By James Phang
Hublot has always been known for its innovation and expertise in incorporating new elements within the watchmaking industry. In 2016, Hublot has once again scaled new heights with the launch of its Big Bang Unico Sapphire model, showing the world how it has perfected the art of machining sapphire which is notably almost as hard as diamond.
As its name suggests, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire’s 45mm case is entirely carved out of sapphire and is held together by six H-shaped and polished titanium screws. It almost seems as though there is no sapphire crystal over the dial given that the majority of the watch face is transparent. Given the extreme difficulties in machining sapphire, full sapphire cases has always been done as one-off projects or on a small scale, but the 500 piece limited release stands as a testament of Hublot’s continual commitment in pushing new boundaries.
The crown is made from transparent silicone and satin-finished titanium, a material which is used also for the push pieces. The skeleton dial in transparent composite resin has white luminescent hands and hour markers, as well as a date aperture at 3 o’clock position. It is powered by an in-house movement – HUB 1242 Unico – which vibrates at 4 Hz (28,800 vph) movement, and offers a fly-back chronograph function with column wheel and double clutch. The movement can be appreciated from all angles of the watch considering that the multipart case and bezel are made to be transparent. On the whole, it is also much lighter than you would expect, and yet it is still waterproof up to 100 metres.
Personally, I truly respect the extent of hard work required to craft such timepieces. However, I still can’t say that I would be willing to shell out the kind of money for it despite knowing that it is somewhat more affordable as compared to its LaFerrari Sapphire, which currently retails for US$575,000. Why, you may ask? Well, the current pairing with its transparent watch strap may serve as a differentiating factor, but it can also confuse the undiscerning public due to its striking similarity to Swatch watches at first glance (it is a bold statement, but I’m sure there will be some who agree with me). That said, one man’s poison is another man’s treasure.
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire will soon be available at Hublot stores at a price tag of US$57,900.
For more info, please visit hublot.com
JAMES PHANG – CONTRIBUTING WRITER
James Phang is a young watch enthusiast from Singapore and is a self-professed fanatic of independent brands for their unique avant-garde designs. Some of his favorite brands include MB&F, Urwerk, Romain Jerome, Sarpaneva, Peter Speake-Marin and Azimuth. His love for art extends out to all things handmade, and he has made it his personal mission to find the best handmade straps and buckles worldwide for his humble collection. Read his articles here