Mid-December, Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot unveiled the Big Bang Sugar Skull, under a clear blue sky on the top of the Zermatt Swiss mountain, a capsule collection in collaboration with AK SKIS founded by Francesca and Marco Kuonen, two young and dynamic brother and sister who perpetrated the vision and passion their father Aldo taught them.
Presented in a previous article (read here) the Big Bang Sugar Skull available in Hot Pink and Blue Cobalt is more than just collaboration between two Swiss companies. As a matter of fact, it is not the first time Hublot partners with a ski manufacture to produce a limited edition. A few years back, based in the middle of les Bisons, the brand ZAI, who happened to be the official partner of the National ski team, made 150 pairs of carbon made skis they specifically developed for Hublot. The collaboration seemed to have been successful but not so profitable. The Zai x Hublot skis were strong, a bit stiff, technical and powerful and gave sensational feelings to every good skier. Yes, we did try the skis and adored them. Yet, the problem was its retail price : sold CHF 8’000.- without a watch… in case you were wondering. If the Hublot team decided to do it again, it must have been for a good reason. Explanations.
In an après-ski atmosphere inside the Carnozet of the Zermatt Hublot Store (named for the typical basement of a Swiss Chalet) we discussed with Ricardo Guadalupe and the Kuonen brother and sister about their recent collaboration…
Why doing again a Hublot ski partnership ?
Ricardo Guadalupe- We did it again simply because we met with Francesca and her brother Marco. They came to find us and were so motivated and convinced by the idea of making skis that were different from the ones we had and sold in our stores that we had to do it. It did not make any sense to re-do the same thing we did with Zai. Therefore, we created a concept bringing beauty aesthetics to the ski itself and technical characteristics that gave a different identity to what we had done in the past. Then, I realized that at the end of the day, in each and every experience we have had in developing additional accessories that we branded Hublot…we are just watchmakers. That’s it. Therefore, we imagined creating a set where you buy the watch that comes with a pair of skis, instead of selling pairs of skis on their own which made no sense in a simple watch store !
What do you expect from the AK SKI x Hublot capsule collection?
Francesca Kuonen – For us it’s an amazing opportunity and we are very honored to be able to work with Hublot. They have a fantastic team with whom we were able to develop the project and I sincerely hope we are going to have a lot of success with our skis and the watches !
How are the AK SKIS ?
Marco Kuonen- We produce skis that are very skiable for everybody. They are slalom shaped skis , which means that the skis are made a bit wider allowing you to go off or on- piste. It’s an easy and dynamic ski, very light under the foot , which enables you to ski without a lot of effort. The spatula is wooden carved, which gives durability to your ski and the top sheet is the name material as the base. The good thing is that if you are an active skier, you can enjoy it as much simply because of the material we us. That’s our specialty : bring together different materials sometimes difficult to combine. Our challenge is always to find solutions to make the best skis ever. It’s always about the difficulty of the Art of Fusion : something we also know very well….
In addition of being an ex-Miss-Switzerland, Francesca Kuonen happens to be the co-founder of AK SKIS. She and her brother Marco have developed a family-brand, learning from their father’s experience, vision and passion.
Not only Marco and Francesca are smart, dynamic and young entrepreneurs, but also their passion and coolness translate their products. They are both cool, she is stunning, he’s handsome, and both are rock star skiers. Obviously.