BY ERIK SLAVEN
Hublot’s Big Bang collection is a flagship, showy spectacle that the brand is known for. Bold and often in your face, the cases and dials have an undeniable presence on the wrist. The Unico line has a contemporary yet manageable case size that falls in the middle of the Big Bang portfolio, but still offers an expansive canvas for the unique, open-worked dials. The latest Unico Essential Grey model strips everything down to a monochromatic grey, leaving just the lume inserts to provide a hint of white contrast. It’s an interesting look and seems to be a popular trend these days, although overall legibility does take a hit.
The case is all titanium, lightening the load considerably as it’s a bit hefty at 42mm in diameter and 14.5mm thick. The finish is vertically brushed with polished bevels and the classic six screws on the bezel complete the sporty vibe. It’s enhanced by two additional screws on the left and right of the middle case. This is a bi-compax chronograph, so there are short, wide pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, and the crown is partially guarded by the right extension of the case. It’s an integrated design and comes with two strap options – grey fabric with a Velcro fastener or grey and black rubber with a matching titanium clasp. Both can be easily removed via Hublot’s patented One Click system. Of course, there are AR sapphire crystals front and back, and water resistance is rated at 100 meters.
The dial retains the open-worked Unico design, but the near-total absence of color and contrast really changes the look. A sub-dial at 3 o’clock shows the 60-minute counter with a date window integrated at the right. The date wheel itself is entirely exposed under the main indices. The small seconds sub-dial sits at 9 o’clock and is open-worked. There are applied Arabic numerals every two hours with standard indices between them, and all have Super-LumiNova inserts in an off-white. The open-worked hour and minute hands have lume inserts as well. A couple of tiny jewels offer a hint of color if you look close and the column wheel is visible at 6 o’clock.
Powering the watch is Hublot’s in-house HUB1280 automatic flyback chronograph. Seen through the exhibition case back (secured via six screws), it’s very well finished, but generally undecorated. There’s an open-worked rotor and it maintains the monochromatic theme, although a scattering of jewels and blue silicon escapement add some color. It beats at 4Hz, has 43 jewels and a 72-hour power reserve. It was introduced in 2018 as an update to the original from 2010, and is able to fit smaller cases as the first models were 45mm in diameter.
The new Big Bang Unico Essential Grey (ref. 441.NX.4210.RX.HEC22) is limited to just 200 pieces and available exclusively at Hublot’s online store. It retails for EUR 20,700/CHF 19,900/USD 20,900.
Visit Hublot here.