Aside from smoked black or clear sapphire case-based models, what is really new in Hublot‘s Big Bang collection for 2016 is the Hublot Big Bang MECA-10 watch with a brand-new in-house-made movement. Baselworld 2016 was relatively quiet for a lot of brands when it came to new releases, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some cool new stuff. If anything, Hublot focused on other announcements so much that the Hublot Big Bang MECA-10 might have been quite easy to overlook. With that said, this is a very interesting movement in action and should prove to be a solid wearing experience for Big Bang fans.
Set in the modern 45mm-wide Big Bang case (water resistant to 100 meters), the Hublot Big Bang MECA-10 comes in two versions for 2016 with the non-limited natural titanium case version and the limited edition of 500 pieces “all black” ceramic case. Both are finished with a sand-blasted texture that adds to the industrial look that Hublot is going for. Moreover, the latter black ceramic model is said to be part of Hublot’s celebration of their 10th anniversary of the “all black” watch concept.
While the Big Bang 45 case remains more or less unchanged (there are no chronograph pushers here, since this is not a chronograph watch), what is new is the in-house-made Hublot caliber HUB1201 manually wound movement. This is where the interest is, not only in terms of the movement’s performance, but more so, how it is designed. More and more, we are keen to promote movements which look good. Mere functionality is for sure important, but when it comes to spending big bucks on a watch, people do it because the timepieces make them emotionally feel good. A big part of that is offering function as well as an aesthetic attraction.
In my opinion, the fully open dial with a view to the skeletonized HUB1201 movement is where the appeal in this timepiece exists. The functional focus is the 10 days of power reserve. Split between two mainspring barrels, the “around 10 days” of power reserve is indicated by two power reserve indicators. One is a sort of digital power reserve indicator shown via a disc with stencil-cut numerals. I believe that this is a jumping indicator where the numbers count down each day. The second power reserve indicator is part of the rack-style system above the mainspring barrel that has two toothed sections.
As the mainsprings are wound, the rack moves to the left of the dial; as the movement winds down, it moves gradually to the right. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in a movement, and I find it very cool. Over the mainspring barrels is a circular plate set with a series of “H-style” Hublot screws. The movement bridges are either matte-black finished or silvered, which adds some nice contrast to the deep and inviting view of the mechanism.
When it comes to a movement with this level of power reserve, accuracy becomes a major issue because the torque curve downwards as the mainsprings wind down can be appreciable. That basically means that accuracy can vary wildly unless there is a system in place to handle that. Hublot doesn’t mention anything specific about that, but it is possible that the power reserve is actually longer than 10 days, with the movement automatically stopping before the torque becomes too low. We do know that the movement’s operating frequency is 3Hz (21,600 bph) which is about average for movements of this type.
The HUB1201 movement is produced from 223 parts, and is nicely visible through both the front and rear sapphire crystals on the case. Functionally, the movement offers just the time with small seconds dial along with the power reserve indicators. The Hublot Big Bang MECA-10 is really a mechanical art piece for those fond of Hublot’s style and brand personality. I happen to think it is a pretty kick-ass watch despite the expensive price.
Attached to the case is a black rubber strap which can be easily removed via the “One Click” strap removal system. I believe that for 2016, Hublot finally gave this strap attachment system a name… and that name is “One Click.” For 2016, the Hublot Big Bang MECA-10 will exist as the reference 414.NI.1123.RX in titanium and the limited edition of 500 pieces in black ceramic is the reference 414.CI.1110.RX. Price is $19,900 and $22,000 respectively. hublot.com