Hublot Big Bang Integral Titanium, All Black & King Gold Review
The new Hublot Big Bang Integral marks an important step in the evolution of the iconic watch that for fifteen years has represented the peculiar values of the Nyon manufacture. 15 years of Big Bang and an absolute novelty. A totally integrated single bracelet, a revisited case, a different clientele. The Big Bang Integral, with its monobloc architecture, projects itself into a new universe. Between the lines the awareness of a new beginning for the watch that in fifteen years has allowed Hublot to tell its story at 360 degrees: as a perfect expression of the Art of Fusion on which the brand philosophy is based, as the launching ground for some of the more interesting innovations from the point of view of materials research and, of course, for everything related to technical and manufacturing evolution proper. In short, behind 15 years of Big Bang are the last 15 intense years of Hublot’s history; and looking back, the tick of the watch name couldn’t have been more effective!
Not only for the image that it is immediately capable of evoking, that is, that of the great explosion which according to the theory expressed by some scientists would be at the origin of the Universe; but, more subtly, as an almost fortuitous encounter of objects and materials that normally belong to different worlds: gold and rubber, for example, or ceramic and steel, carbon and gold, carbon and diamonds, and many others. In short, on closer inspection, the wide overview of the possible combinations experienced by the Art of Fusion. Common to both interpretations is the surprise effect of each new combination and of each new launch, with that provocative component that naturally belongs to all innovators. Central stage of this evolution is that of 2013: the year in which the Big Bang hosted the engine of the Maison for the first time, the Unico manufacture caliber, double horizontal coupling chronograph with column wheel visible on the dial side.
This important technical development was accompanied, of course, by an aesthetic reworking of the watch; it is with it the adoption of the “One Click” strap attachment system that allowed a quick replacement, adding the ideas of interchangeability and adaptability in the Big Bang vocabulary. Today, for the first time in its history, an integrated bracelet marks a new course for this iconic watch; not only because it replaces the equally iconic rubber strap, but because its version has involved a complete restyling, starting from the fusion of the first link of the bracelet with the case. The latter retains its characteristic “sandwich” structure, which over time has outlined its construction complexity and the ability to accommodate different materials, but this time it uses a single material, that is, in the three available variants: Titanium, King Gold or Ceramic, the lugs of the black composite bezel and the rubber coated crown are exceptions.
Regarding the dimensions, it belongs to the Big Bang Unico 42 mm family introduced in 2018, but the thickness has been further decreased and brought to 13.45 mm / 0.52 inch. The Big Bang Unico 42 mm also incorporates the bezel, but not the chronograph buttons, which refer rather to the codes of the original model of 2005: elongated and squared, they stylistically match the bracelet geometries, with the links showing clear cuts and sharply chamfered sharp corners. Also in this search for a common aesthetic signature, the integration between the case and bracelet acquires a precise relevance with a view to a general rethinking of the watch and therefore a new course for the collection. With its three rows of solid links (the central one has a horizontal orientation and greater emphasis than the side links) the new bracelet designed for the Hublot Big Bang makes the cuts on the case its own, the corners that underline the combination of the different elements and still the shiny and satin finishes of the metal.
And the whole is so balanced as to suggest the impression that only the bracelet was missing from the Big Bang to offer a contemporary vision of the brand and its most emblematic watch. Also from a technical point of view, the Big Bang Integral is in absolute continuity with the Big Bang Unico 42 mm. It is in fact animated by the HUB 1280 caliber, which made its debut naturally in 2018 together with the 42 mm / 1.65 inch model. For its realization, the watchmakers of the Nyon manufacture had revisited the unique HUB 1242 caliber mounted on the Big Bang 45 mm / 1.77 inch since 2013, reducing its size and optimizing its characteristics at the same time: in particular, a flatter automatic winding system thanks to which the thickness was reduced by 1.3 mm / 0.05 inch, from 8.05 mm / 0.31 inch to 6.75 mm / 0.26 inch, while the 30 mm / 1.18 inch diameter; the number of components went from 330 to 354, with 43 Rubies against 38 of the previous caliber.
Compared to its older brother, the HUB 1280 caliber maintains the dual clutch chronograph mechanism and the column wheel visible on the side of the dial; it also has 4 technical innovations which correspond to as many patents: oscillating second coupling, ball-adjustable chronograph clutch system, spool stop system with unidirectional wheels and fine adjustment system of the racket. Among the other features of this movement, with automatic winding and date flyback chronograph function, I still remember the frequency of 4 Hz, 28,800 variations per hour, and the 72-hour power reserve. Its complex architecture is visible both through the case back and on the side of the dial, where the hour markers have completely replaced the Arabic numerals, giving the watch a decidedly modern look and a great aesthetic impact. With regard to materials, the Big Bang Integral is available in Titanium, King Gold and in the All Black version in black ceramic, in this case the series is limited to 500 specimens. For all finishes they are shiny and satin, both on the case and on the bracelet, while the 6 screws on the bezel are in black plated titanium; guaranteed up to 10 atmospheres. The price of the Big Bang Integral in the Titanium version amounts to € 20,700, in the All Black version to € 22,700, while the Hublot Big Bang Integral King Gold is available at the price of € 51,800.
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