The Sang Bleu series created in a collaboration between Hublot and Maxime Plescia-Buchi is among the most refreshing, creative, and least legible watches of the new millennium. Frankly, it is epic, and although everyone would be late from everywhere, the world would be a better place if folks had one of these on. As challenging as it is from a taste and wearability aspect, I bet it is among those few watches that, if seen in the metal, could put a smile on the face of even the most conservative watch enthusiast. The latest addition to the line is called Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire, and it absolutely delivers on that promise.

It is amusing to think that folks bend over backward when they see a Patek Philippe on a denim strap, or fitted with a dial with a surfer on it, while things like this Sang Bleu exist. As much as I appreciate a delicately hand-painted dial — a denim strap not so much — and historic brands’ concentrated efforts to nurture old crafts, the path of modern watchmaking is also forged by creations such as this Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire.

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The original “Spirit of Big Bang” of 2014 was an eye-roll-inducing release from Hublot as it was considered by many to have played much too close an homage to Richard Mille in an effort to cater to those unwilling or unable to spend six-figure sums on a tonneau-cased RM. This has been rectified by the Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu, a watch that looks like nothing else. It builds on Plescia-Buchi’s trademark style established on the use of geometrical shapes, a bevy of lines, and tilted surfaces. Read this for an in-depth review of another Sang Bleu watch.

On the wrist, the Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire watch is an absolute blast and a source of infinite fascination. Sapphire-cased watches are their own peculiar kind of cool, anyway, but this is right up there with the most complicated in its design and execution. Hublot claims that the case of the Sang Bleu Sapphire takes 100 hours of work to produce, which goes to show how much manufacturing technologies have advanced since the first sapphire-cased watches emerged with claims (if nothing else) of 1,000-hour production times per unit.

The end result is nothing short of incredible, really. For whatever reason, Sang Bleu watches continue to rank among those rarified timepieces for which virtually no design compromises are apparent; instead, it is as though the finished product was exactly as it was originally conceived. Given the constraints that stem from the peculiarities of materials — sapphire, for example, is extremely fragile, and there are only so many ways and directions you can cut it and drill it before it cracks — and given the basic mechanical requirements of how movements, dials, hands, crowns, and pushers interact, it is difficult to find free-hand designs that do not appear to have been modified to incorporate these compromises.

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Just look at the image above and discover the number of edges, angles, and facets added to just one corner of the case of the Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire watch. I am all but convinced that the overwhelming majority of watchmakers — even those handful already experienced in the world of sapphire-cased watches — would laugh at such a design if it were proposed to them, and I have yet to mention a case supplier’s reaction. There is nothing to this combination of design and material that should exist in the world of watches today. And yet, it does exist, and that achievement goes to Hublot.

The Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire watch measures 42mm wide, 15.70mm thick, and is rated water-resistant to 100 meters — which is utterly ridiculous for such a watch. The bezel, the middle case, and the caseback are all crafted from polished sapphire crystal that is virtually scratch-resistant — unless you go at it with a diamond. The pushers, the crown, the H-shaped screws, and the folding clasp are all cut out of titanium. Overall, the Sang Bleu Sapphire feels moderately light, soft, and very special on the wrist, even when matched with a rather stiff and not exactly beautiful semi-translucent rubber strap. Even Hublot’s “One-Click” strap quick-release buttons have been integrated into the case.

The dial, if we can call it that, features a wide ring that carries the hours and the date window, flanked by a transparent disc with the minute track. The hands are in trademark Sang Bleu style, with solid luminous areas designating the pointer parts of the hands. The time is set to roughly 10:08 on the images above — have fun trying to identify the hands. The chronograph hand has an equal-length counterweight, which adds to the organized madness of the dial, as do the sub-dial hands. The rest of the dial is non-existent, revealing bits of the movement. All this is covered by a faceted sapphire crystal front.

The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire watch is powered by the HUB4700 caliber, which is — get this — a modified El Primero from Zenith, Hublot’s sister brand within LVMH. The Hublot 4700 caliber operates at the El Primero’s trademark 5Hz frequency and has a 50-hour power reserve, replenished by a massive and largely symmetrical oscillating weight. The colorful history of El Primero just became that much more special with this rendition.

The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire watch is like no other, and it was nothing short of a thrill to see it hands-on at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024. The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu Sapphire watch is priced at $143,000 USD. You can learn more at the brand’s website.

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