On the occasion of Watches & Wonders, Hublot debuted an all-new sapphire watch, with a full sapphire crystal bracelet.
Hublot launched its first sapphire watch in 2016, called the Big Bang Unico Sapphire Chronograph. In 2017, they followed up with a blue version called the Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Chronograph. For 2021, Hublot has taken what they learned from these earlier sapphire watch cases and produced a new variant based on the aesthetics of the Big Bang Integral, with a more complicated automatic tourbillon movement inside — and crucially, paired it with their first sapphire bracelet.
The price is obscene but for those who have the means — it’s quite the statement piece. Even considering that numerous companies — Armin Strom, Aventi, Bell & Ross, Girard-Perregaux, Rebellion, Richard Mille — are producing sapphire crystal watches nowadays. None of them currently offers a sapphire bracelet.
At 43 mm Hublot has managed to reduce the diameter of the watch considerably compared to the first-generation models. And many of the competing watches are quite a bit larger. The Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire is 15.25 mm thick and has a water resistance rating of 30 meters, which is down from the first generation rating of 50 meters, but it’s still considered water-resistant so you don’t have to worry every time it’s near water.
Hublot spent five years developing the initial sapphire cases that came out in 2016, and almost the same amount of time developing the integrated sapphire crystal bracelet. Producing a case and bracelet made from sapphire represents a significant feat within the watchmaking world and solidifies Hublot’s position as the leader in this category.
The Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire has been designed specifically to house an automatic tourbillon. Further, the design team was able to remove almost all of the visible screws, as well as redesigning the “general geometry of the case to integrate it with the sapphire bracelet, develop a new case profile to house the sapphire bracelet, and rework the bridges and main plates to give them the illusion of being suspended in space. Hublot also developed inserts and attachments which were reduced to their simplest expression, to allow light through every component. The case is thus composed of no fewer than 37 components, five of which are made solely from sapphire.”
Developing the sapphire bracelet was equally challenging, and it alone uses 165 components, 22 of which are made from sapphire. According to Hublot, each component has its own industrial process. Hublot even designed a type of titanium bracelet pin that both functions reliably while also being discreet.
The automatic movement caliber HUB6035 was developed in-house and features a micro-rotor at 12 and tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon is supported by three sapphire bridges, making the balance wheel appear to be floating as it oscillates to and fro, while the tourbillon cage is simultaneously rotating to counteract the negative effects of gravity on the balance system.
Every component receives light from all sides of the watch, which makes the name “Full Sapphire” that much more fitting. The Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire (Ref. Ref. 455.JX.0120.JX) is limited to 30 pieces and retails for $422,000.