THE GREAT STEP FORWARD
9th November 2013
In Maranello, bespoke cars are manufactured just like pieces of fine watchmaking, the names Ferrari and Hublot are both synonymous with excellence and technological innovation, elegance and passion. Words by Agusto Capitanucci.
In order to fully comprehend the meaning of the term “manufacture”, it is not enough to look up its definition in a dictionary or encyclopaedia. In fact, it is not even enough to visit just any watchmaking factory; once you have entered into the reality of the Hublot universe, you risk ruining everything you ever thought you knew until that very moment. In Nyon, the very birthplace of the timepieces with the grand H logo on its dial, nothing is left to chance, not only in terms of quality of materials but also in terms of true quality of life. The Hublot brand – a star in the constellation of the LVMH group – shares these values with the legendary car manufacturer Ferrari. It is therefore not surprising that on the 5th November last year, the two companies became intimately linked by a sort of “pact” which Jean-Claude Biver, Chair- man of Hublot, declared as being one of his childhood dreams: “I have always dreamed of owning a Ferrari. Today this union has not only realised my dream, it has gone beyond it. For us, this collaboration rich in synergies represents a powerful thrust of the accelerator”.
Although the characteristics shared by both products, initially appear very different, when examined more closely, numerous similarities become clear. Let’s start with their “motors” which are driven by gears powered in one instance by fuel, and in the other by the barrel and its spiral, or the output given by 8 and 12 cylinder engine made by Ferrari and Hublot’s mechanical movements, automatic or manual, tourbillon, split seconds chronograph or minute repeater. Then come the intrinsically sporty, 2 or 4-seater models, hatch, spider or “family” cars, such as the four-wheel drive Ferrari FF, which could be compared to Hublot timepieces such as the Big Bang, the new generation King Power, and of course, the Masterpieces. To these, two new realities were added, which emphasise the many similarities between Ferrari and Hublot: the customisation Ferrari Tailor Made project and an equivalent program conducted by Hublot with products which will be released within the next 5. Hublot will create pieces dedicated to iconic automobiles and unforgettable vehicles, such as the 250 GTO, which will be added to the special edition timekeepers created specifically for avid collectors like the beautiful red Maranello bodywork.
In the case of the Ferrari Tailor Made program, the project is the result of the desire to create vehicles that have come “straight out of a dream”. The Ferrari name has always been synonymous with excellence, state-of-the-art mechanics, power and unrivalled technological innovation. In the tradition with this concept, the program is aimed at customers who are looking for tailor-made personalisation and individuality for their vehicle, reflecting their taste. With, as a bonus, constant research and development work performed by “Centro Stile Ferrari” (Ferrari Style Centre), which is inspired by the companies key values: innovation, elegance and passion. A dream has become reality and it is aimed at a limited number of customers. Each is literally guided by a team of experts under the supervision of a personal designer whose role is to ensure the unique character of vehicles created and to ensure that they conform with the Ferrari brand and its traditions. Three collections are proposed and closely related to the DNA of Ferrari: Scuderia, Classica and Inedita. In these, Hublot finds the alter ego of its own models such as the Classic Fusion line, which reflects the concept of the classic hatch designed by Enzo Ferrari, and the Big Bang, which embodies the uncompromising power of modern day GTs.
The most successful “tailor-made manufacture” of Hublot watches, also known as Atelier Complication, is housed in a special manufacturing wing on the Route de la Vuarpillière, in Nyon, just a few minutes from Geneva in Switzerland. It is here that Hublot creates the most sought after complications which collectors throughout the world aspire to own, such as tourbillons, minute repeaters, split second chronographs. In this wing of Hublot, where silence and concentration are sacred, an extremely limited number of watches are manufactured. Master watchmakers assemble complicated movement components, not mechanically, but by testing each piece, one by one. It is here that each timepiece is designed and put in motion by hand and with great care to such intense details as manually adjusting even the spiral within the barrel of the power reserve.
Hublot creates the most sought after complications which collectors throughout the world aspire to own.
It is this so-called “series” that strives to maintain the same standards of the Atelier Complication Hublot or the Ferrari Tailor Made projects. Exclusivity and luxury are the chromosomes connecting the DNA of these two brands that do not allow exceptions or leave room for error. To achieve this, each component, from the movements, cases and dials of the luxury watches, through to the design of the instrument panels, quality leather seats and finishing touches on the vehicle bodywork is always created or checked internally. This is a guarantee that once complete, each piece of the puzzle corresponds to the requirements and productive quality expected. At Hublot, there are entire departments dedicated to micro technology and electronic engineering, information technology and chemistry for the process of galvanisation. At Ferrari, all of this can be found in the departments dedicated to research and development that take inspiration from the experiences of the Scuderia’s Formula 1™ races or by the designers, another profession shared by the two manufacturers. There is a similarity in all of this: watch-makers who assemble watches or apply the decorative finishes, find their counterparts in the team of experts of the Cavallino that shape the leather for each dashboard mould by hand. To do this, they use a tool similar to an everyday hair dryer which makes it possible to follow the curves of the passenger compartment.
ast, but certainly not least: the common philosophy that drives the Maranello and Nyon companies. There are currently two genuine manufacturers who work on the entire assembly line from the foundries right up to the production of minuscule components that are almost invisible. The 8 cylinder engines are created on an assembly line, just like the Unico movement, which is produced internally by Hublot. Furthermore, the 12 cylinder engines are assembled by hand by a single person, from the start right through to the end of the process. The human factor is therefore the key ingredient to this successful recipe which goes against the current of modern (computerised) manufacturing that prefers quantity over exclusivity. At this stage, all that now remains is to take a position on the start line with the Hublot timepieces to be created, such as the “Ferrari Official Watch”, the “Scuderia Ferrari Official Watch”, the “Ferrari Official Timekeepers”, the “Scuderia Ferrari Official Timekeeper” and the “Ferrari Challenge Official Time- keeper”.
The Hublot and Ferrari collaboration was natural and seamless partnership as both brands are leaders in their field with common traits of peak performance, technological leaders, and product exclusivity, just to name a few.
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