One of the more interesting Hublot watches for 2015 is the limited edition Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater which comes in two styles. “Limited edition Big Bang?” Yes, I know that is something that we have all heard before from Hublot, but in this instance, the more exclusive nature of the watch makes a bit more sense even though there will be a combined 500 pieces in total.
So, what is the Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater? This is an answer to the interesting question of how you make the traditional mechanical alarm watch sound a bit more… well, let’s just say, “elegant.” Recently, I’ve had more than one person ask us, “why aren’t there more modern mechanical alarm watches?” I thought about this for a while and, even though I know many of the reasons why alarms are decidedly niche, I realized that I wasn’t particularly excited about them myself.
Traditional alarm watches are gloriously utilitarian and not particularly pretty to listen to. Listen to a Vulcain Cricket, for example (new or old), and you’ll hear what sounds like a spring-operated toy yelling its death cry. In order to be loud and actually wake people up or notify them in louder places, most traditional alarm watches sound like a lot of modern actual alarm noises… annoying. This is something few of us want in a luxury timepiece.
With that said, you might understand the appeal of combining the functionality of a mechanical alarm with a minute repeater. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that the Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater uses the tones from a gong and hammer system as an alarm sound. Of course, the chiming that comes from the hammer hitting the gong in the movement is more rapid than in minute repeaters, but you get the idea. The sound is a lot more melodic and inviting than a harsh buzzing/vibrating sound which you’ll find in many traditional alarm watches. The system is clever and works quite well.
While this movement is unique, it isn’t produced by Hublot themselves. Nevertheless, outside of some even more limited edition watches, the movement is exclusive to Hublot. Chronode designed and produced the caliber HUB5003 manually-wound movements for the Hublot Big Bang Alarm watches. Other than Hublot, only a small number of Cyrus watches were able to use essentially the same movement for a set of timepieces. Cyrus is owned by the same people who own Chronode, and Hublot apparently gave them permission to use a small number of movements for a similar, but stylistically distinct Cyrus watch.
The HUB5003 movement uses a silicon escapement system, has a power reserve of 72 hours, and includes the time with 24-hour indicator, a 24-hour dial used to set the alarm time up to 24 hours in the future, as well as an on/off switch for the alarm complication. Moreover, the dial is produced from a semi-transparent material (which is several colored layers of sapphire crystal) which offers a glimpse of the movement underneath, even though the Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater does not have what you might call a skeletonized dial.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater dial is that the main dial is off-center a bit. This is perhaps the only Hublot Big Bang watch I know of that is like this – and it might be the only one ever. That might seem like a minor thing, but it gives this watch a totally unique personality within the brand even though the case is clearly a modern Big Bang.
While I am not a huge fan of asymmetry, I do rather love the construction of the dial which is interesting for a Big Bang, even though it is within the character of the product family. Legibility is also highly encouraged through use of applied elements and the right finishing techniques and materials.
At 45mm wide, you can clearly see that this is the newer Big Bang 45 case that Hublot introduced in 2013. However, Hublot uses a distinct pusher design for this case. The pushers are much more subtle and more flush with the case, which is interesting. The Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater is offered in two versions – each of which have black ceramic bezels. Reference 403.NM.0123.RX has a titanium case while reference 403.OM.0123.RX has an 18k King gold (red gold) case.
What I like the most about the Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater is that it is truly different. Hublot worked with another cool Swiss company for the movements, which is why the model is limited, and it brings something new to the table. This isn’t the only Hublot watch to come out this year with a new movement in it, which is a good thing for those who are keenly interested in the more mechanical side of Hublot’s personality as a brand. Price for the limited edition Hublot Big Bang Alarm Repeater in titanium is $56,300 which is limited to 250 pieces, and the 18k king gold version is $74,700 and also limited to 250 pieces. hublot.com