Watches: Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

By Thierry Ané on November 24, 2014

For a brand that has placed the “concept of fusion” at the heart of its philosophy, the world presentation of “Magic Gold” in November 2011 was undoubtedly an extremely significant moment. Imagine that: being able to revolutionise the most emblematic material of traditional High Jewellery and High Watchmaking, gold, through the use of high-tech processes without losing the highly symbolic 18-karat certification!

As you all know, pure gold or 24-karat gold is too soft a material for most applications and this precious metal is always alloyed with base metals that alter its hardness and also colour. White, yellow and red, or even rose and green, each colour of gold contains its own mixture of less noble metal. In the high-end luxury segment, the standard is to offer an 18-karat gold or, say it differently an alloy made of 75% of pure gold.

This seems the right balance between the need to maintain luxury (i.e., being as close as possible to pure 100% gold) while obtaining an alloy with decent physical properties. But even this “standard” well-designed 18-karat gold only rates at 400 Vickers and is therefore very prone to scratches. Its nice shades of red, pink, white or green also unfortunately wear off with time.

The creation of “Magic Gold”

What Hublot achieved with “Magic Gold” is simply the Holy Grail of gold alloys: obtaining an 18-karat gold with a hardness of 1000 Vickers (steels are only around 600!) that makes it perfectly scratch-resistant and also impervious to colour fading!

For those interested in technical aspects, this patented revolutionary material is the result of a highly complex and high-tech fusion process. First, a boron carbide powder is pre-formed in moulds very similar in shape to the form of the parts one wants to obtain before being hardened at a very high temperature. This creates an extremely porous surface in which 24-karat gold is injected under extremely high pressure with inert gas at high temperature. The gold thus fills the ceramic pores, merging with it in an amazing fusion process. A polishing step then reveals the unique colour of “Magic Gold”.

For its press presentation, this amazing material was used for the brand’s icon of Fusion, the “Big Bang”. This Big Bang Magic Gold was soon followed by the Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold in 2012. This year, Hublot introduces the third model ever to feature this unique material: the Big Bang Unico Magic Gold.

As always with Hublot, the choice of the collection that will feature the third “Magic Gold” model is carefully thought-out. Given the symbolic significance of the technical achievement, the first “Magic Gold” watch had to be a “Big Bang”, the model that initiated the Fusion concept and brought so much success to the brand. With the incredible media exposure the Ferrari partnership brought Hublot and the immediate success the “Big Bang Ferrari” met, no wonder the second tribute to “Magic Gold” belonged to this collection. But this prestigious Manufacture always looks towards the future and since the “Big Bang Unico” is the 2.0 version of the famous “Big Bang”, the collection had to offer its own interpretation of the “Magic Gold” watch.

An appealing “Magic Gold” bezel to light up the all-black “Big Bang Unico”

First introduced last year in titanium or King Gold, the re-designed sister of the famous "Big Bang" immediately put on some black ceramic on the bezel (titanium or King Gold versions) before using this very appealing material more extensively for a superb All-Black version at the beginning of 2014. At the end of the summer, Hublot treated us with four stunning boutique editions always using this black ceramic with subtle and refined touches of blue, green, orange, or red.

For the Big Bang Unico Magic Gold, black ceramic is now paired with the avant-garde “Magic Gold”. Indeed, whereas the entire case of the Big Bang Magic Gold and the Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold was crafted in the high-tech material, the Big Bang Unico Magic Gold retains the trendy black ceramic for the contemporary 45.50 mm case with retro influences and, to make a statement, uses the “Magic Gold” only for the most scratch-prone part of the watch: the bezel!

Since it is mounted on a structured black rubber strap with black PVD titanium folding buckle with black ceramic inserts, the watch retains a beautiful all-black appearance that seems perfect to highlight the beauty of this single “Magic Gold” element. It boasts a unique captivating colour in plain sight on the face of the watch.

The beauty of the in-house HUB 1242 Unico movement

The matt black varnished dial features the skeleton look so characteristic of the models housing a manufacture Unico movement. In this case, the watch is powered by the in-house HUB 1242 Unico flyback chronograph with column wheel and double clutch visible form the dial side. Its extremely modern black PVD treatment is tastefully enhanced by the satin-finished gilt plated skeleton hands and counter rings that recall the colour of the “Magic Gold” bezel for a beautiful harmony. Subtle hints of red on the chronograph central seconds hand, minutes track and small seconds sub-dial all bring a welcome sporty edge to the timepiece.

All things considered, this Big Bang Unico Magic Gold is an extremely refined creation and probably a significant model in the brand’s history. I really look forward to the Geneva week in January to see this beauty in person and bring you some live pictures and videos. In the meantime, I suggest you contact your usual Hublot retailer or boutique straight away if you are interested as this will definitely be a difficult model to get…

For more information please visit the Hublot web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: