Watches: Hublot Big Bang Unico Haute Joaillerie (+live pics)
By Thierry Ané on April 2, 2015
The year 2015 already marks the 10th anniversary of Hublot’s rebirth with the very first “Big Bang” timepiece introduced by Jean-Claude Biver and his team. Based on the art of Fusion, that is to say the combination of materials, techniques, ambassadors even that you would not normally associate with each other, let alone Fine Watchmaking, this revolutionary watch has become a true icon of the watchmaking landscape.
With the creativity of Hublot’s design team and its incredible public success, the “Big Bang” watch has been presented in so many forms over this 10-year period that it seems almost unbelievable this legend is so young and at the same time utterly astonishing it still can be interpreted in new and surprising ways.
But this is all part of the magic of this beloved sporty luxury timepiece and I do hope it will come out of its second decade with the same freshness and degree of desirability. For the time being, though, it was important for Hublot to acknowledge the first milestone anniversary of their bestseller with a series of commemorative pieces as stunning as the original model.
Although they certainly managed to do so with impressive creations spanning the large spectrum of watch types, many a fan from the outset will probably be sorry that the newly designed “Big Bang Unico” received all the spotlights and that no anniversary versions were presented in the original “Big Bang” case.
That being said, all the models presented were worthy of this celebration. Readers of Watch Agora can expect a detailed presentation of the Big Bang Unico Full Magic Gold and the Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Magic Gold in the forthcoming weeks but for now, I would like to focus on the “Haute Joaillerie” introductions as there is no better way to celebrate an anniversary then throwing in some sparkles!
You don’t need to be a huge fan of Hublot to know that the brand has distinguished itself in the past with exceptional high-jewellery models. The Big Bang 1 Million Dollars, the Big Bang 2 Million Euros or the Big Bang 5 Million Dollars have remained in everyone’s mind as much as outstanding gem-setting works-of-art as they were symbols of a past era of economic euphoria.
Far from being hampered by the actual economic slowdown and the experienced general downturn of the watch industry, Hublot celebrated the “Big Bang” with a new collection of 10 watches, each priced at $1 million, for a grand total of $10 million!
These beauties are thus featuring the new “Big Bang Unico” case, albeit virtually unrecognisable under so many stones, and all house the HUB 1242 UNICO movement. This self-winding flyback chronograph movement entirely developed and manufactured in-house has become the powerhouse of the new “Big Bang Unico” and a flagship of Hublot’s Fine Watchmaking abilities. Aesthetically, it is characterised by the presence of the chronograph’s column-wheel on the dial side paired with a skeleton date disc, both fully visible through a sapphire dial.
Four models are presented: one entirely set with White Diamonds and one using Black Diamonds to reproduce the brand’s iconic “all-black” look. The other two combine the pureness of white diamonds with the Blue Sapphires or Rubies for a hint of colour.
In all instances, though, the timepieces stand out for the exceptional quality of their gem-setting. No less than 3 extremely complex setting techniques were used to create each model: invisible setting, Clou de Paris setting and rail setting. For the first time at Hublot, the bezel is set with invisible inverted trapeziums: a real tour de force. In another first, the chronograph counters and the inner chapter holding the baton hour markers have been set. Even the push-pieces of the bracelet quick-change system have been adorned with radiant stones.
To give you a few figures, the White Diamonds and Black Diamonds models count 558 baguettes on the case and 62 on the dial for a respective total of 36.42 and 38.06 carats. 608 white diamond baguettes (33.58 or 34.30 carats) adorn the case and dial of the remaining two models also featuring 78 baguettes of blue sapphires (3.1 carats) or rubies (3.05 carats). Not to mention the 33 baguettes of black or white diamonds on the folding buckle of each timepiece mounted on black alligator!
One thing is certain: you surely feel them on the wrist… But let me just say that the 400 hours of Research & Development and production or the more than 350 hours of setting for each timepiece were definitely not a waste of time: these watches are breathtaking! Who could think of a better collection to celebrate the iconic “Big Bang”?
For more information please visit the Hublot web site.