It is now a few months since Hublot’s workshops and offices were brought together under the roof of a brand new manufacture, and the time has come to officially celebrate the success of this momentous step forward in the brand’s burgeoning development. Hublot’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver has invited LVMH Group Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault to oversee the inauguration ceremony, accompanied by Philippe Pascal, President of the LVMH Timepieces and Jewellery division. Various celebrities, friends of the brand, partners, as well as representatives from local authorities and the press will attend the celebrations.
Two years after the building’s first stone was laid, Jean-Claude Biver is proud to present the new 6,000 m2 Hublot Manufacture, already running at full capacity. In fact, although the first machines have been operational since March 2009, the entire workforce actually began work in April. After the August break, the “Hublotins” creche welcomed its first youngsters. Although this is a time for celebration rather than evaluation, we can still assert that the Hublot project has already been a great success.
Jean-Claude Biver and his team realized their ambitions by beginning construction of a 6,000 m2 building in 2007, designed in the medium term to house 300 employees.
When workers return after the August break in 2010, the company will also serve as a training centre, welcoming apprentice watchmakers into its workshops.
The integration of the various production stages should give the Manufacture even greater autonomy. The UNICO movement, a chronograph developed entirely by Hublot’s Research & Development department, is now in its “functional prototype” stage until the end of 2009. It will eventually be housed inside the case of the King Power, the latest model to be launched by the brand this year. The workshop is currently producing bridges, main plates and assorted steel components, which will be assembled by fifteen or so new employees to be specially appointed in January for production of the UNICO. The aim is to produce 2,000 UNICO movements in 2010, and close to 20,000 in the medium term.
A special feature of this flyback chronograph is the position of its mechanism and the famous “column wheel” on the side of the dial. However, one of its main innovations is the removable platform escapement, on which the watch owner’s initials can be engraved by special request!
A clever yet subtle feature allowing easier servicing and maintenance, and offering the owner the option to personalize the timepiece. The escapement (escape wheel and pallet fork) is made from silicon, a light, durable and technologically advanced material which resists wear and guarantees more accurate operation.
Situated close to the motorway, the classic, restrained building faces Lake Geneva and the Alps. Its light, spacious interior is home to the entire Hublot world. The machine and assembly shops occupy the first two floors, along with the after-sales service, technical departments and purchasing divisions. The 3rd floor is set aside for management, marketing, sales, accounts and a large showroom, as well as the Hublot TV studios. The creche has its own separate entrance, and the children have access to a secure wooded garden.
Viewing the completed site as a promising sign for the future of Hublot, a thrilled Jean-Claude Biver exclaimed: “It’s fantastic. In 5 years we’ve gone from a small, outdated and ill-equipped building to this magnificent, ultra-modern and high-tech enterprise! We launched the Big Bang collection, which was a phenomenal success, and we’ve now even produced our own movement! I am so very proud to be here today, and also proud of my team, which has helped us meet this challenge and will ensure we continue our innovation into the future.”