Thursday, October 29

New and reviewed: Hublot Big Bang Integral

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Yet another entry into the world of the integrated bracelet luxury sports watch. This is becoming a rather crowded marketplace, and with the entry of a player as large as Hublot is bound to ruffle some feathers. Here is our take on Hublot’s take on the genre – full hands on review of the Hublot Big Bang Integral.

Three models of the Hublot Big Bang Integral were announced. In titanium, in red “magic” gold and in black ceramic.

Hublot Big Bang Integral

2005-2020 – 15 years of the Big Bang Launched at Baselworld in 2005, the Big Bang, a fusion of steel, ceramic and rubber, introduced the Art of Fusion and its iconic design – a huge success for Hublot.

2020 – The year of the integrated bracelet. In 2020, to mark its 15th anniversary, the Big Bang is available for the first time in its history with a tailored integrated bracelet.

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The case, dial and hands

The case is the already very familiar Big Bang Case. A round bezel sitting on top of an angular, tonneau-like shaped case. New with the Integral is the integrated bracelet.

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The flow from the case sides into the bottom, into the bracelet is visually harmonious. Excellent proportions, and the contrasting surfaces between brushed and polished emphasizes the dimensionality of the case. The bracelet comprises of three links, one central and two lateral. The edges of the links echo the aesthetic of the pushers, and architecture of the middle with its cutouts.

The pushers are block shaped, and a return to the original model of 2005, with the design cues taken from the style of the bracelet. The interplay of angles and chamfers, alternating polished and brushed surfaces echo each other. The integrated bracelet is nicely designed and well thought out and the overall is that we agree with the Hublot press blurb which says, “you would think that it had always existed.”

The dial and bezel are identical to the existing Big Bang 42mm model, with the exception that the indices are now bar shaped with chamfered sides, and infilled with Superluminova, instead of a mix of bar indices and Arabic numerals in the existing model. The 5 minute Arabic markers on the sloped rehaut is also enlarged for better legibility. The minute totalizer is now on a smoked sapphire disc, hovering over the main dial, with a cutout to show the date.

The Big Bang Integral retains its iconic “sandwich” construction, but now without the composite resin insert. The whole case is crafted entirely from one material – Titanium, King Gold, or Ceramic. The only exceptions are the black composite resin ear like wafers between the bezel and the crown which is molded over with rubber.

A special model in titanium case, but with pave diamonds is also available.

It is released in three materials inextricably linked to the history of Hublot: lightweight- in titanium, hardwearing and scratch-proof – in ceramic (500 pieces) and King Gold, a unique alloy of gold, copper and platinum which results in an intensely red 18-carat gold and is exclusive to Hublot.

The Titanium feels deceptively light, especially when compared to the King Gold, with the All Black ceramic version somewhat in betweek.

The movement: Unico HUB1280

The movement is the tried and tested Unico HUB1280 manufactured in-house by Hublot. The design has been around since 2010, the design is an integrated column wheel chronograph movement with flyback function. The HUB1280 is also self winding with a standard sized rotor, and is equipped with a date.

Movement finishing is de rigueur. The movement is not decorated to the teeth, but is nicely done with all the classical haute horlogerie detailing being executed competently and satisfactorily.

The chronograph activation is smooth, as is typical in a column wheel movement, with even pressure to start/stop/flyback and reset. The winding crown is also reasonably smooth, and hand setting has a positive smooth feel.

The competitive landscape

At S$27,500 for the titanium version, the pricing is rather competitive in the fairly crowded landscape of integrated bracelets. However, on closer examination, most of the competition do not offer an open display dial, or the material combinations (none in ceramic), or an in-house Flyback chronograph. Perhaps one of those features, but none with all.

The closest to the Titanium Big Bang Integral is perhaps the Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph, which is also in titanium, and features a very nicely done chronograph, though there the movement is done in collaboration with Agenhor (nothing to be sneezed at, in fact much to be admired), and is a monopusher. Pricing wise, the Moser is a more than double the asking price at S$60.700. Though arguably the Moser is more exclusive (or “rare” as Edouard Meylan puts it), has that magnificent fumé dial and is from a small independent maker.

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Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet offer their Nautilus and Royal Oak with Chronographs as well, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5980/1r is in rose gold at S$116’200, and is as rare as hen’s teeth. The stainless steel model is discontinued, but a less expensive variant in gold and steel is also available at S$85’200. It uses the Patek CH 28-520 C in-house movement, but does not offer it with a flyback. The Royal Oak Chronograph is competitively priced at the same level at S$36,900 for a stainless steel cased variant. AP also offers the Royal Oak Chronograph in rose gold at S$73,900. The movement is the AP Caliber 2385 which is a Frédéric Piguet 1185 base. Neither Patek nor AP offer the chronograph with an open display dial.

Concluding thoughts

The Hublot Big Bang Integral seems to us to be a fitting celebration of 15 years of the Big Bang. The integrated bracelet is so well done, it looks like it has been there from day 1. The DNA of the Big Bang, with all the baggage it carries as well as the remarkable triumph it has achieved is ever present in the new Integral.

The Hublot Big Bang Integral in King Gold.

It ticks all the boxes for a well designed chronograph with an integrated bracelet. Material options, check. Visual impact, check. Nice finish on the case and bracelet, as well as the open display dial is an arresting sight to behold. Commanding presence on the wrist, check. 42mm with the heft and dimensionality of the brushed surfaces juxtaposed with polished, chamfered ones are very nicely done. In-house, proven, column wheel movement, check. The Big Bang Integral checks all the right boxes. Is it right for you? It may, but only you can decide. For us, it is a good option to consider, especially at that price range. And our choice would be the Titanium version, though we find the King Gold to be rather more attractive, the premium is perhaps a bit too steep.

Hublot Big Bang Integral Specifications

REFERENCE

Titanium 451.NX.1170.NX

King Gold 451.OX.1180.OX

All Black 451.CX.1140.CX Limited to 500 pieces

CASE

Titanium Satin-finished and polished Titanium

King Gold Satin-finished and polished 18K King Gold

All Black Satin-finished and polished black Ceramic

Diameter: 42mm Thickness: 13.45mm Water resistance: 10 ATM (100m)

CASE BACK

Titanium Satin-finished Titanium and Sapphire crystal

King Gold Satin-finished 18K King Gold and Sapphire crystal

All Black Satin-finished black Ceramic and Sapphire crystal

Titanium Satin-finished and polished Titanium

King Gold Satin-finished and polished 18K King Gold

All Black Satin-finished and polished Black Ceramic

6 H-shaped black-plated Titanium screws

DIAL

Matte black Skeleton

MOVEMENT

HUB1280 UNICO Manufacture self-winding chronograph flyback movement with column wheel

Frequency: 4Hz (28’800 A/h) Power reserve: 72 hours No. of Components: 354 Jewels: 43

STRAP and BUCKLE

Titanium Satin-finished and polished Titanium bracelet with Titanium deployant buckle clasp

King Gold Satin-finished and polished 18K King Gold bracelet with 18K King Gold deployant buckle clasp

All Black Satin-finished and polished black Ceramic bracelet with black-plated Titanium deployant buckle clasp

PRICES

Titanium 19’900 CHF 20’700 EUR 20’900 USD 17’300 GBP

King Gold 49’900 CHF 51’800 EUR 52’500 USD 43’500 GBP

All Black 21’900 CHF 22’700 EUR 23’100 USD 19’100 GBP

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: New and reviewed: Hublot Big Bang Integral | Wristwatch News

  2. Can’t believe that the chrono is useless for times between 10 and 20 minutes….no Indices there 🙁