The watch maisons of the LVMH luxury group (Moët Hennesy-Louis Vuitton) take center stage in the horological universe this week, unveiling their newest models for 2020 at an exclusive event in Dubai. Among the exhibitors is Hublot, which celebrates 15 years of its flagship Big Bang model with the introduction of the first-ever Big Bang with an integrated metal bracelet, the Big Bang Unico Integral.
The watch represents an extension of a sort to Hublot’s existing Big Bang Unico 42 series, but also notably features an updated case design whose first link is fused with the new bracelet and whose chronograph pushers recall those of the very first Big Bang released in 2005. The bracelet itself is, of course, the big news here, with three links (two lateral end pieces and one larger central piece) whose shaped edges echo those of the pushers and the cutout areas of the main case. With alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces, beveling and chamfering, the links provide a seamless visual continuation of the case and its lugs. The 42-mm case is, of course, dominated in the front by the round “porthole” bezel with its now-familiar eight H-shaped screws. The use of applied indices at 12 and 6 o’clock, rather than Arabic numeral appliques, is another subtly distinct difference from other Big Bang Unico 42 models.
The movement inside, whose innards are on full display behind the clear sapphire dial, will also be familiar to fans of Hublot’s more recent Big Bang models: the in-house, skeletonized Unico HUB1280 caliber, made in-house and equipped with a chronograph function driven by a column wheel and a horizontal double-clutch mechanism. The self-winding movement, which comprises 354 components including 43 jewels, boasts a flat automatic winding system and stores a power reserve of 72 hours, or three days, in its mainspring barrel. Its column wheel is visible from the front, behind the bicompax dial with subdials at 3 o’clock for elapsed minutes and 9 o’clock for running seconds, while the openworked rotor and other micromechanical components are on display through the sapphire exhibition caseback. The openworked date wheel on the dial side, another Big Bang standard, is also present in this new execution, as are familiar “fusion” elements such as the overmoulded rubber crown casing and the black composite resin bezel lugs.
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Integral is offered in three versions, each with the bracelet material matching that of the case — one in robust, lightweight titanium ($20,900), one in sleek, scratch-proof black ceramic ($23,100, limited to 500 pieces), and one in Hublot’s proprietary King Gold, an alloy of 18k rose gold, copper and platinum ($43,500).