The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.” It’s an old refrain said to be originally coined by author Richard Mullin, but one that still echos through hazy Pinterest sunsets and Instagram captions promoting adventure tourism on an African safari. But draw back the eminently quotable curtain of the modern wanderlust machine and you discover that Mullin was really onto something eons before social media turned anything with meaning into a cliché. His words encapsulated the wonder and recognition of something bigger and more beautiful than what most are able to fathom or experience in a lifetime — until they go to Africa, of course. Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI Green
A huge part of the magic of this Africa of legend owes to the presence of the “big five:” the elephant, the lion, the buffalo, the leopard, and the rhinoceros. But these animals, and the incredible ecosystems they help sustain, are under constant threat. It’s here at this critical juncture that Hublot is introducing a follow-up to its joint 2019 project with ambassador Kevin Pietersen and his non-profit SORAI (Save Our Rhinos Africa/India), which is committed to protecting the rhinoceros, an incredible creature whose future in the wild — without help — remains quite bleak. Contrasting that khaki-colored ceramic edition from 2019 (which took inspiration from the white rhinoceros and the dry savannah they inhabit), this new reference celebrates the arrival of East Africa’s wet summer season, which brings about a rich, deep green to the jungles and grasslands.
Armed with a cause, and an extremely cool brushed and polished dark green ceramic case, Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI Green this reference is again characterized by a fully skeletonized dial and punctuated with a small black rhino figurine at 9 o’clock under the running seconds hand. It’s a color scheme that works particularly well with the olive drab woven nylon camo strap and the black titanium mid-case, and one that should find plenty of fans who might feel alienated by other more dynamic versions of Hublot’s special ceramic Big Bang watches, like this “Millenial Pink” version for an Italian design house, or this bright yellow “Magic Ceramic” rendition introduced at Watches & Wonders just a few weeks ago.
I’d even argue that the Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI Green editions balance the best of Hublot’s split personalities, straddling a fine line between the brand’s technical know-how and the Big Bang’s industrial, larger-than-life aesthetic, but in muted, earthy tones that help shrink the case’s 45mm footprint and bring a surprisingly toolish aesthetic that feels right at home with a rolled-up chamois shirt or a cotton M-65 jacket. And with 100 meters of water resistance, and plenty of lume on the hands and arabic numerals, you’ve got a sporty, legible, and wildly distinctive watch that’s more than up to the task of conducting fieldwork during the heavy summer rains that fall across South Africa’s massive Kruger National Park, home to fewer than 500 of the world’s last remaining black rhinoceroses.