Jean-Claude Biver is never short of something to say. Give the man a microphone and he’ll talk for hours… especially when the subject is his brand. And so on January 16th, guests at the dinner which Hublot hosted at the Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva were treated to a lengthy digression on the firm’s success. All with Jean-Claude Biver’s unique brand of humour.
Make no mistake: if Hublot did better in 2010 than in 2009, than in 2008, and especially better than in 2007, the “mother of all years” for the branch, it’s because the people working alongside Jean-Claude Biver are quite simply the cream of the crop, the dream team of Swiss watchmaking. “We’ve known each other for years and we understand each other better than anyone. We can look each other in the eye and know what we’re thinking. Which is the best way. Words can always lie. The eyes never lie. This is why we perform so well,” he declared, his voice quavering, before going on to wax lyrical that no elaborate analysis or business plan could explain this kind of growth. “Hublot is a miracle! There’s no other way to put it. The simple reason we’re doing so well is that we’re doing things right and we’re giving it our all.”
Swept away by his enthusiasm and the moment, Jean-Claude Biver revealed that his company made revenues of CHF 25 million for December 2010 alone. “The equivalent of the entire twelve months of 2004, when I arrived at Hublot,” he declared, before venturing a joke about the problem of counterfeiting: “I believe half a million fake Hublot watches were inventoried worldwide last year. Apparently we’re also the leader in the field!” Cue laughter.
Moving on to strictly horological matters, the boss of the Nyon-based brand spoke about the integration within Hublot of Mathias Buttet and part of the team from BNB after the company folded. “This has been an important step for us and a crucial stage in our development. Today, thanks to their work, all Hublot’s fine watch movements and grandes complications are developed in-house.” Barely pausing for breath, he went on to announce the launch of a fourth range – after Big Bang, King Power and Classic Fusion – named Masterpiece. Needless to say, it owes a lot to the work of Mathias Buttet’s thirty former staff.
Aesthetically speaking, this is a first for Hublot as the MP-01 (short for Masterpiece No1) is set to become the brand’s first tonneau watch. Presented as a prototype, this single pushpiece column-wheel chronograph should reach its final form in the coming weeks, in particular in terms of design. This aside, it presents a lot of the hallmarks and style of BNB, particularly the treatment of the bridges, index markers, transparency and volume, not forgetting Hublot’s own signature features such as case construction. The MP-01 will be produced as 100 numbered pieces. On a more general note, this Masterpiece collection should be joined by two or three new models a year.