hat is the rule for new pieces presented during LVMH Watch Week? Even if there were any rules, Hublot would probably not have followed them – just as the brand doesn’t follow any playbook! For this first watchmaking event of 2023, the Manufacture has drawn inspiration from its 2022 best-seller, sprinkled with a touch of Haute Joaillerie folly in creating a pair of non-identical twin watches that invite us to play and revel in the art of bejewelled case setting. Although there are two new Big Bang models, we can enjoy a fun game of “Spot The Difference”... there are seven in all!
Let’s start with what is the same. The first similarity is a feast for the eyes. No need to be a gem expert to appreciate this: both pieces are Rainbow models, they are adorned with a river of translucent gemstones in a perfect gradation of colours, seamlessly running through all the shades of the rainbow.
The two pieces are not simply stone-set, but fully paved from the case to the bezel to the bracelet. Precious stones take their place alongside the most stunning minerals: ruby, amethyst, blue topaz, tsavorite, as well as a whole spectrum of sapphires – pink, orange, blue and yellow. Each radiant gemstone with its own unique hue, the subtle nuances of which have been paired, one by one, thanks to the expert eyes and hands of the master stone-setter. There are 174 gemstones in total for the Big Bang Integrated and 176 gemstones for the Time Only, and the bracelet for each piece features 768 and 748 set gemstones respectively.
Next, they are both cut from the same metal or alloy: King Gold, so dear to Hublot, and mastered solely by its own Manufacture. This alloy offers a warmer gold colour than traditional 18K 5N gold. Containing platinum, it lends itself perfectly to all the polishing and satin-finishing operations used to full effect on these two variations, alternating flat satin-finished surfaces and polished chamfers whose brilliance sparkles in harmony with each of the gemstones set on the piece. Finally, the two pieces share the same completely black dial: main plate, flange and date window. These elements are cloaked in an intense black which offers the perfect monochrome backdrop to showcase the full radiance of the rainbow setting.
Two large skeleton hands and a gold crown over-moulded with black rubber form two “ears” at either side at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. The case and bracelet are perfectly united: seamless in style, material and colour all while offering complete comfort to the wearer.
Each piece is powered by its own movement. The first is a chronograph, equipped with the Unico Manufacture self-winding movement – the original movement from the Hublot Manufacture – a skeleton calibre offering a power reserve of three full days. This prestigious mechanism beats within a large 42-mm diameter case.
The second piece is concentrated within a 40-mm diameter case – the first time this diameter has been available on the Big Bang since it was unveiled in 2022 – which gives it a more compact, edgy character. The movement, three hands and date on this “Time Only” are the perfect fit for the case which fills the whole space. The Big Bang Integrated Time Only King Gold Rainbow is well below the 10 mm mark in terms of thickness (measuring just 9.25 mm) and is the perfect fusion of Haute Horlogerie technicity and Haute Joaillerie levity.