Watchmaking involves both science and art; the intricate craftsmanship and the high level of precision required to create a fine timepiece make it an art form in its own right. The meticulous assembly of tiny components, the delicate adjustment of gears and springs, and the careful calibration of timekeeping mechanisms, all require extraordinary skills. Artisanal techniques, passed down through generations, contribute to the artistry of watchmaking. Such techniques are in full bloom on the newly unveiled Classic Fusion Black Magic watches, created by Hublot in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, one of the biggest retailers in the UAE, and featuring artwork by calligraphy artist Wissam Shawkat. The watches were revealed at the 2023 edition of the Dubai Watch Week, one of the key watch events on the horological calendar.
Calligraphy is a visual art form that involves creating decorative or expressive hand-lettered designs with a broad-tipped instrument, brush or other writing tools. The term is derived from the Greek words, ‘kallos’ (meaning beauty) and ‘graphẽ’ (meaning writing). Calligraphy focuses on the artistic and skillful arrangement of letters, characters, and symbols, often emphasising the aesthetic qualities of the written language. For Wissam Shawkat, born in Basra in 1974, it was the form of four Arabic letters, written across a school blackboard, that prompted him to embark on a journey of calligraphy. In recent years, Shawkat created his own new calligraphic style, Al Wissam, which references a number of traditional scripts, including Sunbuli, Jali Diwani, Eastern Kufic, and Thuluth, bringing them together with modern designs.
Showing off its rich association with calligraphy, Hublot has unveiled two black ceramic models in two different case sizes: 42 mm (Ref. 542.CM.1199.LR.DWW23) and 38 mm (Ref. 565.CM.1199.LR.1200.DWW23). Each model is limited to 50 pieces. Each model comes with a polished, black, anodized, aluminium bezel, set with 36 black diamonds. However, the main highlight is the unique and colourful calligraphy artwork, executed by Wissam Shawkat, on the matte black dial. The Arabic calligraphy reads, “Al Zaman'' and “Al Waqt”, both translations of “time” in Arabic. The design is finished in bright orange, blue, green, and red colours.
Time is indicated with a pair of polished, rhodium plated, sword-shaped hour and minute hands, and a central seconds hand, bearing the Hublot logo as a counterweight. Both are time-only watches, with no hour markers. The case size has not affected the movement as both watches get the same in-house HUB1110 Calibre movement with 42 hours of power reserve. Turning each watch over showcases the polished, black, ceramic caseback, with the engraving of “SPECIAL EDITION XX/50”. Both watches are finished on black alligator straps, each with a black steel deployant buckle.