It was 10 years ago, in 2005, that Jean-Claude Biver revitalized the Hublot brand with the introduction of the now iconic Hublot Big Bang. The model that the brand introduced to celebrate this anniversary, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Full Magic Gold, made its U.S. debut at a lavish event this week in New York City, hosted by Biver and featuring an interactive, commemorative pop-up exhibit on the history and development of the Big Bang model.
The Big Bang pop-up exhibit, which kicked off at Dallas’s AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cowboys (Hublot, of course, makes the team’s official watch), made its second stop on its U.S. tour at Manhattan’s Cedar Lake Studio. With dynamic images by Swiss photographer Fred Merz (who also shot the Hublot Loves Football campaign), immersive video displays, and important Big Bang watches in vitrines highlighted by plasma globes, the exhibit served as the centerpiece of the evening’s festivities, which also included a Q&A session with Biver and an intimate dinner with tables surrounding a huge circular image of a Big Bang watch dial projected onto the floor.
Biver — who explained that the name “Big Bang” comes from that moment of surprise upon discovering materials combined in a watch that never had been before, such as the gold and rubber of the early Hublots — gave special attention to the Full Magic Gold model, demonstrating the material’s scratch-resistance and hardness and challenging guests to try their own hand at scratching a Magic Gold case (none succeeded).
Hublot first announced this proprietary, patented alloy in 2011, and the material made its commercial debut in the case of a Big Bang Ferrari limited edition watch in 2012. Magic Gold, certified as 18 carats by the Central Office for Precious Metals Control, was developed by Hublot in Switzerland in a partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). Touted by Hublot as “the most scratch-resistant gold ever created,” it is a mixture of 24k gold with high-tech ceramics, created in a complex process that involves pre-formed boron carbide powder in molds, which is then hardened at extremely high temperatures, creating a rigid, porous structure. Afterward, molten liquid gold is injected into the structure under very high pressure, filling the pores to create the final alloy, whose defining property is its exceptional resistance to scratches: its hardness is close to 1,000 Vickers, whereas standard 18k gold is only 400 Vickers. (For a detailed explanation of how Hublot creates its Magic Gold, click here to read our article on the process.)
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Full Magic Gold is a limited edition of 250 pieces. Like its brethren in the Big Bang Unico family (the first Big Bang Unico was introduced in 2013; you can read about it here), it sports a big 45-mm-diameter case, with a bezel secured by H-shaped screws (here in black PVD-treated titanium), and is outfitted with Hublot’s in-house Unico movement. The Unico (also dubbed caliber HUB 1242) is an automatic movement equipped with a flyback chronograph function incorporating a column wheel and a double clutch — both of which are visible on the dial side thanks to the watch’s skeleton dial. The date is visible in a white window at 3 o’clock.
The Hublot Big Bang Tour pop-up exhibit will continue throughout the holiday season, making worldwide stops including San Francisco and Miami.