Watches: Hublot Big Bang Unico All Black Blue, Green, Orange and Red (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on August 29, 2014

Despite being relatively young, Hublot is a brand that has an already eventful history. Although it took the watchmaking world by surprise in 1980 when Carlo Crocco introduced a porthole-shaped watch combining precious metal and rubber, the brand’s notoriety and sales had been dwindling for years when Jean-Claude Biver took over in May 2004. Under his leadership, the Big Bang model made its official debut back in 2005. Built under the principle of “Fusion”, this 44.5 mm chronograph model was the only young and colourful alternative to traditional models like Rolex watches in the luxury sports watch segment and became an instant success. Highly innovative, Hublot played with the sandwich construction of the case and all sorts of materials to offer exciting interpretations of the Big Bang to an ever-growing fan base. In 2006, the visionary brand reached even further beyond the use of new materials with the introduction of a new extreme design: the Big Bang All Black. This entirely black timepiece introduced the world to the concept of “invisible visibility”, a brilliant idea that has since been imitated by many but never equalled.

The popularity of the brand never faded and apart from the mitigated success of its “Big Bang King” collection launched in 2007, every single introduction has been a phenomenal success. This includes the more traditional and elegant sporty chic look of the “Classic Fusion” collection that debuted in 2008 or the extremely powerful “King Power” line presented in 2009. In parallel to establishing its different lines, the brand spared no effort to develop and produce its very own movement, the Unico. In 2010, Hublot was finally able to unveil the first King Power models equipped with this in-house chronograph movement with a uniquely positioned mechanism with dual coupling and a column wheel visible from the dial side. Now that the brand’s collections had been established and that Hublot had become a true manufacture, it was time to revisit the model at the origin of this amazing success story, the Big Bang, and offer this legendary watch the prestige of an in-house movement: the Big Bang Unico collection debuted at Baselworld 2013.

This sporty and technical-looking newcomer inherited many aesthetic traits from the original Big Bang model but also features its very own design elements. The most obvious novelty is the presence of round chronograph pushers on the 45.5 mm case. Designed to look like engine pistons, they mark a clear departure from the usually more square pushers traditionally found on Hublot watches. The head of each of the six iconic H-shaped screws on the bezel is now in relief and the screw-down crown with overmoulded rubber has also been redesigned. The watch has been fitted with the now famous “One Click” system which allows the wearer to switch straps easily and the watches come with a new structured ribbed natural rubber strap. Changes are also important on the dial side as the new Big Bang Unico presents a skeletonised sapphire dial to show off the HUB 1242 Unico movement. The small seconds and the 60-minute chronograph counters are circled by polished rings just like for the Big Bang Ferrari and the hour indexes and Arabic numerals have a stronger 3-dimensional look. They have been hollowed out and filled with SuperLuminova to make the watch perfectly legible in all conditions.

For its 2013 debut the Big Bang Unico has been introduced in four case variations: Titanium, Titanium with Black Ceramic Bezel, King Gold, and King Gold with Black Ceramic Bezel. These renditions have become Hublot’s classic combinations when introducing a new line and were also the four case variations chosen for the launch of the “Spirit of Big Bang” collection this year. A Hublot line would not be complete, however, without the presence of two of the House specialties: the use of carbon fibre and the production of monochrome models. In Basel this year, the brand thus introduced a Big Bang Unico Carbon Fibre as well as the Big Bang Unico All Black, a totally black model in ceramic limited to 500 pieces. If these beautiful renditions were to be expected, considering the success they met in other collections, Hublot took us by surprise with another four interpretations of the Big Bang Unico dedicated to the brand’s boutiques: the Big Bang Unico All Black Blue, Green, Orange and Red!

“All black” models with a hint of colour is also one of the brand’s specialties. Focusing on a single colour, say blue, we could mention the Big Bang All Black Blue for the "Big Bang" collection, the Big Bang King All Black Blue in the "Big Bang King" line, the Classic Fusion All Black Blue for "Classic Fusion" models or the King Power Oceanographic 4,000 All Black Blue and the King Power Split-Seconds Power Reserve All Black Blue to cover both types of cases in the "King Power" collection. In 2014, these appealing watches are entering the “Big Bang Unico” collection in blue, green, orange and red. These stunning pieces are obviously based on the Big Bang Unico All Black model. They feature the same black ceramic case and movement finish. Instead of receiving a black finish, the nickel of the hands and hour markers is treated in blue, green, orange, or red depending on the version, but they remain filled with black SuperLuminova. The minute scale on the black inner flange also adopts one of the four colours that can also be found on the stitches of the black alligator straps.

I think these watches are absolutely superb! At first, I was a little puzzled by the look of the Big Bang Unico due to the presence of these retro-looking round chronograph push-pieces. I am usually not a fan of all things vintage but they did grow on me and I must admit that I really appreciate this model now. The Big Bang Unico All Black is an extremely great-looking model but when you own many “all black” watches from Hublot as I do, a little hint of colour is a welcome trait. Particularly so when it is tastefully done as it is with these Big Bang Unico All Black Blue, Green, Orange and Red. The hands, the hour markers and the stitches on the strap are just what was needed to light up this watch, make it colourful and perfect for the weekend or the holiday. The alligator strap is superb as always with Hublot and the fact that it can be easily changed is a great bonus: the owner of the watch can also buy a textured ribbed black rubber to wear the watch in sportier situations (by the pool for instance). In Basel, I tried each model on and off many times and they all look absolutely great. Although my colour is green I would have a hard time picking a favourite watch. I would love to buy them all: don’t they look great when they are placed together on a tray?