The Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang is one of my favourite lines from Hublot. Partially that’s down to my occasionally contrarian nature wanting to stand out from the regular Big Bang herd, but mostly it’s because I find the large and in charge tonneau case shape is a perfect complement to the brand’s Art of Fusion philosophy. I’ve worn the 45mm King Gold Spirit, and the smaller 43mm titanium moonphase version and enjoyed them both immensely. They’re imposing-yet-fun on the wrist, and this all sapphire version takes the concept to the next level.
This is a Statement watch with a capital S (and perhaps capitalised a-t-e-m-e-n-t as well) and it takes a certain confidence to pull off. A level of confidence that to be honest, I’m not sure I possess. Then again, I suspect wearing this would function as a pretty effective confidence booster in its own right. It’s not just the seemingly impossible sapphire case that makes this such an impressive watch — it’s the case material combined with the shape and size. Tonneau cases are uncommon and hard to get right. Because of this most stick to the sapphire territory of round watches, and Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang – with its now numerous regular sapphire Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang – is no exception. And the 45mm wide by 51mm tall case size is pushing the maximum limits for most mortal wrists. Honestly, 43mm is a much more manageable size, but this watch isn’t about being merely ‘manageable’, it’s about being so far ahead of the pack that it’s a mere memory in your wake.
Inside you get Hublot’s version of the El Primero, the HUB4700, which is a pretty enough movement to be constantly gazing at. Attaching the whole thing to your wrist is a translucent resin strap with a (sadly not see through) titanium deployant buckle.
Now, you can’t go and release a sapphire-cased tonneau watch and expect not to draw references to Richard Mille — particularly the RM56. And those comparisons are more than fair, and (I’m guessing) fully anticipated by Hublot. Having said that, this watch is still 100 percent Hublot. It also must be said that Richard Mille is playing in a different space and scale, making a handful of sapphire watches, each with a sticker price north of a million. So I guess the question is: would you wear it?