We caught up with Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe when he visited Qatar for the official opening of the watchmaker’s store at Place Vendôme.

Did you always want to be a watchmaker?
No, I wanted to be an astronaut. [Ricardo Guadalupe chuckles.] But I can explain why I became a watchmaker. I was born in Switzerland in a city called Neuchâtel, where watchmaking is very important. If I’d been born in Zurich, where there is no watchmaking industry, maybe I would be in banking or finance. But I lived in Neuchâtel. Friends, parents of friends, everyone was linked with the watch industry. And with time, I too became passionate about watches.

The Big Bang exploded onto the market in 2005 and won the Best Design of the Year at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie. Why was this watch such a success?
The Big Bang was a watch that revolutionised watches at that time. Hublot is the French word for porthole – the small window on the outside of a ship. If you look at our watches, you’ll see that the inspiration for the design is a porthole with screws. We introduced a new way of constructing the Big Bang’s case – a sandwich construction, with layers. With a 40mm-diameter case, it was quite a big watch, too. At that time, watchmakers usually worked on the movement of the watch; they didn’t really work on the outside of the watch, the case or the bracelet. But that’s what we did. The Big Bang was a watch that appeared at exactly the right moment. It pleased consumers. And its success grew; it snowballed. When you roll a snowball, it becomes bigger and bigger and you cannot stop it.

If you had to pick three words to describe Hublot’s style, what would they be?
Art of fusion. That’s what we represent. We make watches that fuse tradition – the four hundred years of history of mechanical watches, using gold and other precious materials – with a modern touch. We were the first brand to come up with a rubber strap in 1980 when the brand was created. Next, we used ceramic. Then carbon fibre, then sapphire. We try to make watches that are different, that are inspired not only by the past but also by the present and by the future. So that’s why we say that we represent the art of fusion. There are traditional brands that have a history of three hundred years of making beautiful watches. But we do something different.

Hublot was the Official Timekeeper of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. What does that mean to you?
For us, the FIFA World Cup has been a key element in raising the brand awareness of Hublot. We are known as a watch brand thanks mainly to football and to the FIFA World Cup. Throughout this amazing month-long event, the visibility of our brand has been boosted because of the referee boards. For 20 seconds during every single match, billions of people saw Hublot. In 2014, we were able to change the shape of the referee board to the shape of a watch… to the shape of the Big Bang. So now everyone knows that Hublot is the watch brand from the FIFA World Cup! Worldwide, we have ambassadors who have taken part in our campaign: Hublot Loves Football. And, of course, the head of our ambassadors is Kylian Mbappé, the French player who won the Golden Boot. So for us it’s a really incredible time.

What’s next for Hublot?
We’re a young brand, just 42 years old. Next, we want to make sure that our brand is one of the most important in our industry. When people talk about watches, we want to be sure that Hublot is part of the those three, four or five brands [the top names]. We need to show that we are really strong when it comes to the know-how and the expertise of creating mechanical watches.

Are you ever late?
Never. [He chuckles again.] When I tell people that I’ll see them at nine, they have to be there at 8.55 because normally I arrive five minutes before. Of course, it has happened, when a plane is late or if something happens that’s out of everyone’s control, but in general I don’t like to be late. We are a watchmaker, so we have to be accurate and precise. ✤