While not the first company to utilize synthetic sapphire crystal to build a watch case, the new Unico Sapphire Chronograph, which Hublot has just previewed ahead of Baselworld 2016, is one of the most interesting sapphire watches to-date. Richard Mille came out with a similar model in 2012. Rebellion and 4N also launched sapphire models last year. However, until now, all the versions we’ve seen do not have traditional round cases, which are presumably harder to machine than rectangle shaped cases, especially considering the hardness of sapphire (which is second only to diamond). Not to mention, that sapphire is quite brittle as well.
At 45 mm in diameter, this is likely the most wearable of the sapphire watches yet.
Interestingly, it is not just the case components that are clear – the indices, flange, chapter ring, bezel lugs, subdials, and hands are also clear. But instead of sapphire, those components are made of clear resin (plastic).
Not everything on the watch can be clear, or the watch would fall apart, and so in addition to the movement being made of traditional materials – the screws, crown, pushers, and some of the other vital structural components, are made of titanium.
Unico in-house caliber HUB 1242 powers the time and flyback chronograph functions. Water-resistance is 50 meters. The Big Bang Unico Sapphire is a limited edition of 500 pieces and will be available later this year at a price of $57,900.