Just as we saw back in January with Hublot opening a new boutique by celebrating with a special edition, the brand is opening a new flagship retail space in Tokyo’s famed Ginza retail neighborhood, and this time, it’s doing so with a murdered-out Big Bang GMT built for legendary Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. The Big Bang GMT is one of the brand’s more overlooked collections, as collab Hublot watches tend to lean toward the Spirit of Big Bang or the many chronograph offerings, but with Yamamoto splitting time between his Tokyo and Paris offices, a watch that could display two time zones at once while adhering to the all-black aesthetic that’s more or less become his signature does make a whole lot of sense.
Model: Big Bang GMT All Black for Yohji Yamamoto
Dimensions: 45mm x 15.8mm
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Case Material: micro-blasted black ceramic
Crystal/Lens: Smoked sapphire
Movement: Hublot HUB1251 (manufacture automatic with quick-adjust hour hand)
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Strap/Bracelet: push-button interchangeable rubber strap with titanium deployant clasp
Price & Availability: $23,400 USD (around ¥2.5m Japanese Yen)
The Big Bang GMT is already available in titanium, carbon fiber, and precious metal, so this is the first time that it’s been rendered in ceramic — bead-blasted, no less, yielding a super-matte, skeletonized look that feels like it’d be more at home in the cockpit of the batmobile than on the wrist of an internationally renowned fashion designer. Aesthetic aside, from a functional standpoint, the Big Bang GMT is one of the more unique watches in Hublot’s stable, as its HUB1251 movement displays two time zones at once and enables the wearer to jump the hour hand forward or backward in single hour increments by engaging either of the pushers on the 3 o’clock side of the case. What’s particularly neat about this movement is that it is essentially Hublot’s widely deployed in-house HUB1242 Unico movement with the column wheel and chronograph functions stripped out and replaced with a proprietary GMT module to yield the quick-adjust functionality. Bear in mind that even with the added utility of the quick-adjust, this still isn’t a “true” GMT, as neither of the time zones is displayed in a 24-hour format, which is why there’s a skeletonized AM/PM indicator occupying the center of the dial around the hand stack to help keep things straight.
Generally speaking, Hublot tends to produce some really interesting collaboration models — the Sang Bleu designed by Maxime Plescia-Buchi is a personal all-time favorite, and the more recent Classic Fusion for the late artist Carlos Cruz-Diez is an absolute knockout, so it’s hard not to feel a little let down by another all-black watch. And don’t get me wrong — micro-blasting (or any finish beyond polishing, really) ceramic is actually very complex and not in the wheelhouse of many brands that make watches with ceramic cases. Plus, Yamamoto’s critically acclaimed work in the fashion world has made him more or less design royalty in Japan and earned him international recognition for his work designing products like the stealthy New Zealand All Blacks jerseys for the team’s appearance in the 2019 rugby World Cup. And with black being Yamamoto’s primary design language, it should come as little surprise that a collab watch follow suit — it just would have been nice to see a little more of his stylistic flair imprinted into this particular reference, beyond what amounts to a signature on the dial. Once again, the price for the Hublot Big Bang GMT ‘All Black’ Yohji Yamamoto is ¥2,500,000 JPY (around $23,400 USD at the time of this writing) at hublot.com.