Hublot Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon: lightness in power27 July 2023
Very few watches left us speechless at the latest Watches and Wonders. For several reasons. One of those who did was a Hublot – the brand that creates incredible pieces every year alongside its current collections which, over time, have defined its identity. This year there were two worthy watches, in our opinion: the Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Blue Sapphire and the Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon. Today we’ll focus on the latter and try to understand together why it is exceptional in its own way.
HUBLOT IS FUSION IN EVERY WAY
Let’s start from the basics, that is from Hublot’s philosophy, fully expressed in the company’s payoff: ‘The Art of Fusion’. Well, the Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon is an incredible example of this art of fusion, both in terms of complications and of materials. And it is precisely on materials that the company has built much of its credibility, with a research and development department that few manufacturers can claim to have.
This watch proves it. Its case and bracelet are an innovative mix of two materials: carbon and Texalium. The former is certainly not a Hublot exclusive; other brands also use it, albeit in a less advanced and more ‘traditional’ way. The use of Texalium, on the other hand, does not seem to have any equal in watchmaking. Also because it is a cutting-edge material.
THE BIG BANG INTEGRATED TOURBILLON FULL CARBON AND TEXALIUM
When we think of ordinary carbon fiber, we think of the classic black and gray texture that we are all used to see. If we see materials presented as colored carbon fiber, it’s actually something else. For example, what is referred to as silver carbon fiber is actually another material: an aluminized glass fiber, or Texalium.
So, what is Texalium, and how is it different from carbon fiber? This material was developed by a California-based company called Hexcel. It is a fiberglass-based fabric with a thin aluminum coating on the surface. This coating is 99.99% pure and approximately 200 angstroms thick (one angstrom is one ten-billionth of a meter). This coating makes the surface highly reflective.
Texalium is therefore a glass-aluminum fabric that weighs around 300g/m². It is made with a thin aluminum cover film and a 2/2 twill weave. Twill is a weave in which the warp threads bind the wefts diagonally. On a ratio of at least three threads and three wefts, the elements are crossed proceeding in sequence, from the first to the last or vice versa.
The result is an incredibly light, resistant and immutable material over time which, combined with carbon fiber, helps to create a watch that is almost tenuous on the wrist. That is the Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon.
THE BRACELET YOU DON’T FEEL
Hold on though! By tenuous we don’t mean insignificant. In what other collection could such a watch find a place besides the Big Bang? If in physics the Big Bang marks the beginning of time, in watchmaking it indicates the moment (2005) in which the market was shocked by the Hublot collection of the same name. A watch born to amaze from the very first moment, with its large case that blends cutting-edge materials and its movement with high complications, often combined with each other. The Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon has all of this.
So, let’s start with the case and the bracelet. Which are there but cannot be felt on the wrist. The first weighs 42 grams, the second 26 and, as Hublot likes to point out, the latter can almost be considered a complication in its own. Designed, built and assembled entirely in the manufacturing workshops, it is indeed one of the lightest bracelets in the world, but it is also among the most comfortable.
We personally wore it in Geneva and, believe us, it’s true. This result is achievable thanks to the integrated connection with the case, made possible by the links designed specifically for this model. Each has been individually forged and finished to create a perfect surface in terms of quality. An incredible work of craftsmanship and technology, considering that the materials they are made of, carbon fiber and Texalium, react differently to the cutting, machining and chamfering processes.
BIG BANG STYLE CASE
The same striking woven texture is found in the 43mm wide, 14.15mm thick, carbon fiber case. However, since fusion and cutting-edge materials are Hublot’s watchwords, here too the carbon fiber is covered by the protective Texalium coating. In this way, its surface is scratch-proof and the carbon fiber takes on a characteristic silvery color.
Of course, the case and the whole watch present the Hublot Big Bang’s distinctive features. That is, the rubber insert on the crown, the six functional screws on the bezel (also in Texalium and carbon fiber) and the two side shoulders protecting the case and the crown.
The way in which technique and aesthetics merge in this watch comes from Hublot’s DNA, and also from its industrial vocation. The manufacturing is 100% integrated and every step of production is mastered, from research and development to the final product. Every single component has been conceived, designed, produced and assembled internally: in this way, case and movement have been harmonized down to the smallest detail.
HUBLOT’S BEATING HEART
Speaking of movement, the Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon is powered by the brand’s HUB6035automatic caliber, which combines a tourbillon (visible through the skeletonized dial at 6 o’clock) and a skeletonized Hublot-branded micro-rotor (at 12 o’clock). It is the same caliber that puts the Big Bangs of the Full Sapphire collection in motion. Another fusion, this time of complications.
Thanks to the dial it is possible to see the mechanical heart of the watch working. Suspended at 6 o’clock, the tourbillon rotates on an almost diaphanous background made up of sapphire bridges and a perforated base plate which allows the light to flood the movement. The base plate’s reticular structure recalls the woven pattern of carbon fiber; six hour markers are suspended above the movement, and the hour and minute hands are treated with Super-LumiNova.
The movement beats at 21,600 vibrations/hour and has a 72-hour power reserve. In addition to the skeletonized dial, it also can be seen from the case back, on which Hublot has created an incredible openwork, almost cubist decoration.
When viewed from the case back, the movement is dominated by a spectacularly intricate reticular plate that echoes the complex structure of Texalium. The rest of the movement may seem incredibly compressed at first glance, but a series of nearly invisible sapphire bridges, supporting the gear train and other components, help keep the layout as open as possible.
HUBLOT BIG BANG INTEGRATED TOURBILLON FULL CARBON IS NOT FOR EVERYONE
It easy to understand why such a watch is made in a limited edition. As you probably have figured out, the materials used and the production processes are extremely advanced, making mass production quite complex. Production is thus limited to 50 pieces. For the same reason, the price of the watch is quite important: 132,000 euros.
After all, one could not expect anything else from such a piece. As you may have understood, the Hublot Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon is a powerful mix of old and new that combines the weight of a high-end watch with a radically new, strong yet lightweight composite. What more do you need to explain its excellence?
By Davide Passoni