I think the dead of winter is probably a good time to revisit a watch clearly made for warmer months — that is unless the cool purple tone of this limited-edition Hublot timepiece reminds you of human skin after it has been in the cold for too long. This Hublot Big Bang UNICO Summer Purple watch was released in 2022 and is part of Hublot’s larger push toward not just interesting materials, but also wonderful bright colors. This was a natural move for Hublot, a brand that’s always able to get away with more risque luxury watch designs, especially in the context of a luxury market hungrier for bright colors than it is for precious metals.
Purple as a color for men’s watches isn’t totally unheard-of, but it is uncommon, for sure. Hublot has experimented with purple in the past, but mainly in higher-end watches such as the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic with a purple-tinted sapphire case. To render purple, there are various options. Luckily, purple is one of the tones that can be electroplated to metal, as well as burnt into steel or titanium. Though to flame purple for an entire case — with even color distribution throughout — would be a serious technical challenge. I’ve not seen purple ceramic, but I do think it would be possible. In any event, Hublot didn’t go with any of these directions, but rather anodized aluminum, for the primary case material of the Big Bang UNICO Summer Purple.
In a recent aBlogtoWatch Weekly podcast, we discussed aluminum as a watch case material since the lightweight metal is not used all that often. The reason is that aluminum is naturally rather fragile and, while it is light and strong, it can scratch and scuff more easily than other metals. That said, the entire watch collections today are playing with aluminum, which includes the reintroduction of the Bulgari Diagono Aluminium (stet) in its various forms. While I don’t think this is the first-ever Hublot Big Bang in aluminum, it is among the very few, and it’s very lightweight even compared to titanium (a very popular case material for Big Bang watches).
Hublot takes the purple color scheme to its logical extent, making pretty much all surfaces of the Big Bang Summer Purple actually purple. The only exceptions on the case are the gray titanium screws and the view of the semi-skeletonized movement through the open dial. I happen to find the mostly monochromatic purple look rather nice. More so, even though it isn’t the strongest material (though Hublot does say the treatment on the cases includes “a process that guarantees impeccable wear and remarkable scratch protection”), the look of anodized aluminum is quite pretty and makes for crisp, vivid surfaces that complement the core Big Bang UNICO case style well.
The watch case is water-resistant to 100 meters and, in this instance, is sized at 42mm-wide. Hublot offers the Big Bang UNICO case in various sizes, including the more popular 44- and 45mm-wide sizes. The watch still feels substantial at 42mm-wide but wears more comfortably on smaller wrists. Hublot might be thinking that women might also take an interest in the Big Bang UNICO Summer Purple, and thus, the 42mm-wide case size certainly is more amenable to that than the larger options in the Big Bang collection.
Inside the watch is Hublot’s in-house caliber HUB1280 UNICO automatic chronograph movement. It operates at 4Hz with 72 hours of power reserve, the latest-generation versions of which are 1.3mm thinner than the original UNICO movements. You can view the movement both through the face of the watch and through the caseback.
The 42mm-wide Hublot Big Bang UNICO case also has the One-Click strap removal system, and the Summer Purple comes with two straps, including a textured purple rubber strap and a purple fabric strap with a Velcro sport strap enclosure. Hublot will produce just 200 pieces of this reference 441.UL.5820.NR watch as a limited edition. Price for the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Summer Purple is $22,000 USD. Learn more at the Hublot website here.