Fiat heir Lapo Elkann is a man of many reputations, some good and others, not so much.
Although he has been notorious for a couple of wildly bizarre (one near-fatal) episodes involving drugs, he’s also equally treasured – and especially so in his native Italy, where he’s regarded as uncrowned royalty – for an impeccable style that he has clearly inherited from his late grandfather, Gianni Agnelli, and an equally astute sense of design, which he’s incorporated into various successful business ventures.
When working at Fiat in his twenties, he championed the successful re-birth of the Italian car-maker’s tiny Cinquecento runabout. And when he left the company shortly afterwards he founded his own business, Italia Independent, which started out designing and making eyewear and has since tied up with other brands over a variety of products. More recently, his Milan-based Garage Italia Customs personalises almost any form of transport you than think of, from scooters to supercars and yachts to private jets.
A longstanding tie-up of with Hublot has spawned a number of special-edition watches, too, perhaps most notably a series of timepieces that Elkann re-imagined in cooperation with the famed Neapolitan menswear house of Rubinacci, which utilised tweed for the dial and straps. And in a new collaboration with the Swiss manufacture, he’s claimed Millennial Pink as a colour that can be flaunted by men as easily as it can by women.
In fact, the Hublot Big Bang Millennial Pink, which has just been released in a limited edition of 200 pieces, is in a shade of the colour that’s less girly than the elegant tint of a bone-dry Provençal rosé. And that, in combination with the watch’s relatively hefty dimensions – 42mm in diameter and 14.5mm thickness – and a skeleton construction that’s self-evidently technical, makes it far more gender-neutral that might be imagined (though having said that, it can be worn on the most slender of wrists). In fact, we’re going to stick out our necks by suggesting that the Millennial Pink is more likely to be appreciated by men than women.
Constructed largely from lightweight aluminium – a material unusual in watchmaking though not new to Hublot – it wears light on the wrist in spite of its size, and the anodising process used to apply the colour is also said to protect it from scratches. It’s powered by the proprietary HUB 1250 Unico automatic chronograph movement with column wheel, whose mechanism is visible on both sides of the case and which offers 72 hours of power. The watch is provided with two straps that are easily interchangeable using Hublot’s One Click system: one, in fabric, is attached using a Velcro fastener and the other, in rubber, features a matching pink aluminium buckle.
Whether it’s down to its daring and humour, the ease with which it can be worn and also its technical prowess, the Hublot Big Bang Millennial Pink is a watch that impresses us enormously. Strap one on to your own wrist – if, that is, you’re lucky enough to find one – you’ll almost certainly be blown away too.