New Watch! • 24 Jan 2019

 Collecting Rarities – Hublot’s Big Bang Tourmaline Paraíba

by Luke Carlino


Geneva Days 2019: Hublot has kicked off the year with a string of eye-catching releases.

Perhaps better known for its work in material sciences (think Magic Gold and King Gold), Hublot is equally competent (and innovative!) when it comes to using precious gems. For the aptly named Big Bang Tourmaline Paraíba, Hublot has pioneered the use of Paraíba Tourmalines, being the first to set baguette-cut versions of the worlds rarest gem on its watches.

While gold 45 mm Big Bang Unico Paraíba (left) and 39 mm Big Bang One Click Paraíba (right)

Paraíba Tourmalines

As one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world, the neon-bright Paraíba Tourmalines from Brazil are natural alloys of gold, copper, and manganese; best known for their stunning blue lagoon colour. This new Big Bang from Hublot marks the first time a watchmaker has used the rare gem – of which one is mined for every 10,000 diamonds – on a timepiece in this particular cut. The only other timepiece to use the stone (in a different cut) is Roger Dubuis with their 2016 Gübelin Velvet Paraíba.

Ethically Sourced

Despite their rarity, the Paraíba Tourmalines (from the Rio Grande region of Brazil ) have been mined in an environmentally sustainable way, complying with local and international governing ethics. There’s a focus not just on sustainable mining; reforestation and preventative steps to mitigate soil pollution are just a few of the other environmental issues being addressed in the area.

Hard to Find, Hard to Set

As if using the Paraíba Tourmaline wasn’t exclusive enough, Hublot has opted for the baguette-cut, which requires stones of a perfectly uniform colour and considerable expertise to cut and set. Five times more raw material was required for the initial stone selection, and for each stone that was baguette-cut, only 70% of these could be set – 30% were rejected due to breakage or insufficiently uniform quality or colour. As it’s more fragile than emerald, it takes great skill and dexterity to both cut and set Paraíba Tourmalines. This process can take up to three times longer than that for a diamond.

The 45 mm Big Bang Unico Paraíba features a bezel set with 48 baguette-cut Paraíba Tourmalines and a case encrusted with 388 of the brilliant-cut gems. Meanwhile the smaller 39 mm Big Bang One Click Paraíba also features a bezel set with 48 baguette-cut Paraíba Tourmalines. Its case is adorned with 129 brilliant-cut whilst its sunray dial uses the gems as hour markers.

Options

There are four variants in this Big Bang collection, the 45mm Big Bang Unico Paraíba in white or King Gold, and the Big Bang One Click Paraíba 39mm also available in either case material. The Big Bang Unico Paraíba model features the skeletonized UNICO HUB1242 manufacture movement, whilst the One Click houses the HUB1710 self-winding mechanical movement. The strap comes in either a blue alligator leather or black rubber with a 18K white gold and black-plated titanium or 18K king gold and black-plated titanium deployant buckle clasp.

Final Thoughts

The vibrant blue gems and dials are stunning. Enthusiasts of both watches and jewellery will crave this on their wrist, it’s illustrious rare and stunning on the wrist.

If you want to dial back the intensity of the blue, opt for the 45mm Big Bang Unico Paraíba. It features an open-woked dial and an incredibly useful chronograph complication. The One Click, on the other hand, is smaller but no less stunning. Of particular note is the sunburst dial which evokes lazy summers spent by the beach in Brazil. Featuring a date window at 3 o’clock the One Click is both beautiful and practical.


Luke Carlino

Luke is a writer and musician from Melbourne, Australia. One of his earliest memories is a gift given to him by his father - his grandfather's Seiko 5606-5100 automatic watch that accompanied him during the Vietnam war. Ever since, timepieces have marked the crucial moments of Luke's life. He is never without a watch and has a particular interest in Hublot and Breitling watches.


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