HANDS-ON: The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire HANDS-ON: The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire

HANDS-ON: The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire

Fergus Nash

When the price of a watch crosses into six figures, you usually know that it’s getting serious. The manufacturing, finishing, movement engineering, and even the strap are all expected to be on a totally new level to anything else. But, with great expense, also comes great freedom, as watch manufacturers can afford to spend way more on research and development than they normally would for a cheaper watch. The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire is one such watch where the brand has reserved their right to play, letting the fun take the spotlight over the high-end watchmaking which still exists within its bones.

The case

Instead of something ultra-luxury, one of the closest watch comparisons I can make is actually to the humble yet iconic Swatch Jellyfish. Obviously, comparing a Swatch to a Hublot is by nature guaranteed to be incorrect when accounting for quality, materials and execution, but the core philosophy behind the design is really the same. Sapphire is broadly used in watchmaking for its scratch resistance, but if Hublot wanted to just make a scratch-resistant watch then they could easily have used ceramic, Magic Gold, or even just coated steel. So, it makes sense that the only reasons for using sapphire as a case material is to have a translucent watch that gives you joy to look at.

Being honest with ourselves, watches are often little more than toys for collectors. Picking up a toy, placing it on your wrist, and being able to see through it? Surely that lights up the inner child in a flash, just as was intended by the aforementioned Swatch. Adding to the childlike fun element is the clear sapphire caseback, giving an even better uninterrupted view into the movement from several angles. It’s also impressive to see just how small the movement really is, with plenty of room to spare on either side in the 42mm case.

The movement

Just because the Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire prioritises style, doesn’t mean it completely ignores the high horological standards that it’s expected to live up to. This watch follows the traditional route of using a modified base movement, but in this case the calibre HUB4700 from Hublot is based on the fantastic Zenith El Primero 400. You really can’t argue with the choice of a Zenith movement in a watch of this luxury standard, as they’ve definitely set a great precedent for powering watches of lofty heights. The high-beat 36,000 vibrations per hour and 50 hours of power reserve are standard with this model, as is the automatic winding that the El Primero was originally famous for.

The dial

With everything else that’s going on with this watch, you may have forgotten that it even has a dial. To be brutally honest, it’s not a dial that you’re going to read very often. Even on the rare occasion that you glance at your wrist instead of a phone for the accurate time, the dark blue accents on the black and silver skeleton dial is a real struggle to clearly see. But, as we’ve already established, this isn’t a watch where practicality is a priority. When you go and buy a Pagani hypercar, you do it because it’s a frankly ridiculous car that has no place being on the street, and not because it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay.

The verdict

The Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire clearly isn’t a shopping list watch, meaning that you wouldn’t buy it just to tick something off your list. You may have heard something along the lines of “every collection needs a diver, a dress watch, a GMT, a chronograph” etc. Has anyone ever told you that your collection needs a translucent blue chronograph hewn from solid sapphire? In exploring a more playful aspect of watchmaking, Hublot have left the world of prescribed taste for one of buying what makes you happy. For around $150,000AUD, buying the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire is an ultimate gesture of not giving a damn.

The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire pricing and availability:

The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Blue Sapphire is available in a limited-edition run of 100 pieces and is available from Hublot authorised dealers priced at $147,000 AUD