Hublot and Takashi Murakami’s new watch is pop art perfection

The limited edition MP-15 tourbillon is cute, clever and technically exceptional

The art of kawaii (Japanese for ‘cute’) and horology may seem like strange bedfellows. But as Hublot and Takashi Murakami prove time and again, the union can be a beautiful thing.

Hublot first collaborated with the legendary Japanese contemporary artist back in 2021, and both got on like a house on fire. The first watch borne out of the partnership, the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black, sent watch collectors into meltdown.

This quirky high-tech complication takes the crafting of sapphire cases to the next level. Photo by Hublot

A curiously compatible fusion of Hublot’s watchmaking prowess and Murakami’s anime-inspired creativity, the black ceramic-cased watch featured sculpted dial depicting the artist’s signature ‘happy flower’ motif with spinning petals, set all over with black diamonds. The watch was a sold-out success and inadvertently kicked the doors open for rapid successive rollouts.

A rainbow-coloured version, the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow, set with coloured stones that retailed for £88,000 followed in 2022—and promptly sold out. Ditto their third collaboration, a 13 watch-NFT collection starring the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Black Ceramic Rainbow, which pairs a black ceramic case with rainbow coloured gems.

The tourbillon is constructed without an upper bridge, and all its components are skeletonised for maximum transparency. Photo by Hublot

The new MP-15, which is limited to 50 pieces, ranks as the most technically ambitious Hublot x Murakami creation. Looking all pristine, capricious and, yes, very cute, Murakami’s ‘happy flower’ motif is now rendered in clear sapphire.

Here, the watch’s case, caseback and crown are crafted in the hardy material that is incredibly challenging to shape. Yet, Hublot has done a wonderful job of machining the sapphire, so that the voluminous petals and domed pistil bear soft curves all over.

But that’s not all. Hublot also flexes its watchmaking muscle by fitting the watch with a central flying tourbillon. A rotating regulating mechanism that works against the force of gravity to ensure timekeeping precision, the central flying tourbillon is skeletonised for maximum transparency and occupies pride of place at the middle of the dial.

Takashi Murakami’s iconic ‘happy flower’ motif, composed of 12 petals, appear sculptural and voluminous in clear sapphire. Photo by Hublot

The hand-wound HUB9015 that powers the watch is also an intriguing technical marvel. Boasting two barrels that store up to 150 hours of power reserve, it is wound by a special stylus that is rechargeable via a USB socket.

High-tech, high-mech and disarmingly quirky, the MP-15 appears kind of strange and wonderful all at once—and we imagine that is exactly what Hublot and Murakami want us to think.