When it comes to the ultra-competitive world of high-end watchmaking, every brand has its own special niche.
Sometimes it’s a trademark design, like Bell & Ross’ square cases or A. Lange & Söhne’s big date windows. Perhaps it’s a performance consideration, like Grand Seiko’s unique Spring Drive movements or Piaget’s ultra-thin models.
Hublot’s niche, however, might just be variety. The iconoclastic, ultra-futuristic Swiss brand currently produces over 500 different models under five expansive collections. From chronographs to art watches to smartwatches and everything in between, the scope of Hublot’s oeuvre is quite unlike any other watchmaker in the industry.
But that’s not all. Hublot also leads the industry when it comes to strap or bracelet customisation. Virtually all of their models are available with dozens of different strap options: considering that many other brands treat models with different straps as completely different references, you could make the claim that Hublot has literally thousands of different models.
Needless to say, Hublot’s strap customisation service is something rather special; a breath of fresh air in what’s sometimes a very stuffy industry – and an approach that more watch brands can learn a lot from.
We had the chance to experience Hublot’s strap customisation service in person at their Sydney CBD boutique on King Street. The friendly boutique staff had literally hundreds of straps in-store ready for us to try out with their multitude of watches. From alligator leather to hardy rubber or Velcro-backed fabric, the kaleidoscope of different strap colours and options was mind-blowing.
It also helps that many of Hublot’s most popular models, such as the Big Bang or Spirit of Big Bang, feature a ‘one click’ strap quick-change system that makes experimenting with different strap options an absolute breeze. It’s not just the straps you can change, too – you can even personalise the buckle clasp, which features the same interchangeable system technology.
If you can’t make it to a boutique, Hublot also has a rather user-friendly online strap selector that makes it easy to visualise the entire range of straps on the watch of your choice, too.
Why is this strap customisation service so special? Because variety is the spice of life. Watch fans have long appreciated how changing a watch’s strap is the single most dramatic way of changing up the way it looks: a new strap can make your watch feel like an entirely new timepiece. That Hublot has so many in-house strap options is rather unique, and offers yet another point of difference in the horological arms race.
It also makes the whole process of buying a watch even more special. Selecting a strap is a genuinely lovely part of the process of buying a watch that’s often overlooked; one just as important as choosing a watch itself. Again, it’s another point of difference – especially when it comes to the boutique experience.
Quick-change releases and more in-house strap options seem to be the way the watch industry is headed. Hublot’s offering stands out as a particularly luxurious, hassle-free and expansive one that’s setting the pace for other high-end watchmakers.