In this review of the Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski  All Black I contemplate blasphemy in watch design and share what it’s like to come in contact with a lamp post while wearing an 18,000-dollar ceramic watch. Oh, and we’ll also discuss what’s happening in the image above. Stay tuned!
Many appear to believe that it’s one of watchmaking’s most recent and most dubious developments that a watch’s primary function need not always be the easy telling of time. Mind you, the naysayers, those who are shocked by such watches are the same people who flock to the displays of horological museums to see the quirky, the cool, the ultra-rare, the bespoke, the special order Breguets and the likes – and expose a poorly disguised disinterest when facing more ordinary pieces. For centuries, watches with solid metalwork lids and mysterious/hidden time displays have existed… even The Most Impressive Piece in horology, the Breguet Marie Antoinette, is one of the most illegible ones all the same (yes, I know that it also came with a solid dial). I am amused by the hypocrisy that’s in the witch hunt modern brands are subjected to while old watches get a pass – even though these age-old pieces practiced the same meretricious things, albeit offered them at a much, much higher price, made available to a lot fewer in the world.
Should every brand produce at least some stellar, balanced, legible, technically impressive, novel, wearable watches? By all means! That’s the foundation to build upon. But where most brands stay on this level and “excite” with the prospect of a panda dial on a tame chronograph, others do what the greatest names had also not shied away from doing 100-200 years ago: create watches that cater for a clientèle who wants a luxury watch for its entertainment factor – and not because it ticks all the foundation-level boxes. When buying the right brand, you are already buying the ticked foundation-level boxes – in turn, you are free (what’s more, encouraged!) to buy a watch that laughs in the face of these strict standards. Feel secured by the brand and a bit out of your (and others’) comfort zone with the actual watch.
Before you grab a pitchfork, light a torch and head towards the Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski  HQ (which is actually an RV in an undisclosed location in Arizona), I’ll clarify that Hublot gets these basics done in its own way – but gets them done nevertheless. Insane, highly complicated halo-movements to prove they know their way around mechanics? Check. In-house produced, robust chronograph? Check. In-house designed and produced, novel, quirky-cool time-only caliber (Meca-10)? Check. In-house foundry to make its own gold and lab to push ceramic technologies? Check. Is the 8 or so thousand-dollar Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski  with a Sellita movement an abomination? I think so, but if they want to cash in on people wanting to cheaply buy into a brand – well, Hublot certainly isn’t the only one. But the rest, love or hate the design, is there. Whether one can see it or not, that makes no difference about the vast effort that’s put into materials and movements at Hublot – this I have seen at the manufacture a few times already.