HANDS-ON: The Hublot Big Bang Unico Gourmet cooks up something special with its Damascus steel caseZach Blass
Steel is a ubiquitous metal within the watch industry, but leave it to Hublot to find a twist that makes the commonly used metal much more interesting. Damascus steel, and its unique appearance, is routinely found in the best kitchen knives in the world. Now Hublot has used the intriguing metal in their new Big Bang Unico Gourmet Limited Edition of 200 pieces. The watch has been created to celebrate Hublot’s partnership with the world of gastronomy, and the bringing together of seven Michelin-starred chefs – two of which, Anne-Sophie Pic and Yannick Allénoare, have been given carte-blanche to combine their talents and present an extraordinary menu.
Hublot CEO explains: “At Hublot, we love high gastronomy, we love people who convey their savoir faire and their signature onto their dishes, those who know how to fuse ingredients to make them unique while staying authentic This dinner is so much more than a Michelin-starred dinner, more than symbolic, it is a pivotal moment in the history of Hublot gastronomy that sees two of the greatest chefs in the world come together to create one menu. A moment which we mark with the unique imprint of Damascus steel, this legendary steel that is also the greatest ally of chefs, from their kitchen knives to, from today, their wrists.”
Water-resistant to 100m, the polished Damascus steel case clocks in at 42mm in diameter, 14.5mm in thickness, and 52mm lug-to-lug across the wrist – giving it the larger presence associated with Hublot Big Bang watches while being scaled enough back to flatter the average wrist. And, to be fair, the camber of the lugs, as they slope downwards, forgivingly wrap around the wrist better than you might expect. The natural pattern of Damascus steel results in a rather trippy psychedelic zebra striping that will definitely catch your eye and, of the many watches we filmed at the Hublot manufacture, this was one I found myself not wanting to take off .
Its dial follows the familiar Big Bang Unico format, with an openworked matte black dial that reveals the anthracite grey-like treatment of the calibre beneath it. Applied indices, numerals, and the registers of the chronograph seemingly float above the city of gears beneath, rhodium plated with black luminous fillings. At the centre you will find the central hours, minutes and running chronograph seconds hands. At 9’ you have the running seconds register, and at 3’ you have a 60-minute elapsed minutes register that also houses an aperture for the date complication. You can see the full calendar disc beneath the main dial, but as the disc rotates into position the lighter grey numerals find themselves on top of a black backdrop beneath the date aperture.
In Hublot fashion, buyers of the Big Bang Unico Gourmet Limited Edition will be treated to two one-click, quick-change straps out of the box: a black velcro fabric strap and a black lined rubber strap. Notably the fabric strap has been formed from the fabric of cooking aprons, further injecting the gastronomical world into the build of the watch. Hublot also include a titanium deployant clasp and microblasted black ceramic buckle for your use.
Inside, beneath the exhibition caseback, as well as visible from the dial side, is the Hublot automatic manufacture calibre HUB1280, a flyback column wheel chronograph calibre that offers a weekend-proof 72 hours of power reserve. Due to the future-forward nature of the brand, you will not find traditional decorations like Côtes de Genève or perlage. Instead, the calibre carries a clean matte finish that is both industrious and handsome.
Whether or not you are a professional chef, it does not take a Michelin-star eye to appreciate the beauty and intrigue that Damascus steel offers the watch case. From afar, the watch may honestly appear like a standard production titanium or steel Big Bang Unico. But, up close, it definitely distinguishes itself from others within the collection. And as you wrist-roll to check the time, as the light hits the polished Damascus steel case and bezel, the effect can be described in one word: mesmerising.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Gourmet Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Gourmet is available now as a limited edition of 200 pieces. Price: $24,100 USD
|Big Bang Unico Gourmet Limioted Edition
|42mm x 14.5mm x 52mm
|Openworked matte black
|Titanium deployant buckle and microblasted ceramic buckle. First bracelet: Black Velcro fabric fastener Second bracelet: Black lined rubber
|Hours, minutes, seconds, flyback chronongraph
|Now, Limited Edition of 200 pcs.
|22,900 CHF, 25,200 EUR, 24,100 USD, 20,800 GBP