Berluti’s quest to expand the brand’s luxury offerings has led it to the watch world.
The Paris-based company that traces its roots to 1895 has teamed with Hublot on two limited-edition timepieces that will be unveiled at the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair in Switzerland this week.
Berluti’s history as a shoemaker has been applied to watches and the two offerings include the Classic Fusion Berluti Ceramic and the Classic Fusion Berluti King Gold, whose straps and dials are created from Berluti’s signature Venezia leather, which features the company’s exclusive tanning technique.
“Leather is a standard material in watchmaking for straps,” said Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot’s chief executive officer. “But we wanted to go beyond the traditional approach to leather and work with the most emblematic leather there is. Working with Berluti was a natural choice. One of the major difficulties was the dial. Using a living material in a sealed case is very complicated.”
After “many tests within our [research and development] department,” he said, Hublot was able to “find a technical solution to ensure the timepiece resists the wear of time.”
The Ceramic model is available in a black gray with straps that offer Berluti’s trademark slices in the leather, a process it calls the “Gaspard incision” after a technique employed by Italian artist Lucio Fontana. Only 500 of these watches were made.
The 18-karat King Gold watches, which are limited to 250 pieces, are cut from Venezia calf leather with scritto calligraphy on the strap.
The Ceramic sells for $14,600, and the King Gold is $29,400. They will be sold at Hublot boutiques beginning in June.
All of the watches come in a Berluti leather box, which features the same dimensions as the company’s shoe boxes, so collectors can stack their shoes and watches together. Inside the box is a traveling watch roll and polishing equipment.
“After dressing the Berluti man from head to toe, we collaborated with Hublot to create the perfect watch to complete the silhouette,” said Antoine Arnault, ceo of Berluti, which, like Hublot, is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. “Both brands share the same level of expertise and a common passion for excellence.”
Guadalupe said the companies worked closely on the design of the timepieces. “Berluti is the master in selecting and working the leather in the best possible way. We are the experts in creating stunning and different timepieces. In order to be able to create this collection together, we had to work hand-in-hand,” he said. “The scritto and the Gaspard quality and designs are easily recognizable, giving the Classic Fusion a unique design.”
Guadalupe believes the end result is a product that combines “both creativity and innovation while maintaining both brands’ savoir faire.”
He said the watches are expected to appeal to “the man who is interested in a perfect contemporary expression of style, and who still believes that a watch and shoes can tell a lot about your personality.”
Guadalupe is also hopeful that the collaboration will continue, saying the partnership is “only the beginning of a great adventure.”