Since its establishment in Switzerland in 1980, Hublot has been defined by its “art of fusion”, deriving first from its unexpected combination of gold and rubber watches. Prior to that moment in watchmaking history, no one could have anticipated the success of a luxury watch with a natural rubber strap – and it was tremendously successful.
From inception, Hublot has been a bold brand. Its watches are as big and expressive as the personalities who wear them. Hublot is haute horlogerie at its most audacious. In fact, in 2005 Hublot underscored its passion for boldness and fusions with the introduction of its ‘Big Bang’ watch, so named for that moment where all of the elements in the universe fused together to form the planets and stars.
In essence, Hublot’s partnership with artist Marc Ferrero couldn’t be more perfect. Ferrero is the founder of the “Storytelling Art” movement, which fuses comprehensive, narrative storytelling with fully realized artistic renderings. Ferrero’s passion for storytelling found its ultimate complement in Hublot, and as he tells it, the partnership was love at first sight. As the illustrator and artist behind the astonishingly descriptive dial of the Hublot ‘Big Bang’, Ferrero is in his second year with the brand as a collaborator. The new ‘Big Bang One-Click Marc Ferrero’ design comes in a new black-and-white colorway with its heroine depicted in a bright red lipstick. It is at once a fashionable statement piece, and an artistic collector’s item, powered by Hublot’s brilliant horological innovations.
In the exclusive interview below, Ferrero shares not only the story behind the watch design, and how his partnership with Hublot came about, but he also created some very special artwork for Savoir Flair to coincide with the watch release and concurrent art exhibition at La Galerie Nationale in Dubai, which runs until December 11, 2020.
Marc, it’s an honor to speak to such a brilliant creative talent. Is this your first visit to Dubai?
This is my third time in Dubai. The first time, I came for some conferences on the Storytelling Art movement that I created, the second time for my family vacation, and this time, for my first exhibition titled “French Kiss”, organized at L’Alliance Française by La Galerie Nationale.
What kind of relationship do you have as an artist to time and the measurement of time?
I created the Storytelling Art movement because I love to create characters and fictional stories. I’m working with some movie producers in Los Angeles to adapt my painted fiction “Once Upon a Time La Comitive”. That story speaks about a secret network (‘La Comitive’) that fights against a villain who has created the concept of acceleration, changing the value of time. That man has thrown humanity into chaos to keep hope in a world without any clocks, while some rebels created a colorful time. Thus, the measurement of time is at the center of my creation! It offers me a touch of surrealism in my work and I love that!
What are some of the characteristics of Hublot that align with your own personality?
I have found people as crazy as me!!! More seriously, the Art of Fusion is the main idea of the Hublot brand. It works for materials, but also with people, art and cultures. I’m inspired by so many different things; fusion is also one of the main words in the Storytelling Art. In 2020, to open a new creative field, you need to understand very deeply the meaning of fusion. That’s a value I really share with Hublot.
How did you feel when you were approached by Hublot for the ambassadorship? Were you surprised?
For my first appointment, I didn’t know what to expect. I was in Switzerland on a Friday morning for a 30-minute appointment with the Hublot team, and four hours later, I was still at the Hublot manufacture to sign a collaboration based on my signature painting, “The Lipstick”.
Love at first sight is the way to remember the beginning of our collaboration. It happened so fast; I was shocked! An artist must think out of the box, but I didn’t expect that on a first appointment with such a prestigious brand!
I am struck by how much your artwork tells a story, and how that is captured by the Hublot watch design. Who is the woman captured in the watch dial? What is her story?
The woman captured in the watch dial of the ‘Big Bang One-Click Marc Ferrero’ is my vision of the woman of the 21st Century; she is self-confident, sophisticated and non-conformist. In art history, to treat feminine subjects meant making the figures round. To express a modern woman, I introduced the most powerful feminine symbol expressed by the lipstick, this central motif is surrounded by different female postures who express different roles played in a modern woman’s life. The woman of the 21st Century is a heroine, of course.
What kind of adjustments did you have to make in working on a much smaller “canvas” than you’re used to?
I had to rework on all the motifs to adapt the lipstick painting to a watch dial. We worked like a team with Hublot, and each part [was made] in perfect harmony to create a cult watch!
How do you want to be remembered? What mark do you hope to make on the future art and watch worlds?
As the one who brought back the art of painting to the center of the artistic debate. The art market has become a cold machine speaking about sales records in auction houses, and for me, this is not a good angle to get people interested in art. Let’s get back to the roots.
Concerning my collaboration with Hublot, let’s speak about the women that wear the ‘Big Bang One-Click Marc Ferrero’; I’ve met some of them. They have an incredible personality, they are heroines!