Few ultra-luxury watches feel as cheerful as many of those that are produced by Swiss Hublot. For 2021, those fond of orange can bask in the translucent glow of this little lovely number that combines a hued sapphire crystal case with a brand-new automatic tourbillon-based movement. Limited to 50 pieces as the reference 419.JO.0120.RT in orange, we can already anticipate that the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire watch will arrive in other colors in the future. This is also the first orange-colored sapphire crystal watch produced by Hublot. Expensive wrist candy rarely tastes so good.
At a glance, this watch is “just” a modern generation Hublot Big Bang when looking at the distinctive and modern-looking case shape. Its size is 45mm wide and 15.3mm thick — more or less the same as your standard Big Bang UNICO Chronograph watches. The first hint that something is different is the case, which is a translucent orange color, and which is produced out of sapphire crystal. Hublot followed Richard Mille (the first company to do a sapphire crystal case) in celebrating the use of synthetic sapphire as a watch case material. When Hublot released its first sapphire-cased Big Bang watch in 2016, it was the most affordable sapphire-cased watch on the market. Later in 2018, I reviewed a very similar Hublot Big Bang UNICO with a sapphire crystal case here.
Since then Hublot has made sapphire crystal one of the many exotic case materials they like to use for some of their special watches. Colorful timepieces are very trendy in the ultra-luxury space and, in many ways, have supplanted traditional luxury materials such as gold or platinum. In addition to clear and colored forms of sapphire crystal, Hublot also makes prolific use of ceramic case materials. Hublot probably offers watches in a larger variety of sapphire and ceramic colors than any other brand.
All illusions that a sapphire crystal watch might be nothing more than plastic are shattered the moment you touch the case material itself. Nothing plastic feels this strong, yet smooth. Sapphire crystal is pretty hard, and more importantly, it is very scratch-resistant. Experiencing normal wear and tear, a sapphire crystal-cased watch will probably still look brand-new a decade later. The only area that will get some wear is the small number of exposed metal parts, such as the screws and crown.
Sapphire crystal isn’t only used for the case of this Hublot Big Bang watch, but also the dial. Clear sapphire crystal is used as a movement bridge, which doubles as the watch dial. On it are applied hour markers while a hole is cut out in order to provide space for the spinning flying tourbillon. The movement is known as the Hublot caliber MHUB6035 and is the first automatic tourbillon with a micro-rotor produced by the brand. This particular orientation of dial features and parts isn’t new, but micro-rotor automatic tourbillon movements are still rare.
At 6 o’clock on the dial, you can view the flying tourbillon with its spinning 3Hz escapement assembly. Above it, under 12 o’clock on the dial, is the mainspring barrel (with 72 hours of power reserve). Over the mainspring barrel is a 22k gray-gold (for weight) automatic micro-rotor. The entire movement is made up of 243 parts and is highly skeletonized in its design so that you can see through much of it.
Hublot isn’t limiting the use of the MHUB6053 Automatic Tourbillon movement to just this Big Bang Orange Sapphire model. 2021 will also see the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic watches in black ceramic and also Texalium material. What is great about the movement is that it is as visually bold as it is practical. So is sapphire crystal as a case material, for that matter. That means a watch nearing $175,000 can be worn very much like a daily-use timepiece (for the right type of wearers that is). Limited to 50 pieces, the reference 419.JO.0120.RT Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire watch has a retail price of $169,000 USD. Learn more at the Hublot website here.