Swiss Hublot had one of the most inspired collections of new watches at the major Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022 trade show. Always surprising us with colors, shapes, materials, and technologies, Hublot is one of our favorite brands to meet with when it comes to new luxury watch products. Among the more talked about new Hublot watches for 2022 is the “Square Bang.” Originally debuted on aBlogtoWatch here, today I go hands-on with the full assortment of new Hublot Square Bang UNICO watches.
The first thing I can say about these square-cased Big Bang watches is that they don’t actually look too much like a Cartier Santos when you see them in the flesh. When the aBlogtoWatch team first saw images, we thought, “Cool, Hublot designed a Santos Bang.” Indeed, there are some design similarities between the two popular timepiece collections, from the shape of the bezel to lugs. But the Big Bang part of the personality entirely overshadows the Santos part of the personality when you view these watches in person. I think the message Hublot was going for was an expression that the Big Bang is more than just a case shape. Rather, the Big Bang is a brand DNA concept that can be rendered in a round, tonneau, or square case, which are all things Hublot has done. In square form, the Big Bang is simply another flavor of the same delicacy that is the Big Bang collection, which started back in 2004. Hublot and brands like it have a duty to assert the timelessness of their most popular models. Offering these “icons” in various colors, materials, styles, and shapes is a solid and time-honored way to assert the important of their particular products.
That’s exactly the point of the Square Bang, and it’s actually really satisfying on the wrist. The 42mm-wide case is 14.5mm-thick, which sounds rather big until you put it on. Hublot has big watches but also puts in big effort into ergonomics. I really can’t remember the last time I wore a large Hublot and thought to myself that it was anything but really comfortable to wear given how the strap and lugs are designed. Hublot, of course, includes all the features that you’d expect from a modern Big Bang, including the easy strap release system and the modular case concept that comes in a variety of forms. Accordingly, the debut collection of Hublot Square Bang watches includes versions that have a mixture of case materials, including titanium, black ceramic, and 18k King (red) gold. Also very important is that the Square Bang is water resistant to 100 meters, which is a feat that is somewhat challenging with square-cased watches.
What Hublot was likely hoping for in the design of the Square Bang is the emotional reaction of, “Has the Big Bang always been square?” This is one sign of a good watch design — when you see something novel that looks as though it has always been there. There is no guttural reaction of sheer novelty from the watch. Rather, you put on the Square Bang and it feels like something that has been part of the collection all along, just in a different form. In fact, the Square Bang is so much like the Big Bang, but I want Hublot to branch off in a new direction when it comes to dial design as the Square Bang continues to develop. The case is excellent — now I want to see a dial design language that is something Hublot could never really do with a round design. I feel that this is a good idea to experiment with as the Square and round Big Bang are otherwise actually pretty similar in poise and emotion (which is exactly what Hublot was going for this round).
We will see exactly what happens since product sales performance is going to be the biggest measure of how much Hublot wants to continue extending the Square Bang collection. If the Square Bang is a success, then more variations will no doubt come. If not, then Hublot will say that this was just an experimental limited edition (all of the first five versions are produced as a limited edition) and then release interesting and sometimes quirky Square Bang watches as it does with the Spirit of Big Bang models (the name of Hublot’s tonneau-shaped Big Bang models).
Square watches are much harder to get right than round watches. For that reason, the watch market has far fewer square (versus round) popular timepieces. Hublot has never really made a mark with a square-shaped watch, and the Square Bang does that well. So, in some regards, this is Hublot simply flexing its design skills and ability to compete with other brands in this space. Consumers win because there are those people who just really like square watches. I have a few (such as the Santos) and can easily say that the boldness of wearing an angular watch case is real. Perhaps not for everyday, but it is a fun and visually interesting alternative to round watches. Hublot’s strategy may very well be to offer Big Bang fans a new way to enjoy something they already like but in a manner that offers more than just new colors or materials.
Inside the Square Bang watches is Hublot’s round-shaped in-house UNICO family of automatic chronograph movements. The 354-part mechanisms operate at 4Hz with 72 hours of power reserve and feature the time, date, and, in this instance, 60-minute column-wheel-controlled chronograph. You can view the movement through the rear of the case, and the dial is a typical open-work of viewing the movement while hour markers and indexes are placed on the periphery. As I said above, I think this is where Hublot could do the most with a new square case in terms of making it look distinctive from the standard Big Bang. My hope is that if the Square Bang watch has a long future, Hublot will experiment with on-brand ways of offering a square dial design that is distinct from the rest of the collection.
Each of the new Hublot Big Bang Square watches for 2022 will be part of a limited edition of 250 pieces. You can view the above link for more individual price breakdowns and reference numbers. The collection starts at $24,100 USD in all titanium, and goes up to $43,100 USD in all 18k King gold. Learn more at the Hublot watches website here.