“Monochrome and exposing intricate mechanics”… definitely sounds like something we love here, at Monochrome-Watches! Living up to the promise and presented at Baselworld 2016, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black features a smoked transparent case crafted out of sapphire, based on the already introduced clear version. Time to go hands-on with a time-stopper not to be left in the dark.
Light and Shadows
When Hublot presented the Big Bang in 2005, innovation in materials was the central idea. Its ‘sandwiched’ case construction was designed to work with different metals or composites, and was the platform to build exploration expertise in innovative materials: scratchproof gold (the Magic Gold, Hublot’s own alloy, a porous ceramic filled with 24k gold), hi-tech ceramics, magnesium or carbon fiber to name a few – and even some high-end Berluti leather.
This Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black is entirely crafted from blocks of sapphire crystal, except a few smaller components in titanium: screws or chronograph pushers. The crown is also molded with rubber. Machining such a hard material into complex shapes, and with a polished finish, is a challenge that very few watchmakers have undertaken – and has been mainly reserved for one-of-a-kind pieces so far – like this 1,5 million Euros Richard Mille. Once cut and milled, the sapphire parts are coated with metal to give it a smoked dark hue.
Beyond the technical feat, the transparency of the case is really captivating from every angle. A transparent architecture where the play of inner workings is brought together in light.
Chronograph intricacies laid bare
This limited Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black is powered with Hublot’s proprietary HUB 1242 Unico chronograph, featured with a fly-back function and a skeletonized date indication. First presented in 2009, the calibre is perfectly coherent with the black transparency concept. It is one of the rare chronographs movements to feature its column-wheel positioned on the dial side. Its intricacies are exposed to view through the skeleton dial made of black polished transparent composite resin.
Hublot enhanced its technical look with black PVD coating and modern finishes. The plates and bridges are sand-blasted instead of the traditional Geneva stripes, for a more contemporary look. The wheels are also stylized, resulting in an industrial, resolutely technical engine. The 330 parts HUB 1242 Unico calibre is self-winding and has a power reserve of 72 hours.
The Big Bang Unico sapphire all black (right) next to its transparent sapphire sibling (left).
The final touch to the all-black look is a translucent ribbed strap with folding buckle in black PVD titanium.
Beyond the marketing machine and its commercial success, Hublot impresses with their watches and developments. Both the case and the movement of the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black show what has been accomplished at Hublot along the past few years. Although it is far from understated –which a Big Bang is not meant to be- it wears well for a 45mm case. The architectural transparency is really captivating. Naturally, the legibility is not optimal but the simple, powerful black monochrome look is worth it. Priced at 63,000 Euros (vs. 57,100 Euros for the transparent one), it won’t suit every budget but it is super competitive in comparison to other offerings with sapphire case.
Technical specifications of the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black
- Case: 45mm – polished smoky-black sapphire crystal – Sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating on both sides – 50m water resistant
- Movement: calibre HUB 1242 Unico, in-house – automatic winding – 72h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – Hours, minutes and small seconds, flyback chronograph with date indication
- Strap : black transparent ribbed strap and folding clasp in black PVD titanium
- Ref. 411.JB.4901.RT – Limited edition of 500 pieces – Price: 63,000 Euros