Hublot, you’ve come a long way baby. 16 photos that show just how far the brand has come in 15 years Hublot, you’ve come a long way baby. 16 photos that show just how far the brand has come in 15 years

Hublot, you’ve come a long way baby. 16 photos that show just how far the brand has come in 15 years

Time+Tide

One fact that seems to have been roundly overlooked in recent years is the slow, steady, but really quite emphatic, elevation in Hublot’s yearly releases. In terms of technical complexity, case design and overall finishing. The Hublot of 2020 is not the brand that Jean-Claude Biver re-introduced to the world 15 years ago with the Big Bang.

The Big Bang took the original spirit of Hublot’s previous designs – the rubber strap, exposed bezel screws and “ears” on the case sides – and blew them up in a 44.5mm case, capitalising on the trend of large watches at the time. It was a huge success, winning design prizes and tripling the number of orders that year. But looking back, it was an entirely different proposition to the diverse, creative and high-polished collections gleaming in the windows of boutiques and retailers today.

Like the Mountain, who this week deadlifted 501kgs, the brand was record-breaking and impressive, but it lacked refinement. And Hublot no longer lacks that. Hublot has, in fact, become an amalgam of that same brute power, but with Brad Pitt in black tie finesse that can see the brand hold its own when it comes to finishing and overall innovation next to the best in the business. So, we’re doffing the cap here in respect and recognition. We’ve gone back through the archives to see just how far Hublot has come…

The Hublot Big Bang – reference 301.SB.131.RX

The first Hublot Big Bang from 2005 was robust, and full of machismo charm, though its level of finishing was basic.

The Hublot Big Bang – reference 301.SB.131.RX (catchy huh?) is the OG. Even though Hublot have released what seems like thousands of subsequent Bangs in every conceivable colour, flavour and material the original is still in their catalogues, and still a strong performer. Looking at it now, is like taking a time machine back to the earliest iteration of Hublot’s brand image. The upstart. The contender. But certainly not a brand capable of creating the extraordinary Orlinski…

The Hublot Big Bang Ferrari King Gold Carbon

The Hublot Big Bang Ferrari King Gold Carbon from 2015, made in the brand’s proprietary precious metal. While the body of the Ferrari stallion is burnished to perfection, note the machined finish to the edge of the skeletonised date wheel.

The Hublot philosophy of fusion is one with many parallels in the world of high-octane automobiles. In fact, with their continual use of materials like rubber, carbon fibre and hi-tech ceramic their watches often have more in common with luxury cars than their industry peers, visible here in the Big Bang King Gold Carbon.

Spirit of Big Bang

The instantly recognisable Hublot Spirit of Big Bang curved case.

Hublot excel in their casework, and nowhere is this more evident than on the large and complicated Spirit of Big Bang, first released in 2014, with this model hailing from 2016. The 51mm by 45mm case is crafted from King Gold – Hublot’s proprietary red gold, which contains a dash of platinum to ensure the colour remains true over the years. But even before that, the first thing you notice about the Spirit is the tonneau case shape. Named for the barrels they resemble, tonneau watches are far less common than crowd-pleasing round cases, they wear very large and have tonnes of wrist-presence – perfect for Hublot.

The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire

The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire from 2016, the largest ever production run of sapphire cases at the time. Hublot have been experimenting with case materials since their founding.

Each individual case element (case middle, bezel and back) of the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire is roughly cut from a single piece of sapphire, and then painstakingly polished to achieve the final shape. It’s a labour-intense process, and Hublot’s 500-piece limited edition represented the largest scale production run of a sapphire case at this time.

The Hublot Big Bang Meca-10

The Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 with more consistent finishing on the hands.

Hublot Classic Fusion King Gold Blue and Racing Grey

Most of the time the old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words is tired and overused. But sometimes it’s true. This is one of those cases. And the stunning crispness of the photos (our shooter Jason did an incredible job of capturing this mercurial piece) are a testament to the quality of the finishing and the materials. It highlights the fact that in the case of many modern Hublot models, you can’t get close enough. What an absolutely beautiful watch.

A very attractive evenness to the case brushing of the Hublot Classic Fusion Racing Grey in King Gold.
The Hublot Classic Fusion King Gold Blue

The Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski Titanium Alternative Pavé

Masters of materials, as well as gem-setting

The bold, geometric look of this collaboration manages to be both in keeping with Hublot’s design ethos, while looking on-trend. It exemplifies how far the brand has come since the first Big Bang 15 years ago. At the heart of this, this watch’s appeal is the facets, which allows the typically blocky case of the Classic Fusion to play with light and shade in intriguing ways. This titanium-cased Alternative Pavé version of the Orlinski takes the faceted concept to the next level by adding 312 finely faceted diamonds into the mix. There are 156 diamonds, set in two rows on the bezel, and a further 156 set into the case. The total weight of the stones is around 2 carats.

The Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Moonphase

This thoughtfully executed moon phase model represented one giant leap for Hublot. Not because of the porthole shaped 45mm case which is at the heart of the brand’s DNA, nor as a result of the sapphire dial that showcases the complete calendar movement in all its glory.

Believe it or not, the inclusion of a moonphase is virgin territory for this well established brand. But being Hublot they couldn’t have the stereotypical smiling moon in a starry midnight sky. Rather, they’ve given us a large portal, around which two topographically accurate moons rotate every 29.5 days. The actual phase of the moon is read through the clear aperture, but the second moon isn’t completely hidden from view, instead it is partially obscured behind frosted sapphire. It manages to be poetic, visually arresting and unique in the same instant.

Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT – the pièce de résistance

A Hublot with soft, flowing lines. Now there’s a phrase we never thought we’d write. And better still, these lines are expressed in yet again superbly finished materials. Hands down, it is the modern pièce de résistance from the formerly angular-cased brand and it serves as a fitting end point to this story of evolution and upwards mobility for Hublot. In designing this watch, Ferrari’s Centro Stile has taken the automotive metaphor further, suspending the round case within the bezel. The resulting void between the two circles adds both visual and physical lightness, as well as creating extra surfaces where the light can play. Four exposed ‘H’ screws (rather than Hublot’s usual six) attach the case to the bezel and on the 3 o’clock side, a wave-shaped flange curves over the crown and pushers. It looks airy and elegant – very different from the chunky angularity we expect in Hublot cases. Although the overall diameter is 45mm, it feels smaller – and therefore really comfortable on the wrist – yet still oozes strength and presence.

In 2019 Hublot experimented with new case shapes with the Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT.