Hublot’s aggressive rollout of exceptional timepieces continues at Watches and Wonders 2021 with six new models. From an impressive sapphire construction to bright yellow ceramic, or the diamond set high jewellery watch, the Swiss watchmaker’s “Art of Fusion” ethos once again delivers aesthetically stunning and technically innovative pieces.
This January, at the LVMH Watch Week, Hublot presented its most aggressive line up to date, a total of nine new models. The star of the show was undoubtedly the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire. It was joined by the Big Bang Integral in three colours: white, navy blue and grey; Classic Fusion Orlinski 40mm in two colours: flashy blue and gloss black; Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon Black in black carbon fibre with white glass-microfibre inclusions; and two new models of the MP-11: Magic Gold and Blue Sapphire.
Soon after, Hublot released the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black, a stunning example of mechanical art created in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and featuring his smiling flower motif as the centrepiece.
At this month’s Watches And Wonders 2021, Hublot’s star performer is the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire, taking Hublot’s Art of Fusion concept to its ultimate interpretation. This timepiece, limited to just 30, traces its origins to the 2016 Big Bang Unico Sapphire, Hublot’s first watch with an all-sapphire case. Here Hublot goes one step further by constructing both the case and the bracelet entirely from sapphire.
The case has been reconstructed in its entirety to remove almost all of the visible screws, and overhauling the general geometry of the case to integrate it with the sapphire bracelet. Hublot developed a new case profile to house the sapphire bracelet, and reworked the bridges and main plates to give them the illusion of being suspended in space.
Hublot also developed inserts and attachments, reduced to their simplest expression, to allow light through every component. The case is composed of no fewer than 37 components, five of which are made solely from sapphire.
The bracelet was also a “complex challenge,” according to the brand. It comprises no fewer than 165 components, 22 of which are made from sapphire. Each component had its own industrial process. A third of these were specially designed to provide unique harmony with the transparency of the case, and to offer fluidity and flexibility. Of particular note are the titanium inserts Hublot developed, ultra-reduced to ensure they do not protrude either side of each bracelet link – a first for Hublot, and probably for watchmaking.
The HUB6035 automatic manufacture calibre – designed and manufactured in-house – appear to be suspended in space. Light passes through the movement from all directions. Its three transparent sapphire bridges are exclusive to this model. A sense of balance exists between the micro-rotor at 12 o’clock and the tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
Since its first One Million Dollar model in 2007, Hublot has created a unique piece of High Jewellery every year at a price equalling or exceeding one million dollars. Each time, the watchmaker combines the iconic design of one of its collections with the most spectacular setting techniques, often scoring world firsts or world records.
Notable among them, the “Five Million Dollar” in 2012 with 1,282 diamonds including more than 100 carats of baguette-cut diamonds, or the collection of ten Big Bang Unico models, each worth a million dollars presented in 2015 to celebrate the ten years of the Big Bang.
This year we have the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon High Jewellery, set with 484 baguette-cut diamonds, totalling 31 carats. Its three-mesh bracelet with sharp edges alone accounts for 20.5 carats in 304 baguette-cut diamonds. The transparent sapphire dial has a raised platform of baguette diamonds. Like the Full Sapphire, this timepiece also houses the HUB6035 calibre, and its mechanics are completely visible on the dial side thanks to the sapphire dial.
Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, said: “Every year, for the last 14 years, we have created a piece or a collection of exceptional High Jewellery. This year, the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon High Jewellery is our 30th unique piece of High Jewellery. Our primary goal: to surpass all our limits, to challenge ourselves to go beyond our initial expertise of watchmaking, and to achieve the exceptional with watches that are entirely set with precious stones and smash all the records in terms of working hours, the number of carats, the combination of types of setting, and selling point.”
Yellow Magic is the name of the new brightly coloured high-tech ceramic created by Hublot. It features for the first time on the aptly named Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic – a limited edition of 250 pieces. Although yellow is a primary colour abundant in nature, this colour is nearly “impossible to reproduce in a material such as ceramic,” according to Hublot.
Guadalupe commented: “With the launch of bright red ceramic, it was said that (almost) all Pantone colours were possible for our brightly coloured ceramic, a world-first which has been patented since 2018. The Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic is not only a perfect match with Pantone’s trending Illuminating Colours of the Year 2021, it is writing the future by making materials our field of innovation… a universe which knows no bounds.”
It took Hublot’s famed Metallurgy & Materials laboratory four years of experimentation to find the perfect balance of temperature and pressure to produce the perfect shade of yellow, without burning the pigments, while also increasing the wear resistance of the ceramic. It is harder than traditional ceramics at 1350 HV versus 1200 HV. Hublot’s yellow ceramic joins the watchmaker’s red, blue, beige and green coloured ceramics.
The 42-mm case and bezel of the Yellow Magic glow with the new yellow ceramic. The flange, indexes, minute and seconds counters, Arabic numerals and hands are all in matching yellow. Through these yellow elements are visible, on the dial side, the contrasting grey components of the Unico HUB1280 calibre. The yellow brightness continues on the lined and marching yellow rubber strap.
The remaining three models that made their debut this month are the result of the latest collaboration between London-based tattoo studio Sang Bleu and Hublot. The Big Bang Sang Bleu II is a set of three timepieces in ceramic that explore new colours: grey, blue and white. Designed by Maxime Plescia-Buchi with technical expertise from the Nyon-based manufacture, a Sang Bleu timepiece distinguishes itself with its sharp angles, its sculptural case, and its multiple facets as if cut in diamond.
The grey ceramic version offers a modern look “reminiscent of the great urban structures at the heart of 21st-century.” The shades of grey that illumine the ceramic evoke steel, titanium and aluminium in turn, strongly accentuating the profoundly architectural design of the Big Bang Sang Bleu II.
The blue ceramic version is a clear nod to the piece’s name – royal blue, an echo of the term sang bleu or “blue blood.” Here, as in the grey version, Hublot and Maxime developed an approach where the dominant colour of the piece echoes the white and luminescent indices and hands.
The third version appears simple yet enigmatic. A mirror image of the All Black version which was released last year, this “All White” version features a dazzling play of light, instead of colours. The faceted architecture of the bezel, case and strap invites closer inspection to appreciate the subtle angles and curves of the piece.
Each of these new Big Bang Sang Bleu II will be available as a limited edition of 200 pieces. They all share a 45-mm case made entirely from high-tech ceramic, housing the UNICO Manufacture self-winding chronograph. It comprises 330 components and is equipped with a flyback function. This model offers a 3-day power reserve. Each piece is equipped with its corresponding rubber strap, featuring the One-Click system.