Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

The horological highlight from Hublot this year was the long-named “Cathedral” Minute Repeater Tourbillon and Column Wheel Chronograph watch. In a King Power style case, this watch boasts a case formed out of carbon fiber and a very complex movement that has (Yup, you guessed it!) the time, a tourbillon, a minute repeater, and a chronograph.

Presenting it was Hublot CEO Jean-Claude Biver on the first day of Baselworld 2011. In front of a group of us he activated the watch, put a microphone to it, and allowed us to hear the loud minute repeater. As I have stated before, when I mentioned this watch in my Baselworld top picks for 2011 article, the interesting side effect of having a carbon fiber case is that the minute repeater function isn’t muffled by metal.

Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Those who tend to play with modern minute repeaters on a regular basis know that, even with the most impressive models, the sound is highly underwhelming. A minute repeater is supposed to tell you the time via a code of chimes and is only useful if you can hear it. Most of the time, if you want to use one you need to be in a really quite room, tell everyone to hush, and place the watch next to your ear in order to hear the little dings.

Is that how minute repeaters always were? No, not at all. It used to be that pocket watches had little openings for the sound to travel out through and be audible. When minute repeaters found their way into high-end wrist watches those gaps needed to be closed to protect the movements from dust and water. That was simply a demand of the client. Plus, because minute repeater watches are expensive, customers wanted the watches to be in precious metals. Often heavier than steel, materials such as gold and platinum absorb more sound making them even worse for the little gong and hammer complication. I find it interesting that F.P. Journe decided to make his super Sonnerie Souveraine watch out of steel, instead of gold or platinum, and still charge over $600,000 for it.

Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

So when Hublot created a minute repeater watch out of carbon fiber – a light material that allows more air to reverberate inside the case – it ended up with a rather nice sounding minute repeater watch compared to something in gold or platinum. It does make me wonder about a titanium minute repeater, though. Hublot just bought a company that makes carbon fiber and have been on a big carbon fiber kick for a while so I doubt that the strength of the minute repeater was really considered much in advance. So, as previously stated, it is a positive side effect of the case being in carbon fiber. For Hublot, this just another “fusion” piece combining traditional complications with high-tech material.

In the watch, the minute repeater has two cathedral style gongs: Two gongs each with a different sound – one for hours, and one for minutes. The minute repeater is activated by sliding the left flank of the case up. This flank is a typical design element of the King Power and Big Bang watches making it is a sort of “hidden lever.” In fact, also released this year by Hublot is an F1 Tourbillon Chronograph which, aside from having a different overall look, has a movement and dial that looks almost exactly the same as this watch. However, that model does not have a minute repeater in it. So, really, you just have to know which Hublot watches have minute repeaters and which do not.

Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

The chronograph is done in two subdials on the face – one for the minutes and one for the seconds. It is a monopusher with the push piece being integrated into the crown. The chronograph is even more unusual for not having a centrally mounted seconds hand. You can see the column wheel for the chronograph in the dial located under 12 o’clock. The skeletonization is impressive as the dial design places most of the mechanical elements on the front of the watch and through the caseback you do see a carbon fiber movement plate.

At 48mm wide, in carbon fiber, this Hublot Minute Repeater Tourbillon Chronograph is indeed a cool timepiece. And, it doesn’t wear like something that cost you a ton of money. Hublot was still able to give it a sporty feeling that they are known to imbue in most of their watches. With a watch like this you’d feel comfortable in jeans while running around doing errands. Can you say the same for a Patek Philippe minute repeater? If anything, Hublot has created a mold for more casual luxury watches because they strive so hard to make them modern feeling. No Hublot watch is ever a timepiece you are afraid to wear and in that I think Jean-Claude Biver has really succeed in making high-end timepieces a more regular facet of people’s lives.

Hublot Cathedral Minute Repeater Tourbillon And Column Wheel Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

TECHNICAL DETAILS from Hublot
Reference: 704.QX.1137.GR
Case: “King Power” – Diameter 48 mm in matte carbon fiber
Bezel: 6 H-shaped titanium screws, countersunk, polished & locked
Crystal: Sapphire with interior anti-reflective treatment
Lateral inserts: Black composite resin
Case-back: Matt carbon fiber
Crown: Black PVD titanium
Screws: Titanium
Dial: Matt black with satin-finished black nickel appliques and silvered, White and red powder transfers
Hands: Faceted, satin-finished and micro-blasted, black nickel, skeleton
Movement: HUB 8100 Flying tourbillon without ball bearing
Dimensions: Diameter: 30 mm Thickness: 9.47 mm (Diameter of chime gongs: 32.60 mm)
Functions: Hour, minute and seconds via the cage, Minute repeater, Cathedral chime gong, Single push-piece chronograph at 3 o’clock (60-sec. and 30-min. counter), Manual winding, 2-position stem Manual winding and time-setting
No. of Components: 404
Jewels: 37
Hairspring: Flat, for extreme position setting
Frequency: 21,600 Vib/hour (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: Approximately 120 hours
Oscillator: Hublot Balance with adjustment inertia-blocks
Shock absorbers: Shock absorption for main plate and balance bridge
Main plate: Brass, beveled with drawn rims, and circular-grained recesses, Black ruthenium coating
Bridges: Carbon fiber, brass, beveled with drawn rims & circular-grained recesses, Black nickel coating
Gear train: Circular-grained & beveled wheels, coating: black ruthenium, rolled pinions
Screws: Polished and beveled heads, rounded and polished ends
Wristlet: Black alligator gummy, stitched onto black rubber inner
Clasp: Ceramic and black PVD deployant buckle

11 comments
Chris
Chris

I'm all for casual luxury, but there's something especially drab about these cases from farther back that about two feet. They look like cheap plastic watches. Also, I suspect that crown digs into the back of your hand pretty easily.

john steppling
john steppling

I dont usually like this sort of style....but this is flat out cool looking. I love it. Id buy it......and I love how they used the materials. Its a very cooooool looking watch.

Omid
Omid

Can I have it...can I have it? Can I have it??

Can I have your timepiece????

(in all seriousness hublot makes me want to club a baby seal)

mik222
mik222

Hi Ariel, will you write anything on panerai's astronomo?It's an interesting piece,we'd like to see a video about it.

witch watch
witch watch

Casual Luxury? Why not, it has been happening in clothing form luxury items for years so bravo to Hublot "sporting up" High-End watch making.

I've stated before i am a huge fan of carbon fibre and love the use of it in watches, however an entire case made from it in black leaves me rather cold.

Ulysses
Ulysses

"And, it doesn't wear like something that cost you a ton of money." It doesn't look like it cost you a ton of money either. I find "casual luxury" to be something of a contradiction in terms. Another example of Hublot obscuring quality engineering in an ugly impractical design.

Anthony
Anthony

Even at 48mm, all black seems like it would be hard to read. I guess this makes the repeater even more important. Plus- if I ever see anyone running around doing errands in this, wearing jeans no less, I'll be more than surprised. Maybe in Monaco. But then they someone else to run errands for them, so...

IS3515
IS3515

Nice concept. The black color seems to make the details of the watch hard to see. Who makes the movement for them?

kris c
kris c

Repeaters you can hear are great for showing them off, but when is someone going to bring back the 'dumb' repeater? Sure, it's less flashy, but then you can make it out of whatever dense precious material you want and it will still function as it should.

Anyway, this one is pretty slick. I'm not a big fan of monopushers, and I personally think this would look better with dedicated chrono pushers, but maybe that's just me. Regardless, I'd still wear this proudly in a heartbeat: I would wait with baited breath for someone to ask me the time so I could tell them that it is ding ding past dong dong dong.

Remko Tronçon
Remko Tronçon

Since you mention repeaters being quiet: I found the JLC Master Minute Repeater quite loud, because i was able to hear it in a showroom with lots of other peole and a jazz band playing (although i may have been biased because it was the first and only repeater I ever heard)

pat I.
pat I.

Has anyone here ever seen a carbon fiber case up close? I can't imagine they could mold something as complex as a watch case, do finish machining on it without compromising the finish.

Trackbacks