Following a successful partnership with FIFA in the last two World Cups, Hublot is back for its third consecutive collaboration on the international association football tournament scheduled to take place next in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. This was announced by Hublot two months ago in July at the iconic Red Square, Moscow, in conjunction with the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the opening of its store in the historic Metropol building.

MC and former midfielder Alexey Smertin, football King Pele and CEO Ricardo Guadalupe at the launch of the 1-year countdown to World Cup 2018 at the Red Square, Moscow.

At the alfresco press conference, against the panoramic backdrop of the Kremlin and the city square’s red structures, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe was joined by FIFA CCO Philippe Le Floc’h and World Cup record holder Pele, who remains the only triple winner of the tournament to date, hence the nickname “King of Football”, along with children dressed in striking folk costumes, in an official ceremony, emceed by former Russian midfielder Aleksey Smertin, which initiated the year-long countdown and unveiled the upcoming World Cup mascot—a fun and lively wolf named Zabivaka, which translates to “the one who scores”.

FIFA CCO Philippe Le Floc’h, Ricardo and Pele, along with World Cup 2018 mascot, Zabivaka, at the Hublot Metropol boutique opening. 

The new Hublot boutique in the historic Metropol building in Moscow.

The trio then made their way to the nearby Hublot store in Metropol for its official opening. Despite the inopportune arrival of rain, the company was undeterred and the ribbon-cutting ceremony was carried out in high spirits, accompanied by a full-house celebration within the boutique’s cosy and elegant expanse of 120sqm. The excitement continued in St Petersburg the next day at the Krestovsky Stadium with the launch of the 2017 Confederations Cup, a prelude to the 2018 World Cup competed by teams from eight nations, including host country Russia and current World Cup champions Germany, along with Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Cameroon, Mexico and Chile.

A special series of Big Bang UNICO models with interchangeable straps in the colours of the eight participating nations of the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The event drew in an active audience of approximately 50,000, including the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, who opened the game between Russia and New Zealand with a welcome speech in charismatic style. As the official watch and the official timekeeper, Hublot presented the brand’s iconic model, the Big Bang UNICO, in an exciting, special series equipped with an emblematic manufacture movement featuring a flyback chronograph, and fitted with interchangeable straps in the colours of the eight participating countries, made possible by the watchmaker’s patented One Click system.

* Watch out for our interview with CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and football King Pele coming to you real soon.