Angus Davies reviews the Hublot Oceanographic 4000 Titanium, a diver’s watch with a maximum water of 4000 metres. He discusses the art of fusion beaneath the waves.
Hublot are synonymous with their strap line, “The art of fusion”. The brand with the charismatic figurehead, Jean Claude-Biver, has brought new materials to horology.
Moreover, it is not just the cutting-edge materials that they have brought to watchmaking but the way that they have chosen to combine them which has resulted in a range of watches with a very unique appearance.
The design of Hublot watches provokes reaction. By their own admission, not everyone will like their individualistic styling. For some, myself included, they offer a bold horological blueprint proffering singularity and differentiating them from the mundane.
The limited edition diving watch they now offer presents a sui generis design.
The dial is matt black. It provides dramatic contrast with the green luminescent hands and markings on the dial.
The hour and minute hands are rhodium plated. This material is revealed on the edges of the hands, as well as in the lines traversing the green luminous centres of each hand. These use a combination of vertical and horizontal bars.
The seconds hand is partly skeletonised, rhodium plated, with a green tip. The Hublot logo features as a counterweight to the second hand.
A date aperture is located at 3 o’clock.
The hours are marked with applied rhodium plated batons with vert centres.
The internal bezel is located on a flange beneath the anti-refelctive sapphire crystal. Prominent markings are used for the area from 0 minutes to 15 minutes, indicating the period typical of many dives.
The case is 48 mm in diameter, constructed of satin-finished titanium.
The bezel is satin-finished and features six H-shaped PVD titanium screws arranged equidistantly. Its lugs and the lateral inserts on the caseband are black composite resin.
The combination of the different finishes works harmoniously.
Two screw down crowns feature to the right hand side of the watch.
The flange crown located at 2 o’clock is used to adjust the aforementioned internal bezel. It features a bayonet fitting for the crown guard to prevent it being disturbed inadvertently. In addition the crown guard guard is marked, “DIVER 4000” underlining the purpose and maximum depth of the watch.
A second crown resides at 4 o’clock. It features a rubber insert to its centre bearing the Hublot logo. This crown is used for winding and setting the time and date. By positioning this crown away from the flange crown, ease of adjustment is assured, no obstructions to get in the way.
Both crowns are of the screwed down variety, helping to prevent potentially harmful water ingress.
At 10 o’clock, located on the caseband, is a helium escape valve. This stops the glass being displaced as the pressure returns to atmospheric levels when the wearer approaches the surface.
An aspect I particularly like is the quick-release strap attachment. At the front of the case, are two equilateral triangles, one located at the top and another at the bottom. Press the triangles and the straps can be easily removed. No tools are required to remove the strap.
The watch is supplied with two straps. One in black rubber and the other in black rubber and Nomex. The ease of changing straps means the wearer can modify the appearance of the horological ensemble in seconds.
The case back is engraved with the words “Musée océanographique de Monaco” and states the watch is a limited edition of only 1000 pieces.
The watch features the HUB1401 calibre. This a self-winding movement consisting of 180 parts including 23 jewels. The calibre has rhodium plated bridges, satin-finished with chamfered edges. The rotor is Tungsten, openworked and coated in black PVD. The main plate is rhodium plated and microblasted.
The modernistic design of the movement does not follow tradition of watches from the Swiss canton of Genève. It lacks circular graining on the main plate and Côtes de Genève motif on bridges but this does not mean that the watch eschews finissage. On the contrary, the movement is finely finished, albeit sadly hidden from view due to the need for a solid case back on a watch of this type.
The HUB1401 has a a frequency of 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 42 hours.
This is an enormous watch. The dimensions may dissuade some potential suitors due to its relative size on their wrist.
The voluminous proportions aid operation underwater and are necessary to fulfil the watch’s role as a diver’s watch. This is a watch suitable for the task.
I found the size suited me perfectly. The legibility of the dial is excellent and much appreciated as my eyesight continues to deteriorate with the onset of middle-age.
The rugged construction looks able to survive apocalyptic doom and cope with the harshest of environments. A case capable of withstanding depths of 4000 m, has to be incredibly strong to tolerate the pressures being imposed upon it.
The key aspect of this watch is the marriage of different materials which coalesce in concert and to my mind provide a timepiece of striking appearance. I like it and think it shows the mastery of materials which Hublot has made its unique selling proposition.
This watch perfectly demonstrates the art of fusion beneath the waves.
Model: Hublot Oceanographic 4000 Titanium
Case: Satin-finished titanium; diameter 48.00 mm; height 22.55mm; water resistant to 400 bar (4000 metres); sapphire crystal to front.
Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; internal bezel.
Movement: HUB1401, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 23 jewels; 180 parts; power reserve 42 hours
Strap: Supplied with with black strap on titanium buckle. Also supplied with an additional strap in black rubber and Nomex