In 1980 an Italian designer named Carlo Crocco was tired of working for his uncle at massive watch firm Binda. Determined to forge his own style and success, Crocco broke off from the herd, moved to Switzerland and took three years and a million dollars to create a watch that was relatively straightforward in concept but revolutionary in impact. The name of that watch was Hublot (which means “porthole” in French). It combined the hallmarks of a luxury timepiece with a specially made rubber strap that was painstakingly resistant to wear and tear.
The fusing of refined materials like gold with an overtly functional rubber strap was in some ways unprecedented, and Crocco was definitely taking a big risk with the venture. As with so many bold creators before him, however, Crocco stood by his vision and the gamble paid off in spades. In almost no time at all the now famous Hublot watch was being worn by royalty across the world. That translated to meteoric success as well as a brand that to this day is still synonymous with remarkable fusion and the tireless pursuit of premium innovation.
Now owned by France’s LVMH, Hublot has survived countless imitators biting off their style and remains on top of their game. That’s in no small part thanks to a passing of the baton in 2004 to horology mastermind Jean-Claude Biver. Biver was fascinated by Crocco’s fixation on fusion and decided to go with the tide rather than reshape the brand. The result of that decision was the Hublot “Big Bang” Chronograph, which made a massive splash at Basel World in 2005 before going on to rake in a slew of awards and millions of dollars. Among the Big Bang’s many notable features was the interplay between “seen” and “unseen”, whereas it combined a transparent face with a monochromatic black sheen, thereby tinkering with the very same notions of fusion that defined the brand when it first launched.
Here we are ten years later and Hublot is still absolutely killing it by maintaining the same standard of creative excellence and unparalleled fusion first established by Crocco and then championed by Biver. The brand is in fact now celebrating over 10 years of the “All Black” concept and to honour the trend they displayed their legendary portfolio at a private event in Sydney, where they also unveiled a new limited edition Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black Watch. The new timepiece fuses a variety of materials, textures and finishes and continues to blur the line between visible and invisible by taking both transparency and “All Black” to even greater levels.
What that means first and foremost is that the exterior of the new Big Bang watch is virtually see-through. One can peer directly into the belly of the beast, where there lies a symphony of engineering and movement that’s as naked to the eye now as on the day it was born. However, giving the timepiece even more cosmic majesty is a coat of black as consuming as a black hole in deep space, truly bringing home the conceptual fusion of disparate elements (visible and invisible) that makes Hublot such a singular brand year after year.
In River’s own words, “By its nature, black absorbs all visible radiation and does not reflect light. In this original interpretation of our “All Black” concept, Hublot is once again playing with received ideas. The Big Bang Unico Sapphie All Black is both transparent and completely robed in black. What is more, it does not absorb light. In fact, it lets light pass through. It embodies the dichotomy of the visible and the invisible, the seen and the unseen.”
The debut of the new Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black was merely a sliver of the spectacle on November 10 at a private reception at Carriageworks in Sydney. The event was part of a global series that gathers some of Hublot’s most devout followers and spokespeople in one locale. Among the guests were Hublot’s Official Ambassador Michael Clarke as well as stunning brand compatriot Jennifer Hawkins along with top clients and distinguished company representatives.
Together they honoured the “Art of Fusion”, aka the core philosophy driving Hublot’s ongoing distinction and success. Showcased at the event were over $2,000,000 AUD worth of “All Black” watches that the brand has released over the past 10 years to tons of acclaim, and then as mentioned the grand unveiling of the new Limited Edition Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black, valued at $83,000. Pardon our interjection, but we really, really wish we could have been there because it sounds simply awesome for lack of a better word.
As for the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black, naturally it exudes the best of Hublot’s accomplishments. Limited to only 500 pieces, the watch hosts a 45mm case made from polished black smoked sapphire crystal, the same material that’s used for the bezel. Connecting the bezel to the case are 6 PVD-coated H-shaped titanium screws. On the crown is trusty black rubber as well as satin-finished PVD titanium. The black polished transparent composite resin skeleton dial features black hands with luminescent coating. The movement is HUB 1242 UNICO with black PVD coating developed in-house, and the column wheel and double clutch on the Automatic Flyback chronograph are visible on the dial side. The watch is water resistant up to 5 ATM and has a power reserve of approximately 72 hours. Last but not least is a transparent, structured, ribbed black strap with a PVD-titanium clasp.
One thing’s for certain: when Hublot says “All Black” they mean it. And if you know style then you know you can never go wrong betting on black. Of course it wouldn’t be a Hublot if there weren’t transparency to counter the stratum of sleek blackness and drive home the theme of “seen” vs. “unseen”. This limited edition stunner is a cosmic mystery wrapped around your wrist. But should you be lucky enough to grab one, don’t try to solve the riddle–rather let the fusing contradictions wash over you in timeless fashion. Our hats are off to you, Hublot, and our wrists are waiting.