Translucent Beauty: Hublot delivers a timepiece that not only shatters all convention, but also displays its prowess in watchmaking
By The Time Place Magazine
Picture this: a timepiece that you can see through. A magical watch that goes beyond colour and delivers unparalleled crystalline appeal. Enter the Square Bang Unico Sapphire, a revolutionary model that puts Hublot at the forefront of watchmaking.
Designing a timepiece using sapphire was a definite challenge for the brand, but Hublot is not new to innovating with a novel material. Specialising in the “Art of Fusion,” Hublot masterfully develops and combines materials like no other, and excels in merging the past with the present in the futuristic watches it creates in its workshops.
Shaped to Perfection
Year after year, Hublot shakes things up in the watchmaking industry by introducing models that seemingly defy all convention. This much can be said at last year’s Watches & Wonders, when the esteemed brand unveiled the new Square Bang Unico, inspired by the iconic Big Bang. Joining its array of barrel-shaped variants within “The Shaped Collection,” the new timepiece Hublot’s very own interpretation of the square watch.
“The square watch is a very specific object that most watchmakers dare not tackle. This is a divisive, disruptive, and unconventional shape that no one has known how to rework for decades: it was just waiting for us! Hublot decided to get to grips with the shape in order to explore its power and create a totally unique timepiece. Like any Hublot, the Square Bang Unico has no equivalent!” said Hublot CEO, Ricardo Guadalupe.
In terms of the process of watch creation, Hublot’s R&D department is set apart from the rest because it works around one question: is there anything that has not been explored in watchmaking? And true enough, Hublot has done everything, from creating the most resistant materials, coming up with the craziest partnerships, and even developing extraordinary complications. For 2022, the innovative brand decided to focus not on one of these three aforementioned areas, but on the shape. To date, Hublot has mastered three forms: round, barrel-shaped, and the MPs or ‘Master Pieces’ that allowed it to break free from classic watchmaking. It has since added the square to this very lively mix.
Seasoned watchmakers are traditionally accustomed to working with round cases. This follows logic as the heart of the timepiece, the calibre, has the wheel as its basic component. Most watchmakers who attempted to explore the geometry of the square watch obscured the movement from view to give the illusion of a shaped calibre. Hublot, however, became invested in doing more than just offering a geometric form. To its credit, the distinguished brand spent a significant amount of time in the development of its new timepiece. But once the company was ready to show the world what it had done, there was no stopping this stalwart of haute horology.
The Square Bang Unico showcases its proprietary Unico movement right smack in the centre of its dial. And rightly so, as the Unico movement is the pride of the Nyon watchmakers and is the beating heart of many of Hublot’s most popular designs for more than 10 years. The chronograph has a column wheel visible at 6 o’clock, while its bicompax display dispenses with a dial, to reveal the secret inner workings of its iconic calibre.
Inspired by the Big Bang’s sandwich construction, Hublot’s reinforced the multi-level and architectural make-up of its new shaped watch and equipped it with a guaranteed 100 metre water resistance. With the same hands as the brand’s iconic line, the Square Bang Unico makes full use of sapphire crystal to give an unobstructed view of the Unico movement.
On the watch face, six (functional) screws—similar to the Big Bang—keep the case intact, while ‘ears’ on both sides of the case balance the design and give protection to the case. Equipped with the “One Click” interchangeable system, the watch comes with a rubber strap but can be personalised using an extensive range of optional straps.
This year, Hublot expands its square-shaped offerings and further showcases its technical prowess in material innovation with the Square Bang Unico Sapphire. Crafted entirely from sapphire—from the case, bezel, dial and case back—the timepiece is sure to be a collector’s delight. Available in a limited edition of 250 pieces, it is undoubtedly one of Hublot’s most attractive pieces to date.
Still measuring 42 mm like the variants preceding it, the Square Bang Unico Sapphire is not a reinterpretation, it is an entirely new innovation. To get to the very essence of this new timepiece, Hublot watchmakers went back to the drawing board. First, they opted to use a translucent sapphire, devoid of colour and all the more difficult to fashion as its transparency reveals all the facets, particularly imperfections. From the get-go, the company’s engineers were presented with a two-fold challenge: that of the watch’s square format and the case’s multi-layered sapphire construction. But even these they were able to surpass as they successfully ensured that the model is water-resistant to a depth of 5 ATM or 50 metres.
Housed within its crystal clear case is the renowned Unico calibre: the MHUB1280 UNICO 2 Manufacture Self-winding Chronograph Flyback Movement. Bearing all the distinct features on which its reputation is founded, the calibre has a frequency of 4 Hz or 28,800 vph and offers a 72-hour power reserve. For this particular model, the movement can be admired through the openwork dial, the back of the watch, and now through the sapphire crystal case itself.
Completing this marvel of haute horology is a transparent structured rubber strap with a titanium deployant buckle clasp. As the watch is equipped with the “One Click” interchangeable system, this clear strap can easily be changed with other straps of different colours.
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