IN-DEPTH: The Hublot Spirit of Big BangFelix Scholz
The story in a second:
It’s a Big Bang, but not as you know it.
If you know Hublot, you know the Big Bang. The large, octagonal sports watch has come to define the brand. But Hublot is more than a one trick pony, as demonstrated by the unusual and appealing Spirit of Big Bang.
The Spirit, first introduced in 2014 is an evolution of the Big Bang – one that sits alongside the regular collection, possessing all the familiar elements of the traditional Big Bang, but in an entirely new form.
Hublot excel in their casework, and nowhere is this more evident than on the large and complicated Spirit of Big Bang. 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.
Design-wise the essence of the Big Bang is clearly present, with the ‘H’ shaped screws, sandwiched case construction using high tech materials and cut-away elements. Combining all this with the elongated tonneau creates an entirely new watch, the curving lines presenting a softer, more elegant version of the Big Bang.
As with the case, the dial of the Spirit is classic Big Bang. The sapphire dial exposes the movement architecture, giving it a stripped-back, industrial aesthetic that’s in stark contrast with the luxurious brushed gold case. Thankfully this dial doesn’t compromise on legibility, with the broad gold-plated hands and indices easily visible day or night, thanks to the liberal application of luminous material. The only exception to this is the date; it can take a moment or two to find the red-bordered date aperture on the exposed and skeletonised date wheel. Touches of red on the chapter ring, subdials and tip of the chronograph hand add detail and even more depth to the already multi-layered dial.
You might expect this watch to be powered by one of Hublot’s Unico movements, but it’s not. Instead you get the HUB 4700, which is actually a skeletonised El Primero (Zenith and Hublot are both owned by LVMH), the storied automatic chronograph movement first released in 1969. Using the reworked and rebranded El Primero in the Spirit of Big Bang is a nice easter egg, offering a piece of horological history inside the futuristic shell of the big Hublot.
The Spirit has a thick rubber strap, covered with alligator and very much in keeping with the brand’s philosophy of fusion. The strap balances the heavy Hublot well, and indeed anything slimmer would leave the watch feeling top heavy. As it is, the tapering band continues the curve of the case, creating a cohesive, comfortable whole.
On the wrist
Gold watches dominate the wrist, and not just visually. A heavy gold watch can be unbalanced and ungainly to wear. The Spirit of Big Bang suffers from none of these complaints, the curved case hugs the wrist. Well-balanced and secure, it’s a real joy to wear. It’s also an unmissable watch that makes a bold statement with a whole lot of solid gold real estate.
Bet you’ve never seen a Big Bang that looks like this before.
Who’s it for?
It’s the perfect fit for someone who wants something a little different than the usual Big Bang.
What would we change?
It would be good to make that date window pop a little more, maybe using the same red as the tip of the chronograph hand – which seems to be slightly different from the other red on the dial
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Australian pricing
The Spirit of Big Bang in King Gold has an RRP of $51,300.
Images by Jason Reekie.