Before getting into answering the question of are Hublot watches a good investment? Let’s revisit the past of the brand. Hublot are a brand with a fascinating history. Founded in 1980 by former Breil employee Carlo Crocco, the word that has come to elicit a mixture of wonder and contempt is actually French for ‘Porthole’ (which makes a lot of sense when you consider the inspiration behind the iconic bezel).
Evermore engrossed in his charitable duties, Crocco poached Jean Claude Biver from Omega in 2004. The man that many in the industry regard as part magician, part force of nature, managed to revitalise Hublot’s popularity, leading to the brand’s acquisition by LVMH in 2008.
Expressing Biver’s effect on the brand’s fortunes needs no embellishment: The numbers speak for themselves. With Biver at the helm, Hublot’s revenue jumped to CHF 24,000,000 by the end of 2004; by the end of 2006 it had quadrupled to CHF100,000,000.
But does this meteoric ascension from a horological footnote to a prime-position powerhouse mean Hublot watches a good investment?
The Elephant in the Room
You’ve probably heard a few people you regard as pretty intellige
nt state that watches are a good place to put your money. If there is significant truth to be found in this reckless generalisation, it is the woeful indictment of investment opportunities available to most people it implies.
The truth is that very, very few watches live up to the kind of crazy appreciation eager consumers imagine when they shell-out their hard earned cash for the ticker they imagine will one day transform into a house, a yacht, or their own private island.
I’ve touched upon this subject in a previous article on the Borro Blog, so rather than rehash the same philosophies, let’s apply them to the brand and ask are Hublot watches a good investment and which, if any, of their wares, demand inspection.
The key things that Hublot do well: Material research, genre-defining design, and the in-house production of some movements. Hublot does not have history, or a reputation for mechanical innovation (or at least the kind that changes the industry en masse – you can certainly make an argument for some of their more advanced watches being incredibly novel in mechanical terms, but none of their ‘innovations’ have trickled down into general usage).
The Big Bang was a game-changing design. Love it or hate it, it has the DNA of a classic and it should be the first point of call when scouring the range for collectible pieces.
Beware special editions: Hublot churn out so many that an unlimited watch run is almost a rarer phenomenon. Always ask yourself the value of limitation. It must be desirable or it will not be desired.
In amongst the transparent ‘noise-makers’ Hublot have made some extremely impressive innovations in case manufacturing. Magic Gold is my personal favourite and although any piece boasting this awesomely resilient carbon/gold hybrid carries a hefty price tag, the exclusivity of this metallurgical technique is the kind of thing you should look out for when trying to decide where to put your money. Focus on a brand’s strengths: With Hublot that’s the level of legwork they put in in the lab.
If it’s alchemy you want, then that’s the best place to start to find Hublot watches that are a good investment.
If you have an investment worthy Hublot, learn about your options for borrowing against it.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.