For LVMH Watch Week 2021, Hublot introduces a new version of its Hublot Big Bang MP-11, a watch which features a 14-day power reserve via a series of seven in-series mainspring barrels. This is one of the longest power reserves in any watch produced by Hublot; it has previously been released in red ceramic. That model was the subject of a Hands-On review in June of 2020. The new version is in Hublot’s Magic Gold, which is a proprietary alloy made of a combination of ceramic and gold.
The new watch, like its predecessor, is a relatively restrained (for a 14-day watch) 45mm x 14.50mm, and retails for $89,500, in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
Magic Gold is a material with a number of interesting properties. It’s an extremely scratch-resistant gold alloy, so much so that Hublot’s comfortable describing it as “virtually scratchproof.” The numbers seem to bear this out: 18-karat gold has a hardness of about 140 on the Vickers hardness scale, which measures the resistance of a material to a standard, diamond-tipped indenting tool (316L stainless steel, commonly used for watch cases, is usually around 150-200). Magic Gold, on the other hand, is about 1,000 on the scale.
Its extraordinary toughness is thanks to its composition. To make Magic Gold, you first start with a ceramic powder (boron nitride) and compress it in a mold. The resulting shape is then placed in a sintering furnace, at a temperature of about 2,200 C. The heat fuses the ceramic particles together but leaves the interior porous. Liquid gold is then worked into the material, again under very high pressure. The final material is, despite its composite nature, still high enough in gold content to qualify as 18k gold.
It’s pretty neat stuff – a scratchproof gold alloy is a major oxymoron in materials science, and I give Hublot a lot of credit for pursuing it. Magic Gold doesn’t quite have the warm allure of conventional yellow or red-gold alloys, but it does have a sleek, almost green-gold sheen with its own unique appeal. While the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Magic Gold doesn’t look to the expression of traditional watchmaking for its appeal, it does have a lot of value added for anyone who wants a watch that wears its advanced technical properties on its sleeve.
Hublot reasserts its unrivalled expertise in cutting-edge materials by presenting two new versions of its Big Bang MP-11 watch, in Magic Gold & Blue Sapphire.
The extraordinary MP-11 manufacture calibre developed by Hublot is equipped with seven barrels, which guarantee an unrivalled power reserve of 14 days. Characterized by its atypical and highly visual construction, the Big Bang MP-11 watch reveals these seven in-line barrels through the open dial.
The master of fusion, Hublot has always stood out by seeking to achieve perfect alliances between movements and cases, between the mechanical hearts of its watches and their settings on the wrist. In the visionary spirit of the brand, the unorthodox concept of the MP-11 calibre, developed and manufactured entirely in Hublot’s workshops, must therefore forge an alliance with brand new cases distinguished by their unique design and innovative materials.
This challenge has already been brilliantly met in the Replica Hublot Big Bang MP-11 in ultra-light 3D carbon, using King Gold alloy paired with a 3D carbon bezel, in transparent sapphire, in high-tech Red Magic ceramic and most recently in green SAXEM, which is a new composite rivalling the most beautiful emeralds in colour and matching diamonds in its hardness.
Today, Hublot’s story of the MP-11 calibre continues with the unveiling of two new models that are sure to make their mark.
The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 14-day power reserve Magic Gold, available as a limited edition of just 50 pieces, reinterprets the ultra-technical and contemporary design of the Big Bang case in the world’s first ever version of scratch-resistant 18-carat gold, an alloy invented and patented by Hublot.
To achieve this unprecedented resistance in the traditional world of precious metals, the brand’s engineers have combined pure gold with boron carbide, an extremely hard high-tech ceramic. The exclusive colour of the Magic Gold case is enhanced on the bezel of the watch, by the contrast with the six H-shaped black-coated titanium screws.
Playing on transparency, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 14-day power reserve Blue Sapphire, also released as a limited edition of 50 pieces, takes its radiance and inimitable colour from one of the manufactured sapphires that Hublot has developed in house. With unique knowledge and complete mastery of the industrialisation process, Hublot is able to offer sapphire in a range of innovative colours (transparent, black, blue, red, yellow and orange).
The extreme hardness of the sapphire requires specific machining methods – a further challenge on this watch due to the profile of the middle and the bezel to accommodate the shape of the cylindrical barrels. The lined and structured blue rubber strap echoes the innovative colour of the sapphire case.
Magic Gold and Blue Sapphire; the two new Big Bang MP-11 models offer exclusive staging of the calibre HUB9011 manual-winding skeletonised movement, one of the jewels of the 100% Hublot collection. To achieve an exceptional power reserve of two weeks, the brand has developed an original movement architecture integrating seven series-coupled barrels.
The power reserve appears directly on a cylinder located to the left of the seven barrels, opposite the ‘DAY POWER RESERVE’ indication in blue or gold on the anti-reflective sapphire crystal. By adopting the shape of barrels, the sapphire crystal creates a magnifying effect on this important indication.
To enable energy to be transmitted between the horizontal barrel arbor and the vertical gears controlling the hour and minute display at 12 o’clock, the engineers made use of a system rarely employed in watchmaking: a 90-degree helical worm gear. To create an aesthetic balance with this helical gear, which is visible at 10 o’clock, the balance was moved on the dial side in a symmetrical position at two o’clock. Composed of 270 pieces, giving a very reasonable thickness of 10.92 mm, the HUB9011 calibre also stands out due to its patented index-assembly system, its black platinum bridges and its silicon escapement combining traditional and innovative elements.
The two new Big Bang MP-11 Magic Gold and Blue Sapphire movements are wound manually using the large fluted crown with worm screw type relief that echoes the helical gear, or an electric Torx stylus inspired by the world of motor racing.