I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for color. What do I mean exactly? I am implying that taking something old and rendering it in a new color alone can really capture my attention. That’s half of what Hublot did with the Big Bang UNICO Red Magic reference 411.CF.8513.RX watch – by taking the Big bang UNICO watch and producing it in the color red. The other and more interesting technical side of the story is that they made a red watch using red-colored ceramic. This is something which hasn’t been done before.
All images by Ariel Adams
In my opinion ceramic is the most important modern material for watchmaking in tandem with silicon. I strongly believe that ceramic and silicon will increasingly have important roles in entry-level to high-end horology. A discussion of ceramic materials is outside the scope of this conversation, but I will remind you again why we get so excited about ceramic. Ceramic is a non-metallic (even though some forms of it mix in metal) material which is formed, baked to harden, and then polished. Colored ceramic is a process formed during the production of the material itself. Pigment must be mixed in to common ceramic materials such as zirconium oxide (aka zirconia) which is then baked into the final, hard material. Normal ceramic baking processes burn away most pigment colors leaving the final material blotchy and unattractive. For that reason zirconia is mostly produced in black or white, as well as an assortment of mostly dark colors.
Another nod to the club is that the Chelsea lion in gold in 12 o’clock. The implemented hour markers are rhodium-plated and filled with white luminescent material. Likewise, the rhodium-plated hour and minute hands will also be full of white luminescent material to help legibility in dimly-lit environments. The movement inside is the caliber HUB4100, that is actually based on an ETA 2894 or Sellita equal and fitted with a chronograph module. Obviously, an in-house Hublot Unico movement would have been chosen and would’ve made the opinion more desired, however, the HUB4100 is a dependable combination and it does help keep the price down, if just a little. The motion is visible through the watch’s sapphire display caseback on which a logo of the crest of the bar is printed.Like a year’s Classic Fusion Chronograph Chelsea FC watch, this brand new Big Bang Chelsea FC watch was designed particularly for Chelsea fanatics. Compared to last year’s model, this brand new watch comes in a color of blue that I think is much more accurate and faithful to the home colours of the bar. The Hublot Big Bang Chelsea FC watch is limited to 200 pieces and is priced at #13,000 (currently around $17,000).Each year in Munich, the steins are filled (and re-filled), and the men don their brief leather breeches to celebrate Oktoberfest. This season, Hublot combined the festivities by partnering with local tanner Meindl to create a distinctly Bavarian incarnation of its popular Big Bang watch which has had so many variations resulting from various collaborations. The Hublot Big Bang Bavaria is the initial Big Bang to feature a bronze instance, and it appears as if the material was selected for its rustic color and properties to coincide with the hand-embroidered bull leather strap in the Bund style, evoking a connection with the German region of Bavaria’s conventional garb.
Bright colored ceramics have for a long time been a sort of holy grail for ceramic makers. The “Reg Magic” ceramic produced in-house by Hublot is the realization of one such grail color. I discuss a bit more about how Hublot achieved the red color in this ceramic material when debuting the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic watch on aBlogotWatch here. Why ceramic if the main point is to get a red watch? The reality is that there aren’t other options. Colors in watch case materials must be considered as a function of available durable materials. If you want red, you are limited to a few options that included painting or plastic originally. If you wanted a red watch that was high-end (not plastic), then you needed to coat or paint a material. This led to the possibility of the color wearing off, which isn’t something particularly desirable in a high-end product.
While ceramic might appear to look like high-quality ABS plastic, the material is much harder than steel. Ceramic colors won’t fade, chip off, or for the most part ever scratch. The appeal of ceramic (colored or otherwise) is its long-term durability as well as resiliency. That means in many years from now, ceramic will still look brand new – and you can’t say the same for most metals or other materials.
Hublot is no stranger to using ceramic in a wristwatch. Ceramic was one of the original “fusion” materials Jean-Claude Biver included in the original Big Bang watch collection in 2005 (though it was black ceramic). While Hublot Watches Starting Price Replica produces other ceramic colors (including blue), red is certainly the most eye-catching. I found it hard not to greatly admire the Big Bang UNICO Red Magic watch despite the fact that the only novelty in it is the color and Red Magic material. Otherwise this is just another member of the now large Big Bang UNICO 45mm watch family (in 2018 Hublot also introduced a new 42mm wide version of the Big Bang UNICO).
The Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic begins with the in-house made Hublot caliber HUB1242 automatic chronograph movement with three days of power reserve. The open-dial on the face is given a “devil” red and black color treatment which persists on the rest of the watch. The two-tone black and red color theme of the piece is cool, masculine, eye-catching, and also attractive. Hublot obviously has command of the Red Magic ceramic material, which means the future has a lot more Red Magic watches in store for Hublot (and red color ceramic) fans.
Given that red-colored ceramic is still very novel, wearing a red Big Bang watch was a fresh experience for me – and the watch feels very comfortable in this skin for sure. While people might claim that from afar the watch appears to be made of plastic, I think that is just a result of this look being previously available almost exclusively in plastic. The case material neither feels or looks cheap at close inspection or on the wrist. Hublot pairs this 45mm wide (15.4mm thick and water-resistant to 100m) watch with a black and red rubber strap to complete the look. If these colors speak to you, then I think it will be hard to resist this timepiece (budget willing of course).
Hublot will produce 500 pieces of the Big Bang UNICO Red Magic as a limited edition. I don’t know how challenging it is for Hublot to produce the material or how much manufacturing bandwidth they have for it, but I’ll take their word that producing it is time consuming and challenging. Future red ceramic watches will come from Hublot and you can be sure that others around the world are actively trying to come up with their own red ceramic watches. Does this mean that yellow, light green, orange (which Omega does a bit) and other bright colored ceramics are coming from Hublot or otherwise? Not necessarily. My understanding is that each color presents its own challenge because the pigments are themselves different materials. Though I would hope that Yellow Magic ceramic comes next.
To commemorate the inauguration of their new boutique in Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops in Las Vegas, Hublot established the Vegas boutique-exclusive Hublot Big Bang Las Vegas Edition timepieces. While there are four unique references, they are all precisely the same watch offered with distinct case materials and diamond configurations.At their heart, these watches are the Hublot Big Bang Chronograph powered with the calibre HUB4100, which is an automated movement that delivers 42h of electricity book and beats at 28,800bph. I believe the HUB4100 is either based off the ETA 2894-2 or is a modified variant of it.I’m sure, given that the Las Vegas connection and Hublot’s polarizing designs in general, you won’t be surprised when I say that these watches will not be to everybody’s tastes. The first two variants start off using a microblasted black porcelain case, while the other two are a mix of ceramic and anodized aluminum and are put with 212 black diamonds.The bezels on every one of the watches change also, with the simplest being a black porcelain similar to the situation and also the more elaborate ones with anywhere between 48 to 114 diamonds set inside them. The most exclusive option — restricted to one piece just — comes with the 48 baguette cut diamonds. These watches are ideal for somebody who’s looking for some bling (possibly to indicate that they have had a successful run in the tables) and isn’t particularly picky about legibility. Maybe it is the supplied press images or could just be me, but it seems like legibility was not a key consideration in the design process.
The Red Magic ceramic material was enough for us to put the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic watch on the aBlogtoWatch list of the Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2018. It goes without saying that I’m a big fan – even if the underlying watch is not new. The limited edition of 500 pieces reference 411.CF.8513.RX Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic has a retail price of $26,200 USD. hublot.com