[BaselWorld] Hublot 2011 Big Bang All Stars


We see the personality and strategy of the most famous CEO shine through the products their companies manufacture.
The «Basel 2011» from Hublot is a good example of this concept.
If the chief motto in watch-making could be «Less is more», Biver’s would undoubtedly be «More is more».

The «BigBang All Black Carbon»: to celebrate the buyout of its provider of carbon fiber cases, Hublot proposes one of its Big Bangs entirely made of this material. The woven fibers (as opposed to «forged carbon») produce a convincing result as, in my opinion, it fits in the initial vocation of theBig Bang, that is a technical case manufactured with High-tech materials, literally a fusion of exotic components. In practice, and it is little known on the forums, carbon fiber (woven or rough) is stacked in successive layers (like fabric layers) which are then impregnated with a two-component resin that, once polymerized, brings its mechanical properties to the compound; The resulting block is then machined into its final shape with a digital tool.
A fine Big Bang indeed, an orthodox watch in regard to the early models.

The «Big Bang Oceanographic 4000»: after the questionable «Big Bang King», Hublot presents the «Big Bang Oceanographic 4000», a «Biverian» suitable response to the arms race to the abyss . If the watch takes up the challenge posed by the 3900m announced by Rolex with the «Sea-Dweller Deep Sea», it is still behind Pita Barcelona and its «Oceana 5000 meters».
Surprisingly enough, the BB shows a diameter of 48mm for 20mm in thickness, whereas both its competitors are «only» 43mm (everything is relative) in order to limit the mechanical stresses sustained by the casing. I suppose that a slightly bigger case considerably increases the overall pressure supported by the frame.
I‘d be curious to know what technical solutions the Hublot engineers came with in order to achieve this result.
The ergonomy was studied seriously, and from this perspective it is one of the best designed Extreme Divers, if not the best. The internal graduated bezel can be rotated even with diving gloves, via the crown located at 2 o’clock.

The control is protected by a crown-guard easily actionable underwater . There are no issues with regards to the visibility: it is neat, readable, and the oversized case is truly an asset, making the watch even more adapted for diving.
The wristbands are easily replaced by pushing a single button; However, this ingenious device has a downside: you can only use OEM wristbands.
Surprisingly enough, Hublot achieves a true «Tool watch» with very few aesthetic compromises, that can easily drift into bad taste on the BB, and ergonomic innovations that, despite their ingenuity are barely publicized. (Also in woven carbon fiber, the Big Bang Diver 4000, released the same year as the SL! No pictures available, unfortunately…)

The funniest piece, the «Big Bang Leopard Gold» (yes, it also exits in a «Snow Leopard» version, never seen on the market and appealing enough): 41mm, set with «Andalusite, Smoky quartz and Citrine baguettes», definitely designed for «fashionistas».
No doubt it will find customers in its target, that of collectors strongly compulsive regarding horologic curiosities.

After the Hublot Fashionista, the Hublot «J12», a «Big Bang Black Caviar» (or «White Caviar») made of ceramic. At less than 10K€, it is a success in terms of design, since even though the white version looks rather cheap, the black one is really attractive; Hublot managed to revitalize nicely the All Black Ceramic line, creating a new watch through the fusion of a «J12» with a «BB All Black Ceramic».

However, the lineage is not shocking since the piece borrows a lot from the «One Million Bucks Black Caviar» concept (which it somewhat devalues).
As usual with the «ceramics» from Hublot, the finish is very good, even though the work of CNC must be relatively difficult considering the numerous beveled edges, which must generate lots of break-up during the grinding process.
The watch is comfortable to wear, of course water resistant up to 100m, and proposed at a reasonable price for a Hublot. An excellent product, there is no doubt it will hit a “home run” among the AD.

Let’s talk about the «Hublot Tonneau» about which a lot has been written, because of the continual creative comings and goings between the Hublot Tonneau «Richard Mille» and the Richard Milles round «Hublot».

The watch wasn’t convincing to me: it is too bulky and too expensive (half of a RM).

Far more worn-out in my opinion than the Black Caviar design is the Tourbillon concept, home-made since the buyout of BNB. It is no more than a rehashing, of a movement that has barely evolved in years. That’s when the SL concept shows its limits: a classic Big Bang Toubillon with a streamlined design would have made more sense in the catalog.

Far more remarkable is a work based on the «Clef du Temps», the «predatorian» watch released by BNB before its integration with Hublot.
I was presented with a plastic prototype , the final product bound to be built in noble materials.
The original concept created by BNB was eccentric in many respects: it enabled the division or multiplication of the speed of the hands by 2, in order to represent the relativity associated with time flowing.
On the version developed by Hublot, and in accordance with the «Biverian» dogma of «always more», the division or multiplication works by a factor 4. The power reserve has been increased to 5 days. I wish the envelope had been pushed even further with a tilted tourbillon, the vertical one creates a problem only to attempt to compensate for it. If the design of the «Cle Du Temps» was contorted, balancing between SF and Corporate design, the aesthetic of the «Cle du Temps» by Hublot is even more so.
It is in my opinion its biggest flaw: Hublot should have enshrined this tormented movement into a streamlined case, in order to emphasize the originality of the caliber.
However, the buyout of BNB by Hublot made this very interesting project possible (the notion of relativity in the perception of time is pervasive, and yet nobody researches the subject)

Next, the Big Bang «classic» : a welcomed surprise, the evolution of this line is really a success, as the prices are relatively restrained and the materials, if not innovative, are delivered in their highest grade.
Moreover, on certain details such as the indicators, the dials and the middles, these «classics» are far more convincing to me than the usual versions, and if we leave the «fusion» concept, we approach that of «classic luxury horology»..

And now some good news, the regular Big Bang: back to the basics, almost «back to the roots». A series of tributes to the finest BB seen these last few years.
One of the greatest success was the «Bullet Bang», with its cermet case looking like Bronze, balancing between the Cyberpunk and Steampunk trends, it was a perfect answer to the «fusion» paradigm.
The same alloy ceramic/metal is used for the «Aero Bang cermet», with the semi-skeleton dial of the Aero Bang. This mechanical look fits perfectly with both the inspirations mentioned earlier.
A small difference between the press-kit and the model on the photo: the hands are black on the «Full Black» version, but it gains in beauty what it loses in readability, the black indicators being 75% less luminous compared to the regular pale green/white on the other variation.
For once I am happy with this semi re-edition, I thought the concept of «cermet-bronze» had been buried.

Let’s take a look at the «Mag Bang», now fitted with a carbon dial, with a rendering reminding me of the «Matte Platinum»; Here, automotive is the main inspiration, with the «white cars» trend. The watch is a great achievement, a synergy of materials: a magnesium case combined with the carbon dial.

The best for last, with the 2 finest watches of the Hublot booth, the Big Bang in colored ceramic: many attempts had been made here and there, bordering on silly; But this time, it is simply beautiful.
Both colors, green and blue, borrow from the most common natural shades and remind us of military or police watches.
Because the only flaw of these Big Bang watches is the lack of a press-kit, or any official data. This poor communication doesn’t pay tribute to such achievements.
I have a little preference for the green one, whose undertone reminds me of that used by the allies during WWII (especially the famous GMC CCKW-353):

Of course, you may prefer the blue version, whose shade is not far from an «electric blue», a color never seen in horology.

We will wrap up Bâle 2011/Hublot with these two outstanding watches.

I don’t talk about half of the pieces I have seen, such as the «Tutti-frutti», the «Earl Grey», etc.
It was an anthology of the finest versions of the Big Bang, as well as of the poorest, an explosion of colors, of materials, of inspirations…
Finally, all of this fits into the initial concept: the Big Bang philosophy has nothing to do with coherenceor with the professed «good taste» of the horology enthusiasts.
It is therefore difficult to criticize these watches on the concept, everyone can find their own happiness within the universe of Hublot.
There is still the prices, which are far higher but lesser or in the same level of price than the watches of this niche, like the ROO AP and might deter many enthusiasts. Furthermore, buying second-hand is not an option, since the finest SL by Hublot are not to be found on the secondary market.

It is probably Hublot’s finest series since the arrival of Biver.


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