The Hublot brand has a long association with sports and sportspersons; Usain Bolt and Scuderia Ferrari are two prime examples. Hublot also has a strong association with football which began in 2006, when they became the first luxury brand to sponsor a national football team; the Swiss team. Then in 2008, they elevated their commitment to the continental level by becoming the official watch of the UEFA Euro championships in 2008, 2012, and 2016. At club level, Hublot has been the official timekeeper for such illustrious names as Juventus, Bayern München, Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea among others. Hublot is the official watch of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
Hublot has also been the official timekeeper for the FIFA World Cup since 2010 in South Africa, as well as the 2018 FIFA world cup to be held in Russia. To celebrate this relationship, Hublot has launched a limited-edition smartwatch called the ‘Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.’ It was developed as the referees’ watch to fulfil the specific needs expressed by FIFA for the 2018 tournament. It will be the first FIFA World Cup where the referees will be supported in their decision making by video assist. The watch worn by the referees will be connected to the ‘goal-line technology;’ a video-based electronic assistance system for the referees. The watch has already undergone real-world testing during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
“The launch of the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is a perfect illustration of Hublot’s ability to combine tradition, expert knowledge and innovation. The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will provide the perfect platform for this amazing watch to showcase its full potential,” said Philippe Le Floc’h, FIFA CCO
Hublot has also made a fan version of the Big Bang Referee 2018 and is fittingly limited to just 2018 units. It will be released worldwide on May 1, 2018. It is available in analogue or digital versions. It features a selection of 34 dials inspired by the flags of the 32 participating nations, plus two neutral designs. It has three easily interchangeable patented “One Click” straps: a cuff strap in a sponge, a black lined natural rubber strap, and a third in the colours of one of the 32 countries.
The Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 goes beyond any other watch that came before it, in its ability to connect the fan to his or her team. With the swipe of a finger, one can select a team or closely follow a competitor. The watch can announce the kick-off of a match 15 minutes before it. During a match, every time a goal is scored, it will vibrate and display the word ‘Goal’ instantly. It will also announce every yellow and red card, player changes, and match statistics such as the score, number of cards, names of goal-scorers, player substitutions and the match time.
Running on a Wear OS by Google platform it benefits from the Android ecosystem, which means access to thousands of additional downloadable applications. It can synchronise seamlessly with all mobile phones which use Android 4.4 and above or iOS 9 and above platforms. For charging, the watch needs to be placed on a contact charger for one and a half hours.
“The Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia offers all the usual features of a smartwatch of course, but that’s not where Hublot has applied its innovation and audacity. It brings together everything that inspires the passion of football lovers! The FIFA World Cup is the Holy Grail of emotions for football fans, so just imagine what an object such as a watch that captures each and every one of its moments, its turning points and its stakes; could suddenly represent? The football aficionados from among the brand’s friends have been waiting for this watch for a long time!” said Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot.
“We are happy to kick off here in Dubai, the countdown to this summer’s tournament. We share with Hublot and our customers a passion for both watches and football, and this is a great way to unite those two worlds,” Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Vice Chairman, Seddiqi Holding.
To celebrate this remarkable watch, Hublot joined hands with its U.A.E. partner, Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons to organise ‘The Match of Friendship’ at the Dubai Opera Hanging Garden at the base of the Burj Khalifa. It was a one-match, five-a-side football game featuring some of the greatest names to have treaded on a football pitch. One team was coached by none other than Pelé himself and featured Dida, Robbie Keane, Serginho, Marcel Desailly, and Majed Hassan. The opposing team was coached by Marcello Lippi and featured Marco Amelia, Marco Materazzi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Christian Karembeu, and Michel Salgado. The referee obviously wore a Big Bang Referee 2018 which gave the referee notifications from Goal Line Technology live throughout the match. This unique experience was topped by a cocktail reception at the same iconic location, where guests mingled with the players.
“This was the dream, and Hublot made it a reality! This match is everybody’s dream. Seeing friends of the brand, legends on the pitch playing football, bringing together legendary sportsmen who have never played together in this exceptional encounter, creating two teams for a Match of Friendship, all this is more than we could have hoped for! What better proof of how football can bring people together!” Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot.