Hublot Big Bang 44 ‘Original’ Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver

Hublot Big Bang 44 ‘Original’ Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

Few watches have been as disruptive and defining in the modern era as the Hublot Big Bang. I've spent a lot of time writing about Hublot timepieces, but I've never actually reviewed the original Hublot Big Bang 44 watch until now. Many of the original designs are still produced today, so this watch – while representative of the original design – was produced recently. During my review I also spoke with Jean-Claude Biver about the Big Bang, since it was the first major release under his ownership of Hublot. Today "Big Bang" is arguably the most well-known watch model name released in the post-year 2000 era. Its masculine and polarizing design is highly indicative of luxury in our modern era, and quickly receives opinions from both fans and opponents.

Let's go over a little bit of history first. Hublot as a brand began in the early 1980s, around 1981. The term "hublot" means "porthole" in French, which was the aesthetic influence behind the brand's case designs. Of course Hublot wasn't the first company to produce watch cases inspired by portholes. About 10 years earlier in 1972 Audemars Piguet released the Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak whose case (while different looking) was also inspired by portholes.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

Hublot has a relatively quiet history as a pleasant but ultimately small watch brand that did itself the disservice of being founded during the height of the quartz crisis. In the late 1990s and early 2000s Hublot wasn't doing very well and was apparently looking for a buyer. That buyer ended up being Jean-Claude Biver who recently came from Omega and Blancpain (the latter of which he sold to the Swatch Group).

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

Biver told me a few years ago that Hublot was losing a few million dollars a year when he acquired it (I am guessing for a very good price) and in 2004 he officially became the CEO. In 2005 his radical plan to reform the brand started with the launch of the Big Bang. The design built on the classic porthole sports watch case that Hublot was founded on, but made for a new generation, in a boldly large size, with a strong, hyper-masculine design. More so, the watch was meant to embody Mr. Biver's famous marketing slogan for Hublot of, "the art of fusion." This clever slogan more or less meant that Hublot watches were a fusion of materials, textures, colors, and aesthetics. To this day, Hublot can easily be credited as being a pioneer of incorporating a whole slew of previously "non-luxury" materials in regular components of high-end wrist watches.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

My First Experience With A Big Bang

My first experience with a Hublot Big Bang watch was back in about 2006 – about one year after its original release. I'd heard of the watches but never seen one on public. This was more than a year prior to when aBlogtoWatch even started. I encountered the Big Bang in a rather unlikely place. At the time, I was a poor law school student but given that I spent much of my time in class surfing for watches on eBay and the sales area of forums (which at the time were really popular) I was always looking for a good deal.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

One day I found a particularly uncommon limited edition Japanese Citizen Campanola watch that was being sold by someone who didn't live too far away from me. The guy wanted just a bit more than I was able to spend, but I wanted to see the timepiece in person to see if I liked it as much in the flesh as I did in pictures. So I arranged to meet him at his condo. I still recall the odd feeling I had while strolling to his place that I was about to enter the home of a stranger in order to possibly buy a high-end watch. How young and naïve I was... These days I meet with strangers all over the world and fondle their watches.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

So I enter this man's home – who happened to be a dentist. Something about that amused me because most dentists take their watches off while practicing – so this guy's dedication to the horological hobby was worth admiring. Ironically, a few years later I spent a few seasons being the Watch Editor for a lifestyle magazine run by a dentist that I chose to work with specifically because I like the publication's clever name: Incisal Edge.

Entering the dentist's home, the first thing I noticed was a glass display case full of small model commercial airline planes. "Watch people are weird collectors," is exactly what I recall saying to myself. The man instructed me to sit down on his deep brown leather couch and brought over the Citizen Campanola watch I had come there to see. The piece had one of those very strange artistic and very Japanese market-style designs. I sort of loved it, but I didn't $3,000 love it – especially since it was a high-end quartz watch and I knew that very few people out there would appreciate its artistic merits as I did. That wisdom holds true today when it comes to high-end JDM (Japan Domestic Market) watches with an artsy twist to them.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

As I sat there and carefully considered the potential watch purchase, I asked the dentist why he wanted to sell it. The Citizen purchase itself was so obscure, and it certainly wasn't the type of watch to be flipped. The guy responded by saying that he had just made a much more expensive watch purchase and was looking to help pay it off. So selling the Citizen was to help make room for something he wanted more. What could it be? He walked off into another room to get his new coveted purchase.

I didn't notice how long he was gone given my attention to the Campanola chronograph with the hand-painted dial that I was torn about getting. When the dentist returned, he proudly handed me a Hublot Big Bang smiling and saying "have you see one of these?" I hadn't.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

The first thing I recall noticing on the Big Bang was the applied military stencil-style hour markers and how cool they looked. The rubber strap design struck me as being a bit odd, and overall I remember feeling as though I'd never held a watch in my hands that was quite like it. I didn't know at the time whether or not I was a Big Bang fan, but it left a deep impression in my mind and I could understand why the dentist got so excited about it. If anything, the Big Bang was impressive for being actually quite different than what I think most watch lovers were used to circa the mid-2000s. A few years later, that would all change.

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

The Art Of Fusion In Action

The Hublot Big Bang 44 reference 301.SB.131.RX (there is a 41mm wide model of the same style as well) I am reviewing here is actually the same exact model that I was shown in that dentist's living room over a decade ago. Now it is on my wrist, even though it is one of many Hublot timepieces I've put on my wrist. The last Hublot I reviewed was the spiritual successor (just the more modern and more technically interesting model) to the original Big Bang which was the Hublot Big Bang UNICO watch. With that said, the Big Bang 44 has a unique look and wearing experience. Compared to the Big Bang UNICO, this earlier model is a bit more simple, slightly smaller, and at this point actually feels more classic (which it technically is).

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

Hublot Big Bang 44 'Original' Watch Review & What It Meant To Jean-Claude Biver Wrist Time Reviews

The sandwich-style case design is where a lot of the "art of fusion" comes into play. Hublot designed the Big Bang this way so that it could mix and match colors and materials. Being able to have a modular case design was an important part of the original concept. This watch case makes use of steel, resin, titanium, ceramic, and rubber. Other Big Bang models have featured a large host of other materials ranging from gold to carbon fiber and even magnesium. Today, Hublot is still a big fan of using novel and interesting case materials for luxury watches. Other brands quickly followed suit.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (16)
  • Interesting (10)
  • I love it! (8)
  • I want it! (4)
  • Classy (2)
  • Pete Pete

    the first watch exclusively designed for the taste of soccer players.

    • Gastarbeiter

      or RAVs (Russian, Arabs & Villains)

      LOL!

      • cluedog12

        That’s a new acronym for me.

      • Bad Robot

        In fact the US is the main market for Hublot. In this sense your acronym means Redneck American Version. That is really Lol!

    • IG

      You mean football players.

  • Dr. Renato Lazarus

    Am I mistaken that the original name of the brand was MDM Geneve and Hublot was the name of one of their model lines? In what year did they change the name of the brand to Hublot?

    • SuperStrapper

      I thought mdm was another biver acquisition that he made to bring more watchmaking muscle into his fledgling brand. I think the people at mdm brought up the original Key of Time watch/movement.

      Some publicist must have turned him into that silly watch-over-the-eyes thing because he does it a lot in release type settings. The black caviar watch was one of the first million dollar watches i knew of and he was doing that with it continually. I thought that was how you wore It, that people could just barely afford it and Did, but then couldn’t go out and buy those Oakley over the top sunglasses they really coveted.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b36c9236a51fc184365d16dc7a2bd47b3ca1d3f67764a6b62dc113fc93075e08.jpg

      Regardless, far too little blind hate for a Hublot article and is like to get out of the way before a rogue wave of it takes me away.

  • A_watches

    Although influential, this model looks stuck in early mid 2000s rather than a timeless classic.

    • MeaCulpa

      Yeah, this watch is sort of everything wrong with the early part of the millennium (post 9/11 pre banking/housing meltdown), it has little substance, it’s obviously aimed at the people benefiting from get rich fast scams and it’s vulgar. So basically the perfect watch for The World Poker Tour!

      • A_watches

        reflects my thoughts exactly, you can imagine a flashy wall street trader buying these in the mid-2000s with his bonus

  • hi,

    this is very nice posting and i like so much this watch to wearing and this is looking like so pretty to me when i wearing this watch , i thinks so this is looking like very professional for me

    thank for this posting ,

    regards,

    mansi desai

    • Dr. Renato Lazarus

      WOW, good stuff. Great account. It’s a must read.

      • SuperStrapper

        Sweet zombie Jesus, you’re not kidding! That’s gold. Each post is so unique! And the account description:

        Transit address is one of Indias emerging extensive, end-to-end, international shopping and logistic companion. As a one-stop provider, Transi…

        That’s a great way of not actually saying anything helpful. And I’m sure it’s a total coincidence that Transit Address and Ali Express rhyme…

        • Dr. Renato Lazarus

          It’s fricken gold. You couldn’t write it up so brilliantly if you were trying. I’m almost envious.

    • Pete Pete

      this is very nice comment for us and this is very helpful for us, thank for this comment

    • IG

      Hi,

      This is a very nice commenting and I like so much to reading it, I thinks this commenting is looking like very professional for me.

      Thank for this commenting,

      Regards,

      IG

  • Yan Fin

    Soooo Much Ado About Noting. This Hublot at least looks OK, but nothing more than OK. It’s because of natural rubber.

  • Yan Fin

    Two Bivers are better than one … https://youtu.be/1hqklWJxUTo

  • IG

    To connect with Ariel’s charming story, I’d rather have a root canal than a Hublot Big Bang on my wrist. Having said that, the King of Cheese did a great job to build up a strong brand with a modular design language. To be fair the size/machismo aspect must have been strongly influenced by Panerai’s early success but still he executed the implementation of his vision very well. All hail The Biver!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Hello fellow bloggers.

    I am not an Arab, Russian, villain or a football player but i do have taste so i will have to pass on this gaudy seen one seen ’em all Hublot’s. Nothing special.

    Thank you for the post

    regards to the team

    Raymond.

    • SuperStrapper

      I didn’t know you were a blogger. Links?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Ffs…………..blogees

        • Dr. Renato Lazarus

          Blogees? We are the ones the blog is perpetrated upon?

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Oh for god sake, now am all confused ! I’ve changed it.

          • SuperStrapper

            Did you just assume my species?

          • Raymond Wilkie

            …………..and amphibians !

  • BNABOD

    I suppose there is something about the look that made it so successful but the 14k price tag for a 7750 or at least what looks like it is just nuts. Yeah the case has 200 something parts or maybe it is weight based I don’t know but there are some more docile hublots in the line up in a more moderate sizes. If u like it wear it if u hate it stay away. Good news is, it is your choice

  • Marius

    I’m not sure if this article was written by ABTW, or by the PR & marketing department of Hublot. Let’s see:

    “Few watches have been as disruptive and defining in the modern era as the Hublot Big Bang”

    How exactly was the Bingo Bango “disruptive and defining?” Before the introduction of the Bingo Bango, if you liked this style, then you could buy an AP Royal Oak/Offshore, or alternatively, a Chinese knock-off, which, interestingly enough, is better-looking, cheaper, and uses a similarly pedestrian caliber as this Hublot. How did the Bingo Bango aka a Royal Oak knock off disrupt the industry?

    What’s more, as my good friend Mikita recently pointed out, you don’t really see many Hublots around. Personally, I haven’t seen more than five Hublots in person. Sure, I understand that Hublot is not a high-volume brand such as Rolex or Omega — although, given Hublots rather mediocre fit, finish, and attention to detail, and use of ETA calibers, they could easily be a volume brand — but still, for a brand that is constantly being presented as super successful and disruptive, you see very few Hublots around.

    “ETA movements are reliable and have a lot more people out there who know how to fix and service them.
    …but the reality is that much of the time an ETA-based movement is going to be both more durable as well as affordable to maintain.”

    The “workhorse movement” argument is a platitude very much liked & used by watch bloggers. Sure, an ETA caliber is tough & reliable, and constitutes a great choice for an under $3,000 watch. However, when a $14,000 watch uses such a cheap & pedestrian movement, you’re essentially taking the piss. That’s like Ferrari using a Fiat four-cylinder engine in the 488 GTB on the grounds that it’s reliable & durable.

    “Entering the dentist’s home, the first thing I noticed was a glass display case full of small model commercial airline planes. “Watch people are weird collectors,” is exactly what I recall saying to myself. The man instructed me to sit down on his deep brown leather couch…”

    Right now I’m in Ponta Delgada, the Azores, having lunch, so I didn’t manage to read the entire dentist story. However, please tell me that there’s a ladyboy involved. I hope that the dentist walked into another room, and came back with…a Thai ladyboy. “Have you seen one of these?” I haven’t.

    • I’ve known exactly one person who owned a Hublot, and he was also fond of creme-colored suits and purple porkpie hats.

      • Dr. Renato Lazarus

        You know Steve Harvey? Now you a player, player.

        • Yeah, he dropped out of my geography course years ago. Said he’d never need it.

          • Dr. Renato Lazarus

            Colombia? You from The District? Holla!

      • Sheez Gagoo

        I know a few Hublot owners. What do they have in common? Instead of pronouncing it üblo (the right way} they call it Hublottt.

    • TrevorXM

      Good points! Reading this article I had to look up what came first, the Royal Oak Offshore or the Big Bang since Ariel Adams starting talking about how “influential” the Hublot was. I had to look it up and the Offshore was introduced TWELVE FREAKING YEARS before the cheap and nasty Hublot knock-off with the off the shelf 7750 movement!

      You didn’t miss much about the dentist. For some reason, Ariel goes with a weird homo-erotica angle but it doesn’t pan out. Considering the dentist’s taste in watches, his home must have been really garish.

      • Ariel mentions it in the article, something about the Royal Oak coming to life 10 years earlier.

    • WINKS

      …with a Thai ladyboy who is just as much of a workho’s as the 7750…!

    • BNABOD

      It’s the Biver bingo bango or is that something else ? Either way carry on….

  • A very engaging story about a terrible watch. Sort of like watching a well-produced documentary about the making of the movie, “Birdemic”. I have nothing against the design of the watch, and rather like the overall aesthetic (although I’d pick an AP before a Hublot), but something about their overzealous marketing irks me. I think it’s the shoe leather dial models.

  • The fake carbon fiber dial looks very cheap… As Ariel said, it should be Real Carbon fiber…

  • cluedog12

    The Rose Gold and Black Big Bang was the looker amongst the launch models. The others, such as this classic, were more affordable, but paled in comparison. I can still remember checking it out in in The Venetian in Vegas back in 2006 or so. Thought to myself, “That’s a sexy watch, but 18,000 USD for an ETA movement is off the mark.”

    Luckily for Hublot, we’re in the minority. The new Big Bangs look even better to my eyes, but they fit my wrist like crap.

  • Ranchracer

    Ridiculous, overpriced, gaudy watches. Which came first, Hublot or Invicta? At least with Invicta, you pretty much get what you pay for, a cheap, gaudy watch with an off-the-shelf Japanese movement. With the Hublot, well, I’m honestly not sure WHAT you’re paying for considering they can’t be bothered to develop their own in-house movement or use real carbon fiber (no longer expensive by the way) for their HUGE asking prices. I live in California’s gold country foothills, mostly ranching and farming country, so the chances of me ever seeing one in the flesh (aside from in display cases on infrequent trips to Vegas) are remote to say the least. We don’t have many gold-chain wearing dudes up here that would buy this type of atrocity. Jeez did I just say that? Might have been a small micro-aggression there. I have nothing against gold-chain wearing dudes. Can’t we all just get along?

  • Ulysses31

    Abortion for watches should be legal when they come out with so many heinous birth-defects as this. If The Thing could infect inanimate objects, this is what it would turn in to.

  • commentator bob

    I have similar story. One time I was surfing the web waiting for the dentist, and I saw an article on the Bulova Octagon, which is a much better homage to the Royal Oak than Invicta, I mean Hublot, has ever made. At least Bulova took a shot at the bracelet instead of putting it on a rubber strap and calling it a day. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e084903ea40eade4093ac4a8adbd040c51c065c29076bc6e426850f0c42f4884.jpg .

    • Sheez Gagoo

      This is just weird.

  • SuperStrapper

    Haters are weak today. Pansies.

  • Spangles

    Garbage article, Ariel. Is everything okay?

  • palettj

    The perfect watch to match your Hummer H2, Ed Hardy T-Shirt, & True Religion Jeans.

  • Marius

    Here is what I don’t understand:

    On the one hand, this article talks about how Hublot watches are hip, cool, modern, fresh, and manly.

    On the other hand, the actual owner of the Bingo Bango 44 is a dentist who collects model commercial planes, and who had to sell his Citizen Companilo (or whatewer it’s called) to a poor law student who spends his time looking for watches on eBay.

    I’m sorry, but something just doesn’t add up. Something is foul in the state of Denmark.

    • SuperStrapper

      Actually, not worth my time. Moment of weakness.

      Post the screenshot so you can feel superior.

    • TrevorXM

      Perhaps Ariel Adams is sincere in this piece, but it doesn’t add up when you put it that way. Maybe he’s angling for some kind of sponsorship or “special trip” from Hublot? The clowns from Bremont took him on a racing yacht. I believe he’s gotten to drive around in luxury cars for a couple of days that had a nonsensical tie-in with certain watch brands (remembering a few articles I’ve read). Maybe Hublot is dangling a special carrot he got a heads up about? Looking up the Hublot site, they have a Ferrari tie-in. Is he hoping to get a Ferrari on “test” along with the matching Hublot? They also have just had sponsorships for the Greek island of Mykonos and one in Scotland and even a polo match in Argentina — so who knows what trips are coming up next? Will Adams land a free seat on the next jet out to a luxury hotel in some interesting and cool destination? Honestly, I would probably write highly favourable articles with carrots like that dangled in front of me.

    • commentator bob

      I have to give Ariel a lot of credit for at least mentioning the obvious similarity to the Royal Oak, which almost all Hublot reviews fail to do to not upset the gravy train.

  • Phil leavell

    It was a well-written article and it took a full pot of coffee. It was Whimsical it was romantic he was fantasy it had it all I think Adams
    Gone Kravitz on us

  • William Jones

    A while back there was an article about how the high end watch industry is lacking in relevance. At least 3-4 times a week an article is published illustrating this sad truth. I say one day per week should be spent looking at Timex , Fossil, etc. It would be a true learning experience.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      It would. But the shitstorm on this blog would turn into 3. Worldwar and Ray would die immediately from a heart attack.

  • Framlucasse

    IMO, Hublot is flahy, overated and overpriced. To sell Sellitas at 8 grand is a fraud…

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I thought they were 9 grands.

  • commentator bob

    Can’t afford a Royal Oak? Don’t worry, a Hublot is *almost* as good. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bd33b53f719b418e17eac82c4cba58227c42ace018177540924349824efcd64e.jpg

    • SuperStrapper

      Who would want either of those Junkers?

      • Larry Holmack

        LOL….a Ford Granada…..!!!!

  • Stan Sirody
    • IG

      Did you taste your bud’s cheese?

      • Stan Sirody

        LOL – no, he makes them only for a few of his closest friends. He claims he gets more pleasure from making his cheese wheels than resurrecting watch brands.

    • Berndt Norten

      The Biver Curve

  • commentator bob
    • Raymond Wilkie

      I don’t see it.

      • Dr. Renato Lazarus

        I agree with you, Raymond. So much so that I almost upvoted you.

      • SuperStrapper

        Because it doesn’t exist.

  • Ross Diljohn

    If I were the richest man in the world I would still hate hublot.

  • I’m offended by this.

    Aged nicely? This old car’s bumper (you know the chromed ones with actual rubber bumpers on the corners) of a watch? It was an abomination to the eyes of god the moment it was spawned.

  • commentator bob

    “According to Mr. Biver, there is a guy out there with over 500 Big Bang watches. . .”

    And for having to pretend to be friends with that guy a couple times a year Biver has earned every dollar he has.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I think Hublot was disrupting in a way, because it was the first major brand that did aggressively, what small independent brands did before: Using new materials and technologies for classic mechanical watches. It was the time when brands like Urwerk, Richard Mille, MB&F and idontknowwho came up with very creative and innovative technologies and designs. What did they have in common? Former firm BNB Concept. The wizards of this time. They were also responsable for the (failed) ressurection of Concord at the time. I like Biver, but what he did at the time was (as a customer of BNB as well with Hublot) not paying the bills. That ruined BNB, also affected by the crisis in 2008. So Biver bought BNB and integrated them in the company. Not a nice turn, but obviously succesfull.

    • Phil leavell

      He definitely added insult to injury by doing that ,and a hostile takeover on top off.
      Truly a right proper Rogering

  • Mr. Snrub

    I regard Hublot’s like tattoos: looks very cool on you, but I’m glad I’m not stuck with it.

  • Berndt Norten

    As I was strolling down Strøget the other day with two acquaintances I noticed one was wearing a Hublot. A lady wearing a man’s watch. I’m not sure which one it was. A bit like the Classic Fusion but busier. Perhaps it was this very watch under review. I had to do a double-take because it was much less 1??8??2?? than I assumed. I haven’t seen many Hublots in the flesh–only through glass. I sort of liked it. But yes, yes, it’s overpriced, no doubt. She was rockin that abivination with dark jeans, a nicely pressed white blouse and a light blue linen jacket. It worked.

  • Mike Darwin Brown

    Regardless you have to give them credit, not a fan of Hublot, buy I am a capitalist! You really can’t care what people think because the ones that talk are not doing…….usually. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rules! I like to break them occasionally!

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Your such a rebel!

  • speedwing

    I much prefer the King Power line, specifically the Oceanographics.

  • Yanko

    Every person who tells me that Hublot is a good watch, reminds of what Jean-Paul Sartre said: Hell is the other people.

    • IG

      Sartre would like ABTW.

      • Yanko

        We all like ABTW. But Sartre will avoid Hublot like the Plaque.

  • Word Merchant

    All the ‘slebs that used to wear Hublot for a while have wised up and now wear AP. Or perhaps AP have actively targeted these types. Presumably there are a few ex-pats who haven’t caught up yet, but other than that who the hell buys Hublot nowadays. I expect Biver saw this coming and bailed, the clever old relic. Peak Hublot was attained with this one: https://www.chrono24.co.uk/hublot/king-power-big-bang-all-black-foudroyante-chonograph–id4844974.htm
    The rest are mostly irrelevancies.

  • JF Schnell

    If today I am into watches Hublot is partly to blame (not that I like their watches… but maybe this model in particular). Mr. Biver was at the helm of the company and I recall quite a few things regarding some watches that lead me into searching more and more information about watches.

  • benjameshodges

    Great article.

  • mtnsicl

    Past tense of Hublot = Hublew