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Hublot - Big Bang

The Swiss luxury watch company Hublot (French pronounciation [yblo]) dates to 1980, but what is perhaps the company’s most iconic timepiece didn’t come along until more than two decades later. The Hublot Big Bang was unveiled in 2004, marking the first major product release under new company CEO Jean-Claude Biver. Biver had a goal of taking Hublot to the next level and marking a significant new chapter for the company, one in which it could compete alongside other luxury watchmakers around the world. The Big Bang was the watch that allowed Biver to realize those aspirations.

The Art of Fusion

Starting with the very first Hublot watch in 1980, the company’s biggest claim to fame has been the so-called “art of fusion.” Hublot stood apart from the rest of the companies in the watchmaking industry by taking unlikely materials and pairing them together for unique, exotic timepieces. With the first Hublot watch, company founder Carlo Crocco devised a watch that combined an 18k yellow gold case with a simple natural rubber strap. Thus, the company’s reputation for doing the unexpected was born.

In 2004, when Jean-Claude Biver took over as CEO, he went back to the drawing board that had spawned that first Hublot innovation. He wanted a watch that represented the “art of fusion” just like what Crocco had built in 1980, but he also wanted to create a watch that would define a new generation of luxury timepieces. The watch he created owed a considerable debt to Crocco’s initial design, again pairing a precious metal case with a rubber wrist strap. However, he also increased the size and added a few modern flourishes.

The gamble paid off. Released in 2005, the Big Bang won Best Design at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The honors helped put the spotlight on Biver’s new watch, which rapidly tripled Hublot’s annual orders. Today, some consider the Hublot Big Bang to be one of the most popular luxury watches in the world.

The Innovations of the Hublot Big Bang

Appropriately for a watch that was born out of a drive to do something different, the Hublot Big Bang has often pushed the envelope regarding watch design over the years. Some of those innovations have been done in the name of “the art of fusion,” combining materials that have rarely if ever been combined on luxury watches. On the Hublot website, for the occasion of the Big Bang’s 10th anniversary in 2015, the company boasted about unusual combinations like carbon and gold, ceramic and steel, and denim and diamonds.

Perhaps the biggest innovation of the Big Bang came from Hublot’s obsessive experiments in metalworking. After Biver took over the company and started pushing the art of fusion once more, he realized that just taking precious metals and pairing them with unusual materials for the strap wasn’t enough. The company also needed to start experimenting with combining different types of metal, to create alloys that were different from what other luxury watch brands were using. 

These metalworking experiments have had two major impacts that continue to drive the popularity of the Big Bang line. First, Hublot managed to create what it calls “Magic Gold,” an 18k gold alloy that is totally scratch-proof. Second, by integrating more materials into the mix, Hublot was able to start offering luxury watches in colors that went way beyond the usual “yellow gold or gray metal” options. This achievement was very important to Biver, who say the watch market as being limited thanks to its reliance on gold, silver, and steel. With more materials and alloys at its disposal, Hublot has made some genuinely fascinating Big Bang watches—such as the controversial all black model.

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