As many are aware, rhinoceros populations in the animals’ native Africa have long been threatened. The cause for the decline is directly linked to human activity, particularly the ongoing practice of poaching. According to SORAI, (Save Our Rhino Africa/India), two thirds of the rhinos in South Africa’s Kruger Park alone have have been killed over the last 10 years by poachers, and their population has diminished to fewer than 500 individuals. One species, the northern white rhino, has been declared functionally extinct, with only two females of the group surviving, their future existence reliant upon a complex system of lab-grown embryos that, as of yet, has not proven fruitful.
Recently, one Swiss watchmaker, Hublot, has taken a special interest in this dilemma, recognizing the issue specifically in Kruger Park and partnering with SORAI for a limited-edition timepiece meant to benefit its cause, the new Big Bang Unico SORAI.
The new watch uses the base Big Bang Unico design first unveiled in 2015, with with a partially skeletonized, bi-compax chronograph dial, but is distinguished by its trendy green-and-black colorway inspired by Kruger Park. The case is constructed from micro-blasted and polished green ceramic and measures 45 mm in diameter by 15.45 mm in height. Its somewhat bulky design lends it a 100-meter water resistance, and it features the hallmarks of Hublot’s Big Bang series, including contrasting black chronograph pushers and crown on the right side; a small ceramic shoulder in parallel on the left; and six visible screws securing the wide, flat bezel.
Underneath the sapphire crystal, on the partially skeletonized dial, are large Arabic numerals, which are scattered alongside two subdials, one for the running seconds, the other a 30-minute counter. White luminous material and green lacquering are applied throughout these elements to contrast with the metallic-tinted, mechanical background they rest upon. Very subtly, but also very interestingly, Hublot has included a small black rhino at the center of the 30-minute counter, the image almost hiding in plain sight. Passing over the rhino and the rest of the watch’s face are a pair of green-colored, lume filled, skeletonized hands for the hour and minute and a uniquely shaped pointer to count the chronograph seconds.
Delivering power to the chronograph is the Hublot Caliber MHUB1242, also known as the Unico and best known as being the first movement produced entirely in-house by Hublot. The automatic caliber features a flyback function for the chronograph, beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph, and stores a 72-hour power reserve. Additionally, the movement is visible, with its dark-shaded finishing, via an exhibition case back that features a commemorative SORAI print and the watch’s limited-edition number.
The Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI will be limited to 100 pieces, each priced at $24,100 and available via authorized boutiques. As is not always explicit in charity-driven timepieces, Hublot has made public that “a portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated exclusively to Care for Wild – the largest rhino sanctuary in the world, supported by SORAI – for it to use as it sees fit.”
To learn more about the timepiece, visit Hublot, here.
And to learn more about SORAI, click here.