The latest new watches from Hublot are sure to be commercially successful because we see the Swiss company offering its take on a popular trend. The Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only watches are an exercise in creating a simpler, albeit still complicated product. Hublot has always been about modern lines and an aggressive stance, so what would it be like to tone down the iconic Big Bang into a dressier watch? Indeed, Hublot attempted to answer this question with its long-standing Classic Fusion product collection, but in a lot of ways, that was an exercise in creating a formal Hublot watch and not so much about fitting it to popular trends. With the Big Bang Integral Time Only, Hublot is hoping to attract a new type of customer who is interested in a 40mm-wide, thinner-profile, versatile luxury timepiece that comes on an integrated bracelet — and for early 2022, that package will be available in titanium, black ceramic, or 18k yellow gold.
Let’s compare the Big Bang Integral Time Only with the existing version of the Hublot Big Bang Integral (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here). The latter comes in a larger 42mm-wide case and contains the Hublot in-house UNICO automatic chronograph family of mechanical movements. The Big Bang Integral Time Only maintains the same case profile and bracelet shape but slims the package down to a 40mm-wide case that is just 9.25mm-thick and still water resistant to 100 meters.
In short order, aBlogtoWatch will feature some hands-on impressions of the new Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only, but I can already imagine the wrist experience that comes with the new svelte shape. For all the aesthetic value and fun we get from Hublot, discreet wearing experiences is not something everyone always associates with the brand. With a 40mm-wide case and under 10mm case thickness, this is among the first hip-looking Hublot watches you can wear with tailored sleeves.
Inside the watches is a movement known as the Hublot caliber MHUB1710. My understanding is that it is a reworked version of the Zenith Elite automatic movement family, customized for Hublot purposes. Zenith and Hublot are part of the same group within the larger LVMH entity, and it isn’t uncommon for these companies to assist one another and lend parts and expertise. Past Hublot watches, for example, have contained Zenith’s popular El Primero 5Hz chronograph movements. The MHUB1710 is a 4Hz operating automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve, the time and date (which ironically is a bit confusing given the “time only” name), and is comprised of 185 parts.
Hublot watch dials are commonly skeletonized, which often looks great with a chronograph-style timepiece. With time-only watches, the movement bridges can look a bit less exciting. To keep things interesting on the Big Bang Integral Time Only, Hublot includes a semi-open look at the date wheel (with the date window being symmetrically located at 6 o’clock on the dial), as well as a nice view to the brushed surface of the movement’s top bridges. Above that are iconic Big Bang-style hands and hour markers. Around the dial is a round Hublot-style bezel with a brushed surface that is mounted with six H-shaped Hublot screws made from titanium.
Hublot and colleague brands at LVMH have been hyper-focusing on commercially interesting (as opposed to weird and experimental) watches these days, and that makes total sense as they rebuild and solidify their global presence in a post-pandemic world brimming with mostly conservative-minded watch buyers. That translates into producing a product that fits into current purchasing trends while offering loads of brand DNA and character. The Big Bang Integral Time Only allows Hublot to have a very worthy contender in a market segment that they perhaps did not originally make.
The Gerald Genta-esque bracelet continues to look good on the Big Bang and is said to feature a lot of hand-polishing and decorative attention. A lot of the watch’s value is supposed to be in the finishing and construction of the bracelet. A few years ago, Hublot might not have been known for its watch bracelets, but the deep interest demonstrated by collectors and consumers in bracelets has prompted Hublot and other brands to step up their game. I’ve not yet seen the bracelets on these 40mm-wide Big Bang Integral Time Only watches, but I have for the larger 42mm-wide models, and I do agree they are very nicely done. That’s all to say that people hoping for a bargain might not be too happy about the price points, which are up there (though on the more competitive side) with a lot of competitors’ watches.
Interestingly, we also see Hublot return to using 18k yellow gold after a long hiatus. Focusing mostly on its own special alloy blends and other materials, in 2022, Hublot is returning to producing 18k gold watches (three models to start) with one version of the Big Bang Integral Time Only in the standard gold color (a tone I happen to be a fan of). One of the pieces will be a limited edition, and that is the black ceramic model, which is still among the rare integrated bracelet watches with a ceramic bracelet. In fact, for serious watch nerds, that might be the cherry model, and it is limited to just 250 pieces.
Hublot is taking a calculated approach to 2022, which we appreciate. While the collection continues to mid-range priced luxury watches with an assortment of ultra-high-end lavish treasures, the brand’s bread-and-butter seems to still be in the sub-$30,000 USD price point. I think the Big Bang Integral Time Only watches are a sensible addition to the Hublot family that might take a few years to fully gain traction but that will no doubt be the best option for a lot of consumers wanting a versatile, trendy, and personality-rich timepiece. Price for the Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only reference 456.NX.0170.NX in titanium is $17,800 USD in titanium. The limited edition of 250 pieces reference 456.VX.0130.VX in black ceramic is $19,900 USD, and the reference is 456.CX.0140.CX in 18k yellow gold is $49,400 USD. Learn more at the Hublot watches website here.