on my 18cm wrist. But what caused me some discomfort was that I had to choose between two strap holes that did not allow for a perfect fit. The first one turned out to be too tight and the second one caused the watch to wiggle on my wrist. As a result, the crown stuck in my hand. In addition, the push button on the wide clasp also caused some discomfort when wearing the watch.
Although there were a few moments where the strap was an issue, I really enjoyed my time with the Hublot Classic Fusion. The case design is the main draw for me. I like the dynamism of the round bezel with its six screws that complement the angular lines of the case. This is where the magic of this watch is. While the green dial design adds a nice pop of color, I'd pick the black dial over this anytime. The black dial paired with a black rubber strap allows the case to shine and brings it back to the original 80's watch that I love so much.
Also, I would also choose the 42mm version of the Classic Fusion over this 45mm model. While the size itself wasn't an issue, the strap "issue" reminded me every time I was wearing a large watch. The Titanium Hublot Classic Fusion in 45mm is available at a list price of7.200 €. This makes it one of the most affordable models Hublot offers. At the same time, it is also one of the brand's most iconic watches. On top of that, I also love how it represents another side of the brand that is less loud and divisive. While division has always been a part of Hublot, it's great to see that Crocco's Classic Fusion is no longer the divisive factor. But it is the definitive proof that he was one of the great visionaries of the industry.
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Quality of Craftsmanship
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Hublot – the Self-assured Leader
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