In 2021 Hublot became the official high-end timepiece maker of Ferrari (hands-on with the watches here). The famous Italian car maker had its ups and downs partnering with Swiss watch brands. A relationship with the strong automotive name was an appealing, albeit risky move for Hublot. It was however something that Biver and his team could not resist. Biver’s tactic was to produce a totally unique collection of watches for Ferrari, as opposed to simply re-branding other models. Using the original Big Bang as inspiration, Hublot created a larger 45mm wide case with a UNICO movement, and distinctive style. The case and dial were beautiful, and new features debuted on the watch such as an easy release strap system, and Hublot’s “Magic Gold” that was a hybrid material of ceramic and gold.
The Hublot Big Bang Ferrari watches quickly became hot sellers and in 2013 Hublot added to the Ferrari collection with new models (hands-on here) that emphasized the “material” strength of Hublot including an all-carbon fiber version, a version in a totally ceramic case, as well as a model with a red tinted sapphire crystal. At the time I mentioned that the Big Bang Ferrari was the finest Big Bang model the brand had ever produced. Biver agreed with that because the Ferrari relationship was so important to Hublot, they really put their time into making sure the products were amazing. Later in 2013 Hublot had another surprise with an updated Big Bang that built on the Ferrari watch.
Using lessons learned with the Big Bag Ferrari, Hublot finally set out to recreate the Big Bang with many of the same features and components. I actually think that Hublot will continue to produce the original Big Bang for sometime. For that reason I can’t claim that the 2013 Big Bang UNICO is a replacement, but rather it is an updated model that people who liked the Big Bang in 2005 would probably want to get today. Using a case very similar to the Ferrari watch, the Hublot Big Bang UNICO is 45mm wide (actually 45.5mm) and incorporates some of the features we loved on the Big Bang Ferrari, such as the pusher on the lug structure that acts as an easy release for the strap (so you can swap them).
Hublot didn’t however just re-purpose the Big Bang Ferrari case. There are differences, and the Ferrari version is still a bit more complicated. Differences include the materials options, crown, and chronograph pushers. In fact, probably the most controversial element of the new Big Bang UNICO are the chronograph pushers. Round, and designed to look like pistons, they mark a stark departure from the more square pushers you normally see on Hublot chronograph watches. At first I wasn’t too taken by the new pushers, but eventually I learned to accept and appreciate them. They offer a bit more of a classic feel, that strikes a sort of harmony with the otherwise very modern design of the watch. In fact, because the case of the 45mm wide Big Bang is so similar to the 44mm wide version, the pushers mark an important visual distinction point.
The biggest update is really the dial. Hublot has been perfecting the art of modern skeletonized dials for years now and the Big Bang UNICO 45mm is a shining example of their lessons put to the test. Building on themes from the original Big Bang such as numeral fonts and hands, Hublot designed a completely three-dimensional dial complete with multiple layers and a partial view into the movement. The hands and hour markers are very easy to see thanks to their bold, high-contrast design, but satisfying technical elements abound as well.
Inside the new Hublot Big Bang 45mm watches are the Hublot UNICO caliber HUB1242 automatic movements. Based on the same UNICO that is in the Big Bang Ferrari watches, this caliber has a subsidiary running seconds hand (where the Ferrari has a Ferrari logo in this spot). The movement has a 60 minute chronograph and date indicator window. The chronograph further uses a column wheel and has a flyback feature. Operating at 28,900 bph, the UNICO HUB1242 has a power reserve of 72 hours and is made from 330 parts. It is a really nice looking modern movement and just what a new Big Bang watch deserves.