Hands-On With The Emblematic Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium 45mm In Green
I love the visionary idea that Carlo Crocco had in the late 1970s to create a watch that combined different materials. With the Hublot Classic that came out in 1980, Crocco created a watch that combined a yellow gold case with a rubber strap. Back then, it was considered pure blasphemy. To combine a precious metal with the material generally associated with cheap quartz watches was unheard of. Four decades later, however, it is an often-seen combination of materials. Additionally, the Classic Fusion is still part of the current Hublot collection, and it is a great reminder of Crocco’s legacy. I had a chance to try the current 45mm green Classic Fusion in titanium and determine if his visionary idea deserves the label “industry icon”.
Pushing boundaries always sparks some amount of controversy. Especially in the conservative watch industry, everything out of the ordinary quickly becomes a serious topic of discussion. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is obviously the perfect example. But five decades later, we have embraced both the watch and its designer as two of the industry’s greats. The same thing happened when Carlo Crocco unveiled his Hublot Classic in 1980. A gold luxury watch with an integrated rubber bracelet was new and controversial at the time. But that didn’t bother the many celebrities, royals, and watch collectors that all bought one. The Hublot Classic became a big success. Not long after introduction, the watch also won the Best Design Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. An icon was born… or was it?
The Hubot Classic design
I think it’s safe to say the original Hublot Classic has become an industry icon. At the same time, it is nowhere near as widely recognized as the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, for instance. Nevertheless, it has become a classic, and I love the overall design concept that Crocco came up with. Its origins can be found in his love for sailing. He based the entire concept on creating a sports watch that he could wear during sailing and combined luxury with practicality. That’s where the fusion of gold and rubber comes from. Furthermore, it explains the well-thought-out porthole design, from the 37mm angular case shape to the integrated rubber strap and the screws on the bezel that serve as hour markers.
The minimalist approach to design still looks amazing, in my opinion. It is why I was very happy to see a re-issue of the original Classic Fusion two years ago to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Crocco’s creation. Even though it was missing the original 12 screws as hour markers, it was still a nice tribute to the original. And only a couple of weeks ago, we saw the introduction of the 42mm Classic Fusion Chronograph in the iconic combination of yellow gold and black rubber. Both watches showed that the original combination still looks amazing, and on top of that, it also reminded me how much I love Hublot’s Classic Fusion design.
The Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm
That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to review the current 45mm Classic Fusion in titanium. The watch is part of Hublot’s extensive Classic Fusion collection. It features models for men and women in four different sizes starting with 33mm and moving up to 38mm, 42mm, and 45mm. The brand offers ten different 45mm models in titanium or a combination of titanium and gold or diamonds. The full titanium model comes with either a black, gray, blue, green, or white opaline dial on a rubber strap. The black and blue-dial versions also come with an integrated titanium bracelet.
The biggest question for me going into this review was whether I could come to grips with the watch’s 45mm size. My first pick would always be the 42mm version, as it sounds like the best option for my wrist. Then again, I am pretty tall, and I have several big watches in my collection, so I am no stranger to wearing oversized watches. For the review, I wore the Classic Fusion with a green dial and a strap that is a combination of rubber and green alligator leather. While not my first pick out of the line-up, it makes for a pretty stylish combination.
The slim case design
The first thing that stands out is the case design. At 45mm, the Grade 5 titanium case is large, but because it’s only 10.95mm thick, it doesn’t feel chunky. The watch has a nice, slim profile. It’s also great to see the shape and the layered construction of the case. Wedged in between the case band and the bezel, you will find two rubber parts on the left and right sides of the case emphasizing the Art of Fusion philosophy of the brand. While they are a nice detail, the standout features are, without a doubt, the bezel with its six H-shaped titanium screws and the steeply sloping “lugs” with two additional screws for the integrated rubber strap.
In my opinion, Hublot updated the case design very well. It still has a lot of details that made the original case so special, but the brand has added a modern touch that perfectly fits the style. The case features a clever mix of satin-finished and polished titanium. The satin-finished parts dominate the overall feel, and therefore, the watch looks far from flashy. For today’s Hublot standards, it’s a very stylish and sophisticated design. The watch is only water-resistant to 50 meters, however, which is not impressive considering its background. After all, the 40th-anniversary model was 100-meters water-resistant, and it’s essentially a nautical watch inspired by the world of sailing.
The simple dial design
Compared to the design of the original watch from 1980, the current dial design is not as minimalistic. But to say a lot is going on would be a lie. The first thing that stands out for this watch is the green sunburst color. It’s a lively dial that changes color in different lighting conditions, and the effect changes depending on the angle from which you look at it. The dial features twelve polished applied hour markers with a double marker at the 12-o’clock position. The markers shine brightly and bring the watch to life perfectly in combination with the polished hands. I have to say that I like the large, faceted sword-style hands in combination with the slim seconds hand with the Hublot-logo counterweight. It’s a combination that feels perfectly balanced, just like the overall dial design.
The Hublot HUB1112 caliber
If you turn the watch around, you will see the automatic Hublot HUB1112 caliber through the sapphire display case back. The movement is based on the Sellita SW300-1 and operates at 28,800vph. It has 25 jewels and features a 42-hour power reserve. I have to say that, visually, two things stand out when you see the movement. The finishing of the caliber is simple and feels industrial. The rotor features the brand name, but the movement does not feature any special decoration.
Another thing that stands out is that the movement is small compared to the overall size of the watch. The movement measures 25.6mm in diameter, and it is also used for the 38mm and 42mm versions with one slight variation. The only difference is that for the 45mm version, Hublot fitted the movement with a module to place the date further toward the edge of the dial. It’s a necessary design solution because otherwise, the date would have been placed way too far toward the center. But seeing the movement through the case back does indeed remind you that it is rather small for the 45mm case. Combined with the industrial finish, it’s not a movement that you will turn your watch around to gaze at in admiration.
Wearing the 45mm Classic Fusion
The slim profile, low weight, and comfortable strap with its stainless steel deployant clasp make the watch very easy to put on the wrist. Speaking of the strap, the base of it is black rubber, on top of which Hublot has layered green alligator leather with green stitching. The tone of the strap matches the dial perfectly, which is essential because it’s not a common shade of green. The strap is nice and flexible, and the clasp is easy to use. It opens easily with a pushbutton release and closes with a firm click.
Once on the wrist, the size of the watch itself was not an issue. On the contrary, the overall design feels balanced, and the watch is very easy to wear on my 18cm wrist. But what caused some discomfort for me was that I had to choose between two strap holes that didn’t allow a perfect fit. The first turned out to be too tight, and the second made the watch move around on my wrist. As a result, the crown was poking into my hand. Additionally, the pushbutton of the wide clasp also caused some discomfort while wearing the watch.
While there were some moments when the strap was a bit of an issue, I truly did enjoy my time with the Hublot Classic Fusion. The case design is the main attraction for me. I like the dynamic of the round bezel with its six screws complementing the angular lines of the case. That’s where the magic of this watch is. While the green dial design adds a nice touch of color, I would pick the black-dial version any time over this one. The black dial combined with a black rubber strap makes room for the case to shine and brings it back to the original watch from the 1980s that I love so much.
Additionally, I would also pick the 42mm version of the Classic Fusion over this 45mm model. While the size itself was not a problem, the strap “issue” reminded me every time that I was wearing a large watch. The titanium Hublot Classic Fusion in 45mm is available for a list price of €7,200. It makes it one of the more affordable models Hublot has to offer. At the same time, it’s also one of the brand’s most iconic watches. On top of that, I also love how it represents another side of the brand that is less loud and divisive. While divisiveness has always been part of Hublot, it’s great to see that Crocco’s Classic Fusion is not the divisive factor anymore. But it is the ultimate proof that he was one of the industry’s great visionaries.