The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Power Reserve 14 Days King Gold Jewellery is an attack on one’s senses, that is a given. That name already should have prepared you, really. Under its diamond-studded exterior, however, lies HUB9011, a fascinating caliber straight from the in-house skunkworks of Hublot.
Before we began, can I just say, with all that’s been going on, I already miss photographing such fascinating and novel watches. These off-the-wall creations play a major role in making horology fun for me, and I know this is true for many others, as well. To see and experience these creations in the metal, even if for just half an hour or so, is a privilege that I wish to justify by photographing them in a way that conveys all those elements that have put a big smile on my face when first seeing them at trade shows and events.
This watch has 336 hours of power reserve: not a spec you see often. Providing this two-week power reserve takes seven series-coupled barrels, flipped on their sides and elevated from the flat dimension we have gotten used to seeing in most all other mechanical calibers. The consequential thickness remains shockingly … normal. Measuring just 10.92mm from caseback to the dome of the specially shaped sapphire front, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 offers a case thickness comparable to classical — albeit much less complicated — references of watchmaking history.
The funny thing is that the MP-11 actually isn’t that complicated, as far as a pure numbers game is concerned. It packs 270 components and offers just one extra indication beyond hours and minutes: the power-reserve display. Bolted onto the end of the seven-barrel stack, this is to let you know when to begin your finger workout sesh’ — because you will want to prepare for re-winding that 14-day reserve via the crown. A quick glance at the caseback reveals the absence of an automatic winding mechanism. No wonder, really, as it would take a gigantic self-winding rotor to work against the mighty torque of this many mainsprings. From what I recall, Hublot supplies a special winding tool, like an electric screwdriver, that plugs into the crown and allows for a hassle-free, stable rewinding of the HUB9011.
That ungodly power from these has to leave the verticality of the barrels and find its way to the rest of the movement, set in the traditional horizontal plane. Hublot explains: “The force of the barrels is tilted on a perpendicular plane by a transmission system very rarely employed in watchmaking: a 90-degree helical worm gear.” (Pro tip: If you want a quick and easy way to find some proper bonkers watches, go to aBlogtoWatch.com and simply search for the word: helical.)
As another unique feature of this innovative calibre, the balance is transposed to the dial side to create symmetry with the helical gear. A silicon escapement drives the balance to its 4 Hz frequency, with a fancy (and patented) index-assembly system with the Hublot “H” integrated into it.
It is once you see it up close that you get to really appreciate the blank-page engineering of the Hublot Big Bang MP-11. Just look at all those various teeth profiles, spokes, bridges and materials. At a time when brands such as Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Harry Winston — and many others that used to dominate the haute horlogerie segment just a decade ago — have all either abandoned it completely or toned it down, for Hublot to have such a bold and liberal aspect to its watchmaking is just refreshing and admirable. It’s wheels meshing, bridges overlapping and three-dimensionality prevailing — all evergreen components of high-end watchmaking.
The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Power Reserve 14 Days King Gold Jewellery, as its name once again implies, throws a lucky number of 222 diamonds into the mix — 172 diamonds are individually hand-set into the 18k King Gold case, which is Hublot’s own red gold alloy. Another 50 baguette-cut diamonds are channel-set (by hand, of course) into the bezel itself. Channel-setting is a bit like invisible setting in the sense that the diamonds are set directly next to each other, with gold flanking them from above and below. I have said this before, but I’ll say it again: Hublot’s small but capable in-house diamond-setting atelier belongs among the very best in the trade.
The 45mm case is as long as the Hublot Big Bang cases normally are. While you may get away with wearing a 44mm Luminor or 45mm Radiomir, the Big Bang, with its integrated lugs, One Click quick-strap release system, and oval-shaped rubber straps make this a long-wearing case. Worry not, though — with all that bling, no one will notice the lugs stretching beyond the edges of your wrist.
One heck of a watch wearing experience, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Power Reserve 14 Days King Gold Jewellery is priced at $148,000, and you can see other versions of it at Hublot.com.