Hublot Classic: Laying the Groundwork
The Hublot Classic is the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer's original watch. Models from the 1980s set the foundation for the brand's hallmark porthole design. Today, these vintage watches serve as an affordable entry point into the world of Hublot.
Vintage Watches With a Porthole Design
Watch enthusiasts use the term "Hublot Classic" to refer to the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer's early models. Founded by Carlo Crocco in 1980, the company originally went by MDM Geneve, with "Hublot" being one of their watch collections. Today, most Classic timepieces bear both the "Hublot" and "MDM" inscription on their dials.
The most prominent detail of the Hublot Classic is its porthole design with a large bezel and twelve decorative screws. Fittingly, the French word "hublot" translates to "porthole." This distinctive look laid the groundwork for the current Big Bang, Classic Fusion, and King Power collections, all of which have brought Hublot great success.
Crocco used the Hublot Classic to introduce the "art of fusion" to the watch industry, coming up with then-sensational material combinations, such as a gold case paired with a rubber strap. Since then, the manufacturer has continued to experiment with all sorts of new materials and combinations thereof. This includes titanium, carbon, ceramic, and sapphire. Hublot also utilizes more revolutionary materials like leather, denim, and cement for dials and cases.
Despite its name, the Hublot Classic is far from a classic dress watch. Instead, it is a sporty luxury timepiece that's appropriate for any occasion and matches any outfit. Each model has a round case, integrated lugs, and a porthole bezel that frames a rather minimalist dial.
You can choose from watches in stainless steel or 18-karat yellow gold, as well as two-tone variants that combine both materials – a popular look in the 1980s. Compared to modern Hublot timepieces, the Classic feels quite small. Most measure between 28 and 39 mm in diameter with the exception of a few 41-mm chronographs. Furthermore, the majority of these watches feature quartz movements, making automatic Classic models a rarer find.
5 Reasons to Buy a Hublot Classic
- Affordable entry into the world of Hublot
- Recognizable porthole design
- Desirable 80s look
- Stainless steel, gold, and two-tone cases
- High-precision quartz or automatic caliber
Prices at a Glance: Hublot Classic
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Size, material, caliber|
|Classic MDM, S140.11.2||980 USD||32 mm, stainless steel and gold, quartz|
|Classic Depose, 1393.1||1,800 USD||28 mm, stainless steel, quartz|
|Classic Diver Professional, 1553.2||2,100 USD||36 mm, stainless steel and gold, automatic|
|Classic Depose, 1391.3||3,400 USD||28 mm, yellow gold, quartz|
|Classic Elegant Chronograph, 1810.2||4,400 USD||40 mm, stainless steel and gold, automatic|
|Classic Depose, 1521.3||5,500 USD||36 mm, yellow gold, quartz|
|Classic Regulateur, 1860.135.4||9,700 USD||39 mm, white gold, automatic|
How much does a Hublot Classic cost?
It's been many years since Hublot ceased production of the Classic, which is why pre-owned pieces dominate the market. However, this means that you can get great deals on certain models. For example, the ref. S140.11.2, a first-generation two-tone Classic with a quartz caliber, demands well under 1,200 USD. Similar timepieces in yellow gold cost roughly 2,100 USD. These three-hand models come with a unique hinged lid – a detail usually associated with pocket watches. When closed, it protects the dial and sapphire crystal from the elements. Most versions have a black lacquer dial with narrow bar indices and delicate baton hands. Finally, a date display at 3 o'clock completes the dial.
If a lidded wristwatch isn't your style, you may prefer something from the Classic Depose series. These timepieces also boast clean designs and do without hour markers altogether. In fact, you'll only find a date display at 3 o'clock and the Hublot and MDM logos on the dial. Be sure to set aside around 1,700 USD for a 28-mm women's model like the ref. 1393.1. Men's watches with automatic movements, such as the ref. 1581.1, sell for about 3,300 USD. Fans of gold can purchase a Classic Depose for between 3,400 and 5,600 USD.
One particularly special edition is the Classic Regulateur ref. 1860.1. This stainless steel watch has a conventional minute hand but uses two subdials at 6 and 12 o'clock to display the seconds and hours, respectively. This model will set you back around 3,600 USD. You can find the same watch in white gold under the reference number 1860.135.4. This version sells for roughly 9,700 USD.
Chronographs and Diving Watches
The Classic collection is also home to chronographs and diving watches. The ref. 1620.2 belongs to the former category. It has a 37-mm two-tone case and uses a quartz caliber. The movement provides this model with a 12-hour counter at 3, a 30-minute counter at 9, and a small seconds and date at 6 o'clock. A golden bezel frames the white dial and features a tachymeter scale instead of the brand's iconic decorative screws. The final timepiece demands about 3,000 USD in good condition.
Those looking for something larger should consider the Classic Elegant Chronograph ref. 1810.2. In addition to its wider, 40-mm case, this timepiece houses an automatic caliber. It also has prominent luminous numerals and sword hands, which bring to mind images of classic pilot's watches. You can call this watch your own for approximately 4,400 USD.
A Hublot Classic for Divers
The main difference between the Hublot Classic Diver Professional and the rest of the collection is its water resistance. While other Classic models are resistant to 50 m (5 bar, 164 ft), the Diver Professional can dive to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). Its bezel also highlights this watch's role as a tool for professional divers. The rotatable bezel features a minute scale and can only be turned counterclockwise. A set of wide glow-in-the-dark hands and luminous dot indices guarantee optimal readability under all lighting conditions.
This 39-mm diving watch is available as a stainless steel (ref. 1553.1) or two-tone (ref. 1553.2) timepiece. You can also choose from a black or blue dial. An automatic caliber provides this watch with its accurate timekeeping. Well-maintained versions change hands for between 1,900 and 2,400 USD.
An Alternative: The Classic Fusion
If you're looking to purchase a new watch with a similar design, the Classic Fusion may be right for you. Hublot introduced this collection as a modern take on the Classic in 2010. You can easily recognize these models by their bezels, which feature six screws instead of twelve. Furthermore, Hublot offers the Classic Fusion in a much wider range of materials, such as titanium, ceramic, carbon, and King Gold – the company's propriety gold alloy.
The Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary from 2020 is a particularly faithful re-creation of the Classic. It shares much of its design with the Classic Depose, including a black lacquer dial with a date display, the brand logo, and no indices. However, unlike the original, the Classic Fusion has a more contemporary 45-mm case and an automatic movement. It is available in titanium, King Gold, and ceramic. Prices depend on the exact model and range from 9,800 to 30,000 USD.