Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II
The original Big Bang Sang Bleu, released in 2016, was born out of the collaboration between Hublot and Swiss tattoo artist Maxime Buchi. Named after his studio, the Big Bang Sang Bleu featured a highly geometrical design that is in line with Buchi’s signature style. Unlike most other Big Bang timepieces, the Sang Bleu was generally applauded by the enthusiast community for its well-conceived design. Fast forward three years and we now have a sequel to this fascinating watch. They say that sequels never live up to expectations, but spoiler alert: this one absolutely does. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the Big Bang Sang Bleu II.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
Available in titanium or 18K King Gold, the case of the Big Bang Sang Bleu II measures an unmissable 45.00 mm in diameter – the same as the original Sang Bleu. You’d be hard pressed getting this one under a dress cuff, but then why should you? The watch is clearly meant to be a showpiece – sculptural art, if you will. The size might not do much for wearability, but it certainly accentuates the edgy (quite literally) design of the case. It’s all about harsh lines, angles, and facets with the Big Bang Sang Bleu II. The new design is way more three-dimensional than the original, and in our opinion, is an improvement. The motif spans the case, cutting into the hexagonal bezel, carving into the sapphire crystal, and moulded onto the interchangeable bracelet. But the best part of the case remains its finishing. With alternating brushed and polished facets, the case is an orchestra of contrasts, and beautiful ones at that. One final note of the exterior: on the crown, the tastefully superposed logos of Hublot and Sang Bleu can be found – a fitting touch denoting their collaboration.
The dial itself is partially skeletonised to reveal part of the movement behind it. The hands (and discs) are a work of geometric art. They, with their polygonal design, clearly have Sang Bleu DNA. It might be hard to tell from the dial, but the watch is indeed a chronograph. Displayed on the it are the petite seconds at 9 o’clock, the 60-minute chronograph register at 3 o’clock, central chronograph seconds, a well-integrated date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock, and of course, the hours and minutes. Legibility is the Achilles heel of this watch, but let’s be honest: nary a person wears a luxury watch these days to tell or measure time, no less a loud showpiece like the Big Bang Sang Bleu II.
Driving the Big Bang Sang Bleu II is the HUB1240 Unico manufacture movement. It has a respectable power reserve of 72 hours while operating at a modern 4 Hz beat rate. Looking through the sapphire crystal case back, one will find a gorgeous winding rotor that spans the entirety of the movement. The rotor is partially openworked with Sang Bleu’s signature geometric design, meaning glimpses of the movement can be seen through it. The finishing of the movement is very contemporary; although nothing spectacular, it is neat and attractive.
The Competitive Landscape
Collaboration watches tend to be gimmicky and lame, with uninspiring colour changes and logo slap-ons. The Big Bang Sang Bleu II is a strong exception; its design is uniquely inspirational and even surpasses that of its predecessor. The watch, in typical Hublot fashion, is limited to 200 pieces for the titanium variant and 100 pieces for the King Gold variant. The former is priced at USD25,200, while the latter, at USD47,300.
Interestingly, the Big Bang Sang Bleu II bears a striking resemblance to another member of the Hublot family: the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski. Much like the Big Bang Sang Bleu II, the watch came to being as a result of a collaboration (with Richard Orlinski) and has much to do with facets. The facets on the Orlinski, however, are softer, with homogenous finishing (mirror polishing). The dial is noticeably more legible as well, though not by much thanks to its openworked design. Keep an eye out for our full review of the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski, which will be coming soon. The watch, crafted in titanium, is priced more affordably compared to the Sang Bleu II at USD17,800.
While most would agree that both the Sang Bleu II and the Orlinski possess a sculptural quality, when it comes to the ultimate wrist-sculptures, nobody beats MB&F. Take the HM9 for instance. The watch is reminiscent of a jet engine with design cues inspired by mid-century aviation. The highly complex case encloses an equally sophisticated movement that features twin balance wheels and a planetary differential that averages the output of both balances. It goes without saying that finishing is top notch and markedly better than both Hublots. This does, however, come at a price: an eye-watering CHF168,000, to be exact. The watch in grade 5 titanium comes in a limited edition of only 33 pieces.
Hublot’s successful collaboration with Sang Bleu continues to be so. The Sang Bleu II stands out (in a good way) and soars above the sea of Big Bang limited edition timepieces. The watch may not be great for time-telling but it sure is one hell of a conversation starter.