Did you ever wonder what goes into the construction of a watch case and, in particular, a watch case made of high-tech materials like carbon fiber? In this exclusive video, we get deeper insights into the Hublot carbon-case-manufacturing workshop in Gland, Switzerland to find out. We will follow the fabrication of a watch case component from its arrival in raw form, through its cutting and polishing, and finally to its assembly into the case. Along the way you will witness the many hand-crafted steps, some of which resemble those in the assembly of a watch movement, necessary to create the complex Hublot Big Bang case. The video also includes a demonstration of Hublot’s unique strap attachment system that allows the wearer to change the strap with the simple push of a button.
Requiring 18 months of research, development and testing to complete, the Hublot Oceanographic 4000 was the the first diver’s watch able to withstand the pressure exerted at a depth of 4,000 meters, or about 13,120 feet. (Hublot actually tested the seal all the way to 5,000 meters in a Roxer tank.) To ensure the watertightness of the watch and to resist this extreme pressure, the synthetic sapphire crystal is 6.5 mm thick. The screw-down caseback is made of grade 2 titanium. The Oceanographic 4000 has a helium valve, which allows gases that have infiltrated the watch during the descent to safely escape during the ascent.
Hublot has long been known for its bold use of non-conventional materials and combinations of materials in its watch cases; several years ago, the brand even created its own scratch-resistant “Magic Gold” alloy that it has since used in several watch models. This year, Hublot makes horological history with the first large-scale series of watches with cases cut from pure sapphire blocks.
Hublot released the first Big Bang Ferrari watches, products of a collaboration with the famed Italian automaker, in 2012. Since then, the brand has expanded the Hublot Ferrari collection each year, with all models equipped with Hublot’s in-house Unico movement.
In early 2013, the brand released three new models headlined by the Hublot Big Bang “Red Magic Carbon.” Its Unico movement incorporates a flyback chronograph mechanism that uses two push-buttons and can be reset at any time. Unlike many other chronograph movements, it has a column wheel visible on the dial side, an hour counter driven directly by the barrel, and no jumper in the chronograph mechanism. Its pallet fork and escapement wheel are made of ultra-light silicon and affixed to a removable platform. First released in 2009 (and, according to Hublot, continually adjusted ever since), the movement has 330 parts, a high frequency of 28,800 vph, and a power reserve of 72 hours.
Hublot — headed by rabid fútbol fan Jean-Claude Biver — became official timekeeper for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Accordingly, the brand used the opportunity to release a plethora of special-edition Hublot World Cup watches. The most technically interesting of these watches is the Hublot Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono, nicknamed the Hublot “Soccer Bang.” Designed to showcase the colors of host country Brazil’s flag, the watch is powered by a new in-house movement, Caliber HUB1260, which features a bi-retrograde chronograph function with the hands recording 15-minute intervals, making it ideal for timing the halves of a soccer match, plus 15 minutes “extra time.” The Hublot Big Bang Bi-Retrograde Unico is available in two cases, both with carbon fiber bezels, one in black ceramic ($26,600), the other in Hublot’s proprietary “King Gold” ($42,200).