In Nyon, Hublot has one of the most modern manufactures on the Swiss watchmaking landscape. Fully integrated, and totally focussed on innovation, it not only pushes the boundaries of creativity: it draws them itself. Hublot has its own R&D department, which allows it to think the unthinkable and achieve what no one else has imagined. And Art Basel in Miami has just been the stage for one of its latest achievements.
The ‘MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis 5-Day Power Reserve is entirely designed by Hublot and takes the iconic Rainbow design and thrusts it into the 21st century. Everything had to be reinvented: the concept, the method, the tools, the materials, and all the associated colour ranges.
The starting idea is relatively simple: to reproduce the Rainbow effect of coloured gemstones but using carbon and composites as opposed to gemstones. This exceptionally complex achievement reproduces the natural variations usually achieved by the natural variation of diamonds,, rubies, sapphires and emeralds on the surface of the case.
Thanks to its powerful watchmaking and industrial machinery, and the ingenuity of its researchers, Hublot was able to overcome considerable manufacturing complexities one after the other. In the traditional technique, the human hand chooses the stones that have already been formed over millions of years and then assembles them according to their colour; here, each tiny insert in different shades has to be created one by one.
In essence, the case is braided. Thin bars of carbon are laid flat, a few millimetres apart. Afterwards, bars of coloured composite are placed vertically into the gaps and protrude slightly from the carbon. This height difference is then filled with a third carbon mesh that raises all components to the same level. Both carbon and composites are threaded into the mass across all three dimensions: length, width and height.
To achieve this result, hundreds of coloured inserts had to be created. As the eye spontaneously combines them to recreate a harmonious and natural gradation, the effect is almost an optical illusion. In reality, Hublot had to develop a complete prism of infinite shades to reproduce the brilliance of gemstones – a first in watchmaking.
The colour of each insert darkens slightly as it set within the carbon case. This had to be kept in mind while creating them, as the final result would be slightly different once the inserts were in place. Another challenge was to position each composite in the right place so that the incredible amount of work would disappear and become seamless to the naked eye. The new MP-09’s surface is entirely smooth and polished to the touch.
Each insert is imperceptibly cropped with carbon, and polished and adjusted to the nearest micron. Never before has a watch boasted as many shades of coloured composite as the new Mp-09. a world first. As for the movement, this new MP-09 keeps the exceptional calibre that has been its beating heart since its inception: the HUB9009.H1.RA.B movement with manual winding and a 5-day power reserve.
It comes with a biaxial tourbillon with one complete rotation per minute for the first axis and a second rotation every 30 seconds for the second axis. This hypnotic unique double rotation has guided the design of the case with curved sides, which displays the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, within a new, colourful architecture and strictly limited to 8 pieces.