The Hublot Arsham Droplet Redefines what a Contemporary Pocket Watch Can Be

What does it mean to be a pocket watch enthusiast in 2024? As a pocket watch appreciator (which I think is a distinct thing compared to a bona fide collector or someone who displays a real passion for these objects) I think there are at least two potential answers. The first is the type of enthusiast who is deeply invested in watchmaking history, and sees pocket watches as important historical objects. They are, for the most part, relics of an old way of life, and anachronistic in our contemporary world. But there’s another type of pocket watch enthusiast that is far more focused on the here and now, who can tell you about the rare (but often impressive) pocket watches made by some of the most respected luxury brands and independent watchmakers. Sometimes these pocket watches might be record setters, sometimes they might be contemporary art objects. Hublot, with their partner Daniel Arsham, just unveiled one that falls into the latter camp. 

Arsham is a New York City based artist who works in a variety of mediums, including fine art, architecture, live performance, and filmmaking. He is known for using a variety of organic materials in his work, like sand, selenite and volcanic ash, which makes him a natural partner for Hublot, a brand that has famously challenged preconceived notions about what materials belong in a “luxury” watch. The new pocket watch revealed last week, known as the Arsham Droplet, is both a full fledged art piece as well as an example of Hublot’s considerable watchmaking skill. 

The watchmaking here comes down to the Meca-10 manufacture movement, which has a ten day power reserve and is visible through the teardrop shaped sapphire crystals on the front and back of the titanium case. Those crystals play a large role in the visual impression the watch makes, not to mention the “droplet” naming convention. Hublot, on their website, is referring to the Arsham Droplet as “the world’s first sapphire crystal pocket watch.”  

Hublot notes that the case incorporates 17 O-ring seals as well as the brand’s H-shaped screws to create a tight seal that allows for 30 meters of water resistance. That might not seem like much, but in the realm of pocket watches any water resistance is welcome. 


The vaguely kidney shaped case is flanked by green rubber bumpers that match the tone of the dial and immediately give the pocket watch a more contemporary look and feel. In addition to the case, Arsham also designed a pair of titanium chains that the watch can be worn with. One is appropriate for traditional pocket watch wear, while the other is designed to be worn around the neck, making the Arsham Droplet into a time-telling pendant. The watch can also be displayed on a desk or shelf with the included titanium and mineral glass stand. 

Modern pocket watches are a very niche pursuit that we don’t see very often, so it’s always fun to see what a modern brand can come up with if given the opportunity to make one of these things. Honestly, this feels pretty much exactly like what I think most would expect from a Hublot pocket watch. That is to say, a watch that doesn’t look like a traditional pocket watch at all. In the way the Arsham Droplet embraces modern design codes and materials, it somehow balances a centuries old tradition with a relentlessly contemporary aesthetic. 

The Arsham Droplet is a limited edition of 99 pieces. The retail price is $88,000. Hublot

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.