Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Hublot and Ferrari partner for new luxury watch

Hublot managing director Ricardo Guadalupe was at the launch of the Big Bang watch at the Ferrari showroom in Newmarket on Friday. Photo / Dean Purcell
Hublot managing director Ricardo Guadalupe was at the launch of the Big Bang watch at the Ferrari showroom in Newmarket on Friday. Photo / Dean Purcell

The head of a luxury Swiss watchmaker - which has released one timepiece retailing for US$5 million ($6.14 million) - says the company has been left unscathed by Europe's economic turmoil and "wealthy people" are still buying.

Hublot chief executive Ricardo Guadalupe was in Auckland on Friday night to celebrate the launch of the company's Ferrari Big Bang watch.

The titanium version of the watch retails for $32,000 while the "magic gold" line sells for $43,000.

The product is the result of a partnership between Hublot and Ferrari and aims to raise the watch company's profile.

"This car brand is an iconic brand and we share a lot of the same values - technology, design, quality and overall passion for what we do," Guadalupe said.

"What we're looking for with this partnership is the prestige that Ferrari can bring to our brand," he said.

The partnership with Ferrari is the latest attempt to raise the public profile of Hublot. The company has been aggressively marketing itself over the past four years.

It has signed sponsorship deals with Manchester United football and has become the official timekeeper of Fifa World Cup.

Guadalupe acknowledged the New Zealand market was small and that it only aims to sell around 150 watches a year here.

"New Zealand is not a huge market ... we know we couldn't do five times more [sales] easily, but we're happy with what we're doing here," he said.

Glenn Peachey of Partridge Jewellers, who sells Hublot watches, said the brand has been experiencing annual growth of around 25 per cent.

Most Hublot watches sold tended to be in the $20,000 to $40,000 price bracket, Peachey said.

He said despite the global economic crisis, sales of Swiss watches had gone up in New Zealand since 2008.

Guadalupe said the debt crisis in the eurozone had not hit the company in the pocket, as it was a "niche business" selling to wealthy people at the "top of the pyramid".

For Hublot's European retailers "there is no crisis", he said.

- NZ Herald

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