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Hublot Arsham Droplet

A future relic pocket watch

Through their banner “Hublot loves art”, the Swiss brand noted for their innovative spirit, has produced watches that are an artistic work in their own right, as well as a timepiece to be worn. The latest artist to join forces with Hublot is Daniel Arsham, the American famed for his past-future visionary works.

From a childhood that was influenced by the traumatic effects of Hurricane Andrew, his work Future Relic imagines a civilization before and after Earth undergoes major ecological changes. The nine short films show sculptures of petrified 20th century popular culture artifacts constructed to look as if they are decaying from obsolescence. In a similar vein to Damian Hirst’s Wreck of the Unbelievable, Arsham imagines objects now as if derived from some past or future world. His aesthetics have also been incorporated into popular culture, where the artist has had a number of projects with luxury brands, including Porsche, Rimowa, Dior and Tiffany & Co.

Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot with Daniel Arsham, launch of Hublot Droplet

Ricardo Guadalupe and Daniel Arsham (left) unveil the new Hublot Arsham Droplet at the Tate Modern, 6th June, 2024.

Fittingly, the watch was unveiled in an annex to the Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall, arguably an architectural future relic of a building in itself. What was once the Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed power station that generated electricity for the southeastern quadrant of London, is now the futuristic art museum retrofitted by Herzog & de Meuron.

The Hublot Arsham Droplet on the pocket chain and Daniel Harsham wearing the watch.

The Hublot Arsham Droplet reflects the same past-and-future theme found in the artist’s other work. Arsham admits that the “[it] looks futuristic … like it’s been pulled from the future, yet people were last carrying pocket watches a hundred years ago”. With an outer case fashioned from sapphire crystal, the timepiece is essentially a titanium frame containing the movement, with the lower section crafted to form a bubble pattern, while the flanks are inlaid with a rubber bumper in the artist’s signature green, moulded with a repeating Arsham Studio emblem. The tactile nature of the watch comes from its asymmetric and ergonomic form, which according to the artist “came from how the object would sit in the hand”.

The Hublot Arsham Droplet in the artist’s own words and vision.

He is not the first to note how pocket watches are an interactive objet d’art. Abraham Louis Breguet appropriately called them a “savonette”, a small soap, and even today, centuries after the rounded, tapered design to the case gives what George Daniels described, as “a pleasure to feel them in the hand”. Daniels also noted that the dimensions of the pocket watch allow admiration as components are less cluttered, and what he also referred to as “elegance” in wearing one.

The Droplet comes with two polished titanium chains of different lengths designed by Arsham; the shorter one for fastening the watch in place in a pocket and the longer, for it to be warn around the neck as a pendant; the sapphire titanium construction aiding the ability to do so. Either chain can be secured using Hublot’s proprietary “one-click” quick-release mechanism. The artist also designed a stand that transforms the Droplet into a desk clock. The “one-click” mechanism on the case locks onto a socket on a titanium base with a decorative glass orb in Arsham Green, with a vertical glass magnifying lens in front of the watch to enlarge the dial for desktop display.

Daniel Arsham wearing the Droplet as a pendant and the watch fastened to its stand.

The movement is Hublot’s proprietary MECA-10 modified to accommodate a telescopic crown. With its 10-day power reserve, the MECA-10 is large enough to look at home in a pocket watch case. Key elements of the Hublot aesthetic have been preserved, particularly on the dial, with indices and hands in the same green as the rubber surround, with the sapphire crystal secured by six “H” head screws. The Arsham Droplet comes in a sandblasted aluminium box (designed by the artist too) that accommodates the watch as well as the twin chains and desk stand.

The Hublot Arsham Droplet dial side and its sandblasted aluminium box.

The Arsham Droplet is a notable departure by Hublot from the usual artist collaboration and the result of three years from concept to final product. It is a piece of art an horological step forward in the sense that it brings the pocket watch into the 21st century, creating a modern future collectible. Limited to only 99 pieces worldwide. Secure yours HERE.

Words: Andrew Hildreth

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