IN-DEPTH: The history of the Hublot MECA-10 MovementFergus Nash
It’s not breaking any boundaries to say that Hublot is a relatively young brand, and that they’re not at all cheap. If you’re someone who insists that their watches have 200-plus years of history behind them with classic proportions and traditional construction methods, Hublot isn’t for you. If, however, you want lines crossed, bold moves taken, and innovation, then the Porthole brand has much to offer. There are few better examples of this than the in-house Hublot MECA-10 movement, with each of its 223 components epitomising modern-day luxury watchmaking.
From a visual standpoint, Hublot’s MECA-10 is already a departure from the Swiss traditionalists. You won’t find any Geneva Stripes, engine turning, or hand-engraved balance bridges here. Instead, the skeleton movement displays its mechanical prowess with as much clarity as possible, showing off each part with the knowledge that it was built to be stared at, and scrutinised.
The aesthetic benefit of the coated components is that the movement can be colour-coordinated with whatever the watch is, which in current Hublot offerings is in black, blue, or king gold. From the display caseback, the organised chaos of the dial is replaced with a clean, clinical display of thin and weight-reduced bridges and gears, giving off a distinctly sci-fi clockwork feeling.
The layout of the movement is also quite well thought-out, with the running seconds placed just above the dancing balance wheel, the power reserve display at 6 o’clock for symmetrical numerals, and the top of two vertically parallel mainspring barrels positioned towards the crown, which allows the horizontal ratchet system to slide along the top of the dial beneath the printed Hublot logo. There are actually three ways of reading the power reserve on the MECA-10, with the most obvious being the geared wheel with numbers 1-10 representing the days left. Additionally, there’s an opening in the mainspring barrel which will show a red section as the final 48 hours approach. The third way is a bit more subtle, but with enough time spent wearing this watch, you will also be able to guess fairly accurately how much is left by the position of the ratchet.
Of course, it’s not all about the looks. By far the most impressive feature of the MECA-10 is its titular 10-day, or 240-hour, power reserve. Achieving this, while keeping the whole movement under 7mm thick, is no easy task. This is especially true considering that the two mainspring barrels are stacked vertically instead of horizontally, which would otherwise increase the diameter of the movement beyond 34.8mm.
With the barrels slimmed and skeletonised, and the watch’s beat rate dropped down to 21,600 vph, we are gifted with the week-and-a-half of uninterrupted ticking. The lowered beat rate may be an issue for some people who want a perfectly smooth sweep, however it’s much less noticeable on the small seconds display than on a centre seconds, and it also has the handy benefit of increasing the service interval to the latter end of Hublot’s recommended 3-5 years.
Having been first introduced in 2016, the MECA-10 isn’t exactly emerging technology, so it’s a mystery as to why its praises are so rarely sung. Prices for watches powered by the movement begin at $27,800AUD/$19,900USD for the 45mm titanium-cased Big Bang MECA-10. This may explain why they are rarely seen on the wrists of people who aren’t wildly successful professional athletes, but maybe that should change. The only certainty is that Hublot will continue to chase the future of watchmaking, and excel in doing so.
Made in partnership with Hublot. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.