The Hublot Boutique in Prestige – The Avenues, Kuwait reopened its doors in October in the presence of Hublot Regional Director Middle East & Africa Marco Tedeschi (below, left), members of Morad Yousuf Behbehani and Friend of the Brand, Arab Superstar Ragheb Alama. Our Zeina Mokaddam (below, right) sat down with Ragheb to discuss Hublot and his special role as Friend of the Brand.
Ragheb on Hublot
When did your relationship with Hublot start? In the 80s, but I wasn’t their face or ambassador back then. At first it was just based on admiration – I’m not sure if it was mutual or one-sided though! When the admiration became mutual with this huge company, it developed into a more formal relationship. We’ve been working this closely together for three years now.
How do you consider this relationship as an added value? I mean, in the world of watches. The relationship itself is an added value; when you work with professional people you see the passion it takes to create these wonderful pieces of art. It’s enabled me to see all the details. At first, I used to think it was just a watch – albeit a beautiful watch with a beautiful design – but through my relationship with the company, and when I visited the manufactory, I discovered the artistic value of this watch.
Lebanon is known to be a country of beauty and elegance, how important is the watch to a person? Frankly, a watch is a sign of elegance. Small items, be it a watch, a tie or a wallet, add a classy touch. And the classiest of all items is a watch with the way it fits the outfit. After I became a Friend of the Brand, I automatically started wearing Hublot no matter what my outfit is, because it fits well with all clothes. Even sportswear. For example, you might see me wearing this watch with a tuxedo. I would have never done that before. Hublot is a sign of class. Therefore, I no longer worry about choosing the right watch for the right outfit. Hublot looks good no matter what you’re wearing.
It is a sign of luxury. Yes, exactly. You can feel the luxury and beauty of the piece you are wearing. When you are in a meeting or a gathering or whatever, all eyes will be on your watch. So, when you wear a Hublot, it gives a certain splendor to your look.
You mentioned you have visited the Hublot manufactory. Did you discuss any specific designs for a Ragheb Alama Edition? Marco Tedeschi is overseeing the design of a watch specially for Ragheb Alama Edition.
As you well know, Marco was granted a patent for watches designs. He’s been working on a distinctive design for a special edition for two years now. A design that fits my personality.
Marco Tedeschi (with Ragheb, below, at Ferrari in Maranello): We have been talking about this for a long time, and you know I must follow the most accurate details in terms of design; he knows exactly what he wants and having Ragheb as part of the creative process is of course a very important asset for us. He already gave a lot of input in different decisions we made about the design, as he is very passionate, especially after having visited the manufactory and having grasped all the steps we follow in the process of creation. We’ve been lucky to be able to work with Ragheb and get some input for the designs. It will be ready around March 2018, and we will launch it then. It hasn’t been decided how many pieces we will offer yet. The thing is, we want to create something very exclusive, a good watch for everybody. We need to apply a certain condition, and then it’ll be decided.
If you are asked to choose one watch out of the whole collection you have access to, if you were to keep one, which would it be? It is as if you are asking me which song I prefer.
There is no such thing, no one knows which song. It is the same thing.
Ragheb, you always compare the watch to your songs – you answered every question about the watch comparing it to your songs. Because it is a piece of art.
What is the main common criteria that makes a song and a watch a beautiful piece of art? You can’t make such a comparison because a song tells a certain story; a love story, a separation story, a traitorous story. On the other hand, a watch is a piece of art you wear, and of course it is a reference for time, it must be accurate, beautiful and well designed. A watch and a song are not alike in this specific field. As for me, I choose the song I like best and the watch I like best.
Being an added value to the brand, and a desirable face for many international brands, why did you choose to become a friend of Hublot? It is very important for the brand to see me as an added value. It should be a shared vision. I liked Hublot and wore it long before becoming a Friend of the Brand. I’ve long loved their design and whenever I met anyone wearing a Hublot, I’d stop to admire the watch. I was very interested in the brand. And when I was offered to work with them – after I had met the guys and visited Switzerland – I realized that the success of this brand was not random. Nothing happens randomly. I saw how professional they were, I got to know how they think and realized they use the same approach I use in my art. There, you can see there is a common vision between two parties and they would therefore make good partners. This is what made me go for it. I usually turn down such offers, but I immediately agreed to Hublot’s offer. It’s been working out well; it’s been several years in a row, and I haven’t left them, and they are not ready to let me go either.
Do you care about the shape, color and size of the watch? What do you prefer? Small or big watches? Yes, I like this size. I like this design and size for a watch. I find it very manly. So, I like this size and shape.
Do you have any favorite colors? That depends on my mood. Sometimes I wear the white ones, other times I wear the golden ones and most of the times I wear the black leathered ones.
Do you like to offer watches as gifts? Or receive watches? Of course, I like to offer watches as gifts. I always give Hublot as a gift. I give Hublot to the people I love.
So, we can say it’s an endless love story between Ragheb Alama and the watch. It is endless from both my side and that of the watch.
Marco Tedeschi: This partnership came about as the result of a friendship. When we met for the first time, 3 or 4 years ago, we had already clicked because we are both passionate people – especially about music, I love music. We are both passionate about watches, and the link was created by itself and that’s how we were able to collaborate. It’s more than just a collaboration, for us Ragheb is part of the Hublot family. He is not just an ambassador. He always gives very creative input, and that is very important to us. I don’t believe in one-sided relationships and we were able to create a two-sided relationship.
It was a very organic process with Ragheb as well as with our other ambassadors, and this is something our ambassadors have in common, they are all legends. We don’t team up with people who are not legends. For example, in football, we have two ambassadors, Rene and Maradona, they are legends. We don’t team up with active players. And even though Ragheb is very active still, he is already a living legend and that is also why we wanted him to be associated with the brand.