Quick Look: The Hublot Big Bang

By Paul Hornblow, Owner of Watches of Wales

Hublot is a funny one in the watch world, it’s one of the only watch brands that’s as equally loved by the non-watch community as it is derided by those within the watch community. It appeared in the 1980’s as a sleek new upstart and was immediately running out of the gates with the first wristwatch to have a natural rubber strap.

Hublot is the French word for ‘Porthole’, the design inspiration for Hublot’s watches. Like the ever-popular Patek Philippe Nautilus, Hublot’s watches often feature “ears” on either side, representing the hinges and locking mechanism that keeps portholes on ships shut.


The original Hublot watch was an immediate success when it went on sale. No doubt its casual yet sporty design balanced both in equal measure and captured the imaginations of those around in the exuberant eighties. However, this popularity wouldn’t last. By the early noughties, when so many other competitors like Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai were experiencing a renaissance, Hublot was sliding ever closer to oblivion.

They knew they needed to do something drastic, so they called in Jean-Claude Biver, a modern-day legend of the horological world.

At this time, Biver was in charge of Omega, which was busy creating new legends, such as the Seamaster Planet Ocean. Biver gave the brand a shake-up by creating a brand-new model range. Supposedly signifying the start of something new, the watch was called the Big Bang and was heavily inspired by the original Hublot from the 80’s.

The Big Bang is a smart-looking watch that’s most notably seen featuring a chronograph but has been a base for all kinds of whacky creations over the years, including tourbillons, a 14-day movement and even a golf calculator. They’ve also been made from all the materials you can possibly imagine from steel to gold, titanium, ceramic, carbon fibre and even sapphire crystal. The Big Bang has also been a basis for artists to go wild, such as the Sang Bleu models, which take material craftsmanship in all sorts of directions, usually on the same watch.

Hublot’s Art of Fusion mantra has seen them experiment with materials, a result of this is King Gold. Regular 18k gold used on watches is 75% pure gold and 25% other materials. Pure 24-karat gold is too soft to be usable, so it’s blended to 18 karats. Even this is malleable and easily scratched. We’ve seen hundreds of pre-owned gold Rolexes and other watches to attest to this! King Gold is a mixture of gold and a ceramic called boron carbide, which is typically used in tank armour. Hublot successfully blended the soft gold with the hard ceramic to create a gold which is just as lustrous as regular gold but much more resilient to wear and tear over time.

The 301.SB.131.RX model is about as classical as you can get when it comes to the Big Bang. It features a 44mm stainless steel case with a black ceramic bezel, secured in place by six ‘H’ screws made from titanium. As well as carbon fibre dials, a classical tri-compax (three subdial) chronograph layout, and a red chronograph seconds hand.

Black Magic models could be missed easily thanks to their black dials and black cases, but to overlook these would be to miss out. They feature 44mm cases, made of ceramic instead of stainless steel. That makes these much lighter than their counterparts above while retaining the same chunky form factor. Make no mistake; once you put one of these on your wrist, it’ll be tough to get it off again.

Both type of watches feature the self-winding chronograph HUB4100 calibre, which starts life as an ETA 7753 before being fettled by Hublot’s engineers. It’s been given a new rotor which is sportier, and the calibre features a 42-hr power reserve without the chronograph running. It’s possible to see this movement working away through the sapphire crystal on the back of all the watches.

Hublot’s Big Bang range is integral to their success in the modern age. It’s a mixture of both contemporary, and cutting-edge design, with classical and futuristic materials. We understand that Hublot is very much a Marmite brand, but we think they’re one of the most creative out there today.

To see Watch of Wales’ full range of Hublot watches, visit watchesofwales.co.uk