Straight from the mouth of Jean-Claude Biver, "Ferrari and Hublot are now married. Where Ferrari goes, Hublot must go as well." Ferrari executives grin as the godfather of Hublot enthusiastically memorializes the relationship between the two brands by unveiling the new Big Bang Ferrari watch. Those familiar with the brand, who have a careful eye, will know just what this watch means. In a sense, it is a summation of the many ranged accomplishments that Jean-Claude Biver has achieved during his time as CEO of the brand.
Recently he officially handed the CEO reigns over to his number 2 man Ricardo Guadalupe. Stepping aside to be Chairman, Mr. Biver now takes a less active role in the future of Hublot. A future he has helped to build with his tenacity, creativity, and sheer energy. Admired and envied by many others in the industry, Biver is a master at what he does, and connecting Ferrari and Hublot is one of his proudest achievements. You can see it right on his face.
As the official watch maker partner, Hublot and Ferrari will enjoy a long and interesting relationship together. Still, this is likely to be one of the most important watches of the relationship. Hublot chose an opportune time to release a watch that even without the Ferrari branding would be important for the brand and the legacy of Mr. Biver. In about 2004 Hublot was officially "relaunched" with the debut of the original Big Bang. Little did they know how ironic the name would be given that the collection really birthed the success of today's Hublot.
The Big Bang was considered massive when it was released with a size of 44mm wide. It combined several materials (under Biver's "fusion" philosophy), and was almost revolutionary in its design. Now in 2012 the core Big Bang case finally gets updated. The look is more contemporary with a mixture of angles and curves. It has been enlarged to 45.5mm wide, and features an easy release strap system that Hublot developed for its Oceanographic dive watch collection. The new case debuts with a prancing pony on the dial.
To start Hublot will offer the Big Bang Ferrari watch in either titanium or Magic Gold. The latter material I covered here in more detail. Seeing the Magic Gold version of the Big Bang Ferrari was the first time I got to check out the material hands on. Hublot just barely completed the case in time for its Baselworld show debut. The ceramic gold mixture material is interesting. It is certainly smooth, but darker than normal gold. It also has a slight greenish-gray tint to it. I have a feeling Hublot will be tweaking the colors a bit moving forward. Even if they don't, it is a new material and color that they haven't before offered. It is also more than twice as scratch resistant as gold is. Exotic materials and new ones like Magic Gold are horological inclusions that were a cornerstone of Biver's product strategy.
Inside the Big Bang Ferrari is an in-house made Hublot Unico 1241 automatic chronograph movement. This is one of the first watches to feature the newer in-house made caliber. The Unico is another one of Biver's proud achievements - the development and production of an in-house movement suitable for more than its low-volume ultra high-end watches. Fully skeletonized on the dial, the caliber 1241 offers the time (no seconds), date, and 60 minute chronograph. The rotor of the movement is designed to look like the wheel of a Ferrari car. The skeletonization of the dial and back of the watch is technical and attractive. Hublot even fashioned new hands and hour markers for the updated Big Bang watch. Another neat feature is a crown that rather than screwing in, twists-in and locks securely.
Ferrari gets branding on both the dial and side of the case. On the dial is a small three-dimensional model of the prancing horse Ferrari logo next to 9 o'clock. On the side of the case is a fully spelled out Ferrari name on the chronograph reset pusher. Actually the pushers were designed to look like Ferrari shifting pedals. On the dial is a yellow background for the date indication, helping the number to pop out. The entire execution ends up looking cool because it is totally Hublot DNA, appropriately Ferrari, has some appreciated design updates, and is something new that nevertheless fits in with the brand clear future direction.
The strap change system works really well. There is a pusher on the lugs that you press to release the strap. It clicks out and then clicks back in again. This system allows wearers to interchange Hublot straps which is likely to be a new and lucrative business for Hublot - as its watch owners can personally swap out straps as they like.
With an updated case design, highly technical skeletonized dial showing an in-house made movement, new convenience features, and celebrating the brand's relationship with an extremely important car maker, the new Big Bag Ferrari is almost a guaranteed hit. Even if the look of it doesn't suit your tastes, you have to admit that Hublot mixes so many desirable things for watch lovers and luxury appreciator's alike, that this timepiece is sure to maintain the "bang" in Big Bang for a while to come. I don't recall the specific prices but believe they are in excess of $30,000 each. Plus, the Big Bang Ferrari is a limited edition watch with 500 pieces in Magic Gold, and 1000 pieces in titanium.
BIG BANG FERRARI MAGIC GOLD, BIG BANG FERRARI TITANIUM - Tech specs from Hublot:
References 401.MX.0123.GR (BIG BANG FERRARI MAGIC GOLD) 500-piece limited edition
401.NX.0123.GR (BIG BANG FERRARI TITANIUM) 1000-piece limited edition
Case Diameter: 45.5 mm - polished Magic Gold or satin-finished Titanium
Bezel: Polished Magic Gold or satin-finished Titanium
6 H-shaped black PVD titanium screws, countersunk, polished & locked (Magic Gold)
6 H-shaped countersunk, polished & locked screws (Titanium)
Crystal: Sapphire with interior/exterior anti-reflective coating
Bezel lug: Black composite resin
Lateral inserts: Black composite resin with carbon insert at 9 o'clock
Crown: Micro-blasted and polished black PVD titanium (Magic Gold), Micro-blasted and polished titanium (Titanium), Black rubber insert with Hublot logo
Push-buttons: Micro-blasted and polished black PVD titanium (Magic Gold), Micro-blasted and polished titanium (Titanium), Black rubber insert on the push-piece at 2 o'clock, Engraved Ferrari logo with red lacquer on the push-piece at 4 o'clock
Case-back: Micro-blasted and polished black PVD titanium
Sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflective treatment
Water resistance 10 ATM, i.e. approx. 100 meter
Dial: Sapphire with white Hublot logo transfer
Rhodium-plated Ferrari prancing horse applique
Satin-finished rhodium-plated or 2N gold-plated indexes
Hands: Satin-finished rhodium-plated white SuperLuminova™ (Titanium) or 2N gold-plated black SuperLuminova™ (Magic Gold)
Minute counter hand with Ferrari red coating
Movement: HUB 1241 Unico movement, developed and manufactured in-house by Hublot, self-winding chronograph
Date: Yellow window at 3 o'clock
Oscillating weight: Satin-finished and micro-blasted black coating, imitating the shape of a wheel rim
Power reserve: Approximately 72 hours
Straps: Black rubber strap with central rubber decoration, alcantara and tone-on-tone stitching or black rubber, scedoni leather and tone-on-tone stitching
Clasp: deployant buckle in satin-finished black PVD titanium with carbon insert (Titanium) or satin-finished titanium with carbon insert (Magic Gold)