Hublot have just set a very high bar for Baselworld 2016, coming out of the gates early with the Big Bang Unico Sapphire – a technically impressive take on their iconic model cased entirely in sapphire.
Sapphire is commonly used on watch crystals because its extreme hardness (second only to diamond on the Mohs scale) makes it highly scratch-resistant. At the same time, this toughness makes sapphire a difficult material to work with for more complex components, which is why using it to craft an entire case is something only attempted by brands at the very highest levels of horological sophistication.
Each individual case element (case middle, bezel and back) have to be 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 represents the largest scale production run of a sapphire case, ever.
Of course not everything on the 45mm watch is sapphire. The movement is a regular Unico HUB1242, the dial is transparent resin and other small elements such as screws, crowns and chronograph pushers are executed in titanium.
In the flesh, this translucent watch looks like a highly precise, technical jewel – an effect heightened even further by the clear strap. Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe poetically described this watch as the Big Bang laid bare, adding that, “It has nothing to hide and everything to show.” It’s certainly a watch that demonstrates Hublot’s ongoing commitment to the art of fusion.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire Australian pricing
The Big Bang Unico Sapphire has an RRP of $74,600 and is limited to 500 pieces.