Q&A with Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe on Artistic Collaborations
On the side of the recent Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, Blouin Lifestyle met with Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. What is the key highlight among your offerings this year? The Big Bang Broderie. It’s a watch that should help increase our appeal with ladies and grow that segment of our customers. We are always looking for innovation and as always, we try to be creative. We were approached by the Swiss company Bischoff Textil in St. Gallen, which is a town known for doing some of the best embroideries in the world, for centuries, many of which have been for the haute couture houses in Paris, like Christian Dior. We thought why, not, because we think Swiss quality, Swiss technology of a specific industry, like embroideries could match watchmaking art. We started doing some samples and we decided to do an entirely embroidered watch, not just the case, and then we decided on a design — we choose the skull because it’s something that people in general find quite attractive and fashionable.
Will you consider doing more embroideries?
Yes, with this we can create a lot of different designs. It allows us to open towards a more feminine market — we didn’t want to change the identity of our watches, the volume aspect, but we wanted to bring femininity through the materials. I think we were able to do this before with our Tutti Frutti, Jeans, and Pop Art collections, and today we’re doing quite well as 25% of our sales are with ladies, which is not bad for a brand better known for being a more masculine brand.
You’ve also recently had several collaborations with artists like Romero Britto and Mr Brainwash.
While we’ve been more involved in the sports world — through football, cars, basketball — we want to explore new worlds because our consumer is multifaceted today. He can go watch a football game, a Formula 1 grand prix, or go to Art Basel Miami. We believe we should always be a bit disruptive, with the latest trend, and we believe street art and pop art are something that match quite well the philosophy of the brand. We started with Britto because he was an ambassador for FIFA, and he designed a watch strap which we wanted to give to our guests in Brazil to wear during the World Cup. Now for Baselworld, we’re coming up with a traditional enamel grand feu dial with an abstraction by Britto. This is a fusion for us of a very traditional art in watchmaking with a very contemporary design. Only 50 pieces, around €50,000-60,000. We’re also going to come out with a limited edition of watches with Mr. Brainwash, with a transparent resin to recover and protect his paint-splash designs.
What about other collaborations?
For the Venezuela market, we will do a limited edition with (kinetic and op artist) Carlos Cruz-Diez, who is 92 years old. He does optical art and we will do a watch using a piece of his art on the dial. It will create a kind of effect as you move the watch around; it’s going to be very exciting.
Do you see any trends in terms of design?
In high-end watches, I think I see a trend about giving value on the watch: before, the movement was hidden under the dial, but now there is a trend to show the technique. It’s not about doing more skeleton watches to show transparency, but more to show the actual technique. We sell a piece of art, so it’s important to give visual value.
As first published in Blouin Lifestyle Magazine