At a cocktail reception hosted by the charismatic Jean-Claude Biver on the shores of Lake Geneva over the weekend, the all-new relationship between his Hublot brand and the Alinghi Americas Cup team became official by the unveiling of the Hublot King Power Alinghi Limited Edition, itself based on the hugely successful Hublot Big Bang series.
Present at the launch, and recipient of piece number 1, was Ernesto Bertarelli, President of the successful Alinghi team who later this year will defend the Americas Cup for Switzerland against US challengers Team BMW Oracle Racing in the 33rd running of the famous yacht race.
While it is always interesting to see the launch of new a piece, whether it is to one's taste or otherwise, this occasion was significant in that it represented the beginning of a new era for both Team Alinghi and the Hublot brand, for previously the Alinghi name was closely associated with Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Offshore editions, a relationship which expired along with it's contracts mid 2009. With the signature pieces from both watchmakers being so competitively poised in adversity, one imagines that when the opportunity came around for JC Biver's Hublot brand to pick up the torch left behind by Audemars Piguet, that he moved in fairly quickly (as is his way). Indeed the deal was agreed in outline within 24 hours of Biver and Bertarelli discussing the potential at the unveiling of the Alinghi 5 catamaran last year.
The new Hublot Big Bang King Power Alinghi is striking in that it's part-skeletonised dial - beneath which beats the new in-house Hublot UNICO Calibre movement - leaves the impression that the chronograph counters appear to 'hover' independently between crystal and dial, a feature which is exacerbated by the Alinghi motif at the 9 o'clock position.
Crafted in ceramic and rubber, the watch symbolizes the mutual interest in design and materials shared by both Hublot and the Alinghi team. It will be produced in a limited release of 333 numbered pieces.