Watch this space: Hublot Zermatt

A horological icon took off thanks, in part, to this Swiss mountain resort

Nowadays, watches are as much about promotion as timekeeping and if there’s one person who knowns how to sell them, it’s Jean-Claude Biver.

He’s the marketing genius who took Hublot from the brink of bankruptcy to must-have watch brand with the introduction of the loud and proud Big Bang in 2005. One of Biver’s skills has long been the ability to target potential buyers, and he was quick to reason that the so-called “playgrounds of the rich” were ideal places in which to sell Hublot watches – especially if they were special editions dedicated to the area.

And one of the places he pinpointed was the chic mountain resort of Zermatt where Hublot has long been both the “official timekeeper” of the trendy Chez Vrony mountain-top restaurant and the sponsor of the “Hublot Express” cable car which carries skilled skiers to a height of 2,600 metres in search of pristine powder. Hublot has even built its Zermatt boutique in the typically rustic style of the town’s buildings and, since 2017, has created a new special edition “Big Bang” Zermatt watch each year.

The latest Zermatt specials take the form of “his and hers” chronographs, each with a steel case of 44mm and 41mm respectively.

Both have dials featuring silhouettes of the legendary Matterhorn mountain as seen from the Zermatt side, the “His” model placing the image at the nine o’clock position, while it’s at three o’clock on the “Hers” version (which also gets a bezel appropriately “iced” with 36 white diamonds).

Both watches are tough and waterproof – so if you wipe-out while wearing one after a long lunch at Chez Vrony, at least only your pride should get damaged…

Hublot Big Bang Steel Zermatt, £13,000 (44mm) and £16,400 (41mm with diamonds); hublot.com

By Simon de Burton. Simon is a journalist and author who writes for the FT’s How to Spend ItBritish GQ and Boat International, among others

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