ORANGE is the new Black
HUBLOT is defined by its innovative concept. While it all stems from their visionary chairman – Jean-Claude Biver, the Big Bang has been a lovely creature of many disguises since its inception in 2005. Hublot has carved it’s niche and a strong identity. So classically conditioned we are with its aesthetic, to if they ‘ever’ did a classical round watch, with an enamel dial, keeping a traditional round case in a conservative 38mm, the digital trolls would be up and about with their verbal pitchforks over social serving their verdict, as they did back in 2019 – the “CODE” catastrophe. We sure are glad that they do the best at what they do best.
Innovation is what the brand has excelled at and Hublot brings its own edge to it. While all of us would scrutinise the ‘orange’ sapphire case, let first look at what inside, which in this case, is transparently evident. Unlike traditional tourbillon movements, equipped with manual winding, this exceptional calibre makes a name for itself thanks to its self-winding system ensuring a minimum power reserve of three days (72 hours) – a very noticeable micro-rotor visible at the 12 o’clock position. It is equipped with ceramic ball bearings and the latest Hublot technical advances in its winding system. The perpetual movements of the micro-rotor set at 12 o’clock echo the rotation of the tourbillon, its regulating organ, positioned in perfect symmetry at 6 o’clock. The grey 22-carat gold micro-rotor is set off by exquisite decoration (bevelling, sunray-brushing and sand-blasting), as well as by signature Hublot openwork in the precious metal.
Hublot has also continued in its quest for transparency by using more sapphire in the movement itself. The manufacture calibre on the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire is equipped for the first time with three sapphire bridges – a barrel bridge, an automatic bridge and a tourbillon barrette. The lightweight effect of the skeleton work is accentuated by heavily open-worked and sandblasted platinum. The tourbillon cage at six o’clock, revolving on its axis every minute to compensate for the pull of the earth on the movement’s direction, is distinctive for its pure geometry affording a glimpse into the mechanical heart of the model. The legibility of the open dial is enhanced by hands and indices with a luminescent coating. The transparent orange rubber strap with a lined relief – with a patented express One Click interchangeability system and titanium deployant buckle – completes the cutting-edge look of this limited edition release of 50 pieces. The thing about complications, which is few manufacturers in their zest; ignore, is the legibility. The movement floats within the case, the flying-tourbillon in its full glory, hands and hour-markers don’t leave one squinting to read the time. The movement architecture is exquisite.
Now let’s get to the aesthetics. It requires a plethora or process and precision engineering to produce sapphire cases versus the ones crafted out of noble metals. Over the years, the brand (which has its own Metallurgy & Materials laboratory) has already released numerous very illustrious watches where the sapphire cases and dials, available in novel colours, act as transparent settings for sophisticated mechanics – such as the Big Bang Unico Sapphire (transparent), All Black Sapphire, Big Bang Unico Red Sapphire and Blue Sapphire, and the recent Spirit of Big Bang Yellow Sapphire. Today, Hublot continues to innovate with this extraordinary material by reinterpreting the Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon in an entirely new orange shade – a world first for a through-tinted sapphire – achieved thanks to the incorporation of titanium and chromium in a skilful manufacturing process. “Our manufacture has also reaffirmed its watchmaking expertise by unveiling a new automatic tourbillon calibre, entirely designed and manufactured in-house, and on which the spectacular visible dial side architecture underscores the innovative design of the watch. The “Art of Fusion” in all its glory” according to Hublot’s CEO, Ricardo Guadalupe. Hublot’s engineers and chemists sought a transparent material to enable the heart of the watch to be admired, whilst being robust enough to effectively protect the mechanics and resist the stresses of an active life. Still, that don’t mean one can throw the watch around and have nothing happen to it. We stand favour of pampering our wrist-babies, all the way. A complex and costly process, the extreme hardness of the sapphire also requires specific machining methods on this 45mm of mellow hue.
From our perspective, I have always been traditionalist, whereas Karishma has been more bold and contemporary. I finally would have to say, that yes; we get that its orange, we get that its bold, we get that the brand has still to instil faith its faith among a few out there, but from my perspective, the ‘fuddy-duddy’ in me is most definitely captivated by this marmalade. The question here is not about how it would look on me, the real question stands to – “Can I carry it off”. Cause if not, don’t blame the watch!