Hublot’s partnership with Parisian high-end footwear firm Berluti reached the five-year mark in in 2021 and the Swiss watchmaker is celebrating with its latest in its series of special-edition timepieces that elegantly incorporate Berluti’s hallmark Venezia leather into their cases, straps, and dials. The Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio, with its monochromatic gray ensemble, offers perhaps the most understated aesthetic thus far in the exclusive collection.
Despite what the name of the model would imply, the 44-mm case of the watch is made not from aluminum but titanium, “Aluminio” instead referring to the distinctive gray Venezio leather used throughout the timepiece. The intent, says Hublor CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, was to create an “urban style” timepiece that brings to mind “the smooth satin tones of the concrete that adorns the greatest cities.”
Alumino Venezia leather, which is one of Berluti’s signature patinas, is deployed on the polished titanium bezel as well as on the openworked dial, whose surface hosts relief hour numerals and indices and the “Swiss Made” indication, all gauffered directly into the leather. The dial’s leather border is held between two panes of sapphire, and frames a large aperture through which the gears of the movement are on display, swept over by skeletonized, lume-filled hands in satin-finished rhodium. Hublot has introduced a new two-part bezel design in this model, which uses a first piece made of leather, about 1 mm thick, inserted onto a second piece made of gray titanium and secured with a sticky, rigid resin before being screwed onto the case. The technique ensures that the bezel will develop the same patina over time as the Venezia leather strap.
Like its most recent predecessor in the Berluti series, the Big Bang Unico Berluti Cold Brown, the watch is outfitted with an in-house movement with an integrated flyback chronograph movement, Hublot’s self-winding Caliber HUB1280. The movement boasts a column wheel mechanism with horizontal double-clutch mechanism to drive the stopwatch functions. Its flat automatic winding system stores a power reserve of 72 hours, or three days, in its mainspring barrel. Its column wheel is visible from the dial aperture in the front, behind the subdials at 3 o’clock for elapsed minutes and 9 o’clock for running seconds, while the openworked tungsten rotor and other components are on display through the full sapphire caseback window. You can also glimpse the openworked date wheel, which indicates the current date in a window through the 3 o’clock subdial.
The watch comes on a strap made of burnished Aluminio Venezia leather with a rubber lining; an alternative strap in patinated Aluminio Venezia leather with the Scritto motif is also offered, exclusively at the Japanese market, Both fasten to the wrist with a titanium deployant clasp. Limited to 100 pieces, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Berluti Aluminio is delivered in a special case with travel pouch and a shoehorn key ring with the Berluti logo. It’s priced in the U.S.A. at $25,200.