There are more than a few unlikely collaborations in the watchmaking world. This year’s Muppets mash-up with Oris to produce the ProPilot X Kermit Edition is a fine example, of course. As is the Domino’s Pizza Rolex, with the fast-food company’s logo resplendent on the dial of an Air-King, awarded to franchise owners who hit $25,000 in weekly sales four weeks in a row.
Now Swiss manufacturer Hublot, which has something of a reputation for material experimentation, particularly with sapphire cases, has partnered with Nespresso—yes, the coffee brand. The two teams have produced a limited edition Big Bang watch that uses recycled aluminum capsules and coffee grounds in both the case and the strap.
Nespresso, another Swiss company, has a track record of turning its pods into other products. Its Second Life Project, launched in 2016, has turned out vegetable peelers, Victorinox penknives, and Caran d’Ache ballpoint pens over the years. The reason for Nespresso’s nods toward eco endeavors is clear. Coffee capsules may produce fewer greenhouse gases than filtered coffee, but the waste they create is still a huge problem. Globally, coffee capsules make up about 576,000 metric tons of waste.
As Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Nespresso Origin is limited to just 200 pieces and costs $24,100, or €25,200, one suspects the ecological impact of the watch will be minimal, but owners will have additional bragging rights nonetheless.
Measuring 42 millimeters in diameter, the case, which is water resistant to 100 meters, uses 28 percent recycled aluminum, which is then anodized to obtain the striking green color. The caseback and container housing the movement are made from recycled titanium.
The watch also comes with not one, but two straps made from “eco” material. The first includes 4.1 percent recycled coffee grounds and 8.2 percent recycled rubber. The second is completely recycled and made by the Taiwan company SingTex, which produces a fabric called SCafé made of 5 percent recycled coffee grounds and 95 percent recycled polyester. Indeed, it is the first time, apparently, that SCafé has been used to make a watch strap. Fortunately, Hublot’s quick-change, one-click system means you can swap the two strap options without using any tools.
Another boon is that the collaboration has been designed with a laudably light touch. While the verdant green is the hue of Nespresso’s Master Origins Peru Organic capsule, the only other visual clue of Nespresso’s involvement is the brand’s “N” logo engraved on the crown.
However, despite the subtlety, it apparently still took Hublot an entire year of research and development to achieve the right color-matching on the seven different materials that make up the watch: the anodized aluminum, the varnish on the dial and hands, the Hublot logo decal on the glass, the strap rubber, and the fabric, lining, and hook-and-loop tape of the Velcro strap.
Delve into the innards of the piece and you’ll find Hublot’s HUB1280 Unico self-winding chronograph powering the watch, which has a power reserve (the length of time you can not wear the watch without it stopping) of 72 hours.
Finally, attention has also been paid to the watch’s packaging. The Big Bang Unico Nespresso Origin comes in the brand’s new Greenbox case, which will supposedly be used for all Hublot pieces going forward. Created entirely from oak—including, impressively, its hinges—the box is made from mostly massive, traceable wood and designed to be reusable, as its recycled interior is removable.