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The Courageous Brand Story of Hublot

  • 24th Jan 2022
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The Courageous Brand Story of Hublot

A Swiss Brand with an Italian Twist

Hublot is a Swiss luxury watch brand and design house founded by an Italian gentleman Carlo Crocco in 1980. In that sense it is new luxury watch brand in the watchmaking industry where history generally runs at least two to three generations deep. The Hublot brand and design house is known for its unique pieces, shape, function, design techniques and revolutionary materials. After its lukewarm debut Hublot made huge strides in the luxury watch industry and quickly becoming a top favourite for every luxury timepiece lover.

Taking a Courageous Plunge

The Founder of Hublot, Carlo Crocco was born in 1944 and was the heir apparent to his uncle's business, the Binda Group. Binda Group was a highly successful and wealthy dynasty famous for their Breil watches.

Crocco, however, had other ideas and moving away from family tradition in 1976, he chose a different path leading to the creation of Hublot.Crocco was adamant about bringing his vision for a watch design that would be genuinely different compared to anything he or his family had managed to before. With a fund collection of around USD 4 million, he spent the next four years setting up a small watch factory in Switzerland which was considered the ultimate place for watchmaking. An opening at MDM Geneva in 1980 saw the huge debut of his Hublot watch brand at the hugely popular Baselworld watch expo.

A Stir in Basel

At Baselworld, the Hublot generated quite a stir. Hublot's band was constructed of rubber, rather than the customary gold, leather, or exotic materials seen on a premium watch band. Crocco had spent an estimated $1 million inventing a tempered, lightweight, and durable rubber. The ultimate result was an exquisite timepiece with an athletic edge, one that straddled the line between high-end design and every day wear with ease. The Hublot was a game-changer in the luxury watch industry, but watch purchasers were sluggish to embrace the Hublot's then-radical design.

A Slow Start

Almost through the decade after its luanch in 1980, Hublot's sales team had to make a concerted effort to persuade customers to buy a Hublot. In the 1990s, Hublot's name recognition grew slowly (first in Europe, then in the United States) since it competed against extremely well-known and long-established brands. For other purchasers, it was also a paradigm change to realise that the Hublot's high price tag was due to the watch's intricate design, not the unusual rubber strap.

The uphill sales struggle was eventually won, and by 1993, celebrities such as Prince Albert of Monaco, Giorgio Armani, Elton John, Candice Bergen, Michael Schumacher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Usher, Drake, Shaun White, Neymar Jr., Jenson Button, and Lewis Hamilton were wearing Hublot watches.

Hublot Gains Prominence

With Hublot's popularity dwindling, Jean-Clade Biver was appointed CEO in 2004. With the unveiling of the "Big Bang" Chronograph at Basel in April 2005, Biver quit his role as president of Swatch Group's Omega division and instantly shook up the Hublot range. The Big Bang, like the original Hublot, wowed Basel attendees, with some scoffing at the extravagant colour combinations and others applauding the refreshing departure from staid conventional designs. The colossal timepiece was a huge hit with customers, winning several honours and honours, including the renowned Design Prize at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix. 

Hublot has firmly established itself as a respected player in the watch market, one that is unafraid to challenge industry rules and welcomes innovation.After its surge in attention and recognition, Hublot's timepiece is as synonymous of timeless style and design versatility. Hiding a power reserve indicator on the case back instead of a dial or hands is an expression that showcases the brand's commitment to innovativion and its zeal towards the new.

Association & Ambassadorship

At the opening ceremony for its first flagship store in Beijing, Biver introduced Jet Li as Hublot's next brand ambassador. Li is the brand's first Asian ambassador as well as the first film star to work as a Hublot ambassador. Other brand ambassadors include deceased Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna's family and Institute; world's fastest man Usain Bolt; designer Samuel Ross; France and PSG player Kylian Mbappé; football legend Pelé; Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma and formerly, the Manchester United football team, golfers Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Patrick Reed.

Friends of Hublot

 Hublot has also developed a network of Friend of the Brand in the fields football, gastronomy, arts, and sports. Notable Friends of the Brand are 2018 Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg, football coaches José Mourinho, Gareth Southgate, and Didier Deschamps, tennis players Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina, chefs Yannick Alléno and Paul Pairet. Former footballer Diego Maradona was a Hublot Friend of the Brand until his death in 2020.Formula One Management President and CEO, Bernie Ecclestone's "See what people will do for a Hublot" campaign is still a case study for advertising.In August 2021, Serbian professional tennis player Novak Djokovic became a Hublot brand ambassador.


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