To mark the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia, Hublot presented their first connected watch model, the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM. Equipped with the latest technological developments then available for wearable technology, this formidable tool was used both by referees on the pitch and by football fans, as a virtual stadium so they could join in with the competition. At $5,200, it was the least expensive Hublot that one could buy, while also being among the most expensive smartwatches out there. Clocking in at 49mm in diameter with a thickness that eclipsed 13mm, it was also a seriously big watch.
“The 2018 watches sold out in a few weeks. So, we realized that there is a demand for a luxury connected watch from either our existing customers or from new consumers. So, I think there is a market for this kind of product,” Ricardo Guadalupe, the CEO of Hublot, told Signé recently in an exclusive interview.
Two years later, Hublot returns with a new model: the BIG BANG e, a connected watch equipped with the latest technology that adopts all the iconic Big Bang codes. First released in 2005, the Big Bang has come to embody Swiss watchmaking in the third millennium. BIG BANG e is the new incarnation of the brand’s Art of Fusion ethos: a fusion between tradition and innovation, cutting edge materials and the latest digital technology.
Following its launch, Guadalupe commented that the new BIG BANG e “boasts an extremely high level of technological sophistication, while embodying all the aesthetic values, technical features and excellence that have ensured the reputation of our Big Bang collection.“
“Ever more faithful to our “Art of Fusion” motto, we wanted the BIG BANG e to unite Hublot’s highly advanced technical materials with the very latest innovations from today’s digital world.”Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO, Hublot
Full of sophistication and advanced technology, this piece fits in perfectly with Hublot’s watchmaking tradition. All the codes that have helped build the brand’s reputation thus far can be recognized instantly.
The 42 mm case is cut from materials such as black ceramic or titanium in a “sandwich” construction, an innovative style invented by Hublot in 2005. Extremely complex, it comprises 42 components, 27 of which are for the K Module alone, the “cage” which houses the digital heart of the watch. The watch is water-resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The design of the screws and pushers, the scratchproof sapphire crystal, the rubber strap with deployant buckle invented by Hublot in 1980, and the patented One-Click system for easy interchangeability are all signature elements of a true Big Bang!
The scratchproof sapphire crystal is covered with an AMOLED high definition touchscreen with the metallized hour numerals underneath. Just like a mechanical version of the Big Bang, its rotary crown with integrated pusher is used to activate the controls for its electronic module.
While staying true to its family code, the BIG BANG e, is eager to carve a niche for itself in the world of smartwatch, just as it has done in the analogue world. Guadalupe told us, “We asked: how can we differentiate ourselves? By creating new screens. The design of our digital screens was developed by our team in Switzerland in collaboration with a Swiss company. The luxury aspect of the watch comes through the design, through the experience, and through the quality of the materials of the case, of the bracelet and all the components. The case and what is outside is made in-house by us.”
While the Big Bang Referee ran on an Intel processor, its successor has the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 at its core, the same processor used to power the most recent TAG Heuer Connected 45mm. Running on Wear OS by Google, the watch is compatible with devices running on either Android or iOS. The wearer can access apps on Google Play, get answers on the go with Google Assistant and make fast, simple payments with Google Pay. For a more personal experience, easily swipe to helpful information and stay up to date with notifications and messages. In addition, dials specifically created by the Hublot ambassadors and Friends of the Brand will be gradually unveiled.
Transferring their traditional expertise into this new digital environment, the designers in Nyon have developed new watch functionalities. Apart from the “Time Only” analogue function, the BIG BANG e features exclusive interpretations of traditional watch complications, such as a Perpetual Calendar with an immaculately precise moon phase or a second GMT time zone, which presents the earth in a very realistic way. These functionalities have been revisited and enhanced to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the digital world.
For the development of these technical aspects of the watch, Hublot worked with its parent LVHM group. Guadalupe explains: “We collaborated with the LVMH group because, to develop a smartwatch from scratch, it can cost tens of millions, even hundreds of millions in investments. And it would have been impossible for a brand like us. So, we got into a partnership with Google through the digital platform that exists in LVMH.“
On the question of tackling obsolescence, he said: “Of course, in this technology, there is obsolescence. We believe it’s a watch that will last five years because of the battery, which is the real problem. So, we are offering the possibility, through our after-sales service, to change the battery that will allow the watch to last even up to eight or even ten years. The other aspect is the technology; we will offer new additions, probably in four or five years.“
The BIG BANG e will be produced in two different editions: one in titanium, which will retail for $5,200, and one in Black Magic black ceramic, priced at $5,800. For the first time in Hublot’s history, this watch will be sold online on the brand’s website as well as on the Wechat network in China. It will then be available to purchase in boutiques and the traditional network.
The first edition of the BIG BANG e is part of the #HublotLovesArt movement: a series of eight dials stemming from the imagination of storytelling artist Marc Ferrero. Every three hours, the dial changes colour, meaning eight creations are displayed in sequence over a 24-hour period. Each of these is based on a specific colour: Happy Yellow, Magic Blue, Orange Dynamite, All White, Lucky Green, Magic Red, Rainbow Spirit and Black Magic. Also, every full hour is marked with the appearance of an animation that lasts five seconds. A very #HublotLovesArt way of adding a touch of colour and rhythm to different moments throughout the day!BIG BANG e,The first edition of the Big Bang e is part of the #HublotLovesArt movement: a series of eight dials stemming from the imagination of storytelling artist Marc Ferrero. Every three hours, the dial changes colour, meaning eight creations are displayed in sequence over a 24-hour period. Each of these is based on a specific colour: Happy Yellow, Magic Blue, Orange Dynamite, All White, Lucky Green, Magic Red, Rainbow Spirit and Black Magic. Also, every full hour is marked with the appearance of an animation that lasts five seconds. A very #HublotLovesArt way of adding a touch of colour and rhythm to different moments throughout the day!
The BIG BANG e will be produced in two different editions: one in titanium, which will retail for $5,200, and one in Black Magic black ceramic, priced at $5,800. For the first time in Hublot’s history, this watch is being sold online on the brand’s website as well as on the WeChat network in China. It will then be available to purchase in boutiques and the traditional network.
“We are going online first with Hublotista, our friends of the brand, and from 15th of June, it is going to be worldwide,” Guadalupe told us, and added: “Our original plan was to launch our second watch for the Euro 2020, but the Euro has been postponed to next year. So next year, we’ll have a Euro connected watch for the referees with a football application.“