Hublot’s Dashing Diamonds: Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery
by Martin Green
One of the joys of Baselworld is that every appointment can bring you face to face with a new and exciting watch that makes your heart skip a beat.
In the internet era, the thrill has somewhat diminished as we see many of the new watches on social media before the fair, but there is one genre of watches that is rarely previewed: diamond-set timepieces.
Unless diamond-set watches have a price tag the size of the national debt of a medium-sized country, they are rarely posted. Those factors all played a role when I unexpectedly came face to face with the Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery: a model I had been totally unaware of but will now never forget.
A case of convincing diamonds
I am a big fan of Hublot, a love story that started a long time ago when Carlo Crocco was still owner and CEO of the brand. Today Hublot is a different animal altogether, but one with the same soul.
When you take away the high-profile sponsorships, the celebrity ambassadors, and the lavish parties you get an innovative manufacture that dares to think outside the box. Hublot backs up its reputation with high-quality, original, and imaginative designs, both in terms of cases and movements, and often in synergy with each other.
Also when it comes to watches with diamond settings, Hublot manages to set itself apart from the rest. Yes, it is the so-called Million Dollar Big Bangs that capture the headlines (see 10 Years of the Hublot Big Bang: Fusion, Diamonds, and ‘Rock’ Culture), but looking past this we see an array of beautiful, well made, diamond-set watches offered in a wide variety of price ranges ready for consumers for which a Million Dollar Big Bang is just a bit too much – financially as well as in carat weight.
It’s all in the setting
Anybody can set some diamonds on a watch and raise the price tag disproportionately. And, unfortunately, that is how a lot of brands approach their diamond-set watches: as a cash cow.
Hublot has always taken the high road when it comes to this, regarding diamond-set watches as objects of art, which is why many of them are so much more than just regular models with some diamonds added.Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery in King Gold
The Classic Fusion Aerofusion is personally my favorite collection of Hublot watches as it holds the middle ground between the brand that Crocco created and the one that Biver took to the next level, scoring very high on “DNA levels” of each era.
Setting this watch with brilliant-cut diamonds would have resulted in a diamond extravaganza, with lots of fire and scintillation. While common, this is not the route Hublot took and, in all honesty, probably because that would have been the common route. Hublot decided to push the envelope and go with baguette-cut diamonds instead.
The baguette cut in its original form is a rectangular shape with sides cut at different angles. Because of this the light reflects differently inside the stone, and the result is far more understated then with a brilliant cut. This is of course somewhat in contrast with the diamond itself: because of its shape you need larger diamonds, which retain more of their carat weight.
So while they look far more modest (if you could ever say such a thing about a diamond), the overall carat weight of watches set with them is much higher than that of the same watch set with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Hublot didn’t go for the traditional baguette cut on the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery, but created a warped design, which reminded me of the gun barrel sequence at the beginning of each James Bond movie. The issue with this is that the cut of each stone has to be individually determined and then cut and polished accordingly for its specific position.
Moreover, this doesn’t only involve the case but also the dial.
Baguette-cut diamonds on the dial are a rarity. Sometimes they serve as hour markers, but hardly ever do they outline subdials like they do on this Hublot. The reason for this is their relative thickness: as most diamond-set watches are based on existing models, the hands would need to be raised, and in some cases the thickness of the entire watch.
Usually, brands don’t go through the trouble of doing that for a watch they will only sell a handful of.
Drawn in by diamonds
Because the setting also continues onto the dial that slanted view extends from the case onto the bezel and into the center of the watch. As Hublot opted for a skeletonized dial, the effect is increased because of the visible underlying mechanics.
This watch is a combination of glamour and brutal, mechanical power, much like the appeal of a certain secret agent. For me, that is also what sets the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery apart from all the other diamond-set watches out there: the diamonds serve a purpose in the design beyond being pretty and increasing the value.
They add a layer of technical complexity, elevating a nice watch into an object of art. Few diamond-set watches can achieve that in the same way this Hublot does.
Hublot offers the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery in either white gold or proprietary King Gold, which is redder than traditional 5N red gold.
In white gold, the watch is surprisingly technical in appearance, with the precious metal and the diamonds perfectly in sync with each other.
The King Gold version is rather different: the redness of the gold reflects in the baguette-cut diamonds, giving them a warmer glow that is also amplified by the metal visible between them. This results in a very rich look.
The setting, however, trumps all in either gold, and that is how it should be. And it makes the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery one of the most exquisite diamond-set watches of recent years.
For more information, please visit www.hublot.com.
Quick Facts Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery
Case: 45 x 14.4 mm, white gold or King Gold set with 90 baguette-cut diamonds (~4.9 ct), gold bezel set with 112 baguette-cut diamonds (~6.2 ct)
Dial: 66 baguette-cut diamonds (~2.85 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber HUB1155, 4 Hz/28,800 vph, power reserve 42 hours, 207 components (including 60 jewels)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph
Price: 450,000 Swiss francs
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Diamond-Set Watches: Who Knew Fine Craftsmanship Was So Complicated?
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How, When, And Why Diamond-Set Watches For Men Were Commonly Accepted And The Importance America Played
Also published on Medium.