July 9, 2015
by Ariel Adams
Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode watches debuted in 2010 with 12 unique Big Bang Depeche Mode watches that sold for charity, each including the art of a different Depeche Mode album cover. The sale was intended to benefit a charity – as is common in situations such as this. At that point, no consumer models were available. Hublot and the musical group continued to work together, and in 2013, returned with a much more distinctive model that was certainly a bit more “rock and roll.”
aBlogtoWatch covered the 2013 Hublot Big Bang Aero Bang Depeche Mode watches in black here. Hublot and Depeche Mode have once again done something to benefit a charity, but this time it was for the organization “Charity: Water” that is about getting clean water to people in developing parts of the world. Depeche Mode even covered this latter model on their site – it appeared that their relationship with Hublot was turning out to be pretty good.
While the original Hublot Big Bang Aero Bang Depeche Mode ref. 311.CI.1170.VR.DPM13 was in black ceramic and limited to 250 pieces, for 2014, Hublot released yet another model – this Hublot Big Bang Aero Bang Depeche Mode Steel ref. 311.SX.8010.VR.DPM14 in lighter colors that has a steel versus ceramic case. In my opinion, this is probably going to be the rarest model, given its distinct looks and unique style, even though it is also limited to 250 models. Part of the rarity comes from the fact that most Hublot and Depeche Mode fans probably got their fill with the black ceramic Big Bang Depeche Mode watch, so the Steel version coming out just a year later might not have had as big a pool of interested collectors, even though it is priced a bit less.
The reason that this is a Big Bang “Aero Bang” is because of the partially skeletonized dial. Aero Bangs are Big Bang watches with this dial style. It makes for an interesting look that isn’t better or worse than the standard Hublot Big Bang, but does offer some unique styling and fun details. So the question I have is if you like the Big Bang, do you also like this interesting Depeche Mode model? Or if you don’t like the standard Big Bang, does the pyramid-style “Clos du Paris” pattern on the strap and bezel give you a new reason to be interested in the overall watch design?
Some might argue that with its light gray tones, the Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode Steel is the ladies version of the Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode watches, even though it shares the exact same 44mm wide case of the standard Big Bang. Hublot does produce smaller Big Bang cases for women. It would certainly not be the first time a woman wore a standard-sized Big bang watch. I would say this is one of those interesting situations where a watch design is truly unisex.
While there is no shortage of steel watches, ones such as this Big Bang Steel where gray is a predominant color (mixed with a little black) are very uncommon in my experience. Collectors interested in watches offered in less than common colors will have a lot of consider in a model like this – of course, it has some unique styling as well. I’ll further add that on the wrist, the Clous Pyramide “studs” on the bezel and strap make for a very distinct look. Some will find it ugly, but for me it is just “rock and roll.” That means it is not meant to be pretty, but it is loud and statement-worthy. For those days when a rock-and-roller just doesn’t feel like wearing black.
The silver-colored strap is actually interesting for me because you don’t really see leather with textures/patterns like that. According to Hublot, the upper part of the strap with the “Clous Pyramide” decoration is gray calf skin leather which has been “heat formed.” The strap alone on this steel or the existing black ceramic Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode watch might be worth it for some collectors. Under the leather is a black rubber liner.
Hublot manages to include the Clous Pyramide motif on one more place on the watch and that is for the hour markers – which I find pretty cool. That is certainly a neat touch. Unlike the black ceramic Hublot Aero Bang Depeche Mode, the Steel version’s dial is very prominent and legible. The matte-finished surfaces offer excellent contrast and legibility. The surfaces are mostly “microblasted” (bead-blasted) with much of them rhodium-plated. The hour markers are satin-finished and the hands have black-colored SuperLumiNova lume. Don’t let the oddness of the overall watch distract you from some of the cool dial finishing elements.
Inside of the Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode Steel watch is the Hublot caliber HUB4212 which is a modified base Swiss Made automatic chronograph. You can see the movement through the sapphire crystal caseback window that also bears the Charity: Water and Depeche Mode logos. I think it would be interesting for the next Depeche Mode watch (if there is one) to be based on a newer Hublot Big Bang Unico 45mm watch.
Hublot is a master of partnerships and reaching audiences who might never otherwise purchase a luxury watch, even though they purchase all types of other luxury items. It is precisely these people who they can target by integrating with both Charity: Water, and the major musical group Depeche Mode. Fans of the band will be immediately drawn to the watches, especially knowing the Depeche Mode members each have one. The charity element I am sure helps, though I am unconvinced that it is as much of a draw in the long term (and outside of the charity benefit auction environment) as compared to a watch that was done in collaboration with a popular band like Depeche Mode. The ref. 311.SX.8010.VR.DPM14 Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode Steel watch is limited to 250 pieces and has a retail price of $19,400. hublot.com