World firsts are common in the realm of horology, but what is often overlooked in place of innovative mechanics is innovative case materials. Hublot has that base clearly covered with a range of sapphires in black, yellow, blue and red gracing its finest timepieces. And the latest to join that line-up is the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire.
Hublot’s technical feat is paired to an entirely new in-house self-winding tourbillon movement and revised architecture, which enable the micro-rotor to be visible on the dial side of the watch. The result is a truly stunning transparent timepiece that showcases the most vital inner workings for a unique aesthetic on the wrist.
Precision craftsmanship doesn’t come cheap though, with the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire fielding a limited run of just 50 pieces alongside an individual price tag of US$169,000.
Translucent case design
Hublot’s process for creating its sapphire cases involves the use of titanium and chromium. Once completed, the 45-millimetre case is finished with six H-shape titanium screws on the bezel that characterise the iconic Big Bang design.
The main challenge of such a case involves obtaining a material with a uniform colour that is also void of impurities, bubbles and cracks. This standard must then be applied multiple times to achieve identical results across the 50 pieces before the complex and costly process of machining naturally hard sapphire material.
Once this stage is achieved, the Hublot engineers and chemists then work to ensure that the transparent material is as robust as it is attractive.
A new beating heart
An entirely new self-winding tourbillon calibre forms the centrepiece of the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire. The self-winding function means that the watch can afford a minimum power reserve of 72 hours or three days – a highly convenient feature for wearers.
Other fine appointments include the grey 22-carat gold micro-rotor, which is offset by exquisite decorations including bevelling, sunray brushing and sandblasting finishes. The legibility of the open dial is enhanced by hands and indices with a luminescent coating.
Finally, the timepiece is finished off with a matching transparent orange rubber strap paired to a patented express One Click interchangeability system and titanium deployant buckle.
Those interested can now visit Hublot.