Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Kobe Bryant appeared on the NBA scene, but it has. This April 13th will be the last time he’ll be wearing the LA Lakers jersey in an official game: LA Lakers vs Utah Jazz at 7:30PM (10:30PM Eastern Time Zone). No doubt one of the greatest players to ever compete in the sport of basketball. His career is lavished with awards, titles and endorsements. Let’s reflect on the man’s time and his about to increase in desirability and value: Hublot watch.
Nicknamed the “Black Mamba” during his NBA career he accumulated: 5 NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals (2008 & 2012) and was titled an All-Star 18 times and was a 12 time member of the All-Defensive team. All the statistics tallied in, Kobe Bryant leaves the basketball arena as one of the all-time 20 greatest players and the second-best shooting guard, being only topped by the grandiose Michael Jordan.
But, as the arch of many good Hollywood movies, with their ups and downs, Kobe also experienced dark times in the form of rape allegations. These remarks would shed a darker spotlight on LA’s hero, resulting in him being dropped from his McDonald’s and Nutella sponsorship. Enduring a scrutinizing media campaign and having to commute between Southern California and Colorado, during the NBA playoff games. The LA Lakers would end up losing to the San Antonio Spurs, whom kept going to become the NBA 2002-2003 champions, after beating the New Jersey Nets, in the finals.
Kobe Bryant joined Hublot as a brand ambassador back in 2013, at the time they were launching the “Hublot King Power Black Mamba”, which would be his first watch.
Later to be followed in 2015 by this “Vino” timepiece. Both watches got their names from nicknames attributed to Kobe Bryant. This new alias “Vino” has to do with the fact that wine tends to improve with age and many would argue the same seems to have occurred with this formidable athlete.
Video courtesy of: Hublot
The 45.5mm case is available in 18k King gold or black ceramic. It features two pushers and a crown on the right side of the case, wrapped in rubber. The pusher positioned near 2 o’clock has a red wrapping, in order to better distinguish it from the crown and the pusher located at the 4 o’clock position which both have a black enclosure. Pushers are round and designed to look like pistons, similar to a car engine. Also features an exhibition case with a green tinted sapphire crystal, reminiscent of a typical wine bottle and allows to see the caliber movement in this timepiece through it.
This dial is all about basketball with a burgundy-red flange exhibiting a riveted texture similar to the surface of a basketball. Time is told on a subsidiary off-set dial located over the 6 o’clock position. There is also a sub-seconds located at 9 o’clock and a 60 minute-counter, that stems across the upper portion of the dial, running from the 10 o’clock mark to the 2 o’clock position. Directly under this counter is a second counter divided into four 12 minute intervals, making it the first mechanical watch made to time basketball games. Even left room for over-time, after the 48-minute mark. And the center of the dial is decorated with a basketball. The Hublot logo can be read on the off-set dial and their smaller logo is engraved on the center ball.
The mechanical movement present in this timepiece is a variation on caliber HUB1260, which debuted during the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup, on the: “Hublot Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono” (Ref#:412.CQ.1127.RX). At that time the chronograph was designed to measure 60 minutes, plus overtime for football (soccer) games. Now, its reintroduced and slightly modified for basketball enthusiasts.
As for the Kobe Bryant inspired timepieces Hublot has kept the python strap (also used for the Black Mamba edition) but went with dark-red instead of black, to attribute it with a wine color and add some of the vine, Napa Valley motif that surrounded this watches launch party. Also included with the watch is an extra black rubber strap. These straps are easy to swap due to using a pusher on the lugs, the so-called “easy release strap system” by Hublot.
Video courtesy of: Hublot
Hublot 45.5mm Big Bang Unico Chronograph Kobe “Vino” Bryant
This “Hublot 45.5mm Big Bang Unico Chronograph Kobe “Vino” Bryant” (Ref#: 413.OX.4738.PR.KOB15) or (Ref#: 413.CX.4723.PR.KOB15) in black ceramic) is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, caliber HUB1261, with 44 jewels and 28,800 vph.
Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 72 hours. Mounted to the watch is a black rubber and Bordeaux color python Strap and includes an extra black rubber strap, in the box. The 18k King gold version was limited to only 100 produced pieces; while the black ceramic version had 200 pieces manufactured.
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Update – LA Lakers won and Kobe Bryant scored 60 points! We leave you some links to the game. Enjoy!
Videos courtesy of: NBA via YouTube