Tag Archives: Hublot Big Bang

Hublot-La-Ferrari-Sapphire

Hublot Art Of Fusion: A Different World

If there’s a brand that can be relied on to pull out all the stops and execute the craziest ideas, it is Hublot. The brand’s releases in the past few years would be proof aplenty. Consider the MP-05 LaFerrari, for instance. How many watch companies could believably market and sell a watch featuring a stack of 11 barrels in series to achieve a record-breaking 50-day power reserve? Said astonishing timepiece also features a vertical movement architecture complete with a tourbillon, housed in a case reminiscent of a low-slung supercar. As if that’s not enough, the LaFerrari even has its own power tool to wind the mainspring, which further emphasised just how atypical the watch and its engine is.

Audacity Meets Complexity
Hublot MP-02

MP-02 “Key of Time”

Hublot has been involved with exotic complications like the MP-05 LaFerrari since 2010, when the brand acquired BNB Concept, an external complications specialist, and subsumed 30 of its watchmakers to form its new complications department. The department is devoted to assembling just high complications such as tourbillons and minute repeaters which, given the complexity of the work involved, limits its output to roughly 500 watches a year. Watchmaking aside, this department also collaborates with the R&D team to develop new movements.

Although Hublot does offer traditional (at least by Hublot’s standards) high complications such as tourbillons and chiming watches, the complications department’s works are still best represented by the MP (Masterpiece) collection, which explores – and executes – highly unusual concepts. Apart from the MP-05 LaFerrari described above, the brand has also dabbled in time control with the MP-02 “Key of Time”, which had a movement that could slow down or speed up the advancement of its hands depending on its owner’s mood, yet switch back to display the “correct” time immediately thanks to a mechanical memory system.

Hublot

MP-07 42 Days Power Reserve

The latest addition to the collection is the MP-07 42 Days Power Reserve, which adds even greater variety to the MP range. As the younger sibling to the LaFerrari, it also uses the concept of stacking multiple barrels – nine series-coupled ones this time – to achieve a greatly extended power reserve. The MP-07’s movement layout has, however, been completely redesigned, and the barrels now run horizontally across the watch’s upper edge. The case is now entirely different too, and emphasises angles and facets instead of curves. What’s also missing is the LaFerrari branding, which downplays the association with the Italian marque without diluting the mechanical marvel within the timepiece.

Top Calibre
Hublot

Big Bang Unico Titanium Bracelet

Hublot hasn’t ignored its core market of mid-level watches and movements though. This category is anchored by the brand’s signature integrated chronograph movement, the Unico, which represents a step up from the commonly used Valjoux 7750, thanks to features such as column wheel actuation, flyback functionality, and a longish three-day power reserve.

According to CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, the plan for Hublot isn’t to raise the absolute number of watches produced, but to increase the proportion of in-house movements used in its timepieces, and the Unico is the driving force behind this shift. To that end, the calibre was designed for serial production, with modularity baked into its design to accommodate this. The silicon escapement, for instance, can be quickly dropped in or swapped out to speed up production and servicing work. Modularity also extends to the macro level, with the base Unico movement designed to integrate easily with external modules such as perpetual calendars, both to simplify assembly and to increase the shared number of parts.

Hublot

Big Bang MECA-10 in titanium, with a new manual winding three-hand movement that has a 10-day power reserve

In contrast to the atelier-style complications department, the assembly chain for the Unico movement is an exercise in large-scale serial production, and will deliver over 20,000 pieces of the movement by the end of this year. Guadalupe has stressed that the Unico will continue to be Hublot’s core movement family for the foreseeable future, and hinted that a “baby Unico” is already in the works.

Hublot

Big Bang Unico Retrograde Chronograph UEFA Euro 2016 uses a Unico movement with an added module to achieve its bi-retrograde display

Hublot hasn’t just limited its work in this movement segment to the Unico. Earlier this year, the brand released the Big Bang MECA-10, which was fitted with the new HUB1201 calibre. This manually wound three-hand movement comes skeletonised and sports a 10-day power reserve which, feature-wise, makes it a radical departure from the Unico. Aesthetically, the HUB1201 is also rather different, with a design that resembles the Meccano line of toys it’s inspired by. Like the Unico, however, it is also an in-house development, and looks set to spawn further iterations to balance out the sporty chronograph movements that are already in place.

Case By Casehublot-magic-gold-bezel-polished

While growing its stable of in-house movements, Hublot was also pursuing a parallel development track in case making. Currently, carbon fibre cases are made completely within the manufacture, from the initial layering, moulding, and sintering process that produces the composite, to the actual machining that creates the final product. A few other selected cases are also produced in-house, including the titanium reference of the MP-05 LaFerrari, which takes a CNC machine an entire day for just one piece to be made, due to its size and complex contours. Although carbon fibre and titanium are more difficult to work with in comparison to steel and gold, Hublot’s expertise in case making is still topped out by its unique ability to produce Magic Gold cases.

Making Magic
Hublot

Melted 24K gold before the injection process

Magic Gold is a patented gold alloy that was first presented in 2012 after three years of R&D with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). The project culminated in the setting up of a laboratory within the manufacture – complete with its own foundry – where Hublot now produces the proprietary alloy independently.

The issue with gold is hardness, or the lack thereof. Pure gold is just too soft to be used in watchmaking, so it must be mixed with other metals to form harder alloys. It’s a zero sum game – an alloy can be made harder by lowering its gold content, but this reduces its value and makes it less precious. The industry standard, 18K gold, has gold comprising 75 per cent of its mass, and offers a good balance between hardness and purity. Still, 18K gold alloy’s hardness only goes up to 400 Vickers (depending on its exact formulation and how it was worked), which is significantly lower than stainless steel, which can reach 700 Vickers.

A block of boron carbide before it's impregnated with 24K gold.

A block of boron carbide before it’s impregnated with 24K gold.

Hublot overcame the problem with Magic Gold, an alloy with conventional 18K purity, but an unusual hardness of nearly 1,000 Vickers that renders it extremely scratch resistant. Alloy is a misnomer here given the intricacies of Magic Gold’s structure and creation, but the term will suffice for now. The secret to its hardness is boron carbide, the third hardest substance known. Nicknamed “black diamond”, this ceramic has a wide range of applications, including tank armour and industrial cutting tools.

Producing Magic Gold is a multistep process. Boron carbide powder is first compacted into a solid mass that approximates the intended product’s shape – a hollow tube, for instance, can be cut into “slices” and machined into case middles and bezels – before being sintered to bond the powder into a single porous solid. Pure molten gold is then forced into these interconnected pores under 200 bars of pressure, before the entire chunk of material is cooled down. This entire process takes three to four days, and the result is Magic Gold, which has 18K purity as gold accounts for 75 per cent of the total weight.

Magic Gold’s scratch resistance makes it a difficult material to work with. To machine Magic Gold components, CNC machines equipped with diamond-tipped tools and ultrasonic cutting capabilities had to be specially ordered from Germany. Milling and shaping the components is still time consuming though – the hollow tube of Magic Gold described above yields enough material for 28 bezels, which currently takes Hublot up to three weeks to machine. Processing waste Magic Gold (generated during production) to recover its gold content is also tedious – the material must be heated to 1,100 degrees Celsius to melt the gold, which then drains out of the solid boron carbide mass, albeit without requiring extra pressure.

Although Magic Gold has been successfully commercialised, Hublot continues to fine-tune its production techniques. At the moment, it produces 30 to 40 complete cases each month. The industrialisation of the material is expected to become more efficient over time as the brand continues to gain experience with it. The laboratory’s work hasn’t ended here – it is currently exploring other metal-ceramic hybrids, including an aluminium-ceramic hybrid with projected properties of toughness and extreme lightness.

Unlimited Creativity
Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

Beyond Magic Gold cases, Hublot has also used various other exotic materials in its watches as an extension of its “Art of Fusion” philosophy. The brand has a penchant for combining seemingly disparate elements to produce startling results. The Big Bang Ferrari Carbon watches, for instance, saw the brand mixing gold into the carbon matrix during the carbon composite’s production, which produced an unprecedented gold-carbon hybrid that’s visually similar to camouflage markings.

Hublot

Big Bang Dark Jeans Ceramic

This line of attack is also seen in how Hublot infused denim with epoxy to protect and preserve it, using the result in its Big Bang Denim watches’ dials; this perishable fabric is now immutable. Texalium is yet another example. The material is a carbon composite coated with a layer of aluminium that doesn’t just allow different colours to be used, but also imparts a brilliance that cannot be traditionally achieved, while preserving the substrate’s weight advantages.

Hublot

Big Bang Unico Italia Independant Blue with Texatium used on its bezel and case

It isn’t difficult to see the direction that the brand is moving towards. Its expansion in the past five to seven years has focused on the ability to develop new movements, new materials, and to produce its own cases, making it well poised to eventually create almost any watch that it can conceive. Hublot is already offering glimpses into this future, from mechanical sculptures like the LaFerrari in titanium, to proprietary movements and materials in the Big Bang Unico Magic Gold. Marketing hype and brand partnerships aside, this effervescent manufacture is where you’ll find watchmaking sexy again.

Hublot

Big Bang Ferrari Carbon with a gold-carbon hybrid bezel

This article was first published in WOW.

Power Packed: Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon

Since it went through a major revamp in 2013, the Hublot Big Bang has never looked better. Keeping loyal to the Art of Fusion concept, the manufacture not only retained but also reinforced the watch’s modular case design, which lends itself perfectly to different material combinations. The Big Bang’s contemporary allure also makes it an ideal vessel to host complicated movements, particularly if they are also modern in design, like the new Calibre HUB6016.

The first tourbillon set in the new Big Bang case, this proprietary movement was designed, developed, and produced entirely in-house by Hublot’s manufacture in Nyon, Switzerland. Traditional in geometry, it is, however, completely futuristic in aesthetic. Its bridges and plates feature cutouts that expose strategic parts of the movement, such as its mainspring at 12 o’clock and the crown’s winding gears at three. Together with the skeletonised hands tipped with black Super-LumiNova, the monochromatic finish heightens the modern industrial design, allowing only traces of red to stand out via the minute indexes and the power reserve indicator.

Hublot Big Bang

Proffering a nifty power reserve reading at nine o’clock that’s accompanied by stencilled text and numerals, the watch’s movement is regulated by a classical bridged tourbillon. But that’s the only classical aspect of the tourbillon because its design is in perfect keeping with the rest of the watch. Futuristic, sporty, and highly technical, the tourbillon rotates once every 60 seconds and, according to Hublot, is especially stable thanks to the barrette-shaped bridge securing it on the dial side.

Like all of Hublot’s new Big Bang models, the Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Indicator allows its owner to quickly and simply switch between different straps. Thanks to the unique “One Click” bracelet attachment system, this watch could take on a multitude of different appearances without fear of it ever losing its grip on the strap. Indeed, Hublot guarantees optimal security on this system and completes it with a triple deployant buckle – how’s that for a safety net?

Specs

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Power Reserve: Five days
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre HUB6016 skeleton movement with tourbillon
  • Case: King Gold or titanium
  • Water Resistant: 30 meters
  • Strap: Black alligator leather stitched onto black rubber with triple deployant buckle in King Gold or titanium

In Singapore and Malaysia, Hublot retails at The Hour Glass.

This story was first published in World of Watches.

23 Watches Offering Multiple Complications

Whether for increased functionality, to uphold tradition, or just because, an extra serving of complex mechanics always delights the connoisseur. Here, we take a look at several timepieces that will make you do a double take.

Chronograph + Calendar

Breitling Navitimer 01

Breitling Navitimer 01

Mention the chronograph, and a sporty timepiece invariably comes to mind. It’s an easy association to make, since the complication has played pivotal roles in the tales of derring-do that have taken place in cockpits, race cars, and even outer space. Its contributions in less thrilling situations may be oft overlooked, but aren’t any less significant. Doctors in the past, for instance, relied on chronographs with pulsometer scales to quickly and accurately determine their patients’ heart rates. The chronograph’s myriad uses make it one of the handiest complications to have on the wrist – even today – whether in a robust, sporty timepiece designed to brave the elements, or a dressier one meant for the office. So what better complication to pair it with, than another perennially useful one – the calendar?

Date And Time
Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon

Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon

The calendar is the most relevant astronomical complication for daily life, bar none, which explains its ubiquity in watches. Combine it with the chronograph, and a winner emerges. On the technical front, this isn’t particularly difficult, since calendar modules can be stacked onto an existing movement relatively easily, if it doesn’t already have a date indicator. There are also plenty of choices, depending on the desired level of complexity for the watch, as well as the considerations for its dial design.

The most straightforward option is, of course, a simple date indicator that requires an adjustment at the end of every month with less than 31 days. Most integrated chronograph movements will already include such a complication, since it doesn’t take up much space, requires few parts, and is simple to accomplish. The Breitling Calibre 01 used in the Navitimer 01 is one such example, with the date display at 4:30 on the dial. Omega’s co-axial Calibre 9300 is another; its date window sits at six o’clock to maintain the symmetry of the watch’s bi-compax layout, as shown in the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon.

Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar

Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar

Annual Affair

To kick things up a notch, the chronograph can be paired with the annual calendar, which requires a manual correction just once a year at the end of every February. The added complexity of the complication is apparent on the dial, which now displays the day of the week and the month. This can be managed in different ways. In the Annual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5905P, Patek Philippe began by doing away with a running seconds hand, thus removing a sub-dial entirely. The hour totaliser was also excluded to leave a single counter at six o’clock, which marks the elapsed minutes, to further reduce clutter. Zenith, on the other hand, removed just the hour totaliser (arguably the least used portion of the chronograph), but kept the small seconds sub-dial on its El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar.

Good Till 2100
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition "75th Anniversary"

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary”

If the annual calendar isn’t enough, there’s always the perpetual calendar. The usage of this complication moves the watch into high watchmaking territory, and creates an interesting dichotomy at the same time. As long as the watch is kept running, the perpetual calendar requires no input from its wearer (at least until 2100), so having a chronograph function encourages him to interact more with it – start-stop-reset, start-stop-reset.

Presenting the information from a chronograph and a perpetual calendar becomes even more challenging with the inclusion of a leap year indicator. For Hublot, this necessitated the combination of multiple indicators into each sub-dial, as the Big Bang Chrono Perpetual Calendar shows. The counter at nine o’clock, for instance, combines the month, leap year, and chronograph minute totaliser, with the information displayed in three concentric layers. The brand also organised the information with distinct visual cues – white arrow-tipped hands for the calendar, red-tipped hands for the chronograph, and plain stick hands for the time. The thoughtful layout has even enabled Hublot to sneak in a moon phase indicator.

Hublot Big Bang Chrono Perpetual Calendar

Hublot Big Bang Chrono Perpetual Calendar

IWC, on the other hand, took a different route by utilising digital displays in its Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition ‘’75th Anniversary’’ watch. By confining the date and month to two such displays, the manufacture could free up valuable real estate on the dial for an airier design. The chronograph sub-dial reinforces this by merging the minute and hour totalisers, which also allows elapsed time to be read like a normal watch, rather than the more common 30-minute counter.

Time Zones + Alarm

Vulcain Aviator Cricket

Vulcain Aviator Cricket

The world timer was created to allow its wearer to keep track of multiple time zones at a glance. From this came the simpler GMT complication that Rolex developed for airline pilots, to provide them with an easy reference for Greenwich Mean Time, the basis of all flight operations. These complications didn’t remain the exclusive domain of businessmen and aviators though. Globalisation, best exemplified by the democratisation of air travel in the mid-20th century, made both the world timer and GMT complications popular with a far wider audience, and has kept them relevant even today.

Ringing Reminder
Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater

Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater

Of course, one could use a little help if he has multiple time zones to keep track of. A rotating bezel could work – just align the 12 o’clock marker to the important time, and it will serve as a reminder. Why not go one step further, though, and use an actual alarm? Archaic as it seems, a mechanical alarm does offer benefits over its digital counterpart that’s available on a smartphone. For one, it’s integrated with the watch, which never leaves its wearer’s wrist, so it cannot be misplaced. There’re also no concerns with battery life either. Since the complication is powered by a separate mainspring that’s wound up manually, keeping it ‘charged’ is a nonissue.

Blancpain Leman Réveil GMT

Blancpain Leman Réveil GMT

Although the mechanical alarm isn’t a common complication, some manufactures do offer it in watches that track multiple time zones. Vulcain is one of them, as the brand was already producing watches equipped with mechanical alarms for Swissair pilots in the 1950s to help them with the important milestones in a flight. The spiritual successor to those watches is the Aviator Cricket, which pairs the world timer with a mechanical alarm. Operating the watch is easy: The alarm is set by positioning the central red-tipped hand to the desired time. Blancpain and Hublot have similar offerings, albeit with the GMT complication instead of a world timer. Blancpain’s Leman Réveil GMT has a sub-dial for the second time zone at three o’clock, with the alarm set like Vulcain’s timepiece. Rounding up the trio is Hublot’s Big Bang Alarm Repeater, which allows the alarm time to be set to the minute through a separate sub-dial at four o’clock.

Hybrid Theory
Jaeger Le Coultre Master Geographic

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic

What other complications can a GMT or a world timer synergise with? With each other! Strange as it sounds, the two actually complement each other perfectly. Consider this: The GMT complication is intuitive to use, but tracks just one other time zone; the world timer, on the other hand, sacrifices some legibility to display far more information. Therefore, a hybrid can offer the best of both worlds by showing a selected time zone prominently, while the rest is available on demand.

Breitling for Bentley GMT Light Body B04 S

Breitling for Bentley GMT Light Body B04 S

Fusing the GMT and world timer complications can be done in several ways. For the Breitling for Bentley GMT Light Body B04 S, the red GMT hand continues to track home time, as the hour hand is set when one moves to a new time zone. To read the times in other cities, its user needs only to turn the bezel to align the home city on the inner flange with the GMT hand.

In A. Lange & Söhne’s Lange 1 Time Zone, local time is indicated by the larger sub-dial at nine o’clock. The smaller one at five o’clock has a triangular arrow that points at the city ring on the flange, and displays its corresponding time. Actuating the pusher at eight o’clock advances this city ring, and changes the time in the smaller sub-dial accordingly.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Time Zone

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Time Zone

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Geographic works similarly, with the crown at 10 o’clock responsible for changing the city at six o’clock. The time for the chosen city is then displayed accordingly in the sub-dial immediately above it. Granted, these three examples are not world timers per se. They do, however, have the ability to offer the time in more than 2 cities with just a little extra effort.

IWC Timezoner Chronographer

IWC Timezoner Chronographer

IWC’s Timezoner Chronograph, a 2016 novelty, deserves a special mention here. The timepiece displays the time of just a single city – the one at 12 o’clock on the bezel – in both 12- and 24-hour formats. Turn the bezel, however, and the white and red central hands that indicate the hours will jump accordingly, with the corresponding date correctly displayed at three o’clock. It’s both a GMT and a world timer watch, yet paradoxically it is also neither.

Perpetual Calendar + Moon phase

Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar "Terraluna" requires an adjustment for its moon phase dispaly just once every 1,058 years.

Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” requires an adjustment for its moon phase dispaly just once every 1,058 years.

The perpetual calendar was covered earlier as a pairing option for the chronograph. On its own, however, this complication has almost always been paired with the moon phase display. For the man on the street, an indicator showing the current phase of the moon has about as much use as one that tracks the equation of time. This hasn’t stopped manufactures from including it in their perpetual calendar watches though, and for good reason – the moon phase display is the perfect feminine balance to the masculine perpetual calendar and its practical concerns with accuracy. Besides, it also lends a poetic touch to the dial that might otherwise be cluttered with hard information like the month and the day of the week – one certainly can’t argue against this, if he still appreciates wearing a mechanical watch in this day and age.

IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun

Integrating a moon phase display into a calendar complication is easy. The period of the lunar cycle is roughly 29.53059 days, so a wheel with 59 teeth is commonly used. This wheel is advanced by a finger once every day, just like the rest of the calendar’s displays. The tiny difference between the two accumulates over time though, so a correction of one day is needed every 2.64 years. For the perfectionists out there, there’s good news – alternative gearing ratios for the moon phase do exist, and can drastically increase the complication’s accuracy. The A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna”, for instance, has a moon phase display that requires a correction just once every 1,058 years.

Montbalnc Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar Sapphire

Montbalnc Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar Sapphire

Technical details aside, the way the moon phase indicator meshes with the perpetual calendar’s displays also bears some study, and Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony Perpetual Calendar is about as classic as it gets. Three sub-dials for the perpetual calendar’s full array of information, balanced by the graphical moon phase indicator. To reduce clutter, the manufacture merged the month and leap year into a single hand at 12 o’clock, which makes a complete revolution just once every four years. This reductionist approach extends to the simple aperture that shows the moon phase.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Perpetual Calendar

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Perpetual Calendar

Montblanc’s Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar Sapphire has all its information sorted into the same positions on the dial, but looks far more contemporary because of its smoked sapphire dial, and the more elaborate sub-dial for the moon phase. IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun is another variation on the theme, with the information presented in a slightly different arrangement. The highlight here is the double moon indicator at 12 o’clock, which simultaneously displays the moon phase as it is viewed from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Glashütte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar

Glashütte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar

Finally, there’s Glashütte Original, which has stripped things to the bare minimum on the Senator Perpetual Calendar. The central hour and minute hands remain alongside a sweep seconds hand. All other information is shown via five apertures on the dial, including a single coloured dot that indicates the leap year.

Minute Repeater + tourbillon

It’s impossible to talk about the minute repeater without bringing out the superlatives. The complication remains the most revered among watchmakers and collectors alike, not least because of its complexity; a ‘simple’ minute repeater watch consists of over 300 parts that must all be finished, assembled, and adjusted. What’s more, there’s no room for error in several of the steps, like the removal of material to tune the gongs, as they are irreversible. It’s little wonder then, that the minute repeater remains the last bastion of high watchmaking that’s still well out of mass production’s reach. Its rarity is just part of its charm though. There’s nothing quite like listening to a minute repeater ‘live’ as its chimes announce the time down to the exact minute.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater with Flying Tourbillon

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater with Flying Tourbillon

Spins & Strikes

Although minute repeaters frequently display their inner mechanisms through transparent case backs or open-worked dials, to admire them is to, above all else, have an auditory experience. As such, what better complication than the tourbillon to pair it with in order to create a multi-sensorial experience?

Jaeger- LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

Jaeger- LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

The tourbillon was conceived to even out a balance’s positional errors by constantly spinning it through all its possible positions. It might be an unintended consequence, but the rotating tourbillon carriage is mesmerising to watch, to say the least. Franck Muller was the first to recognise this and designed a movement where the device was first visible from the dial side of the watch, to create a constantly moving spectacle on the wrist. Combining the minute repeater with the tourbillon results in a timepiece with both audio and visual interest in spades.

Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Ref.7087

Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Ref.7087

Several manufactures offer such a match currently, but their executions differ widely from each other. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon has its tourbillon prominently displayed at six o’clock, but keeps the minute repeater hidden when the watch is viewed from the dial side. Cartier’s Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater with Flying Tourbillon, on the other hand, has its gongs and hammers in the same position, while its tourbillon is moved to 12 o’clock to provide balance instead.

Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon With Gold Bridges

Girard-Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon With Gold Bridges

Those who want even more visual details will do well to consider either Breguet’s Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon Ref. 7087, or Girard-Perregaux’s Minute Repeater Tourbillon With Gold Bridges. In each watch, the movement design allows large portions of the minute repeater mechanism to be visible from the dial side. These components only come to life when the strike train is activated though, which leaves the tourbillon as the star attraction normally.

Patek Philippe Ref.5539G-001

Patek Philippe Ref.5539G-001

Patek Philippe’s Ref. 5539G-001 deserves special mention here. Ever the stalwart of tradition, the manufacture has kept the tourbillon on the back of the watch, with the only hint of its existence being the text on its dial at six o’clock.

Story Credits

Text by Jamie Tan

This story was first published in World of Watches.

BaselWorld 2016 Day 1: Wearable Technology

Do people really want to know more about cars and gadgets than watches? This raised the heat at dinner with an old friend, formerly of Chopard, at BaselWorld last night. It was Day Zero, otherwise known as Press Day, and it came to a nice close at our usual Thai restaurant at Basel, courtesy of Chopard Asia. More on this conversation later. First, we have news from Hublot to reveal with regards to the 10th anniversary of the All Black watch, and a little bit about gadgets, in the way of smart watches from both Bulgari and Hublot.

Watchmaking titan Jean-Claude Biver, President of the LVMH Watch Division, started talking about the Connected watch at the Hublot press conference, forgetting briefly that he was not at TAG Heuer (Biver is also CEO of TAG Heuer)! It was a lively moment but also gave Biver a moment to reflect on why Hublot would not make such a watch. “Hublot is about making yesterday eternal. One thousand years from now your Hublot watch will still work and we will still be able to service it. This is not true of (wearable) technology because technology will kill it.” Wise words to begin BaselWorld 2016 with. He had no issue though with Hublot integrating wearable tech into the strap, particularly because Hublot has a interchangeable strap feature that “even a child can use” as he put it.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black

Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black

Oh yes, the All Black watch… Simply put, it is a sapphire case much like the one shown in Geneva except here it has been transformed into a totally black watch. Take a look for yourself right here. Anyway, here is what the press release has to say about it:

“Transcending the materials used in its creation, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black is crafted from blocks of sapphire crystal – sapphire that has been coated with metal. Enhanced by black, this sapphire maintains its transparent properties in a subtle balancing act.

Transferring the expertise amassed from machining very hard materials such as Magic Gold, Hublot has developed its industrial mastery of an extremely complex material, one of the hardest, most scratch-resistant and transparent in existence – sapphire. This method of machining sapphire enables Hublot to render this material — which can only be cut by diamond — more accessible, transforming its status as something unique, only seen in private collections, by using it to create a limited edition of 500 pieces. By sculpting sapphire into the complex shape of its iconic Big Bang case, Hublot is achieving a double feat with the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black.

Transparency combined with skeleton work allows the workings of the Unico manufacture movement to be laid bare. This complete visibility means that the column wheel positioned on the dial side is now no longer the only feature of the movement which can be seen. Even the strap combines transparency with the signature all black style.”

Moving on to Bulgari, the news is all about the new ultra-thin minute repeater and a new round Serpenti (which you do have to see to understand) but first, there was once more news on smart watches. Jean-Christophe Babin, Bulgari CEO, announced that the Italian firm was indeed moving on industrialize production of the Diagono Magnesium concept, a mechanical watch that is able to handle e-payment safely and securely. Basically this is an NFC-enabled watch that will integrate a microchip within the case, which it will share with a properly Swiss mechanical movement.

Bulgari Serpenti Incantati

Bulgari Serpenti Incantati

Well there is no watch yet to show but we do have images of the round Serpenti so take a look. Here is what the press release says about this very lovely timepiece, on the skeleton Tourbillon in particular.

“Serpenti Incantati gives a new lease on life to this animal symbol. After coiling around the wrist, the snake is now reinvented by wrapping itself for the very first time around the case of a round watch: the reptile literally twines itself around the watch dial, admirably framing an entirely skeleton-worked Manufacture tourbillon calibre. This airily graceful movement is a work of art: the mainplate and bridges are crafted in pink or white gold, the flanks are straight-grained, the rims and sinks are all chamfered and systematically polished. The steel parts are complemented by the kind of surface finishes cherished by Haute Horlogerie: circular graining and snailing set the finishing touches to this precious craftsmanship contributing to a spectacular result.”

As for that minute repeater, we will do another post on it soon. As for the conversation on cars and gadgets versus watches, well, I have a feeling that the gadget/watch dichotomy will loom large over the entire fair.

 

Interview: Ricardo Guadalupe for Hublot

In a fashion worthy of its namesake cosmological phenomenon, the Big Bang by Hublot exploded onto the watchmaking scene and forever changed the way luxury watches were perceived. The year was 2005 and the Hublot watch company had just been taken over by a new management team, but there was no stopping the Big Bang from hitting the market, not when the driving force behind this watch included the likes of industry living legend, Jean-Claude Biver.

At that time, Biver and his team came up with a brilliant marketing message to accompany the Big Bang, called the Art of Fusion, alluding to how the watch combined unlikely materials in a luxury timepiece. With his team, Biver stewarded Hublot from a quiet, understated brand to become one that offers the hottest, trendiest watches money could buy. Success came swiftly for the young company, when French luxury group LVMH came knocking on its door in 2008. And in 2012, Biver handed the reins over to his designated successor, Ricardo Guadalupe, who had been a trusted associate since the mid 1990s.

Guadalupe, however, isn’t new to Hublot; he was part of the initial team that Biver formed in 2004. As such, he had been deeply involved in the creation of the Big Bang, as well as later star collections like the Classic Fusion, King Power, and Masterpiece series. Taking care of Hublot’s business operations in different markets and personally meeting the brand’s VIP customers from all over the world, it is not too farfetched to say that he is a Hublot guy through and through. The Swiss national of Spanish descent was also responsible for bringing the Mexican sport of lucha libre to Singapore earlier in the year as part of the Big Bang’s 10th anniversary celebrations. His amiable personality suits the brand perfectly – some might even say that Biver’s energetic dynamism continues in Guadalupe.

The Big Bang collection includes high complications like this Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Days Power Reserve Indicator

The Big Bang collection includes high complications like this Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Days Power Reserve Indicator

Looking at how successful the Big Bang is today, it’s easy to imagine that Guadalupe’s job is an easy one. And a fun one too, what with all the sports and entertainment partnerships, but the truth cannot be further. In order to stay continuously one (or several) step ahead of the consumers, Guadalupe has to grow the brand in the most logical and meaningful ways possible. He established the first step in the right direction with the introduction of Hublot’s very first in-house movement, the Unico Chronograph. It was also under his leadership that Hublot increasingly develops complicated timepieces, including the latest MP-05 LaFerrari, which was a huge success and a resounding vote of confidence in Hublot’s manufacturing prowess. The road ahead for Hublot appears to be lit brightly with positivity and Guadalupe knows exactly what he needs to do.

Hublot’s success is mainly attributed to the Big Bang. Why do you think this watch has performed so well?

First of all, we have a strong message, which is the Art of Fusion. This didn’t exist before we created it 10 years ago. What it meant was that we make watches that respect tradition but have a vision that connects to the future, in particular by using materials from the present. The Big Bang is a result of this message. I would say that it was the right time for us to come up with a watch like this.

The Big Bang recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. From your point of view, what is the most valuable element of this watch?

Its strong identity. When you wear a Big Bang, you can see it from far away, and this is very important. This is very important for the consumer because it lets you feel a part of a family. When you wear a Hublot, you feel that you belong to this group that makes a lot of things happen, like events and partnerships. It’s different when you’re wearing a Hublot versus another watch. With us, you can wear either a black ceramic watch, a gold watch, chronograph, or even a tourbillon. Even for ladies, our products are very iconic.

Is this why a lot of Hublot owners own several Big Bangs?

[Laughs] We say sometimes that you get addicted to the Big Bang. I know many customers who buy every new model we make. I think the Big Bang allows a lot of creativity, so we can produce a lot of different models. We construct the watch in a mechanical way and we play with the colours and materials, so they always look very different.

With The Hour Glass, Hublot presented the limited edition Red Dot Bang that commemorates Singapore's 50th Anniversary

With The Hour Glass, Hublot presented the limited edition Red Dot Bang that commemorates Singapore’s 50th Anniversary

From a watch lover’s perspective, the numerous versions of the Big Bang are still one same watch. How is it that you can convince your customers to be repeat customers with just one product?

It’s very important to have a strong mono-product, although arguably a lot of other watch companies have mono-products too. We’re not the only ones. I think to have a strong, iconic product is essential in a brand. If you don’t have it, then there is a problem.

Does the modular construction of the Big Bang’s case also help in encouraging the flow of creativity?

Yes. The construction of the case was really an innovation that didn’t exist before because cases in general were produced just to protect the movement. There are the bezel, main case, back case, and that’s it. Ours is something different and I think it is a great innovation that we don’t talk enough about. I think it is a key element in allowing us to create so many models.

There are hundreds of variations of the Big Bang. Is the objective to keep the watch relevant to different spheres of people’s lives?

We sell our watches to people that in general have everything and always want something new and different. The creativity is important because that’s how we present novelties every year. If one day we fail to present something new, then something is wrong with us. This is part of our philosophy: Creativity and innovation. Sometimes it can be movement innovation or an evolution of a complication, and sometimes it can be creativity in terms of colour or material. Specifically for women, we have been presenting exciting novelties every year linked to trends going on in the fashion world.

Spirit of Bing Bang All Black; Guadalupe considers the all-black concept to be one of Hublot's most memorable milestones

Spirit of Bing Bang All Black; Guadalupe considers the all-black concept to be one of Hublot’s most memorable milestones

Could you take us back to some of the most significant milestones of the Big Bang?

The creation of the Big Bang is the first, obviously. We created a watch in steel and ceramic, which today remains our best seller. Even after 10 years, this watch is still our best seller. After that, I would say the all-black concept in 2006. The all-black model was a really innovative concept and I would say that black watches have become a kind of standard in the watch industry. Almost all brands have a black watch in their collection. I would also say our Unico movement is another milestone because at the beginning, we didn’t really have the power to develop a movement, so it took us some time. Still, it is an incredible achievement to have your own in-house chronograph. Finally, Magic Gold, which is the invention of a new gold alloy that’s unscratchable. To me, the Big Bang Unico Magic Gold is the watch that represents the 10th anniversary completely.

How does the Big Bang evolve without changing too much?

The key is to keep the DNA of the product. That’s the challenge, so right now we have changed the engine to Unico movements. And Unico will remain the future. Right now, the references are quite big at 45mm and we understand that many trends are cyclical, including case sizes, so we are also interested in developing a smaller movement to fit a 40mm case. We have also opened up the dial because we believe that when you sell mechanical watches, it is important to be able to see the value of the piece.

Revealing the movement of watches like the Classic Fusion Aero Moon is one way Guadalupe wants to demonstrate Hublot's watchmaking capabilities

Revealing the movement of watches like the Classic Fusion Aero Moon is one way Guadalupe wants to demonstrate Hublot’s watchmaking capabilities

What are your plans for the Big Bang for the next 10 years?

The Big Bang is our icon, but we also have the Classic Fusion, which is important because where the Big Bang has a strong design and sporty identity, the Classic Fusion is a reinterpretation of the old classic Hublots from the 1980s. They had been more sport-chic, came with thinner movements, and were smaller in general. I would say we are working on these two pillars simultaneously to develop the brand’s future. The idea is always to be innovative and different, so working on materials and further developing new movements are par for the course. We are really becoming an integrated manufacture, as are all the big brands of the Swiss industry.

Story Credits
Text & Interview by Celine Yap

This article was originally published in World of Watches

Big Bang Unico

Hublot celebrates a decade of its Big Bang watch

 is coming to Baselworld with “Big Bang Unico 10 Ans Haute Joaillerie,” an exceptional anniversary collection honoring its famous watch. The line includes 10 high-end jewelry watches, each valued at $1 million.

DON’T MISS: HUBLOT $5 MILLION BIG BANG WATCH

Painstaking precision

Each of these pieces is the result of hundreds of hours of meticulous handiwork, particularly with regards to the setting of the gemstones using three different techniques: invisible, Clou de Paris and rail-effect.

The collection includes the first watch in Hublot history to feature a bezel with inverted trapezes in an invisible setting, as well as a dial with gemstones set in the subdials, hands and indices.

Big Bang Unico

There are four versions: the full black diamond model (653 baguette-cut black diamonds totaling 41.84cts), the full white diamond model (653 baguette-cut white diamonds totaling 40.02cts), the blue sapphire model (653 baguette-cut diamonds and baguette-cut blue sapphires totaling 40.41cts) and the ruby model (653 baguette-cut diamonds and baguette-cut rubies totaling 40.93cts).

Overall, each piece required 400 hours of research and manufacturing and 350 hours of gemstone setting work.

A chronograph movement by Hublot

On top of the high-end jewelry design, Hublot has equipped these special edition anniversary watches with state-of-the-art mechanics.

The Big Bang Unico 10 Ans Haute Joaillerie is powered by the HUB 1242 Unico, a self-winding chronograph movement designed and manufactured by Hublot, with a power reserve of 72 hours.

The timepiece has a 45mm grey gold case and comes with an interchangeable semi-matte black alligator strap.

Hublot reveals Big Bang World Poker Tour watch

Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour watch

Now the official timer of the World Poker Tour, the Swiss watchmaker is marking its tie-up with the prestigious international circuit with a wristwatch honoring the game: the Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour.

Designed for card players, of course, this timepiece borrows a number of details from the deck, including a bezel in 18K King Gold or steel (polished or sandblasted finish) with a heart, a club, a spade and a diamond.

With a diameter of 45.5mm, in 18K King Gold or in steel, the case houses a Unico automatic chronograph movement manufactured by .

Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour

Poker enthusiasts can take advantage of the model’s two sub-dials: a minutes counter at 3 o’clock and a running seconds counter at 9 o’clock. The date window is also at 3 o’clock.

The back of the watch reveals the World Poker Tour logo, a detail commemorating the brand’s partnership with the gaming event.

The Big Bang World Poker Tour is available in 2 limited editions: one with 100 watches in 18K King Gold and the other with 200 watches in steel.

Hublot world cup

Hublot unveils official watch of 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Hublot world cup

The official timekeeper at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Hublot has revealed the event’s official watch: the Big Bang Unico Chrono Bi-Retrograde.

Also known as the “Soccer Bang,” the watch has a bi-retrograde display built around the timing of one half of a soccer match, or 45 minutes. A smaller dial at 6 o’clock shows a traditional clock for keeping time off the field.

Equipped with a self-winding HUB1260 movement, the watch — which is designed more for referees and players than for mere fans — also allows the wearer to time 15-minute increments.

Black with a matte satin finish, the dial of the Big Bang Unico Chrono Bi-Retrograde features yellow and green details, calling to mind the national colors of the 2014 World Cup’s host country.

The minutes retrograde display and hand are yellow, while the seconds retrograde display and hand are green.

This special edition watch comes with a black textured rubber strap and a black titanium PVD folding clasp.

Hublot has introduced two versions of the model: the King Gold 18K, produced in a limited edition of 100 watches, and the black ceramic version, 200 of which were produced.

Hublot Pele world cup

Hublot monochrome gold watch

Hublot presents monochrome gold watch in Monaco

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot collaborated with Monaco-based jewelers Zegg & Cerlati to create the “Big Bang Hublot Zegg & Cerlati Yellow Gold,” a chronograph made almost entirely of 18K yellow gold.

big bang yellow gold

Officially presented at the Monte Carlo Christmas Ball in Monaco, this stunning timepiece has a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement with date indicator and a 42-hour power reserve.

Its 44mm case, bezel, crown, side buttons and dial are all made from 18K yellow gold, and it is worn on a matching gold calfskin strap with an 18K folding clasp.

The limited edition “Big Bang Hublot Zegg & Cerlati Yellow Gold” watch is available exclusively through Zegg & Cerlati’s boutiques in Monte Carlo, Ischgl (Austria) and Samnaun (Switzerland). Only 50 of the watches will be produced.

Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode

Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode Watch

Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode

Hublot has teamed up with Depeche Mode for a charity project to bring safe drinking water to developing countries. The initiative is part of the Depeche Mode 2013-2014 Delta Machine Tour.

Hublot has created 250 watches for the project, called the Limited Edition Big Bang Depeche Mode. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each watch will go directly to charity: water.

This is not the first time that Depeche Mode and Hublot have joined forces. Back in 2010 they worked on a joint project to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust through a benefit show at the Royal Albert Hall in London and an auction of 12 exclusive watches.

Hublot Depeche Mode watch

Hublot Big Bang Ferrari

Hublot X Ferrari

Hublot Big Bang Ferrari

Swiss luxury watchmaking brand Hublot announced at the Guangzhou International Auto Show that the brand has become the watchmaking partner of Ferrari.

Hublot took this occasion to unveil the Big Bang Chrono Tourbillon Ferrari; the first Hublot timepiece made with its partner.

There will only be 20 of the Big Bang Chrono Tourbillon Ferrari timepieces available, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the automaker’s presence in China.
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Hublot Big Bang diamonds

Hublot $5 Million Big Bang Watch

Hublot Big Bang diamonds

Luxury Swiss watchmaker Hublot has created a $5 million diamond-encrusted ladies’ watch and plans to unveil it next year, Bloomberg reports.

The watch contains as many as 300 carats of polished diamonds, and is more expensive by $2 million than the Big Bang diamond watch model sold this year.

“Women are buying more than men, women are buying more often than men and women are very influential over men, so you have three good reasons to work on this population,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Biver said in an interview.
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