Hubert Burda Media

Man to Watch

In a partnership with Hublot, polymath JAY-Z discovers that his true calling isn't just hinged on lyrics, but also on the hands of his gold watch.

Man to Watch

If there's any wonder to why Jay-Z is what he is — rapper extraordinaire, philanthropist and possibly one of the wealthiest in the America — just look to his savvy business streak. Having courted various enterprises from the swanky 40/40 Club in New York, to entertainment label Roc Nation, Jay-Z's gusto for ventures could, in due time, rival that of Richard Branson's. After spearheading numerous apparel and viral marketing campaigns, the hip hop mogul adds yet another project to his portfolio: The Shawn Carter by Hublot collection.
This special collaboration marks the five-year friendship between the two and features Hublot's signature watches modelled à la Jay-Z style. Launched as a part of Barneys New York's Holiday collection, a quarter of sales will benefit the Shawn Carter Foundation, which supports financially challenged students by awarding scholarships for higher education.
Surprisingly, the collection is steeped in understated glamour, in contrast to Jay-Z's typically flashy guise. Housed in either a 45-mm rosé yellow (3N) gold or black ceramic case, the watches feature a satin-finished bezel that is accented by the brand's signature titanium screws, aptly taking the form of an "H" character upon closer inspection. Across the dial, Hublot's HUB 1300 calibre peeks out from a cut-out Maltese cross — Jay-Z's insignia. Both models are attached to black alligator straps and retain several Classic Fusion traits: A slender profile (compared to the iconic Big Bang timepieces), 90-hour power reserve and 50m water resistance. As expected, the lean machine (at just 2.9mm thick), is limited to only 350 pieces worldwide.
Hublot's partnership with Jay-Z is an interesting departure from its usual partnerships with sports stars (and very recently, with the entertainment industry such as with electronic kings Depeche Mode). The watchmaker counts Usain Bolt, Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade as bosom buddies. It also recently christened sports legend Pelé as an ambassador in recognition of his life's achievements. Let's not forget how the brand also bagged itself the coveted "Official Timekeeper" title for consecutive Fifa World Cups, cementing the Hublot name in the playing field as the go-to watch brand in sports.
Considered by some to be a young Swiss brand (at all of 33 years, Hublot is a baby compared to its century-old cousins), what the brand lacks in age, it makes up with its style du jour. Despite the heavy mutters of watch purists, the brand can be considered the “it” brand of the moment, garnering a following of bluebloods such as the King of Greece, King of Spain and the Prince of Monaco, who are fans of its Big Bang and Classic Fusion designs.
With sports stars, royalty and celebrities clamouring for a piece of the Hublot pie, the brand is one step closer to tasting the dream of becoming an icon. Meanwhile, on Jay-Z's end, the 44-year-old continues reigning over the hip hop scene with his Classic Fusion watch — a well-thought-out upgrade from the usual heavy-duty bling around his neck.
Timepieces from the Shawn Carter by Hublot collection are available exclusively at The Hour Glass.