February 7, 2023

Aside from Big Bangs, Hublot is perhaps best known for their prolific, and occasionally surprising, partnerships. One of the most interesting, from a design and technique perspective, is Hublot’s relationship with Italia Independent and their famous frontman – Lapo Elkann.

If you pay even the slightest bit of attention to the world of men’s style, you’re probably all too aware of Elkann. If you’re not down on the difference between spritz and sprezzatura, Elkann – grandson of billionaire industrialist and sartorial icon Gianni Agnelli – is a staple of the style and society pages. He’s also the founder and driving force behind Italia Independent, which is best known for producing high-fashion eyewear, but is also a fully-fledged design agency in its own right.

It should come as no surprise that Hublot’s Italia Independent collaboration focuses on unusual materials. While we’ve previously seen Texalium-infused timepieces, this time around they’ve opted to play with more traditional textures – the classic cloth of fine tailoring.

The full collection consists of six different Classic Fusion watches, each incorporating a different woollen cloth – tartan, Prince-of-Wales check or houndstooth – on the dial and strap. It’s a bold look, but one entirely in keeping with both Hublot’s ‘art of fusion’ philosophy and Elkann’s fashion focus. The fabrics themselves have been sourced from Rubinacci, a famous family-run tailor that has been dressing the rich, famous and royal (including Elkann’s relatives) for three generations. Luca Rubinacci chose these particular cloths with Elkann’s sporty-but-elegant style in mind, and Hublot adapted the raw, fibrous material into watch components, a feat of material transformation that shouldn’t be underestimated.

We were particularly drawn to the King Gold chronograph in houndstooth (or pieds-de-poule in French). The texture of the fabric is obvious, but not as attention-grabbing as the tartan or Prince-of-Wales versions. The contrast between the black and white wool, rich gold of the case and blue details is particularly pleasing. The real wonder though is the dial itself – that Hublot has managed to transform the soft folds and fibres of the wool into a precisely machined dial is astounding, and results in a texturally rich watch that’s refreshingly fun to wear. Though is it too much to pair it with a houndstooth jacket?

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph Italia Independent Australian pricing and availability

Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph, in King Gold and houndstooth, limited to 50 pieces, $42,500