Below: Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Skull
What was once a symbol of macabre fetishes has now become a pervasive trope de luxe. But for dissident watchmaker Hublot, the skull is more than just a superficial accessory. It represents a sort of spiritual daredevilry for the master of material innovation, who now unveils a new ceramic-coated aluminium case in its Classic Fusion Tourbillon Skull.
The ‘ceramised aluminium’ – as Hublot calls it – is created through microarc oxidation (a plasma electrolytic treatment that generates a dense ceramic layer on the aluminium’s surface) and contains all the resistance and hardness of normal ceramic at half the weight. Each case is then manually sanded to achieve its own ‘worn-to-the-bone’ finish to match nicely with the distressed calfskin strap.
To fit a distinctive skull-theme, the manufacture’s famous manual winding skeleton tourbillon movement underwent another form of ‘skeletonisation’, in which the bridges and main plate are laser-machined to resemble bones and skeletal grimaces. The components’ bone-white appearance is achieved through an electroplating process where they are rhodium-plated then micro-blasted to turn them from metallic to white. The centrepiece is a skull cage that houses the minute tourbillon, whirring defiance in the face of death, while the use of Roman numerals – a first for Hublot – completes the skeletal motif.