Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10
Hublot is renowned in the watch scene for its ‘art of fusion’. It is where the manufacturer combines various innovative materials to create the next big thing. With the new, Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 – presented earlier this year before the pandemic got bad – a different kind of fusion is in play. This is the first fusion between between Hublot’s popular Meca-10 manufacture calibre and the Spirit of Big Bang design. The Spirit of Big Bang collection may not be the most iconic from the polarising Swiss brand, but it is one that has been gaining traction and importance. And spoiler alert: implementing the Meca-10 calibre – originally for the Big Bang collection – in the Spirit of Big Bang wasn’t merely a ‘cut-and-paste’ job.
Here, we bring you the low-down and our thoughts on the new Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The Spirit of Big Bang case – unlike most of Hublot’s watches – is barrel-shaped. It reminds us of the watches of a certain brand at a higher price point that is named after its founder, but we digress. With its six H-screws crossing through the bezel, lugs on either side of the dial, imposing crown that facilitates winding, and its bezel strap attachments, the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 has all the features of the original famous Big Bang, Hublot’s flagship model. In true devotion to the ‘Art of Fusion’, the case has a ‘sandwich’ construction that makes it possible to vary and blend an infinite number of materials. The Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 is currently offered in satin-finished and polished grade-5 titanium, satin-finished and polished 18K King Gold (an alloy of gold and platinum), and microblasted black ceramic, otherwise known as Black Magic. And as you would expect from a manufacturer that uses them extensively, the rubber strap is supple, durable, and provides excellent comfort on the wrist.
As is the case for the bulk of Hublot watches, there is hardly any dial proper to be found in the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 – it has mostly been openworked to reveal the skeleton movement behind. All that can be considered ‘dial’ are the hour, minute, and small seconds tracks. There is also a power reserve display but that should be considered part of the movement. And as you would expect from openworked watches, legibility is pretty sub-optimal. Fortunately for the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10, the hour and minute hands (the most important time-telling hands) are fairly thick and coated with luminescent material, so it’s not actually too bad.
Driving the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 is none other than the 228-part, 26-jewel manufacture Calibre HUB1233. It beats at a stately 3 Hz and boasts an exceptional 10-day power reserve thanks to its parallel twin barrels. This power reserve is displayed in a most entertaining way. At 12 o’clock, there are two racks sliding on a line between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock with a new rack and pinion, whilst the opening at 3 o’clock shows the number of days left on the power reserve. Another technical feature worth mentioning is how Hublot managed to fit the Meca-10 movement into the Spirit of Big Bang. They did not settle with minor adjustments, but, rather, revised the whole construction of the movement so that it would fit in its new home as efficiently as possible from a technical and aesthetic point of view. To achieve this, Hublot replaced the usually round plate of the movement with bridges with a fixed length on either side of a ring that serves as the base of the movement – kind of like joists in construction.
The most memorable parts about the aesthetics of the Calibre HUB1233 is undoubtedly its architecture and its industrial finish. It is a gear head’s wet dream. The movement is sprawling with beam-like bridges and has been cleverly skeletonised to evoke a sense of depth. The industrial finissage, while not the most refined, certainly is fitting of a contemporary watch. We particularly love the contrast between parts made from crude steel with satin or polished finishes, and parts with blackened finishes.
The Competitive Landscape
If you’re into contemporary casual watches, there is a lot to like about the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10. There’s the innovative materials, the openworked dial and movement architecture, the non-round shape of the case, and of course, the sublime 10-day power reserve. For fans of the watch, the good news is that it is fairly priced: EUR22,700 for the titanium, EUR26,900 for the Black Magic, and EUR43,500 for the King Gold.
It is also good to know that pricing for the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 had translated well from its predecessor, the Big Bang Meca-10 in Blue Ceramic. The watch, introduced in 2018, was priced at USD22,000. It – along with the other Big Bang Meca-10 variants – is the obvious competitor to the new Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10, albeit an in-house competitor. Though the movement layout is slightly different, it unsurprisingly has the same functions as the barrel-shaped Calibre HUB1233. For those who prefer round cases, the Big Bang Meca-10 is the one to go for.
Outside of the Hublot brand, you would sooner realise that it’s not exactly easy to find a watch with 10-day power reserve at a similar price point. Nevertheless, we stumbled upon Panerai and the PAM786 Luminor 8 Days Set. First introduced in 2016, the set comes with the Luminor Black Seal Left-Handed and Daylight, as well as a gorgeous wooden box and a model of a human torpedo. If you haven’t guessed it from the name, the PAM786 – driven by the Calibre P.5000 – has an impressive 8-day power reserve, which is just 2 days shy of the Meca-10’s 10-day. The set, as you can imagine, is no longer in production, but in 2016 it was priced at USD20,500 all inclusive.
The Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 is not a timepiece for everyone, but for its price point, it has a fair amount going for it. It does not try to be anything else other than a casual watch with an impressive (and conveniently long) power reserve, an unorthodox case shape, and lots of materials science backing it.