December 14, 2011
by Ariel Adams
Years ago when the first Hublot Big Bang came out it was an interesting watch to most people. It had an aggressive military and industrial sensibility to it that so many men enjoyed back then, and still enjoy today. Not everyone is in love with Hublot watches, but most tend to agree that the Big Bang was a solid design. So solid that for a long time Hublot became typecast as a firm making only Big Bang watches. That is until a few years ago when watches like the King Power and others came along to fill in the product line a bit more.
Going back to the Big Bang I thought it would be interesting to explore the “jewelry-ification” of the piece. From the original masculine design to pieces completely covered in diamonds, it is fascinating to see how the core design has held up to being studded in diamonds. The newest diamond-dressed Big Bang watch is called the Hublot Baby Million (though I am not sure what is so “baby” about it). It is a $302,000 priced piece with 28 carats of diamonds on it. Here it is the first shown watch in this article and prompted this discussion. Why? Well because in addition to being almost totally covered in diamonds, the core Hublot Big Bang design is preserved on the dial and case – despite the 891 diamonds all over the timepiece. That wasn’t simple – to make a haute joaillerie Big Bang still look like a Big Bang watch.
A million bucks isn’t the highest amount Hublot has asked for a Big Bang watch. There have been a few such “million” (I am not even sure of the currencies sometimes) Big Bangs up to the 3 million dollar version with a tourbillon. What I like is how each of these is actually set differently with stones. These are also among the few men’s watches with diamonds that I think I could pull off wearing. Of course that statement is almost entirely fantasy because the prices are outrageous, but you get the idea. I tend to think of diamond studded watches as being primarily feminine. Though the right guy (Elton John) call pull it off.
Moving down the article you can see a few Big Bang watches will less and less diamonds down to one of the originals on a rubber strap. The evolution of the watch is interesting and thought-provoking for what is (love it or hate it) an icon of modern luxury sport watches. The Hublot Baby Million is probably a perfect hybrid between the look of the original and the jewelry style that many of these are going for. Hublot does deserve some credit for taking a cool looking 44mm wide watch and making the most out of the design. It remains a piece I admire – though given the extremely wide range of variations Hublot has made, I have no idea which I would wear if I could choose just one.
The luxury watch market needs diamonds. Hublot sort of never had a choice when it came to putting diamonds on the Big Bang. I always thought it was sort of silly when a nice sport watch was suddenly available with diamonds. Years before Hublot ever did this it was brands like Rolex and Omega that made it clear how necessary it was. Why? Well because there are finicky luxury lovers who simply won’t wear anything else. It might seems hard to believe for some people, but I have met plenty of watch collector’s who have said “nice watch, but does it come in gold with diamonds? I don’t wear anything else.” The first few times I heard this it was surprising, but it is a fact. For me, I have no prejudice against a nice steel timepiece. I actually have some prejudice against sport watches slathered in precious materials, but the best of them are important parts of the watch universe.
With large budgets and healthy desire to play with design and precious materials, I think we are no where near the end of the diamond-covered Big Bang. Though it is good to know what is underneath all the stones.