In recent years, Hublot has been working overtime into breaking barriers and conquering convention especially when it comes to using unconventional materials for their watches. Well, that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon because at Baselworld 2018, the Swiss brand took a category that is still bleeding-edge and exclusive, to say the least, and dropped a bomb for all of us to gawk at.
We refer, of course, to the Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon, Hublot’s latest foray into exotic materials to create, not only a crystal-clear case made of sapphire crystal, but also a see-through skeletonized movement as well. True, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a watchcase made entirely out of crystal (Richard Mille did that); and true, this isn’t the first time Hublot has experimented with the material, either (Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire). But to give credit where credit is due, Hublot has done it again, and then some!
“Sapphire is hard and fragile at the same time,” says Hublot CEO, Ricardo Guadalupe. “In recent years we have managed to industrialize it and to dye it in original colors. We are now going even further to perfect this unique expertise: creating detailed components from sapphire as well as high-tech polycarbonate.”
In other words, Hublot has taken their Big Bang Tourbillon and reworked it in Sapphire Crystal, and we don’t refer to “JUST” the case, the clear resin dial, or the strap made of structured lined rubber either. That’s right, Hublot went the extra mile INSIDE the watch and created a movement highlighted by crystal clear mechanics. This means the sapphire middle, bezel, and caseback all seem to be floating freely with only a few metallic gears to sketch out the contours of the movement.
Yes, Hublot’s in-house HUB6016, which we’ve seen used extensively in other tourbillon models like the Big Bang Tourbillon Power Reserve 5 Days Titanium, has, in this case (pardon the pun), not only been painstakingly skeletonized but has also been crafted in high-tech polycarbonate. The main plate with its concentric circle bridges, for example, has been forged from clear acrylic, while at the center of it all is the tourbillon with a bridge made from a strip of near-indestructible sapphire.
Hublot went the extra mile INSIDE the watch and created a movement highlighted by crystal clear mechanics.
The 25-jewel HUB6016 movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and boasts a power reserve of 115 hours, or 4.79 days. Further, the movement has also been stripped down to “only” 175 components to help with the transparent effect.
The Hublot signature 45mm case, on the other hand, was milled from blocks of solid sapphire, which is nearly as hard and as scratch resistant as diamond. But unlike diamond, can easily shatter when handled incorrectly making the case quite a handful to machine properly. Fortunately, it does incorporate a few non-sapphire components, such as the six titanium H-shaped screws to fasten the bezel down, elements of the lugs and buckle, which are also titanium, as well as the metal crown.
And in case anyone was wondering, this Hublot Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon is as exclusive as it looks by being a limited edition of only 99 pieces to match its highly exclusive asking price.