Despite constantly interacting with the precious metal in nearly every form and alloy imaginable, the watch industry very rarely showcases gold in its rarest and purest natural form. Only a slim percentage of natural gold veins around the world provide the right condition to develop gold crystal, with a delicate fractal geometric structure that stands far apart visually from the familiar cleanly polished look of processed 24K gold. Hublot has a long and varied history of experimenting with gold and advanced gold alloys, and for its latest release, the avant-garde luxury brand brings the raw look of 24k-gold crystal to a dramatic all-black backdrop. With its stark black and gold colorway and minimalist execution, the new Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Gold Crystal showcases one of the brand’s most unique and evocative interpretations of gold to date.
Available in both 39mm and 42mm sizes, the black ceramic tonneau case of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Gold Crystal follows the brand’s complex multifaceted design language. The layered sandwich-style construction of the case is highlighted by a wide variety of finishes in images, ranging from a deep inky polished black for the top of the main case body and caseback to the grainy charcoal matte finishing of the crown guard and flanged case sides. Hublot complements this with strong vertical brushing for the top of the rectangular bezel and for the center of the integrated lugs, while the bezel is given further nuance with a polished chamfer and recessed matte blasted segments. All in all, the brand extracts a surprising amount of texture and visual depth from the black-on-black design in images, and in keeping with the sporty ultramodern look both case sizes are rated for a solid 100 meters of water resistance with a sapphire display caseback.
The dial is the natural centerpiece of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Gold Crystal’s design. With the rest of the watch forming a deep monochrome backdrop, the 24K gold crystals on display here are allowed to shine unimpeded, showcased through a complex multi-layer dial finishing process. Through a proprietary process developed by the brand over the course of more than a year, 24k-gold is heated to its melting point of over 1,000 degrees Celsius and vaporized into a superheated gaseous mixture before the mixture is cooled. As the gold vapor cools, it coalesces into completely unique branching fractal structures consisting of thousands of individual crystals. Only 20 percent of the crystals Hublot creates through this process are used for dials, as each crystal is hand-selected for aesthetics. The crystals are then placed on a black dial blank and hand-coated in 20 thin layers of clear lacquer in a climate-controlled environment to prevent the formation of air bubbles. The final effect is genuinely spectacular in images, conveying the depth and layered structure of each crystal beneath a smooth glossy surface. The rest of the dial design is fully minimal to keep visual focus on the gold crystals, interrupting the view only with a set of broad matte black skeleton hands and a 12 o’clock Hublot emblem printed on the underside of the crystal. With such a pared-down black-on-black approach, however, legibility is a genuine concern, but the sheer visual spectacle on display makes a compelling case on its own.
Hublot powers the Spirit of Big Bang Gold Crystal with the Zenith Elite 670-based HUB1710 automatic movement. (Unfortunately, the brand was unable to provide movement images of this watch before press time). The HUB1710 offers solid performance, including a 50-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The brand finishes both case options with a sporty tapering rubber-lined alligator leather strap in black.
With a unique crystal structure for each example and a futuristic minimalist look, the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Gold Crystal is a stark and stunning showcase of some of the brand’s most dramatic materials work. The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Gold Crystal is available now through authorized dealers at a starting MSRP of $28,400. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.