Hublot has unveiled its latest piece at a luxurious event in the California’s Napa valley. The new watch is the second brand’s timekeeper made especially for its ambassador, famed basketball player Kobe Bryant. The timekeeper is named and styled after his nickname and personal history and it is made in predominantly burgundy shade. The functioning of the watch is, on the other hand, designed in order to be befitting for timing of a basketball game which makes it the first watch of this kind in the world of mechanical watchmaking. In order to do so, the Swiss brand had slightly modified the appearance of its Bi-Retrograde Chronograph from the Big Bang Unico sub-collection, without any real changes of its caliber. There are two versions of the watch, both launched in restricted issues. The black ceramic one is more numerous with 200 pieces in the edition, while the King Gold edition includes 100 copies.
This is the second piece that Hublot made specifically for Bryant. The first one was King Power Black Mamba Chronograph which was released after two sides announced the agreement by which the basketball legend and the member of Los Angeles Lakers became the brand’s ambassador.
The new timekeeper was released with the presence of Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, the legendary athlete himself and many guests at the venue that was perfectly suited to the looks and the name of the piece.
One of the greatest basketball players in the history of the sport said a few words regarding the new piece: “It is an honor to launch my second Hublot Timepiece, Vino. When I joined the Hublot family, the Black Mamba was a natural fit, but we also discussed the relationship between basketball, watchmaking and wine; specifically, the dedication of the wine makers to making that perfect blend, the effort that goes into the maturation process and the attention to detail that goes into the art of watchmaking”.
The watch is the first mechanical timekeeper which is designed to specifically keep track of time in a basketball game. For this purpose, the watchmaker redesigned its Unico Bi-Retrograde model simply by rearranging the markings on its chronograph’s retrograde minute scale. The curved scale on the matte and satin-finished burgundy dial now has prominent markers in increments of 12 minutes which coincide with the length of quarters of a basketball game. Naturally, there is also a more conservative scale on the outer part which features regular division to 60 parts, since the watch also includes retrograde chronograph seconds. Chrono seconds are shown with longer red colored hand, while minutes are displayed with a hand which is guilt or white, depending on the version.
In order to make the purpose of the watch more obvious, the central part of the multilayered dial is reserved for a representation of a basketball. Underneath it, there is an off-centered dial for hours and minutes with micro-blasted and satin-finished hands, while the small seconds counter lies at the nine o’clock position.
Hublot Bing Bang Unico Chronograph Retrograde Kobe Vino Bryant piece is encased in a round housing with the diameter of 45.5 mm. It features a polished and satin-finished bezel with inner resin bezel which is fixed with the recognizable trait of the brand, six H-shaped screws made of titanium. While the front side of the piece features a glare-proofed sapphire crystal, the rear one is fitted with a rare green earth mineral with inner ant-reflective coating features the signature of Kobe Bryant printed on the underside. The timekeeper supports water resistance to 100 meters.
The functioning of the timekeeper is based on Hublot’s proprietary and hand-assembled caliber HUB1261. It is a self-winding bi-retrograde chronograph caliber with column wheel. The supported power reserve lasts for around three days.
As it has been said, there are two versions of the watch. The first one is with the reference number 413.CX.4723.PR.KOB15.This one is made with a black ceramic case and a bezel of the same kind, as well as rhodium-plating on the central motif of a basketball and on its small seconds counter. This version is produced in 200 copies. The other limited edition that was made for Kobe Bryant is twice as scarce. This one has the serial number 413.OX.4738.PR.KOB15 and it is made in King Gold, a proprietary 18 K gold alloy with supreme resilience which derives from the special patented process which includes mixing of the gold with carbon fibers. The more lavish and rarer variant features gilt accents on its burgundy dial.
Regardless of which version you choose, you will get two interchangeable attachments with the watch. The first one paired with Hublot Big Bang Unico Chronograph Retrograde Kobe Vino Bryant is a black rubber strap with burgundy stitching. The other one is made of burgundy python leather and it features stitching in the same shade.