This Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour is probably one of the most “Vegas” Hublot watches I have ever seen. Writing that, I realized that “Las Vegas” can mean different things to different people at different times. There is glitzy Las Vegas, weddings Las Vegas, Elvis impersonator Las Vegas, diamond and jewelry Las Vegas, etc… So with its connection to the World Poker Tour and the glam of winning big in Las Vegas, for me, the Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour edition watch set is for people who are real or imagined Las Vegas celebrities.
Why do I say this? Well, look at those shiny straps offered in either silver or gold color to match the case material. Look at the playing card inspired bezel symbols. Look at the bright red accents which include the hands and hour markers. And of course, look at the fact that the base piece is a Hublot Big Bang Unico 45mm. This is all about bold, in-your-face, styling and a less than subtle “look at me” philosophy to what you are wearing. Certainly, this doesn’t match what everyone is looking for all the time, but in a world where attention can be a virtue – luxury or otherwise – Hublot is a king.
It is thus very fitting, in my opinion, that Hublot inaugurate its relationship with the World Poker Tour with such a watch. Hublot will be the official watch, as well as the official timekeeper of the World Poker Tour’s events, such as the Five Star Diamond World Poker Classic event. The winner of which will receive a unique Hublot watch next year. So why poker and why the World Poker Tour?
Like all sponsorship/endorsement deals for watch brands like Hublot, it is about eyes and awareness. Hublot not only wants to be a desirable item for the many people who play games like poker “professionally” but also for the many fans and casual poker players. Hublot has an interest in connecting its brand name with activities where actual and aspirational luxury consumers spend their time and attention. More so, poker has become a huge spectator sport. The World Poker Tour’s events are televised and viewed by a lot of people. Interestingly enough, poker is now considered a form of “sport,” and show on channels such as Fox Sports. Hublot is gaining the eyeballs of all the people who spend time following poker events – and that is a win for a brand that is all about showing off.
We can enter a long debate on the virtues of being conspicuous when it comes to displaying luxury goods. There are times when I really do want an understated timepieces, but there are other times when I crave the visceral fun of an Hublot. It isn’t that Hublot doesn’t take itself seriously – they do. It is, rather, that Hublot is simply not particularly conservative in their choice of designs or partnerships – at least not compared to its watch world colleagues. Most people who work with or at Hublot don’t even understand the purpose or wisdom behind all of the brands partnerships over the years. If something Hublot does seems silly to you – chances are that someone at headquarters might feel the same way. Nevertheless, there is a method to their madness and relationships – and Hublot’s commercial success is the proof. The point, however, is that there are enough interesting partnerships and watches to keep you entertained – and isn’t it really all about entertainment at the end of the day, when it comes to collecting watches?
When in Vegas, certain things seem appropriate that would be totally out of place in other cities. The Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour is one of those watches. It is as uniquely Las Vegas as Hublot is unique in the world of luxury watches – and each is a limited edition that starts with the very cool Hublot Big Bang Unico 45mm watch (hands-on here). The 45mm (45.5mm) wide case in this instance is produced from either steel or 18k King Gold, and has a unique bezel design which should speak loudly to the world of poker and other games that use playing cards. The rear of the watch has the logo of the World Poker Tour printed on the sapphire crystal caseback window.
Inside the watch is the in-house made Hublot caliber HUB 1242 Unico automatic movement. I really like this movement a lot for its design and reported very good performance when measured with the competition. The movement has a 60 minute flyback chronograph and date indicator on the dial in addition to the time. Operating at 4Hz, the movement has 72 hours of power reserve. Even though the watch dial is skeletonized in order to view the movement, the red color helps the Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour watch to be surprisingly legible.
I feel like I need to wear one of those shiny blazers to really pull of this watch. Outside of performers in Las Vegas, who can get away with wearing those? Good thing that the Hublot Big Bang Unico is designed with quick release straps which can be changed with something a bit more demure. Still, I am sure a lot of people who get one of these watches will make good mileage out of the shown silver or gold tone straps. Hublot actually includes three strap choices with each Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour watch – which also includes a black and red strap with each version.
With 100 meters of water resistance, the Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour is something you can even go swimming in. I am just thinking about all the activities a wild night in Las Vegas after playing a lot of poker can yield. Poker players have a reputation for something losing grasp on the value of money – so service providers in Las Vegas love them for being big tippers and spenders. So it is not out of the question to consider that some of them are going to have adventures with an Hublot that may consider acquiring.
While the Hublot Big Bang Unico is one of my favorite current watches in the Hublot line-up, I don’t think it is a particular surprise that the World Poker Tour version wouldn’t be my first choice. I find it amusing and fun – and very much the right watch for the right type of people. I am actually happy Hublot went so over-the-top with the colors and styling, because doing anything less would just seem too boring. Hublot’s biggest issue with each of its new partnerships is matching them with cool watches that genuinely feel special enough – regardless of whether they appeal to the mainstream or not. In fact, I think it is very clear that Hublot is not aiming to appeal to the mainstream – and that is something which I personally respect a lot.
Hublot will produce 200 pieces of the limited edition ref. 411.SX.1170.LR.WPT15 Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour watch in steel, and 100 pieces of the ref. 411.OX.1180.LR.WPT15 watch in 18k King gold (95% rose gold, 5% platinum). Prices are $25,200 and $45,900 respectively. hublot.com