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featured 18, May 2017 04:03pm
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Matthias Buttet – R&D Director, Hublot – Part Two

Known for its innovative design and experimentation with new-age materials, Hublot made its mark in the Swiss watch industry shortly after the launch of the Big Bang collection in 2005. The big, bold designs and avant-garde technology has earned the brand a huge fan following across age-groups. We caught up with Matthias Buttet, the brand's director of Research & Development, to know more about the making of a timepiece from Hublot. Excerpts from the second part of the interview.

WTI: At Hublot, what comes first - the design of the watch or material innovation?

MB: In the Hublot R&D department, we don't follow a particular method for innovation. Innovation is, above all, a state of mind. I'll answer your question with examples.

A few years ago, the Hublot management had requested us to create a coloured carbon fibre, which could be used to design more feminine, less sporty-looking watches. We tried to color the carbon fibre for a year but none of the scaffolded solutions caught our attention. We then turned to another fibre, the flax fibre – a material being used in developing fabrics. Since it originated from plants, it took us another year to weave and colour the fabric with natural pigments, and finally propose the linen fibre which is now a part of our collection. Linen is very satisfactory, both at an aesthetic as well as the technical side.

Therefore, as an answer to your question, there is no fixed method of what comes first. It's a fusion of both the elements – design and innovation.

WTI: What are the upcoming highlights from the R&D Department?

MB: Without revealing any secrets, this year might bear witness to total innovation in the field of ceramic and metal alloys.

WTI: What personifies the essence of a Hublot?

MB: The essence of Hublot, for me, lies in the fusion between tradition and innovation. Our future collection will resonate a much stronger DNA of Hublot, linking it to extreme innovation.

We strive to exceed expectations at all levels and be the first and only ones available in every niche that we create. This determination represents the spirit of Hublot.

WTI:  From an R&D point of view, which timepiece is your personal favorite,?

MB: The R&D department at Hublot has two missions – one is to develop new materials and the second is to create watch complications. Considering this, I have two personal favorites.

From a material point of view, I value the Magic Gold watch the most. This material consists of 18-karat gold and is only offered by Hublot. Resonating with the brands' Art of Fusion concept, the material is a combination of the nobility of pure gold and the hardness and lightness of ceramic. Magic Gold is close to my heart as it symbolises the real shift in the watchmaking industry. Developing materials in-house today, as compared to the past where the watch brands would wait for major aeronautics and automative industries to make their patents open for public, is a significant shift which has been initiated by Hublot.

My second favorite, from the department of complications, is a movement called Key of Time – a special mechanism developed by Hublot which gives the wearer the opportunity to change the speed of time. A pusher, when triggered, makes it possible to return to the conventional time, thanks to the "mechanical memory" of the watch. I think this mechanism is the most beautiful demonstration of the spirit of fusion because it allows the wearer to manage his time with complete freedom by "mocking" conventions and customs, while allowing him or her to attend an important appointment to the nearest second.

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