With the release this year of the Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic luxury sport watch, Hublot illustrates yet again not only their mastery of materials, but also a never-ending spirit of innovation.
Based in the charming French-speaking town of Nyon, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Hublot is part of the great tradition of luxury timepiece manufacturing that has transformed the Swiss nation into the world’s horological hub. Yet, at the same time, Hublot stands apart from its esteemed watchmaking neighbours, most notably with their innovative and pioneering approach to materials and their uses.
In addition to the meticulous and exacting work that goes on in Hublot’s production rooms and finishing studios, there’s also an on-site R&D department and a metallurgy and materials laboratory dedicated to the creation and refinement of new substances. Back in 2011, the team here amazed the watch world when it unveiled Magic Gold; a unique and proprietary alloy created from the fusion of boron carbide and 24k gold, which remains to this day the most scratch-resistant 18k gold alloy on the planet.
Throughout the years, Hublot has experimented not only with all kinds of gold, but also materials such as platinum, steel, titanium, tantalum, magnesium, sapphire, carbon fibre, and ceramic. These have, in turn, made the beautifully designed timepieces ever more coveted. The company’s philosophy, when it comes to the mastery and manipulation of these diverse manufacturing building blocks, is described as the ‘Art of Fusion’ – a boundary-breaking world where one is encouraged to “strive for the impossible”.
In 2018, Hublot chalked up a significant milestone with the introduction of the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, a luxury sport watch in which every component of the case was created from a wholly new material, referred to as “vibrantly coloured ceramic”. Unlike ordinary hi-tech ceramic, which is already extremely hard, this newly-developed ceramic proved to be even more dense, resilient, and scratchproof, boasting a hardness of 1,500 HVI (compared to the 1,200 HV2 of conventional ceramics). But equally astonishing was the breathtaking depth of colour achieved – in this case a vivid shade of red, symbolising power, passion and glory. It was a feat of innovation that turned heads when this radical wristwatch made its dazzling debut.
Of course, an innovation such as this doesn’t exactly happen overnight. In fact, it took Hublot four years, and countless experiments, to master this material and develop the process from its initial idea stage to its final industrial implementation. The goal was to achieve a perfectly uniform intensity of rich colour, and the end-result was painstakingly achieved through a precise fusion of pressure, heat and, perhaps, as the watch’s name implies, a little magic.
The 100-percent patented process begins when white ceramic powder is mixed with the chosen pigment, according to the ratios developed by Hublot, and this powdery mixture is then introduced into a mold and loaded into a heat press. The next step, known as sintering, solidifies and stabilises the material using a precise combination of pressure and heat – also developed in-house – which transforms the powder into a dense, solid block.
At this stage the pressure applied is extremely important, because more pressure allows the manufacturer to use less heat, thereby avoiding the possibility of overheating the material (which could burn and thus degrade the colour). When everything is done precisely and perfectly, the pigment fully “takes over” the white ceramic, resulting in spectacularly even, incredibly vibrant tones.
In 2019, a year after the initial success of the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, Hublot released the equally stunning Big Bang Unico Blue Magic. Now, in 2021, the triumvirate of primary colours becomes complete with the addition of the new Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic, a bright and beautiful complement to the dynamic duo that came before it.
By choosing to introduce such a particularly uplifting shade this year, Hublot is presenting collectors with a much-needed ray of yellow sunshine. As for what’s ticking under the hood… just like its blue and red predecessors the 42mm polished ceramic case of the Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic houses a matte black skeleton dial, as well as an HUB1280 Unico manufacture self-winding chronograph flyback movement with column wheel that offers a power reserve of 72 hours. In keeping with the previous blue and red models it’s also water resistant up to 100 metres, and comes with a structured rubber strap that features a black ceramic and black-plated titanium deployant
“With the launch of the Big Bang Unico Red Magic in 2018, it was said that (almost) all Pantone colours were possible for our brightly coloured ceramic,” remarks Ricardo Guadalupe, the CEO of Hublot. “The Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic is not only a perfect match with Pantone’s ‘Illuminating’ [yellow], one of two Colours of the Year for 2021, it is also writing the future by making materials our field of innovation… a universe which knows no bounds! The strength of our innovation lies in our motto: Be the first, be unique, be different. The best is yet to come.”
For more information, visit PMT The Hour Glass or Instagram @Hublot_Bangkok.
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