Hublot has been a pioneer in the experimental use of tough materials in recent times, from Magic Gold to the Red Magic ceramic timepieces. The brand has now turned its attention to sapphire crystal, which is known to be the hardest and most scratchproof material after diamonds. Though tough to handle, Hublot has been working with sapphire crystal watches over the last two years, with models like the Big Bang Unico and the Big Bang One Click Sapphire.
The new Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon, however, is a unique product. It is entirely transparent, including the case, dial, strap and the tourbilon movement. The crystalline connections disappear to reveal the skeleton mechanics of the tourbilion, whose cage is held in place by a strip cut from sapphire.
Hublot’s innovation and research have once more broken through a glass ceiling when it comes to theusage of sapphire crystal in watchmaking. “Sapphire is hard and fragile at the same time, which opens up an infinite realm of possibilities. In recent years we have managed to industrialise it and to dye it in original colours. We are now going even further to perfect this unique expertise: creating detailed components from sapphire as well as high-tech polycarbonate,” says Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot.
The Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon forged from sapphire creates absolute transparency. For the first time, its skeleton movement and see-through connections are revealed through ‘invisibility’, where only a few metallic gears sketch out the contours. All of the parts are clear: the sapphire middle, bezel and the back of the case reveal crystal technicalities that seem to float. The dial and its numbers, index and power reserve indicator are all opalescent and flown over by perforated hands.
This 99-edition watch represents a breakthrough in the technical and aesthetic use of sapphire. In addition to its 45 mm case, cut from a block of sapphire, the tourbillon strip is designed in the same material, which is almost indestructible. On the wrist, the watch appears invisible with a transparent rubber strap, while revealing the inner mechanics of the watch.
Another breathtaking crystal piece from this year’s launches is the Big Bang MP11. The absolute transparency of this new model, limited to 200 pieces, is juxtaposed with its chromatic backside, shaped from transparent sapphire crystal. As remarkable as the engine, it contains the sapphire crystal case bulges to create a loupe effect over the power reserve indicator.
Big Bang MP-11 Sapphire