Hublot made its debut at Baselworld in 1980, and it was at this annual watch and jewellery fair in Basel, Switzerland that The Hour Glass (THG) was also first acquainted with the fledgling watchmaker. Established only a year earlier, The Hour Glass was looking for a signature brand to complement their concept of specialist watch retailer. Hublot caught their attention with its nautical watch that boldly combined gold and rubber—common today but shocking back then.
Throughout the four decades, both partners mirrored each other's growth from industry rookies into household names, and have remained fiercely loyal to each other. When Hublot's founder Carlo Crucco decided to retire, it was THG's co-founder Dr Henry Tay who approached the legendary Jean-Claude Biver to consider joining Hublot.
"At Baselworld 2004, I had lunch with a dear friend, Jean-Claude Biver, who had several years before sold Blancpain to the Swatch Group and was subsequently appointed by Nicholas Hayek Sr to lead the relaunch of Omega,” said Tay in a press statement. “After the success of Omega, Jean-Claude was restless and was seeking a new challenge. I advised Jean-Claude to contact Carlo, whose children were not interested in managing Hublot, and to come to an arrangement with Carlo to gain full operational control of Hublot and build another success story with this unique marque.
“A few months later, Jean-Claude called to say he was on board as a partner in Hublot. Not long after, he launched the Big Bang, which I instantly knew was going to be a great success—and the rest is history.”
Such is the strength of their relationship that watch enthusiasts in Southeast Asia immediately link the two together whenever either name is uttered. Over the years, there have also been many memorable collaborations; here are three recent examples around the region that aptly demonstrate the dynamics of this enduring partnership.
Thanks to The Hour Glass, Hublot has had an incredible development in Southeast Asia in the last 40 years with seven boutiques today. The Hour Glass has really been key in the success of the Hublot brand, in particular since 2005.— Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot