Watches: Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Collection (+live pics)
By Thierry Ané on February 16, 2014
For the start of the year, Hublot unveils the fourth pillar of its portfolio: after the original Big Bang, the sporty King Power and the elegant Classic Fusion, here comes the unexpected Spirit of Big Bang!
What makes these watches a bit of a departure for Hublot is the shape of the case. Of course, the Nyon-based manufacture has already experimented with the tonneau shape before. It was however only for the special edition Masterpiece series (see for instance the MP-06 Tourbillon Skeleton Ayrton Senna in Titanium, Black PVD Titanium or King Gold). The Spirit of Big Bang remains the first mainstream production model to venture outside the realm of round watches.
This new case of generous proportions (51 x 45 mm) remains true to the brand’s DNA and proudly showcases all the design codes that have made Hublot famous and so successful. The bezel features the 6 H-shaped titanium screws the design of which can also be found on the strap attachments. The case presents two protruding lugs on either side as well as a rubber-moulded crown, adorned with the letter “H”. Lastly, to insure perfect visibility, the Spirit of Big Bang retains Hublot’s distinctive broad semi-skeletonized hands and baton hour markers filled with SuperLuminova.
The so-called “sandwich” construction of this tonneau shape case is also worth mentioning here. This multi-part and multi-layer construction allows to play with materials and colours and offers an unlimited number of combinations. This is perfect for a brand that put the principle of fusion at the very heart of its identity. I think it is safe to say that we can expect a multitude of limited edition Spirit of Big Bang watches, each one more beautiful than the last.
Aside from its case design, this new collection received a brand new beating heart, known as the HUB 4700 calibre. Designed in collaboration with Zenith, this self-winding movement uses the legendary Zenith El Primero chronograph calibre as its base. Watch experts will be able to recognise the architecture of this famous movement even though it received a complete Hublot makeover. The aesthetic modifications include the Hublot-branded rotor and the now famous skeletonized date disc. The former can be observed through the exhibition case back while the latter appears unobstructed through the sapphire dial.
For those of you wondering why the brand did not use its in-house Unico movement for this collection, it seems that Hublot’s chronograph calibre is too thick to fit into this Spirit of Big Bang tonneau case. I can tell you that this is quite surprising because the watch does not feel much slimmer than a King power on the wrist!
For its debut the Spirit of Big Bang is introduced in four case variations: titanium, titanium with a black ceramic bezel, King Gold and King Gold and black ceramic bezel. The skeleton dial of all models is rhodium-plated with black chronograph counters and flange with red tracks. Three versions are fitted with a black alligator strap sewn on black rubber and the King Gold model features a brown alligator strap instead. Each model is sold with an additional black rubber strap.
As a hardcore Hublot fan, I was somehow bewildered at the idea of a tonneau-shaped Hublot. I had the feeling that it would lose its soul and be more mainstream, less daring, less avant-garde or, in a nutshell less Hublot! I am happy to tell you that my fears were unfounded as the watch is an absolute success in terms of design. If you are a fan of the King Power case just like me, I am absolutely positive you will also fall in love with the Spirit of Big Bang case. The watch looks as imposing on the wrist but with different proportions. It is refreshing to be able to wear something that will immediately be identified as a Hublot watch but that feels slightly different for the wearer.
My personal favourite is the King Gold in great part because of its brown alligator strap that looks sensational. But whichever variant you opt for, I am confident you will enjoy wearing it just as much as you would all your other prized Hublot models.
Here are some live pictures of the different models: