The Hublot boutique in Rome opened in 2019. It is ideally located, almost opposite the Trinità dei Monti stairs (the Spanish Stairs) and a few steps from Via Condotti. Unsurprisingly, Hublot presented a limited edition watch dedicated to this boutique a year later. As a lover of Rome, I tend to have a very subjective point of view about anything that refers in any way to the Eternal City. However, I feel that I appreciate the Classic Fusion Chronograph Limited Edition Rome Boutique for its own qualities and not for the Roman context that surrounds it. Because I have to admit it: I really like this watch.
To tell the truth, it does not revolutionize the Classic Fusion chronograph. Hublot uses a known and mastered recipe, adapting the case and the dial of the 45mm version to define this watch sold in a limited series of 50 pieces. It remains no less attractive thanks to a nicely executed chromatic approach.
Even if at first sight it is not the grey colour that reminds me most of Rome (it is rather the luminous blue of the sky or the ochre colour of the walls that would come to my mind), Hublot's choice to use this refined and subtle atmosphere tinged with grey seemed to me to be welcome. After all, Rome is a city full of nuances, elegant and which also knows how to remain discreet by keeping hidden from view many places of unsuspected beauty. The Classic Fusion Chronograph Limited Edition Rome Boutique is therefore not an exuberant watch. On the contrary, it is rather subdued and distinguished, which does not prevent it from playing with the reflections of light.
It would be wrong to present the watch as a single interpretation of shades of grey. For it is much more elaborate than that. The case and the bezel are in black titanium with a brushed finish. The result is surprising, giving a very pleasant and rather original aged and patinated aspect. But be careful: we are not here in an "aged" look that gives the impression to wear a ruin... it is rather the charm of the old that is evoked. The execution of the case and the bezel are irreproachable and it is the strong point of the watch... I almost want to say of Hublot in general.
The dial is also very interesting because it uses a grey and beige gradient, the coloured aspect fading as you get closer to the bezel. The bezel and the dial blend harmoniously but offer enough contrast to avoid the watch to sink into a sad sobriety. It goes without saying that Roman numerals are used. They have two main virtues. The first is to give a touch of originality to the watch, as the Classic Fusion usually uses stick indexes. The second is to contribute to the perceived quality thanks to the touch of relief they bring. The two grey sub-dials stand out sufficiently from the dial background to allow proper readability of the minute counter on the left. Finally, the black date window completes a dial with the usual Classic Fusion Chronograph layout.
The case back is transparent to allow observation of the HUB1143 calibre. Behind this reference we find a modular movement. It is in fact composed of a Sellita SW300 basic calibre and a Dubois Depraz chronograph module. Considering this construction and the diameter of the basic caliber, the show offered is not very nice. The movement seems a bit lost in the 45mm case and its decoration is not very spectacular. From a practical point of view, this modular movement will do the job: it is reliable, easily repairable because it is widespread. But I would have preferred that Hublot chose the option of putting a solid back with a nice engraving. The nod to Rome should have encouraged the Hublot team to opt for a more decorative approach. It is a pity. From the point of view of the performances, the HUB1143 caliber proposes a 42 hours power reserve for a 4hz frequency. It is traditional... which starts to date considering the capacities of the more recent movements. It is obvious that the question of the deployment of the Unico in a Classic Fusion context is more and more raised. We saw it with the Ferrari models... it should now be developed within the range even if I understand that the unit cost of a Unico is much higher than the modular calibre.
Anyway, the strength of the watch lies in its style and the charm it gives off. And as always with Hublot, it is very comfortable to wear thanks to the efficiency of its folding clasp and the suppleness and pleasant contact of its rubber-lined calfskin strap. The colour of this strap is very well chosen, combining perfectly with the case. The 45mm case is very portable, benefiting from the lightness of the titanium and a controlled perceived size thanks to the thickness of the bezel.
The selling price of the Classic Fusion Chronograph Limited Edition Rome Boutique is 13,400 euros which is significantly higher than the price of a Classic Fusion Chronograph 45mm in titanium (10,300 euros). However, this limited edition watch offers an original and offbeat aesthetic context. The price difference is more easily accepted if one is sensitive to the charm of Rome or has a particular relationship with it. In any case, Hublot has in my opinion defined a watch worthy of the context of the Eternal City by borrowing a relevant stylistic approach.
+ the finishing of the case and the bezel
+ the originality of the Roman numerals
+ the comfort on the wrist
+ a refined style that suits the Roman atmosphere
- the performance of the movement is old-fashioned
- it would have been preferable to replace the see-through caseback by a nicely decorated solid back