The new Hublot F1 King Power Ceramic (Ref. 703.CI.1123.NR.FMO10) automatic chronograph watch was officially presented last weekend during the 2011 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix at the famous Shanghai International Circuit. Featuring the usual for the King Power line exaggerated design that looks like it was *ahem* influenced by that of a performance brake disc, the wristwatch is deliberately brutal offering a nice alternative to a ubiquitous Rolex Daytona if you don’t mind it being powering by nothing more impressive than a slightly refinished ETA 7750 chronograph caliber.
As I have already noted once, China is deemed to be one of the most important market for the Western brands that make luxury goods.
Whether you sell ultra-expensive cars or ultra-expensive underwear, you have to treat this booming market with the highest degree of respect if you plan your business to survive for another decade.
Although Swiss watchmakers have their share of problems with local counterfeiters that produce fake Rolexes, Omegas and Patek Philippes by millions and sell them for at 1/100th of price of a real thing, they still invest a lot of time and energy in order to gain a foothold on the local market.
While the Italian Panerai offered local customers a “lucky” but otherwise completely unremarkable PAM 366 Fu watch, the Swiss-based Hublot paid its homage with a limited edition of its flagship King Power automatic chronograph.
Presented in a high-tech micro-blasted black ceramic case that measures almost intimidating 48 millimeters in diameter, the watch features all the elements of their new F1 series: a perforated brake disk-shaped bezel, a Nomex strap, and F1 logos just about everywhere.
The F1-inspired ceramic chronograph push-pieces with rubber inserts are also on their rightful place. The one at 2 o’clock operates the start function and is colored red and the one at 4 o’clock is here to reset the chrono and is colored black with red inscription RESET.
The new timepiece is animated by the same HUB 4100 self-winding movement that also powers their Hublot F1 King Power India Limited Edition (Ref. 703.OM.1138.NR.FMO10) chronograph watch and a number of other chronographs with the same functionality. Of course, this is not an in-house caliber, but just a re-branded version of the good old ETA Valjoux 7750 ebauche.
The movement is also heavily decorated.
While most Swiss watchmakers tend to adorn their calibers with Geneva stripes and/or different kinds of engine-turning, Hublot (at least, when it comes to the sporty watches) takes the other route.
The movement in question features micro-blasted, bevelled and polished bridges and a black PVD-coated winding rotor with a heavy segment crafted from an even denser carbide that ensures better winding efficiency. The mainplate is decorated in a more traditional way: it is rhodium-plated and circular grained.
According to the Swiss watchmaker’s press release, the watch is going to be issued in a limited edition of only 500 pieces.
It will probably be quite expensive. But that’s okay for a country whose citizens buy Rolls-Royces like cheeseburgers.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Hublot F1 King Power Ceramic (Ref. 703.CI.1123.NR.FMO10) automatic chronograph watch specification
Price: $27,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber HUB 4100, 252 parts, 27 jewels, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Black PVD rotor; micro-blasted, bevelled and polished bridges
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date at 4:30
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Micro-blasted black ceramic
Bezel material: Black ceramic, perforated
Case shape: Cushion
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 48.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Dial: Black with red accents
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Adjustable black rubber and Nomex strap with F1 logo and red stitching; King Power micro-blasted black PVD titanium deployant buckle, cap in micro-blasted black PVD titanium, decorative plate in micro-blasted black ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Micro-blasted black ceramic