How to Keep Soccer Match Time With a $42,000 Hublot Watch

Courtesy of Hublot

Watchmaker Hublot introduced the Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chronograph, among others, in honor of the 2014 World Cup.

German fans cheered and Brazilian fans grieved during the blitzkrieg match yesterday, viewed by an international audience of VIP guests at the Hublot Palace in Rio de Janeiro, otherwise known as the Orla Copacabana, the hotel that the Swiss watch brand and official timekeeper of the FIFA World Cup has taken over and redecorated to host more than 1,000 guests during the event.

The 2014 World Cup is Hublot's second as a sponsor, and the brand continues to raise its futbol profile by engaging Brazilian legend Pele, the brand's 2014 FIFA World Cup ambassador, who is reportedly earning $500,000 for the honor. Earlier this year, Hublot introduced the Classic Fusion Pele Chronograph ($18,700), limited to 500 pieces, in black ceramic with a skeletonized movement and a sapphire crystal case back depicting him performing his famous bicycle kick.

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In addition to Pele, Hublot has partnerships with other stars of the sport including Jose Mourinho, Roy Hodgson and Radamel Falcao, as well as team sponsorships with Juventus de Turin, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Guangzhou Evergrande. 

The official timepiece of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is the Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chronograph, dubbed Soccer Bang, featuring the brand's first bi-retrograde function that allows you to track each 45-minute half of a game as well as extra time. Hublot will produce 100 pieces in 18-karat King Gold with a carbon fiber bezel ($42,200) and 200 pieces in black ceramic with a carbon fiber bezel ($26,300). "We wanted a new chronograph display linked to the sport," says CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. "This is only the beginning—we will use the module in pieces for all our partnerships in soccer."

This year's World Cup has broken records for viewership in the U.S. Last Saturday's Netherlands vs. Costa Rica match drew an average audience of 5,791,000 viewers based on a 3.4 fast national rating, according to Nielsen, making it the second most-watched FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC.

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Over the past few weeks, the roof terrace at the hotel has been the site of Swiss wine tastings with Office des Vins Vaudois, cigar samplings with Arturo Fuente, parties with DJ Paul Oakenfold, private concerts by Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple, and a fashion show with Sara Joias, in addition to appearances by football stars Alan Shearer, Gary Neville, Gary Lineker, Ruud Gullit, and Bixente Lizarazu.

"Football has been an incredible tool to make this young brand known all over the world," says Guadalupe. New referee boards designed in the shape of a Hublot watch have given the brand global TV exposure of an average of 20 seconds per game, he adds. "The visibility is unbelievable!"