Rare is the opportunity to own a truly unique timepiece and at the same time contribute to solving one of the developing world’s most challenging problems. The Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode “The Singles” Limited Edition collection, unveiled this past January and now nearly sold out, offers that opportunity, with the net proceeds from the sale of each watch going to charity: water, an organization devoted to bringing drinking water to needy countries.
The watch is the latest to spring from the eight-year partnership between Hublot and Depeche Mode, the legendary electronic pop band whose 37-year career has spawned sales of more than 100 million records worldwide and whose co-founder, guitarist and chief songwriter Martin Gore, has been a longtime supporter of charity: water. Limited to just 55 pieces worldwide — one for each of the band’s 55 singles since its founding in 1981 — the watches all have 45-mm black ceramic cases with a striking knurled and polished finish; knurled and black-plated titanium crown and chronograph push-pieces; and rock-‘n’-roll-inspired straps with rubber studs. All are equipped with Hublot’s in-house-made, self-winding Unico caliber, notable for its skeletonized design, 72-hour power reserve, and integrated flyback chronograph function with column-wheel control.
The watches all differ from each other, however, in significant respects, as each one has a dial designed to evoke the record cover of the song its represents (the pictured model is for 1983’s “Get the Balance Right;” an unintentional horological pun, perhaps), with a disk in the front that shows a partial representation of the cover’s image over the openworked dial, and a full rendering of the cover imprinted on the sapphire caseback, along with the charity: water logo. The color of the straps will also vary depending on the model, always echoing the look of the individual dial’s record cover imagery and all perforated in the back to show off the movement. But that’s not all. Each piece also comes with a Roland JP-08 synthesizer, a limited-edition version of the Jupiter 8 synthesizer used by Depeche Mode throughout their career, with both synth and timepiece packaged in a special anodized black aluminum suitcase crafted by high-end luggage manufacturer RIMOWA. To top it off, each includes the vinyl single corresponding to the watch and a certificate of authenticity signed by members of the band.
The fruits of the partnership between Hublot and Depeche Mode, and both entities’ support for charity: water’s initiatives since 2013, were on display at the band’s concert at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center on June 6, which began with Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and members of Depeche Mode presenting a check for $1.7 million to charity: water founder and CEO Scott Harrison. The funds, raised from sales of this year’s “The Singles” watches as well as sales of the previous year’s limited-edition models, have brought clean drinking water to 50,000 people — still just a dent, Harrison reminds us, in the 663 million people worldwide who still lack access to safe drinking water — but an impressive philanthropic achievement nonetheless. The Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode “The Singles” Limited Edition” (those not yet sold out) are available for $31,500 at select Hublot boutiques.