Hublot turns to the essence of New York City and partners with famed New Yorkers, NFL Superstar Victor Cruz and esteemed chef Daniel Boulud, to launch their latest timepiece.
Victor Cruz; The Classic Fusion Concrete Jungle watch is available at the Hublot Fifth Avenue Flagship Boutique and at hublot.com
Hublot’s Classic Fusion Concrete Jungle watch encompasses all of the eclectic characteristics of New York City like strength, energy and sophistication. The perfect New Yorkers to be part of this campaign, Victor Cruz and Daniel Boulud, answer our questions. Here, Cruz shares his thoughts about the project.
To fans, your name automatically evokes New York City. As a former member of the Giants and longtime resident of New York, what does the city mean to you? Do you have a message that you would like to convey to the people of NYC during this challenging time? Cruz: The city means everything. There’s truly no place like New York City. I know it may feel a bit different at the moment, but the people of NYC are resilient. It’s that resiliency that inspires me to do things bigger and better, encourages me to be great each and every day. I want the people of NYC to stay strong. Stay encouraged that we’ll make it through these times safely and, most importantly, together.
Concrete is a material of strength, resilience, endurance—all values of New York City, which is quite literally built on this foundation. Now more than ever before, ‘New York Strong’ is a motto that we live by and strive for. Why was Hublot’s Concrete Jungle timepiece compelling to you, and what did it mean for you to take part in this campaign? I feel like it fits exactly where I am in this moment. I’m sure the Concrete Jungle theme resonates with everyone during these times. It’s that grit that makes the people of New York unlike anyone else. We were made to go through difficult times and emerge successful once the smoke clears.
This is now the second Hublot timepiece you have collaborated on that is specific to this city (the first was the Classic Fusion Aerofusion New York inspired by the Giants). How have these experiences with Hublot satiated your desire to present exciting projects to the people of NYC? Working with Hublot has been incredible—the knowledge I’ve gotten over the years about watches and how they’re made and the inspirations behind each piece. I think storytelling is an important art to master in any business, and Hublot does that better than anyone. No one respects great craftsmanship and storytelling more than New Yorkers.
The concept of time has felt very different lately. How have you been adjusting to the times? Has your perception of time changed and how? My perception of time has absolutely changed—learning to schedule my days better and really focus on what I do throughout the day. It’s easy for days to string together especially during quarantine. [I make] sure I plan my days and allow time to take care of business and when to have some ‘me’ time.
How has your idea of time evolved through your relationship with Hublot? How has your concept of watches evolved? Understanding all the inner workings of a watch has been the most intriguing part. Learning how intricate the pieces are helps me appreciate time and what it represents. It’s also the one thing we can’t get back, which helps us learn to cherish it as much as we can. With that newfound respect, my taste and attraction to watches have also changed—knowing the stories of watches and how and why they were made.
Looking back, can you give us an example of a time when you needed endurance to overcome? What does endurance mean to you, and what does it look like in your life? Endurance is huge for me. It’s the strength to keep going when you may have nothing left in the tank. I’ve been there too many times to count on the football field during my playing days, even in the Super Bowl [in what] I always say were the most mentally and physically draining games of my entire career. In retirement, that endurance shifts to other things that inspire you—tapping into different sides of yourself so you can channel that and use it to your benefit. Without the endurance to finish or complete your goal no matter the field, you won’t get far.
With multiple Michelin stars under his belt, chef Daniel Boulud is eager to parlay into the watch game with Hublot. Now, he divulges his connection to the campaign and why he feels it’s the perfect fit for him right now.
Concrete is a material of strength, resilience, endurance—all values of New York City, which is quite literally built on this foundation. Now more than ever before, ‘New York Strong’ is a motto that we live by and strive for. Why was Hublot’s Concrete Jungle timepiece compelling to you, and what did it mean for you to take part in this campaign? Boulud: As a New Yorker, I admire any initiative inspired by the strength and identity of the city. While every building has a strong personality and unique design, from a distant perspective or flying above Manhattan, the city is a concrete jungle with an amazing pattern of geometry and beauty, impressed with architecture. A good watch will always keep you in good time. The Hublot Concrete Jungle reminds you of the beauty and roughness of New York City.
The hospitality industry has been hit hard during these times, and luxury spaces in particular had a lot of adjustments to make. How did you adapt to meet these challenges? What have you seen work for the Boulud universe and in New York specifically? The pandemic has caused a major collapse of the hospitality industry. Creativity, energy and strength are key to surviving this hardship. In anticipation of reopening my restaurant Daniel, I raised money through sponsorship in order to create a Mediterranean garden to bring a more casual approach to our fine dining. We have also created a warm, welcoming outdoor space for dining alfresco and even opened a pop-up of my restaurant Café Boulud in the Berkshires. My business model has been adapted to integrate takeout and mail-order options as well. These are some ways to keep the restaurant industry alive and to reemploy many of our staff members.
Looking back, can you give us an example of a time when you needed endurance to overcome? What does endurance mean to you, and what does it look like in your life? Every time you start a new project, it requires endurance, planning and focus. Sometimes you have to do the impossible and take the challenge, like being part of a food rescue operation on a boat at ground zero during 9/11 when New York City first responders, firefighters and volunteers were in need of warm and healthy meals. I have done the same during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping our kitchens open to produce meals for first responders and the food-insecure. Keeping up in the business for 27 years and still feeling motivated are a testament to my endurance.
The concept of time has felt very different lately. How have you been adjusting to the times? Has your perception of time changed and how? Not being able to travel for nine months has distorted my sense of time. To me, the concept of time is to be able to travel through different time zones and be transported. Having time is having freedom—freedom to travel, do sports, go to a movie, go to a play. All these freedoms have been taken away. All we are doing is working. I can’t wait to get back to normalcy where you can be spontaneous and do a lot of things with little time or little things with a lot of time. Time is our life structure and yet the biggest freedom. Precision and consistency in cooking are a must, and time is of the essence in my life.
How has your idea of time evolved through your relationship with Hublot? How has your concept of watches evolved? For decades Hublot has been a sponsor of the famous Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon and has always had a relationship with the culinary world because of its [former CEO], Jean-Claude Biver, a passionate gourmet and friend of the best chefs in the world. Chefs need watches that are precise, light, strong, durable and fashionable. This is why many chefs rely on and love to wear Hublot. I’m always interested in the latest watches, and Concrete Jungle is one of the most unique watches for its monochrome composition of resin and concrete dust, the light weight and elegant look. Collecting watches is a passion of mine, and this one is a real collectible.
Looking to the future when we are able to host large gatherings safely again, what does your ideal dinner look like? It would be a long table with 12 couples of dear friends indulging in an eight-course seasonal tasting menu paired with a vintage magnum for each course, and letting the time go by while sharing good food, good wine and good times. And not looking at our watch other than for the beauty of it!
Photography by: Photos courtesy of Hublot