New with hands-on: Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon

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Hublot showed three groups of novelties in this week’s LVMH Watch Week. Here is our first impressions hands-on with the new Big Bang Tourbillon in a yellow neon sapphire.

New with hands-on: Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem

The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem has a suggested retail price of CHF 200,000 inclusive of Swiss VAT. Limited Edition of only 50 pieces.

Or more precisely the case material. The name is quite a mouthful, but it is descriptive. This novelty is the Big Bang, with an automatic tourbillon movement, and with a case in Saxem – a yellow neon sapphire material, chosen for its light transmission properties.

The case, dial and hands

Its all about the case. The shape of the case is the familiar Big Bang. The construction is not changed either. Hublot has been using this construction method of a pure sapphire case without metal structural support for a while. The  Big Bang Unico Sapphire 42 mm was a case in point, though in 2020 when it was introduced, Hublot had already used the same construction in a larger 45mm case for several years.

But their exploration in coloured sapphire was just beginning. Even the automatic tourbillon in sapphire is not new. Hublot has the CHF 400k integrated Big Bang full sapphire automatic tourbillon, which featured a sapphire bracelet. But CEO Ricardo Guadalupe felt that there was a need to make the watch more accessible, and thus a model without the very expensive bracelet, but fitted with a matching rubber strap.

The material selected for this novelty is SAXEM – “Sapphire Aluminium oXide and rare Earth Mineral”. It is an alloy of aluminium oxide, the basic component of sapphire, with rare earth elements like thulium and holmium as well as chromium. The resulting material is ultra-resistant and endowed with a brilliance that is greater than that of sapphire. The material is usually used in industrial lasers, and is selected solely for the clarity, the translucence and the shocking neon yellow hue.

The matching translucent yellow structured lined rubber straps presents the entire watch as a bright glowing single unit. Almost like its radioactive. But there is no luminance coming from the material. Just its clarity and almost pure transmission of the ambient light make it seem like it is radiating. The only lume is the standard SuperLuminova applied as infill to the arabic numerals 2,4,8,10, the bar markers at 3 and 9 and the hour & minute hands.

The movement

The movement remains the HUB6035 Manufacutre automatic tourbillon movement, which Hublot has put in service in their watches for several years. This is a robust automatic tourbillon with a micro rotor in white gold which is visible from the dial side of the watch. The rotor bears the Hublot logo. The movement has a 72 hour power reserve with the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, and the comprises of 243 components and 26 rubies. The escapement beats at 3Hz.

Movement finishing is at a very high engineering level. And the watch is expected to be robust, reliable and accurate. However, as with other Hublot watches, the finishing is not at haute horlogerie levels. Nor is a watch with sporty usage intent is expected to have ultra high end finishing. And thus, we feel the level provided by Hublot to be at the right level. Don’t over-read into this. The finishing is excellent, with no obvious faults. It just lacks the high level of decoration and cosmetics usually associated with haute horlogerie.

Concluding thoughts

This is an impressive watch. The yellow neon looks like it might irradiate like it is radioactive, but it does not. The transmission of light through the watch is fascinating. Coupled with the already very accomplished and tested design of the Big Bang case, and the tourbillon movement, the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem is a compelling proposition to those who like to live life loud!

The watch is quite light and the fit makes it wear well. Very comfortable on the wrist. The pricing is slightly higher than the earlier model in orange tinted sapphire and a new variant in purple tinted sapphire, reflecting the additional cost of the Saxem material.

Photo Notes

The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem was photographed in the Hublot Villa in Capella where the LVMH Watch show was being held. We used the LED lighted studio that was provide with a white box background. Fujifilm GFX 50S II with Hasselblad HC 4/120 Macro and HC2.8/80 + H26 via H Adapter. The camera was mounted on a Novoflex table tripod. Aperture continuous light.