INTRODUCING: Hublot debuts the first-ever 100% ceramic-cased minute repeaterZach Blass
Hublot is all about material innovation and each year they continue to step it up. This Watches & Wonders, for example, they expanded their sapphire portfolio by adding the colour purple. But while it seems Hublot can bring something new each release cycle with ease, each effort is, of course, the fruit of extensive labour and research and development on their part. Their most recent novelty is a clear indicator of this fact, the result of over 20 years refining their mastery of ceramic. Minute repeaters necessitate a case that can provide the proper acoustic foundation to let the chime really sing, leading most to leverage metallic cases. Ceramic, on the other hand, is not the first material a manufacturer would think to use. But, where others see obstacles Hublot sees opportunity. Thus, we now have the first ever 100% ceramic-cased minute repeater: the Hublot Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic (officially known as the Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater).
Hublot explains: “Hublot mastered the Minute Repeater long ago. Indeed, in 2014, Hublot received a Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) for its Classic Fusion Cathedral Tourbillon Minute Repeater. However, this is the first time that Hublot has transposed this Grand Complication, a Tourbillon Minute Repeater, within its Big Bang, in addition, in one of its most prestigious achievements, the Integral Ceramic.”
The 36 ceramic cases that comprise this execution have been rendered in both white and black ceramic, 18 in each case colour. I appreciate that Hublot has mitigated its size, a compromise between the more compact “time only” at 40mm and their common diameter of 45mm. Measuring in at 43mm, with a thickness of 14.15mm, the watch carries quite a wearable size – especially when you consider the grand complication calibre it packs within. The cases feature handsome brushing and polishing on alternating surfaces, the brushing especially rich as you look at the scalloped case flanks. One major challenge pertaining to water-resistance for minute-repeaters is the slide-switch that activates the complication. But, after years of development, Hublot is now able to guarantee a depth of 30 metres.
An openworked dial is nothing new for the brand, but in the instance of the Hublot Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic the level of decoration has been raised to meet the expectations that collectors have of a grand complication watch. It is still very much future-forward in aesthetic, with brushed surfaces to topside flat facets. But the visible anglage harkens to traditional watchmaking, adding a glisten factor to an otherwise stealthy calibre. Claw-shape indices extend out from the outer perimeter of the dial, filled with white SuperLuminova® on the white model and black SuperLuminova® for the black model. This luminosity layout extends to the central hours and minutes hands, rhodium coloured on the white model and blackened for the black configuration.
The bracelet continues the stunning mix of finishes – vertically brushed on each top facet, polished on the surrounding flanking facets. The trapezoidal form of each link, like a Hershey’s nugget, allows for a lot of light play as the wrist articulates each link. One thing I will clearly stress now is that of course the entire watch is not 100% ceramic, thus why I have stated 100% ceramic-cased. That being said, like the screws secured in the bezel, the folding clasps that secure the ceramic bracelets to your wrist are made of titanium for each watch – PVD black titanium for the black ceramic model. And, of course, the calibre within is not made of ceramic either.
If you thought the MHUB8001.H1.RH calibre was stunning from the front, it is even more gorgeous on the back. The hammers look razor sharp, glistening chamfers darkening around their brighter brushed top facets. With brushed surfaces remaining bright, the definition of the anglage really comes through through the various components. The manually wound grande complication calibre offers 80 hours of power-reserve, and the minute repeater complication produces rich sounds that better cut through the ceramic case thanks to the cathedral gongs. Cathedral gongs are much longer than your standard repeater gongs, resulting in longer and more harmonious chimes that are much more pleasant to the ear.
Hublot Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic pricing and availability:
The Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater is available now as a special edition of 36 pieces, with 18 in white and 18 in black. Price: $295,000 USD
|Model||Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater|
|Reference No.||Black Ceramic: 458.CX.1170.CX.YOS, White Ceramic: 458.HX.1170.HX.YOS|
|Case Dimensions||43mm x 14.15mm|
|Strap||Ceramic with titanium folding clasp|
|Power Reserve||80 hours|
|Complications||Hours, minutes, minute repeater, tourbillon|
|Availability||Now, limited edition of 36 pcs. (18 in white and 18 in black)|