Swiss watchmaker Hublot and Dominican cigar producer Arturo Fuente celebrated their ongoing partnership last December with an Old Havana–themed party at Dubai’s One&Only The Palm hotel, where they paid tribute to the Fuente family’s Cuban heritage and launched the Hublot Arturo Fuente ForbiddenX watch collection. But this iteration came with a new wrinkle: actual tobacco leaf.
Following up the King Power Arturo Fuente collection, which debuted in 2012, this year’s ForbiddenX watches inventively blend the specialties of watchmaking and cigarmaking with dials covered with the same leaf used in the rare Fuente Fuente OpusX ForbiddenX cigar. The tobacco inside the watch is grown on the lush and gorgeous Chateau de la Fuente, a farm in the Dominican Republic where the Fuente family harvests its finest leaves.
Hublot’s engineers came up with a process using epoxy resin to transform the leaves, which are shipped to Switzerland from the Dominican Republic, into rigid watch dials. A complementary brown ceramic bezel is fitted to the 45 mm cases available in titanium ($14,800, limited to 250), black ceramic ($16,000, limited to 250) and King Gold ($36,700, limited to 150), which is Hublot’s proprietary red-gold alloy made with 5 percent platinum. In addition to the automatic chronographs, Hublot is producing 30 tourbillon versions priced at $106,000. With 155 components and a five-day power reserve, the tourbillon cage of the HUB6011 Manufacture movement can be admired spinning in an aperture at 6 o’clock.
The ForbiddenX logo appears on the chronographs above the date window at 6 o’clock, on the case backs along with an image of Carlos Fuente Sr. and his son Carlos Jr. (known as Carlito), as well as on the tobacco-hued calfskin straps lined with rubber. ForbiddenX watches are delivered in a wooden humidor resembling a treasure chest, with controlled humidity for optimal storage of your personal stash.
If customization is more your thing, the Swiss boutique brand ArtyA is also producing watches with tobacco leaf dials of your choosing. Select leaves from origins including Cuba, Ecuador, Brazil, India and Nicaragua or from various brands—Cohiba, Trinidad, Vegas Robaina and Montecristo among them. The Son of Earth Tobacco’s ($5,800) clean and classic round stainless steel case in three sizes ranging from 42 mm to 44 mm frames the textured dials.
No matter which tobacco leaf covers your dial, with every glance at these novel watches, you’ll be reminded it’s time for a smoke.