When, earlier this year, Italian designer Giuliano Mazzuoli introduced the Cemento, the world’s first wristwatch with a case made entirely from concrete, I figured 'Cool, but surely a cul-de-sac?' It followed Girard-Perregaux’s watches of 2012 and 2015 honouring Le Corbusier, with concrete dials.
Now, as Hublot launches the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Concrete Jungle, it begs the question: If 'one is chance, and two is coincidence', does 'three' mean we’ll all soon be wearing brutalism’s favourite fabric on our wrists?
Unlike titanium, precious metals, composites, ceramics or others offering combinations of lightness, strength or opulence, concrete makes only an aesthetic statement, and a prosaic one at that: cement is the most ordinary of building materials. With the Concrete Jungle, though, comes a fresh look.
The watch caseback bears Eaton's mark – a collage motif of the Statue of Liberty
It starts with a pun, but witty nonetheless. The Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Concrete Jungle (Hublot is incapable of brevity when choosing model names) marks the Swiss watchmaker’s collaboration with street artist Tristan Eaton, but instead of spray-painted style details, or an artist-designed strap, Hublot has opted for an amusingly literal take.
Created as a tribute to New York City, the watch bezel is created using a concrete-epoxy blend, which retains the exact shape of the classic Hublot Big Bang watch, complete with 'H' bolt heads holding it in place. The effect is suitably 'urban', applied to a 45mm automatic chronograph with skeleton dial.
The caseback bears Eaton’s signature collage technique, seen as a motif of the Statue of Liberty, which he first painted in 2012, at the corner of Mulberry and Canal Street in New York. It’s an admittedly cool piece, only heightened by Hublot’s wry in-joke.