May 27, 2022
by Jake Witkin
Samuel Ross, who was just presented with an honorary doctorate in arts from the University of Westminster, is a 30-year-old British creative director who has quite an impressive history, from interning with Virgil Abloh, which led to work with Kanye West’s Donda creative agency, to collaborating with brands such as Off-White, Nike, and Oakley, to name a few. In 2015, Ross created his own men’s luxury fashion brand A-COLD-WALL*. Additionally, in 2020, alone, Ross was named to Forbes’ 30-Under-30 Europe list, won the GQ USA Fashion Award, and became a Hublot ambassador after winning the Hublot Design Prize the previous year. Two years later, we are seeing the first watch designed by Ross, the limited-edition Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross. This watch embodies Ross’s raw design language and pushes Hublot’s technical prowess to new levels in what he describes as the future of luxury without sacrificing identity.
Elaborating on the design of REFORM, a sculpture created by Ross to express Hublot’s “Art of Fusion” over the previous four decades, the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross is multifaceted in both its construction and its wearability thanks to its clever use of a modern materials. Titanium, sapphire, and PU polymer, all contribute to a comfortable and lightweight wearing experience despite the potentially daunting dimensions. At 44mm in diameter and 13.75mm thick, this is no small watch, and it almost devours my slender 6.5” wrist. The organic-industrial design has the potential to make the wearer feel as if they have some futuristic organisms telling them the time, with the open-worked micro-rotor tourbillon HUB6035 manufacture caliber beating away at 3Hz. Almost all 282 components are visible due to the use of a sapphire dial that is essentially invisible until it catches the light. The hexagonal skeletonization adds to the organic feel and draws the eye away from the often unappealing ability to see your own skin through the watch. Despite the large size of this piece, the supple rubber strap wrapped comfortably and securely around my wrist with an excellent titanium deployant clasp. I would like to note that the strap did, indeed, have enough holes for almost any wrist size.
Titanium has been used with increased frequency across the industry and often brings with it a deep and cold gray hue to a watch. In the case of the Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross, this monochromatic effect is drastically dampened by a variety of finishes across the titanium exoskeleton. Linear satin brushing and high polished surfaces can be found on the bezel, caseback and clasp, while a matte-blasted finish is present on the perforated honeycomb-patterned frame. In contrast, the vibrant orange of the rubber strap, tourbillon bridge, crown, and lateral bumpers make this piece stand out even in Hublot’s catalogue of various colored watches.
The overall shape of the watch is quite long, which was intentional, Ross reflects on the shape in comparison to other Hublot sports watches, stating that a “typical [Hublot] watch will have a slightly more balanced, stable, and rectangular shape, while this has a much more vertical nature.” Many enthusiasts often refer to the “lug-to-lug” distance when talking about wearability, and while the Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross has no definitive lugs, the point that the strap melds with the case gives this a decidedly long feel on the wrist. But this watch is not one that is designed to be small, to begin with.
With music pumping and vibrating the room, a single Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross rested in honeycomb-floored glass encasement. It stood in the spotlight, emanating excitement and pure energy against the deep orange-red shadows of the surrounding room. To celebrate this collaboration coming to fruition, Hublot pulled out all the stops. Utilizing Samuel Ross’ signature colors, a vibrant orange pop-up was erected in New York City’s SoHo district that drew attention from every direction. I wouldn’t expect any less from the likes of Hublot. Both Samuel Ross and Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe presented the new piece as the launch video went live across the globe.
The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross is a loud, energetic, and exciting release that feels to be coming at the right time for the watch and fashion industry. With the worst of the past two years behind us (hopefully), the energy and optimism that Hublot and Ross bring with this announcement is infectious. While this watch is limited to 50 pieces worldwide, with three allocated to the United States, Samuel Ross remains a Hublot Ambassador, so there may be more down the road. At the close of the release event, the U.S. allocations had already been sold, but there was still international availability at that time. The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross is priced at $116,000 USD. For more information head over to Hublot’s website.