The Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green is a mean, green, alien-looking wrist machine

The Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green is a mean, green, alien-looking wrist machine

Jamie Weiss

Here’s something to consider: when Hublot was birthed back in the 1980s, synthetic sapphire was only just starting to become a commonplace watch crystal material, with the vast majority of watchmakers still opting to use acrylic or glass. These days, not only are sapphire crystals the industry standard, but high-end watchmakers are even creating entire cases out of sapphire crystals.

Hublot in particular has pushed the boundaries of sapphire. Not only are they capable of sapphire crystal watch cases, but they’ve even made whole bracelets and tourbillon bridges out of sapphire. They’ve also pioneered the use of coloured sapphire for watch cases. In fact, they’ve gone beyond just conventional sapphire: Hublot is now developing watch cases made from a revolutionary transparent material called SAXEM, which is just as scratch-resistant as sapphire but shines even brighter – and is also capable of being crafted in different colours.

The Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green marks the second-ever shade SAXEM has appeared in, as well as the first-ever Big Bang Unico in SAXEM. It’s also one of the most sci-fi-looking watches Hublot has ever made, thanks to its translucent alien green case, bracelet and its openworked dial.

The case

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green

So, let’s talk a bit about SAXEM. SAXEM stands for “Sapphire Aluminium oXide and rare Earth Mineral”. It’s an alloy of aluminium oxide, which is the basic component of sapphire, with rare earth minerals such as thulium, holmium and chromium added in to make it more robust as well as give it its colour. That’s different to how you make coloured sapphire, where you add metallic oxides in to give it colour.

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green profile

Hublot explains that SAXEM has a different chemical composition compared to sapphire – it has a four-sided structure, while sapphire has a three-sided structure – and it also has fewer internal strains, making it more uniform and seamless, which contributes to its optical brilliance. It’s worth pointing out here that green sapphire crystal watch cases exist, but the green SAXEM used in this Hublot has a significantly richer green colour than green sapphire crystals we’ve seen in watchmaking before. It doesn’t actually emit light but it almost appears to. It’s quite uncanny.

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green reverse

How much of the Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green is made from SAXEM, though? Well, its entire case and bezel are made from SAXEM, while much of its internal construction is made from titanium as well as polished black transparent composite resin. Hublot’s signature H-head titanium screws hold the case together, and its crown features rubber knurling. Unlike some of Hublot’s sapphire pieces, the back of the watch is entirely polished green SAXEM, save for a transparent exhibition caseback.

The dial

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green dial

Like many Hublots, the Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green features an openworked dial, with the polished black transparent composite resin of the movement’s mainplate topped with a green SAXEM structure forming the indices and chronograph subdials. The lumed hands and numerals as well as the appliqué are all colour-matched to the watch’s green SAXEM case. Is it the most legible watch Hublot has ever made? No, but I appreciate the dedication to colour-matching as well as the SAXEM dial structure.

The strap

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green strap

Keeping the Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green on your wrist is a translucent green rubber strap with black PVD titanium hardware. As mentioned earlier, Hublot offers full sapphire crystal bracelets on some of their watches, but actually, I think a lot of consumers prefer having a comfy rubber strap instead. Rubber is a somewhat more confidence-inspiring material for a bracelet to be made out of – even if it looks a bit like a jelly sandal.

The movement

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green caseback

Under the hood of the Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green beats Hublot’s HUB1280 in-house chronograph calibre, better known as the UNICO 2. A self-winding flyback chronograph movement with a column wheel, it beats at 4Hz and features a 72-hour power reserve. The movement’s really subsidiary to the watch’s case in this instance, but it’s a thoroughly competent movement that suits the SAXEM Green’s high-tech vibe.

The verdict

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green verdict

I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of sapphire crystal/SAXEM-cased watches, but the Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green is pretty compelling. Alien is definitely the word: this is the kind of thing I’d expect a Roswell Grey to wear, particularly considering how futuristic SAXEM is. I’m just curious to see what colours of SAXEM Hublot will come out with next…

Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green pricing & availability

The Hublot Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green is a limited edition of 100 pieces and is available now. Price: A$175,000.

Brand Hublot
Model Big Bang Unico SAXEM Green
Reference Number 441.JG.4990.RT
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) X 14.5mm (T)
Case Material Polished green SAXEM
Water Resistance 50 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Openworked
Strap Transparent green rubber, titanium deployant clasp
Movement HUB1280 Unico 2, in-house, automatic, column wheel
Power Reserve 72 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, flyback chronograph
Availability Limited edition of 100 pieces
Price A$175,000