The relationship between Hublot and Man United goes back to 2008, when they became the club's official timekeeper, but also manifested through the issuing of various limited edition watches featuring the club’s insignia. On Saturday 7 May 2011 Sir Alex Ferguson and Jean-Claude Biver launched the new limited edition King Power Red Devil, the latest (third) horological incarnation of the association between the two.
The attention-grabber in this watch is the use of blades of grass from Old Trafford's turf to make the watch indexes. The grass was picked by the club's grounds keepers then stabilised and preserved by Hublot. The blades of grass were then freeze-dried and inserted into the indexes, where they were coated with a special transparent lacquer to secure them permanently.
The new King Power is equipped with a chronograph movement via two centre hands. The first indicates the seconds and the other hand, specially developed for football, indicates the time elapsed out of the 45 mins in each half. The movement is the HUB4245 skeletonised automatic chronograph.
Size : 48mm
Case : Limited edition of 400 (micro blasted black matte ceramic); limited edition of 250 (18k “King Gold”, a new type of gold alloy)
Pushers : chronograph pushers have a “security bar”
Crystal : sapphire
Movement : Hublot HUB 4245 automatic chronograph
Dial : includes Man Utd “Red Devil” logo, indexes containing grass from Old Trafford
Strap : black rubber with red highlight
Each watch will come with by a certificate guaranteeing its authenticity, signed by Sir Alex Ferguson. As a child I actually followed Man Utd for a few years, but reading about this watch also made me think about Wimbledon’s famed turf (of which yes, I did pinch a few blades of grass from Centre Court many moons ago), Twickenham, Lords, and how important “hallowed sporting ground” can be to many sporting fans.
Will the use of grass from Old Trafford in the watch mean desirability? To my mind, even when disregarding the turf, the black matte version is much more attractive generally than the previous Red Devil models, largely because of the skeletonisation, but yes, I can see the novelty of the indexes appealing to some diehard fans who also happen to be watch folk.