Specialist Picks • 31 Aug 2018

Hublot’s Metallurgical Magicians

Before the Big Bang – Hublot’s Origins in Gold & Rubber

Before the Big Bang there was Fusion. Let’s say you’re a competitor in the early 1980’s and you’d like to emulate Hublot’s winning combination of a gold watch on a rubber strap. That is until you realise not all rubber is created equal. Some types of rubber crack, some stain or have an unpleasant odour…some rubber straps aren’t even comfortable on the wrist. Making the perfect rubber strap, a vivid red ceramic or a scratch-proof gold is no easy task.

We’ve gone to the much easier task of picking some of our favourite contemporary Hublot watches. From this year’s Big Bang Unico Red Magic to the King Gold Classic Fusion. Aside from highlighting watches we like,  our selection also doubles as a primer on “The Art of Fusion” and the metallurgical mastery going on inside Hublot’s R&D department.

Ceramic Magic

Reference: 411.CF.8513.RX

Up until now vivid red ceramic – we’re talking Ferrari level red – has been elusive. The process always resulted in a ceramic with a dull burgundy colour. What Hublot has done is admirable and opens the door to a range of vivid glossy coloured ceramics. Designed and produced in the Hublot Research & Development (R&D) department, this patented innovation took four years from ideation to industrialisation. It’s functionally impressive as well, with a hardness of 1500 Vickers. Conventional ceramic, on the other hand, is rated to 1200 Vickers.

Housed inside the Big Bang Unico Red Magic is the HUB1242 UNICO Manufacture Self-winding Chronograph Flyback Movement with Column Wheel
Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic (Reference: 411.CF.8513.RX)

Achieved through a major innovation whereby a fusion of pressure and heat sinters the ceramic without burning the pigments. This breakthough has proven to be one of this year’s most talked about Baselworld releases. Surprisingly, it was first spotted in the wild, on the wrist of Karl Lagerfeld. Synonymous with his monochromatic sartorial taste, even Karl couldn’t resist the alluring charm of the Red Magic. Side note: Hublot has a history with red, we’re still quite fond of the “Red Dot” Bang celebrating Singapore’s 50th Golden Jubilee. It’s a Big Bang celebrating the Little Red Dot! 

More Magic

Reference: 521.EX.7170.LR.UCL18

Classic Fusion Chronograph Champions League™ (Reference: 521.EX.7170.LR.UCL18) – the same level of ceramic gloss popularised by the Red Magic

Never one to rest on their laurels, Hublot has been fast to leverage on its ceramic innovations. With its glossy ceramic blue case and bezel, the 45 mm Classic Fusion Chronograph Champions League™ is an example of what to expect more of from Hublot. Sporting a polished and satin-finished blue ceramic case and bezel with a blue sunray satin-finished, with “Champions League” logo dial. It’s limited to 100 and is a true blue on blue watch – attached to the blue ceramic case is a blue rubber and blue alligator strap. Contrasting white stitching is another nod to its football inspired origins (Although it’s not the only football inspired reference from Hublot this year!).

Big Bang Meca-10 features a microblasted and polished blue ceramic case and bezel
Big Bang Meca-10 Ceramic Blue (Reference: 414.EX.5123.RX) – perhaps no other watchmaker is pushing the limits of colour as much as Hublot is.

Tonneau’s in Titanium & Ceramic

Reference: 601.NM.0173.LR

First introduced in 2014, the Spirit of the Big Bang embodies what we love about the Big Bang, fitted in a tonneau shaped case. The Spirit of the Big Bang packs a big punch and despite its significant wrist presence, it reassuringly hugs the wrist. Making it exceptionally comfortable to wear all day.

Featuring a Sapphire Dial, Satin-finished Rhodium-plated Appliques and Hands with White Luminescent
Titanium Ceramic Spirit of Big Bang (Reference: 601.NM.0173.LR). Featuring a satin-finished titanium case, satin-finished, polished and micro-blasted black ceramic bezel with 6 H-shaped black PVD titanium screws.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, there’s a certain visual harmony to the Spirit of the Big Bang. Its layered case construction naturally guides your attention towards the skeletonized dial. From both the front and the back the HUB4700 self-winding skeleton chronograph movement is a real treat to look at.

For a 45 mm titanium and ceramic skeletonized watch, restraint may not be a word that readily comes to mind. However, this watch is an interesting lesson in restraint amidst what an otherwise complicated – both architecturally and materially – watch. Red minute markings and a red tipped seconds hand provide a touch of warmth and a nice contrast against the satin-finished Rhodium-plated appliques. Coming in a variety of materials such as Ceramic Blue, King Gold, Full Magic Gold and Black Magic; the Spirit of the Big Bang is an exciting evolutionary step of the classic Big Bang.

Making Soft Metals Hard – Magic Gold

Reference: 411.CM.1138.RX

Big Bang Unico Magic Gold (Reference: 411.CM.1138.RX)

Up until now, gold’s foil was its susceptibility to scratches. 18K gold has a hardness of about 400 Vickers. Hardened steel, on the other hand, gives you an extra 200 Vickers, bringing it up to 600. Add the two and you’ve got the hardness of Hublot’s Magic Gold. With a hardness of 1000 Vickers, Magic Gold can only be machined using diamond-tipped tools, laser, ultrasonic or wire-cutting. Developed in tandem with the Swiss Polytechnique School of Lausanne (EPFL) and unveiled in 2011, it wasn’t until 2014 when Hublot installed its owned gold foundry in their Nyon based manufacture that they were able to scale up the process for production. Magic Gold is essentially an alloy of gold and ceramic (boron carbide). Technicals aside, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold is a cool – and frankly, historically important watch. The layered three-dimensionality of the dial is especially interesting and provides a great visual contrast to the Magic Gold case.

Boasting 72 hours of power in the tank
Big Bang Ferrari Chronograph Unico Magic Gold 45mm (Reference: 402.MX.0138.WR)

From Magic Gold to King Gold

Reference: 511.OX.1181.LR.1104

Although not as ‘red’ as the Red Magic, there’s a touch of magic in King Gold. King Gold, a new 18K gold created by Hublot’s metallurgists, is unmistakably redder than the traditional 18k gold 5N. Its characteristic colour, stability and resistance to oxidation is achieved by alloying gold with copper and platinum.

King Gold and Diamonds - a perfect combination
38 mm Classic Fusion King Gold Diamonds (Reference: 511.OX.1181.LR.1104). King Gold and diamonds is already proving to be one of our favourite combinations found on Hublot watches.

The Hour Glass is the exclusive retailer of Hublot in South East Asia.

From Australia to Singapore, Malaysia to Thailand – our goal is to promote watch culture the world over, by sharing the stories of watches we love. You’re more than welcome to stop by one of our boutiques, say hi, and share in our passion for watches. We’d absolutely love to guide you in your watch collecting journey. Have a question? Drop us a line. We look forward to hearing from you.

It’s been a big week for the brand behind the Big Bang, with Hublot events in Vietnam and Thailand. Click through to read more on the “Sapphire Night” Party hosted by Hublot and PMT The Hour Glass in Bangkok.

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