About a year ago exactly, Hublot debuted their very first Hublot Big Bang UNICO Sapphire watch (hands-on here). It was and, I believe, still is the most affordable high-end sapphire-cased watch around – at least for its level of complexity – with a price of about $58,000. It was followed up by a black “smoked” version called the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Sapphire All Black (hands-on here). Today, Hublot releases a brand new sapphire crystal-based Big Bang, and it’s easily my favorite yet with the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire.
I’m not sure what is “magic” about it, but I can say that it is the sapphire Big Bang I wanted them to make. The first two models were artistic proofs of concept. The initial Hublot Big Bang Sapphire was all about celebrating the transparency of the sapphire crystal case, which extended into the dial, hands, and even strap. The same was true in reverse for the Sapphire All Black model. Now that Hublot is comfortable with people understanding the interesting appeal of a Big Bang watch made with a sapphire crystal case, they are able to make one that is a bit more legible and practical for daily wear. The Hublot Big Bang Magic Sapphire is your standard, easy to read and cool Hublot Big Bang with a black dial and strap, but with the transparent, virtually scratch-proof sapphire case.
With that said, this is still a limited edition given that the sapphire case is going to cost more than double most of your standard Hublot Big Bang 45 UNICO watches. Sapphire cases still cost more than things like metal or carbon fiber, but it is because of the lengthy and complicated machining process. You also need to get over the fact that enough people complain that it looks like plastic – in pictures, OK, but in reality, it really doesn’t, in my opinion. If an Hublot is supposed to be about celebrating materials, modern machining technology, and also being boldly eye-catching, then this is indeed a success.
Hublot claims that the “magic” part of the name refers to the duality of the colors, namely the contrast between black and white. Contrast serves watches well because it isn’t just about visual attention, but on dials it is important for legibility. As I said, for me, the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire is a best-of-both-worlds type of product that offers practicality and a sense of “look at me” fun which is part of the Hublot wearing experience.
Inside the watch is the in-house-made Hublot caliber HUB1242 automatic chronograph movement. The movement has a flyback column-wheel-operated chronograph running at 4Hz with three days of power reserve. You can see the movement and dial in an unprecedented manner given the transparency of the case. Speaking of the case, in standard Big Bang UNICO style, it is 45mm wide and water-resistant to 50 meters for this sapphire version. Attached to the case is a black rubber strap, which can be removed using Hublot’s “One Click” system which works really nicely.
Not that I’m currently in the market for a circa $60,000 watch, but if I did have that type of disposable income to spend on a timepiece in the near future it would be awfully hard to not put the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire on a very short list. It’s not a million-dollar-plus Richard Mille sapphire cased watch, and it combines a lot of cool things I like about Hublot together in one very interesting timepiece. In fact, I especially like it since I know it will be polarizing. Limited to 500 pieces, the reference 411.JX.1170.RX Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire has a price of $57,900. hublot.com