HUBLOT’S FIRST CENTRAL FLYING TOURBILLON: MP-15 TAKASHI MURAKAMI ONLY WATCH
“Only Watch was created in 2005 and our manufacture was founded just four years later, in 2009. We are both of the same generation. We have grown very quickly and have pushed the boundaries in our respective fields: Hublot in High Watchmaking and Only Watch in philanthropy. Whenever Only Watch founder Luc Pettavino needs us, we will be there. Hublot has never shirked its moral and social obligations, nor will it ever do so.”
The central tourbillon could be interpreted as Hublot’s intention to put Haute Horlogerie back in the spotlight. Or, its round case might be seen to resemble a child’s drawing of a 2-petalled daisy, tipped with green as a sign of hope. Either way, the strength of the MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Only Watch lies in the fact that everyone will see it as symbolic of what they value. It will blossom around as many values as there are colours, whether these are high-tech, exquisite, playful, unique, hypnotic… Haute Horlogerie meets Haute Joaillerie on this highly creative timepiece inspired by Takashi Murakami’s iconic smiling flower.
Floral composition is central to the work of Takashi Murakami. This Japanese artist has risen from humble origins to become one of the most sought-after artists in the world, and he has been a Friend of Hublot since 2020. These co-creations have always been produced in limited-edition series. This timepiece is even more limited – it is truly unique. Unique in its nature (only one piece has been created), but also in its construction. What sets the MP-15 apart from any other piece that the manufacture has ever created in its forty-plus years of experience, is its central tourbillon.
Hublot’s first central tourbillon
This central tourbillon represents the fusion of art and horological design. An idea that is echoed by Hublot’s dedication to Haute Horlogerie and by the world of Takashi Murakami. The idea is certainly to have Haute Horlogerie take centre stage physically, but not only that. The idea is also to show that the tourbillon – the beating heart of the watch – represents the heart of the person who buys it at the auction in aid of research against Duchenne’s disease, and also the hearts of those children fighting the disease.
Imagining this piece, Takashi Murakami explicitly requested the inclusion of a central tourbillon. A challenge in and of itself, this would become Hublot’s very first central tourbillon. This was a difficult challenge because, it becomes very complicated to indicate the hours and minutes which compete for the same central position. By accepting Takashi Murakami’s challenge, Hublot would have to make the right choices in order to integrate the aesthetic components of the central tourbillon to the technical requirements.
In this design, the cannon pinion and the hour wheel had to be pivoted around the tourbillon support by creating a co-axial construction. This was made possible thanks to the central flying tourbillon that is seemingly suspended in mid-air with two hands passing under its cage to indicate the hours and minutes. These hands gravitate towards 12 luminescent indices that echo the colours of the 2023 edition of the Hublot for Only Watch, as well as keeping the exact proportions required by the design so dear to Murakami, and which Hublot R&D had to follow to the letter.
Thanks to its two barrels, the manual movement offers a 150-hour power reserve (almost a whole week) – a very rare feature for such a construction. Mounted in series but on a single plane, these generously proportioned barrels can be admired through the case back which is made entirely from sapphire.
Superflat Floral Poetry
From the tourbillon and the indices to the petals, fans of Takashi Murakami’s colourful poetry will follow his rhythm on this MP-15, from the interior to the exterior, where 12 petals richly set with 444 gemstones give the piece a bright, joyful aesthetic. Like a real flower, these petals are angled towards the centre of the movement. The clear and bold demarcations of colour are representative of the 2023 Only Watch. The idea was not to offer a traditional rainbow gradient effect, but rather to play with the brightness of the shades and the brilliance of the gemstones, like a child playing with their crayons, creating a bright piece of Superflat Art for the wrist.
But that is not all: true to Murakami’s universe, under its domed sapphire crystal this MP-15 Only Watch reveals a fine laser engraving depicting a broad smile, complete with two smiling eyes. This colourful piece offers an escape into Takashi Murakami’s lively imagination, and the watch’s bright energy is an ode to the incredible power of a child’s wonder and their endless curiosity.
Collector’s item: unique calligraphy created by Takashi Murakami’s own hand
With its MP-15, Takashi Murakami has created the ultimate gift for anyone purchasing it. And who better to explain it than Takashi Murakami himself? “I decided to pick up calligraphy again. My mother used to love it and I took many classes in this art from the age of five to seventeen. I progressed to a very high level, attaining the 7th dan, which is equivalent to assistant instructor. When I went to art school, my calligraphy practice became more sporadic. But my mother brought it up whenever I spoke to her! So, I decided to return to it, working directly on my used coffee filter paper, which is a very good base for the ink. This enabled me to create unique calligraphy, “Time of Rainbow”, inspired by the unique watch I have designed with Hublot for Only Watch 2023.”