In what might be one of the most unique and unusual watches from Hublot yet – and that’s saying a lot – the Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire watch presents a central tourbillon for its dial and a sapphire crystal case decorated with an arrangement of petals. The limited edition of 50 pieces has been created in partnership with Japanese artist Takashi Murakam.
Sapphire crystal is used on most luxury watches nowadays, delivering legibility and protection to the dial below. Some brands however like to experiment a little further with the material, one of those being Hublot. The Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire watch is not the first from the Swiss watchmaker to debut a full sapphire crystal case – there’s been a Big Bang Chronograph for that. But it is their first limited edition shaped like a flower with a central flying tourbillon at the centre.
Where do we begin with a watch like this? I suppose we start at the middle and work our way out. The dial, which isn’t really a dial at all, is an entire flying tourbillon complication. Peeking out from the circumference of the tourbillon is two hands for the hours and minutes pointing outwards to baton hour markers. As you can probably tell, legibility of the time isn’t the main focus here, and you’re excused if your eyes go straight to the glass architecture or the smiley-faced tourbillon instead.
Although not obviously legible, the hands are innovative in their peripheral position, passing beneath the tourbillon cage. The escapement and the hour and minute hands fight for position in a single central space. To accommodate them, the cannon pinion and the hour wheel had to be pivoted around the tourbillon support by creating a co-axial construction. The hands and markers are coated in Superluminova.
The tourbillon complication is surrounded by a flower composed of twelve sapphire glass petals. The design is based upon Takashi Murakami's iconic motif which is a large smiling flower, usually done in lots of colour. This time however colour is void and replaced by transparent glass to give you a view of the movement inside. The 42mm wide case, case back, and crown are wholly crafted from sapphire crystal while the strap blends in almost too well with its own off grey hue. The smiling face is still presented, printed in white on the sapphire crystal above the dial.
“Up until now, my work has focused on colour. It was a really exciting challenge to start a whole new chapter focussing on absolute transparency. The forms and volumes are perceived completely differently. With Hublot, we were able to preserve the individuality of my floral motif, but with a unique and different identity which was purer and perfectly in tune with Hublot's mechanical universe. I'm very proud of the result!" - Takashi Murakami.
Put on display through the Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire watch is the HUB9015 manual winding movement. It features a power reserve of 150 hours, which is very impressive giving you almost an entire week to wind your watch. Arriving with each design is a special stylus which will help you keep it fully wound. It is specially designed to be placed on the crown and wind through 100 revolutions smoothly. The stylus is even rechargable via a USB socket.
I love that Hublot have fun with their watches, and the Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire watch is exactly that. It’s playful, a little funny and truthfully very technologically impressive. But who would actually wear this novelty? That’s my question.
I know the entire watch is made from glass, but from the press images, it might as well be plastic. I don’t know if it’s the childlike flower design paired with the glass, but it feels more like a child’s toy than a luxury timepiece for £273,000. I love the premise, but sorry Hublot, this one isn’t for me.
- Brand: Hublot
- Model: MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
- Price: £273,000
- Material: Sapphire crystal glass
- Movement: HUB9015 manual winding
- Complications: Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
- Dial: Resin with flying tourbillon complication
- Size: 42mm
- When the reviewer would personally wear it: I wouldn’t.
- A friend we’d recommend it to first: Does anyone know someone with £273,000 lying around to waste on a watch like this? I certainly don’t.
- Best characteristics of the watch: The integration of the flying tourbillon at the centre of the dial is impressive, as is the 150-hour power reserve.
- The worst characteristics of the watch: The entire floral-shaped, sapphire crystal architecture and it’s retail price of £273,000.
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