Last year we were the first to bring you coverage of the new Big Bang Ferrari watches from Hublot (here). The Ferrari/Hublot relationship was a big deal and over the last year I've learned just how big of a deal it is for Hublot. Making up for at least 10% of the brand's overall sales, the good news is that in my opinion, the Ferrari watches are the finest to come out of the brand - whether or not you are fond of the prancing horse logo on the dial. Hublot is not the only company allowed to make Ferrari-branded timepieces, but they are the exclusive maker of high-end Ferrari watches for the brand and all of its related auto events.
Hublot debuted the Big Bang Ferrari collection with two models at launch. There was the titanium version, as well as the Magic Gold version. For 2013 we get three new Big Bang Ferrari models and a bit more understanding of where the collection is going. With five limited edition models in the new Big Bang series, the collection is going strong and we got to talk to Mr. Biver himself about the relationship. Jean-Claude is no longer the CEO of Hublot (Mr. Guadalupe is now), but as the Chairman and thematic father of the brand, he knows Hublot better than anyone and is still the shining voice of the company.
Arguably the 2013 Ferrari watches are nicer than the 2012 versions. First of all, in my opinion, Magic Gold still hasn't reached its potential. The hard material which is a hybrid of gold and ceramic is certainly scratch resistant, but it lacks the warm color and vibrance of 18k gold. So for 2013, Hublot released the Big Bang Ferrari King Gold (401.OQ.0123.VR) which is in 18k King Gold (similar to red gold) with an all carbon fiber bezel. This is the new "king" of the collection being the most high-end and limited to just 500 pieces.
Carbon fiber is a major point of the collection as you can see. Another one of the new Big Bang Ferrari watches is the Big Bang Ferrari Red Magic Carbon (401.QX.0123.VR). This is the most distinctive of the new collection as it is very much an "in-house" Hublot. Each of the watches contain in-house movements, but this one features a solid carbon fiber case that was also made in-house at Hublot. One thing you'll notice if you survey various carbon fiber cases is that Hublot does the best job at highlighting the particular checkered texture that distinguishes carbon fiber as a material. This watch is also equipped with a red tinted sapphire crystal which debuted a few years back in the first Hublot Red Magic watches that we discussed here. At least now you know where the "Red Magic" name came from.
Limited to 1000 pieces, Hublot admits that the Red Magic sapphire crystals are niche. It isn't for everyone, but it is a good part of the package to offer with the Ferrari pieces. Red after-all is a rather signature color of the super cars. I personally love the overall concept of the all carbon fiber case and red tinted crystal. At the same time, it is a very bold offering that is more collection-defining than being good for regular wear - for most people.
My favorite of the new Hublot Ferrari pieces is the Big Bang Ferrari Ceramic (401.CX.0123.VR) which is also limited to 1000 pieces. This watch comes in an all black ceramic case with a handsome polish mixed with a brushed ceramic bezel. This for me is the best daily wearer out of the new Big Bang Ferrari collection. It is worth noting of course that the watches come with a few strap options. You can go with simple black rubber or the red or black schedoni leather straps. Black with red stitching is more visually comfortable, but like the exhaust note on a Ferrari engine, the red leather straps are beautifully loud.
Don't forget that Hublot designed this new Big Bang case to have an easy-to-swap strap using the triangular pusher on the lugs. I still love that system, and so does Mr. Biver who is eager to show it off and play with it. According to him, and we agree, these are the finest Big Bang watches that the brand has made, and there is good reason. First of all, the Ferrari watches have a totally unique case which is an evolved Big Bang case with new styling that is 45.5mm wide. That is between the older 44mm wide Big Bang case and the much larger King Power case. The cases have unique and angular chronograph pushers (with the Ferrari logo), as well as a crown that twists in and locks as opposed to merely screwing down.
So much of the case and movement are thoughtfully designed and engineered. Hublot knew from the outset that the Ferrari relationship wasn't just a PR stunt, but a major opportunity. An opportunity to potentially align itself with an extremely powerful and well-known high-end automaker for a long time to come. Many have tried and failed with Ferrari and Hublot did not want to be one of them. In Biver's own words, part of his tactic was not merely to create new dials with the Ferrari logo, but a brand new and outstanding watch to celebrate the relationship. True enough, the Big Bang Ferrari watches are unlike any other in the Hublot collection, and the customized details are meaningful and plentiful.
On the dial, the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari watches remain strong. There is of course the Ferrari horse logo rendered in detail on the left of the dial, and all that cool skeletonization over the in-house made Hublot HUB 1241 UNICO automatic flyback chronograph movement. Features include the time, 30 minute chronograph, and the date. The HUB 1241 has a three day power reserve. The movement should not disappoint Hublot fans or others who have a fondness for modern looking mechanical movements.
2013 will add another 2,500 Hublot Big Bang Ferrari watches into the wild. Hublot is and should be proud of the accomplishment. While the relationship with Ferrari is still relatively fresh, it seems to be going better than Ferrari watches we have seen in the past. On top of that, the timepieces are still very cool whether or not you care at all about the Ferrari relationship - which is saying a lot when a timepiece (or any other product for that matter) has dual-branding on it. Prices for the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari watches are $29,800 for the Ceramic model, $32,100 for the Red Magic Carbon model, and $43,600 for the King Gold Carbon model. hublot.com