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April 19, 2024

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski: mechanics and colour

For years now, Hublot and Richard Orlinski havebeen building an artistic and mechanical alchemy that is unequalled in the watchmaking world. What drives the French sculptor to create his own extraordinary pieces together with the Nyon-based manufacturer is made clear in this interview he gave last year to Watches and Wonders. In 2023, Hublot brought the Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski Titanium to the Geneva show, while this year the brand demonstrated to be ahead of its time and presented the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski at the LVMH Watch Week. The latest product of a collaboration that began eight years ago.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HUBLOT AND RICHARD ORLINSKI

It was back in the SIHH days, and at that time Hublot presented its novelties at Baselworld. However, the brand used to take advantage of the Geneva show in January to unveil some novelties to insiders, on the shores of Lake Geneva, as it does now with the in-house event organised by LVMH. In 2018, the artist and Hublot welcomed guests to one of Geneva’s grandest hotels to present the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski. A watch that, according to the brand, was “the first work of art to display time”. Two limited editions of 200 pieces, in titanium or blue ceramic, sold out in a flash.

Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski

Since then, Richard Orlinski has put his artistic genius at the service of different materials. Ceramic and titanium, indeed, but also sapphire and King Gold have passed through the sculptor’s creative irreverence. From a complication point of view, the watches created by Orlinski have relatively put Hublot’s technical ability to the test so far. Time-only and chronographs are in fact the types of watches on which the Swiss brand has brought its focus. In short, muscular forms, sculptural details, but a mechanical heart that is, all things considered, not complex.

THE HUB6021 CALIBRE

Now, however, it’s getting serious. Because this time the genius of Orlinski meets the genius of… Breguet. As in Abraham-Louis, the man who patented the tourbillon in 1801. With the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski, Hublot takes a quantum leap forward with the collection created with the artist, introducing what for many is the queen of complications – on a par with the minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and other mechanical marvels.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

These naturally include the HUB6021 hand-wound movement, whichis at the heart of the watch. This is a calibre that fits unquestionably into the tradition of manual movements made by Hublot, which the brand reserves for some of its most prestigious references. A true manufactory-made movement that is enhanced by the presence of the one-minute flying tourbillon.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

In our opinion, there are two features that make this calibre exceptional. The first is perhaps the most obvious: aesthetics. Its extreme skeletonisation makes it almost intangible to the eye, as if it were made of lace or embroidery. The other is functional and is tied to the exceptional power reserve, which gets to 105 hours – a result achieved mainly by lowering the oscillation frequency of the calibre to 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz). This high level of autonomy puts it almost on a par with the brand’s other hand-wound tourbillon time-only movements, such as the HUB6016 (115 hours) or the HUB6010 (120 hours), which work at 28,800 vibrations per hour.

THE CLASSIC FUSION TOURBILLON ORLINSKI CASE

And then, there is the case. Because, if Hublot’s technical prowess is expressed in the calibre, it is in the case’s shapes that Richard Orlinski’s creativity explodes. The Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski also stands out for the faceted, sculptural shapes of its generously sized 45 mm ceramic case. Edges and diagonals create a multifaceted surface on which light works with the artist to give the watch an ever-changing and shimmering look. The dodecagonal bezel fixed with the classic six H-head screws crowns the sapphire crystal and completes a more-than-recognisable aesthetic amalgam.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

All this spiced up with two opposite but terribly casual colours, bright yellow or sky blue. Of the two, we were struck by the yellow: pure life distributed on every level of the watch. Radiant and sunny, yellow pervades all components, from the case to the strap, passing through the bezel and ending on the hands and indices. The latter parts stand out even more against the matt black bridges and chapter ring. 

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

The dial simply does not exist. Replaced by skeletonisation, its two focal points are the tourbillon at 6 o’clock and the power reserve indicator positioned between 8 and 9 o’clock. Sapphire crystal on the front, sapphire crystal on the back: the light pierces the movement, buoyant inside the case. 

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

Speaking of details: on the yellow version of the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski, theblack bridges match the titanium screws on the bezel coated in the same colour. On the blue one, the screws and bridges are matching titanium, uncoated. Black returns on the ceramic buckle of the yellow reference, titanium on the buckle of the blue reference.

THE REASON FOR SUCCESS

Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, said that “the models born from this collaboration which started in 2017 immediately sell like hot cakes and are coveted by watch collectors and art collectors alike.” Even at considerable prices, because in the case of the Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski we are talking about 103,000 euros and a limited edition: 30 pieces of each colour.

Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski

But no wonder, for it is Orlinski himself who explains the reason for the success of his collaboration with Hublot: “With full freedom granted to me, I have taken the Classic Fusion to the limits of its potential. Smooth but dynamic, like the contours of its ceramic case, it expresses a kind of animality: that ‘Born Wild’ spirit that has always pervaded my work“. Prompted by words like these, we are certain that collectors are already waiting for the next limited editions.

By Davide Passoni