Hublot is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer that has been the subject of controversy and criticism in recent years. Despite its popularity among some casual watch enjoyers, the brand has been accused of various questionable practices, including plagiarism, overpricing, and lack of innovation, leading to many enthusiasts and collectors rejecting it from the ground up.
One of the primary reasons for the brand's negative reputation is its penchant for copying designs from other high-end watchmakers. Hublot has been accused of copying designs from brands such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, among others. This criticism is most prevelant when looking at the shape of the housing, which takes inspiration from the window of a submarine. This design choice is also famously featured in the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, with both coming from the pen of legendary watch designer Gerald Genta. While some may argue that this is simply the norm in the industry, others view this as a lack of creativity and originality on the part of Hublot.
Another issue that has contributed to Hublot's negative reputation is its pricing strategy. The brand has been criticized for charging exorbitant prices for watches that are not significantly different from those of its competitors. Especially considering the use of standard ETA movements, which are rarely if ever modified, only to be installed in watches with five-figure list prices. In addition, Hublot had problems with poor processing of materials in the late 2000's, adding to its unfavourable image.
Furthermore, some critics have accused Hublot of lacking innovation in terms of design and technology. While the brand has introduced many new materials and combined different styles and designs, none of this concerned watchmaking itself. this also led to Hublot's use of non-traditional materials, such as carbon fiber and ceramic, being viewed by some as an attempt to justify high prices rather than a genuine attempt to innovate.
In addition, Hublot has been accused of using aggressive marketing tactics that have alienated some watch enthusiasts. The brand's focus on celebrity endorsements, while historical personalities are left out and the own history, for a lack there of, is ignored, and high-profile events has been viewed by some as a cheap attempt to appeal to the masses rather than a genuine effort to create quality watches. Huge sums are invested in marketing Hublot as a fashion accessory for self-confident gentlemen, while seriousness and collectability are neglected.
Lastly, Hublot's young age serves and therefore lack of history serves as a great hinderance for many watch lovers. The brand's immediate predecessor MDM Genève was only founded in the 1970s, with today's Hublot having little to do with even the prior iteration. Since the watch mogul J.C. Biver took over the brand in 2004, its product portfolio and direction have been completely revamped, resulting in the loud and flashy marketing prevelant today.