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January 30, 2023

Hublot Big Bang Integrated Ceramic: Integral Charm

Hublot loves going big, but without getting carried away. The brand tries, experiments, works and, when confident with the result, launches the novelty. The Big Bang Integrated Ceramic presented at Watches & Wonders 2022 is an example of this industrial and commercial strategy.

JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER’S INTUITION

The watch is the most recent evolution of a symbolic piece in the Hublot collections, which saw the light in 2005. The Big Bang was born from the intuition of Jean-Claude Biver, who joined Hublot in 2004 at a time when the brand had lost some of the dynamism that had characterized it since its birth in 1980.

Biver had a great deal of experience in revitalizing brands in such situations. After joining Hublot, his main goal was to modernize the brand with a new flagship collection, which was called “Big Bang”. Biver wasted no time and Hublot presented the first Big Bang at Baselworld in 2005, with great success.

A success to be understood in that period of watchmaking, a time in which watches with oversized cases and extravagant designs were in vogue, preferably made of different innovative materials combined creatively. There was no lack of innovation, hybridization and imagination, and they certainly do not lack even today in Hublot, which immediately hit the mark with the Big Bang.

In its first 15 years, the watch gradually became the Hublot symbol. Its unmistakable design gave shape to the concept of fusion through unprecedented combinations of materials. Gold and rubber, denim and diamonds, sapphires, carbon, embroidery in silk or wool, ceramic.

HUBLOT’S BIG BANG BECOMES INTEGRATED

Ever new materials and different complications did not change the deep nature of the Big Bang, which remained faithful to the original concept of the early 2000s. A basic turning point, however, was in 2020, when the Big Bang became Big Bang Integrated, with its first integrated titanium bracelet.

An innovation that, for the Big Bang, involved the restyling of the case and lugs, while the dial and bezel remained the same, as those of the 42 mm Big Bang – apart from the indices that replaced the Arabic numerals. The pushers were redesigned, taking inspiration from those of the 2005 model.

Behind the decision to launch the Hublot Big Bang Integrated also stood a clear marketing and product strategy. Recent years have seen a growing interest in watches with integrated bracelets, so loved in the 1970s. An interest that pushed many brands, in different price ranges, to create timepieces with this characteristic. Hublot certainly didn’t hold back and did it his way.

THE ART OF CERAMICS

The next step was to combine the technology of the integrated bracelet with one of the materials of which Hublot has become a master in processing: ceramic. A material that has been perfected over the years, becoming increasingly resistant to scratches and wear, and which is difficult both to produce and process.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

The perfect color is the result of a careful and precise work in the pigment mix. Then, a fusion through a hi-pressure processing gives stability to the compound and ensures a long-lasting color rendering. A job halfway between that of the modern engineer and that of the ancient alchemist, which made Hublot a leading brand in ceramics and brought the first black ceramic bracelet to the Big Bang Integrated, followed – during LVMH Watch Week 2021 – by white, navy blue and gray bracelets.

THE NEW HUBLOT BIG BANG INTEGRATED CERAMIC

The 2022 edition of the Big Bang Integrated Ceramic presented at Watches & Wonders further expands the range of colors, adding indigo blue, light blue, sand beige and jungle green to the palette of the collection. Four colors that, in Hublot’s mind, are just as many invitations to travel for a watch that combines an urban and a daring soul.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

The watch has all the features of the Big Bang Integrated Ceramic, starting with the 42 mm diameter case and 13.45 mm thick, with polished and satin finishes. The case back has a satin-finished ceramic encasing ring, which enhances the comfort of the watch thanks to the feeling of velvety softness of the material on the wrist.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

What makes the difference, however, is, as mentioned, the three-link bracelet – which is also worked with polished and satin finishes. As Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot CEO, specifies: “An integral ceramic watch, that’s a double challenge and a rarity, a distinctive piece. The bracelet itself is composed of 22 ceramic elements, each requiring a special tool, mold and process.”

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

This work has led to a strong aesthetic, to a watch with strong lines, in which the only non-ceramic parts are the composite lugs, the buttons and the crown – both with a rubber coating – in addition to the connecting elements of the bracelet’s links and the titanium folding clasp. And, of course, the calibre.

THE MOVEMENT AND THE DIAL

To power the Big Bang Integrated Ceramic, Hublot chose the HUB1280 in-house automatic caliber, which drives a large part of the Big Bang collection, with a 42 mm case. Based on the HUB1240, it is a flyback chronograph movement with a column wheel, and beats at 28,800 vibrations/hour with a power reserve of 72 hours.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

The movement can be seen both from the open sapphire crystal case back and through the skeletonized dial. This double option makes the oscillating weight and the bridges visible from the rear in the green and beige models. On the dial side, on the other hand, Hublot has made visible both the column wheel and the double clutch mechanism of the chronograph.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

The dial, framed by the polished and satin-finished bezel fixed to the middle case by six H-shaped screws, plays on depth a lot. Below the hands there is a first level, with the inclined flange, the circle of the minutes and a sapphire crystal on which the faceted indexes and the two counters are applied: at 9 o’clock, the skeletonized counter of the small seconds, at 3 o’clock that of the 60-minute chronograph, with a transparent sapphire disc matching the color of the ceramic and a window for the date.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic
Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

The last level, pushing the look to go deep, leads directly to the skeletonization of the HUB1280 caliber and the date disc. The whole is topped by a sapphire crystal with the silkscreened Hublot logo, which seems to float over the structure of the watch.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic
Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

The timepiece is water resistant to 10 bars. Not a lot at all, but a good performance for a watch which is not conceived for water and whose ceramic case is still complex to be waterproofed.

THE PRICE

Faithful to its vocation of being a not-for-everyone brand, even for these new Big Bang Integrated Ceramic references, Hublot has chosen the limited edition; there are 250 pieces of each color, with a price that does not change according to the color: 23,800 euros.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

Essentially, the Big Bang Integrated Ceramic is not just a watch that enriches the brand’s already remarkable collections but, as we have seen, it is a piece that makes Ricardo Guadalupe right when he says that “the Hublot manufacture possesses all the necessary know-how and infrastructure to make the future of watchmaking a reality, today.”

By Davide Passoni