For 2015, Hublot has introduced a new bracelet option for the Big Bang UNICO watch collection. Since 2005, the Hublot Big Bang collection has been almost synonymous with being paired with a strap – often a rubber strap. In fact, one could make the argument that Hublot was a major player in the “luxurification” of rubber when it comes to watch strap materials. Whereas rubber was traditionally a more “utilitarian” material associated with sports such as diving, brands like Hublot helped thrust it into the arena of luxury sport watches, a genre than was exploding in the mid 2000s.
One of the more rare types of Hublot Big Bang watches were those that came on bracelets. I would venture to say that many Hublot customers did not even know that the Big Bang watch came on a bracelet. Hublot clearly is a brand that thrives on watches that come on a range of straps, but the bracelet option is always interesting.
In my writings on the topic in the past, I’ve always made it very clear how much I like watches that come on bracelets. It was perhaps the great Gerald Genta who solidified (for me) the value of having a watch bracelet and case that fit together in visual harmony. Think of the famous Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (designed by Genta) that has a case which gracefully tapers into the bracelets designed specifically for it. I’ve always found this type of design harmony to be much more interesting than a case matched to a strap which just happens to look good despite the fact that it is easily interchangeable.
While watches on bracelets aren’t rare, per se, they are less common than watches on straps. Watch retailers might point to the fact that some consumers prefer a strap over a bracelet (which is certainly true), but another important reason is the simple truth that straps are significantly cheaper than bracelets. Not only in terms of unit production cost, but they are also cheaper in terms of research and development. Bracelets must be engineered and, in many instances, use countless more parts than the relatively simple item which is a watch strap. So within the larger context of discussing watch bracelets, let’s return to the newer bracelet option available for the Hublot Big Bang UNICO – which is an updated Big Bang watch model with an in-house made Hublot movement originally unveiled in 2013.
One of the interesting features designed into the Hublot ig Bang UNICO collection (originally debuted in the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari) are small pushers on the lugs which are meant to release the straps so that the user can swap them. This same system is, of course, on this Hublot Big Bang UNICO with the bracelet, which means that this is perhaps one of the rare watch bracelets which can also be quickly released and swapped out with a strap – or even another bracelet. That means if you are interested in the Hublot Big Bang UNICO on a bracelet but also want the option of wearing it (say, for more sporty purposes) on a rubber strap, you can do so very easily and without tools by using the quick-release pushers.
At launch, Hublot is offering four versions of the Hublot Big Bang UNICO bracelet (with a matching watch case, of course). There is a titanium bracelet as well as an 18k king gold (basically, red gold), and each comes with either a center link in metal or black ceramic. The ceramic and metal bracelets are meant to go with cases that have a matching black ceramic bezel. With that said, even those watches that do have a black ceramic bezel might look good with an all metal bracelet – that tends to look a bit classier overall. The black ceramic insert gives the design a sportier and more youthful feel – but that isn’t what people are always going for.
Of course, the “baller” version is really the full 18k King Gold case and matching bracelet which, in addition to being quite hefty, offers a mixture between Hublot’s modern sports watch appeal, and the pure luxury of wearing a lot of gold. The bracelet has a butterfly-style deployant clasp, which is nice because it doesn’t add a lot of thickness to the bracelet.
Like the previous generation Big Bang bracelet option, the one for the Hublot Big Bang UNICO isn’t entirely made of metal. While the links are metal on the top, on the bottom, there is rubber which makes the bracelets theoretically more comfortable – but they won’t “last” as long, since the materials other than metal aren’t particularly known for their durability over long periods of time.
It is true that wearing the Hublot Big Bang UNICO on the bracelet makes the watch feel larger. The Hublot Big Bang UNICO case is already 45mm, and it will feel a bit larger (especially visually) with this newer bracelet option. The good news, of course, is that the bracelet also fundamentally changes the look of the Hublot Big Bang UNICO. I hope that Hublot will offer the bracelet as something that can be independently purchased for those people who already have a Hublot Big Bang UNICO to match it with.
I am going to spend very little time discussing the actual Hublot Big Bang UNICO 45 watch itself because I’ve done so previously on a series of occasions. The watch is 45mm wide and, with the bracelet, comes in either titanium, titanium with black ceramic, 18k king gold, or 18k king gold with ceramic. Inside the watches are the Hublot-made caliber HUB1242 UNICO automatic flyback chronograph movements which are always good looking through the skeletonized dial. We continue to feel that among the best Hublot pieces to get these days is the Hublot Big Bang UNICO, and with the bracelet, your Big Bang watch options just got more plentiful.
Prices are $22,900 on the titanium bracelet (411.NX.1170.NX), $24,600 on the titanium ceramic bracelet (411.NM.1170.NM), $55,100 on the King Gold bracelet (411.OX.1180.OX), and $48,200 on the King Gold Ceramic Bracelet (411.OM.1180.OM). hublot.com