The release of the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sorai watch sees the creative Swiss watchmaker link up with conservationists Save Our Rhino Africa India (SORAI) to raise awareness of the shockingly sharp decline in rhinos left in the wild. Behind the initiative is South African-born English cricketer Kevin Pieterson, whose interest in saving the endangered rhino is stoked by his strong emotional connection to the continent of his birth. With a highly visible founder working with a major brand on such a worthy cause, it is not hard to imagine this latest edition to the Big Bang Unico range meeting with success.
According to SORAI’s studies, it is possible that two-thirds of rhino species could disappear in the near future. Driving this potential extinction event is widespread poaching, with poachers taking extreme measures to obtain rhinoceros horns, which are still popular ingredients in certain medicines and highly regarded by some as trophies.
A large (but unspecified) portion of the funds raised from the sale of this 100-piece limited edition will be paid directly to the “Care for Wild” charity (which looks after orphaned rhinos) and the South African National Parks agency to help increase their nocturnal surveillance capabilities, which are essential in the fight against poachers. These donations have been proposed after consultation with SORAI.
Kevin Pietersen, Founder of SORAI, says, “This collaboration between Hublot and SORAI has allowed us a platform to give huge amounts of visibility to an incredible cause on a global scale. By partnering, we are doubling the voices on this cause — and I’m so pleased that Hublot is now supporting the rhinos and their conservation quest. I’m looking forward to the future and sharing the amazing story of SORAI with the world.”
The watch itself (reference 411.CZ.4620.NR.SOA19) is a really striking beast. Crafted from micro-blasted beige ceramic, the 45mm × 15.45mm case cannot fail to make a statement. Beige, lacquered indices treated with bright white luminescent material ensure excellent legibility at night or in low-light conditions. A cutesy rhino applique is featured on the 9 o’clock subdial, which is used to show the going seconds. On the other side of the dial, a 60-minute counter complements the centrally mounted chronograph seconds hand. Powered by the HUB1242 manufacture caliber, this 4Hz automatic watch has a power reserve of 72 hours.
One of the nicest elements of this unusual colorway is the way it coordinates with the two quick-change strap options. Hublot’s proprietary strap system may well corner customers into buying new straps directly from the brand, but it is one of the few “quick-change” methods that is easy to use and reliable. A push-button release engages with a seat-belt-like clip on the ends of the two-piece strap options. My favorite is the desert camouflage option, but the beige fabric alternative gives the watch a rugged and tool-like appearance, especially from distance. The colors on the camouflage strap have been added using a process known as “selective vulcanization,” resulting in long-lasting vibrancy, which will be useful if this watch were to be worn in the hot environments for which it was designed. The Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI is available in a limited run of 100 units for $24,100. Learn more at hublot.com.