HANDS-ON: Hublot launches three new scratch-resistant iterations of the Big Bang Sang Bleu II in ceramic and Magic Gold HANDS-ON: Hublot launches three new scratch-resistant iterations of the Big Bang Sang Bleu II in ceramic and Magic Gold

HANDS-ON: Hublot launches three new scratch-resistant iterations of the Big Bang Sang Bleu II in ceramic and Magic Gold

Zach Blass

Hublot have never had any issues with realising bold, eyeball-grabbing designs and exploring a range of colours and materials that other brands have yet to even attempt to tackle. But sometimes two minds are greater than one. Once again, Hublot has partnered with Swiss tattoo artist Maxine Plescia-Buchi to continue their saga of Sang Bleu watches, with a fresh new trilogy of Big Bang Sang Bleu II novelties. To mark their seventh year of collaboration, Buchi chose to apply his design flair to two of Hublot’s highly scratch-resistant materials: Magic Gold and ceramic in both black and green. Each of the three watches are limited editions with a total of 450 pieces to be made across each model, and each present highly faceted forms of Hublot’s innovative materials – as well as the sapphire crystals that cover the ink-inspired dials. We were able to play around with and grab some shots of the green ceramic and Magic Gold models, so let’s dig into those two.

The cases

Clocking in at 45mm in diameter and 16.5mm thick, on paper the Big Bang Sang Bleu II is not for the faint of wrist. But fortunately the sloped profile of the lugs creates a nice camber around the wrist to mitigate its size. The bezel and case are very faceted in form, with many angular breaks that result in a strong aesthetic. The star-like prism geometries found on the faceted bezel, as well as the dial, create depth through their highly dimensional forms. Surfaces alternate between satin and polished finishes, creating the texture and light-play that watch buyers have come to expect from a luxury watch. The bezel ring is concentrically brushed, while the raised star-like facets polished. Above and below, where the strap and case meet on each side, the broader facets and surfaces are primarily brushed and the narrower facets and surfaces polished to create glistening accents. The green ceramic tone appears as a forest green in the metal – not too bright nor too dark. It conveys the colour without overdoing it.

While the cases share the same format, the screws and accents of the Magic Gold case are black instead of the silver tones found on the green ceramic. This highly scratch-resistant blend of gold is quite understated in appearance, almost burnished or patinated in nature – more sandy in hue than yellow. Normally we refer to precious metals like white gold and platinum as “stealth wealth”, due to their ability to appear as stainless steel from a distance. But there is also a stealthy nature to Magic Gold as visually it’s a tad more under the radar in tone. The beauty of the Magic Gold alloy is its highly scratch-resistant properties, rated at 1000 vickers – just 500 vickers short of their scratch-resistant ceramic. This allows this precious take on the Big Bang Sang Bleu II to resist well against the wear and tear of daily use, maintaining a more pristine look over time.

The dials

Big Bang Sang Bleu II

The depth of three dimensions continues on the dial, beneath sapphire crystal also faceted at its outer edges to continue the geometric theme, with starry prisms utilised throughout all indications. The busy nature of the design creates a distinct and highly artistic picture for your visual enjoyment but, from a pragmatic time-telling standpoint, it may cause confusion in regard to reading the indications. How do I discern the hours? The minutes?

The tells are the SuperLuminova® filled sections of each shape form. The shorter and smaller luminescent-filled triangle conveys the hour, the larger and longer luminescent-filled triangle conveys the minutes. As an example, in our shot above the time is 9:06 – the light tones of the shapes and luminescent coatings not too difficult to discern once you know where to look. The register at 9′ indicates the elapsed minutes, up to 60 minutes, via a luminescent triangle as well, but the running seconds at 3′ does not have a luminescent coating and therefore is not so simple to discern. It is an artistic trade-off, and at the very least the constantly rotating shape form is nice to look at. Fortunately, from a practical standpoint, you can always repurpose the central chronograph seconds hand, with a luminescent triangle tip, as a running seconds hand if needed.

Big Bang Sang Bleu II

The dial layouts are consistent, with an inner hours ring that shows every hour with an Arabic numeral and every half hour with a hash mark. The stepped inner bezel serves as an outer minutes track to indicate the minutes, white on green for the green ceramic model and gold on black for the Magic Gold variant above. The gold on black however does pose a bit more of a challenge regarding legibility, the luminescent fillings tonally matching the backdrop in black. They are not impossible to see, and over the course of wear your eyes will acclimatise. But it is definitely not as legible as the colour scheme found on the green ceramic. Ironically the black ceramic model has white coatings like the green ceramic, but white here would have broken the colour scheme and unfortunately a case-matching SuperLuminova® coating does not exist (to my knowledge). Pop quiz: what time is displayed in the shot above? The answer: 5:01.

The straps

Big Bang Sang Bleu II

Each of the watches are outfitted on rubber straps with black ceramic deployant clasps, the case-matching green rubber strap has black accents on the shoulders and flanks of the strap to better blend into the black resin accents of the mid case.

The Magic Gold strap, however, is entirely black but also has the raised triangle motif that serves as extension of the form found on the lugs. Fortunately there are a good amount of loopholes to situate the clasp and better size the Big Bang Sang Bleu II to your wrist.

The movement

Inside, beneath a screw-secured exhibition caseback, is the Hublot calibre HUB1240.MXM, a blackened and brushed calibre with an aesthetic befitting of the spirit of its design. The winding rotor, while open-worked in certain segments, covers the majority of the movement, its geometry thematically in line with the forms found on the dial.

Big Bang Sang Bleu II

The HUB1240.MXM is an automatic flyback column wheel chronograph with butter-smooth and crisp start/stop/reset actuation, and as a flyback chronograph you are free to reset without stopping the chronograph first – which normally poses a threat to a chronograph mechanism. It offers a weekend-proof 72 hours of power reserve, which has now become a modern standard many buyers look for and really appreciate. And for those wondering, it ticks away at 4Hz or 28,800 vph. It is a technically strong and aesthetically solid calibre that wearers will certainly enjoy – both in regards to performance and appearance.

So, is the Big Bang Sang Bleu II the most pragmatic time-teller? Not particularly. But keep in mind that this collection is primarily about expression and art, injecting the youthful spirit of Maxine Plescia-Buchi’s ink-inspired forms. Undeniably, this is an intriguing conversation piece that will stir the curiosity of anyone who spots it on your wrist. In a world of homogenous watch design, it’s refreshing to be able to say you own something unlike anything else other manufacturers really make. And, with their highly scratch-resistant case materials, it is also nice to know that the artwork on your wrist will be preserved across generations.

Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II pricing and availability:

Hublot 2022 Novelties

Case Material Polished Magic Gold, Satin/Polished Black Ceramic, Satin/Polished Black Ceramic
Diameter 45mm
Thickness 16.5mm
Water-Resistance 100m
Dial Matte Black and Matte Green Skeleton
Strap Black, Green Rubber Strap and Black Ceramic Deployant Clasp
Movement HUB1240.MXM
Power Reserve 72 hours
Complications Time, Date, Column-Wheel Flyback Chronograph
Price $27,300 USD (Black Ceramic, Limited Edition 250 pcs.), $27,300 USD (Green Ceramic, Limited Edition 200 pcs.), $42,000 USD (Magic Gold, Limited Edition 100 pcs.). Available for inquires now.