One of the mysteries of horology must surely be – why isn’t a bracelet more common in the Big Bang Collection by Hublot. Certainly, it’s not as if a bracelet-ed Big Bang has not been offered before, but it’s more likely that watches from the collection are usually found on rubber straps.
I get it, it’s the whole “Art of Fusion” thing that was the initial fame catapulting concept with the brand – mixing materials not usually seen together in one watch. The brand’s claim to fame in the early days was to have a gold case on a rubber strap, and so to keep constant with this, at the time, sacrilegious practice in the watch industry, Hublot has typically stayed away from bracelets, preferring to play up its preference for rubber.
And what a shame that it has been, for a bracelet guy like myself. It’s only this year in 2020, or 15 years after the launch of the Big Bang that we finally get a Big Bang on an integrated bracelet. It certainly should have happened earlier, since the Big Bang has a case design that practically begs it to be on one.
How would you know? Well with many brands over the course of 2019 introducing new collections on integrated bracelets, all Hublot had to do was to redesign the Big Bang a little and make a new collection. The best thing is, unlike the other brands that had to introduce new case designs and undergo all manner of controversy, no one is complaining about the new Big Bang Integral because it feels so natural that it just has to be accepted.
Perhaps it took the many brands jumping into the fray to convince them that it had to be done, and thank goodness for that.
The name of the collection – the Big Bang Integral is descriptive enough, and it comes with five new references. The materials used are the signature ones of Hublot – ceramic, titanium and King Gold, with nary a whiff of stainless steel. Also, the King Gold and Titanium models come with diamond encrusted options, and the aforementioned ceramic model is a 500 piece limited edition that is in black, or to put it another way, is part of the All Black collection. This is the “invisible visibility” concept from 2006 that Hublot has successfully turned into a series of limited editions that have garnered wide-spread appeal because nothing is cooler than black, and when you can’t read the time properly because everything is all the same colour. I’m joking of course with the particular watch All Black watch from the Big Bang Integral collection – the reflective hands and indices, as with the contrasting white for the date does make this watch relatively easy to read.
A word on the bracelet design, it is a typical three link bracelet, with a central and two lateral links. The finishing however takes its cue from the case, with the polished and brushed surfaces extending downward to the bracelet. Not only that, it’s the same sharp edges, bevelling and chamfering that also flows downwards, making the whole watch feel like one integrated(!) unit.There are also some other changes. The Arabic numerals on the standard 42mm Big Bang model have been replaced in the Big Bang Integral with indices. Also, the signature “sandwich” construction of the Big Bang case is retained, but in the new collection, the watch is made only on one material, with the composite resin insert. The only exception to this is the black composite resin lugs on its bezel and the crown over-moulded with rubber. The movement is the same in-house HUB1280 – UNICO proprietary manufacture movement, with the column wheel visible on the dial, so no surprises there.
Lastly, on the bracelet, you can’t swap it out for a rubber strap when you feel like it, like the uncommon older models that did allow that possibility. The solution – wear it as is and buy another Big Bang on rubber.
So that’s the Big Bang Integral, a collection that will certainly expand with more innovation, and more references. As it is, there is nothing to really complain about, it had to be done, and now it is.