Squaring the circle
Hublot once again pushes the boundaries with its Square Bang Unico
After four decades of watchmaking, Hublot looked back at its milestones and asked, what's next?
Based in Nyon, the Swiss brand employs its "Art of Fusion" in creating innovative materials and movements for timepieces such as the round Big Bang and barrel-shaped Spirit of Big Bang.
Why not simply play with geometry and square the Big Bang? The resulting Square Bang Unico debuted at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022, where 38 leading brands showcased their novelties.
Founded in 1980, Hublot is a young and rebellious brand compared to long-established maisons.
Its first watch, the Classic Original was housed in a round case with the bezel featuring 12 screws, evoking a ship's porthole, or hublot in French.
Square Bang Unico in cases made of King Gold and bezels in the alloy or black ceramic.
The model in precious gold was unconventionally worn with a sporty rubber strap, which imposed a new vision of luxury. Rubber is one of Hublot's flagship materials and an emblem of its modern approach to haute horlogerie.
In the early 2000s, the company led by Jean-Claude Biver capitalised on the Art of Fusion for a new watch designed for young, cosmopolitan people. The surprising combination of materials and the sandwich architecture of the case made the Big Bang an iconic timepiece, which earned Hublot the Design Watch Prize at GPHG 2005.
Inspired by the Big Bang, Hublot worked on a new square model, which according to CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, is something 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," he said.
Square Bang Unico All Black with the strap's textured pattern evoking chocolate squares.
The case of the Square Bang Unico boasts a modular construction, whose central housing dressed with an upper and lower plate enables myriad combinations and transformations.
However the square shape makes it much more difficult to ensure underwater performance, but Hublot pulls off the challenge as the new watch is water resistance to 100m.
The size of the case is also an important ergonomic factor, and the Square Bang Unico provides comfort on the wrist very similar to that of the 42mm Big Bang.
Other similarities include the hands, the "ears" that give balance to the case, and the six functional screws on the bezel.
The dial's sandwich construction lends different levels of depth while the sapphire crystal gives a clear view of the in-house Unico movement with its column wheel visible at 6 o'clock.
The Square Bang Unico beats to the rhythm of the HUB1280 self-winding chronograph movement offering a power reserve of 72 hours.
The sandwich construction of the dial lends different levels of depth.
Five versions in different materials have been released under the Shaped family of watches, which also include the Spirit of Big Bang.
Hublot has its own metallurgy and materials laboratory that works in close collaboration with the research and development department, as well as its own foundry to develop and produce innovative materials, such as scratch-proof Magic Gold and revolutionary composites like ceramic and sapphire in unique colours.
Containing platinum, King Gold is an alloy with a warmer shade than traditional 5N 18k gold.
Assembly of Square Bang Unico All Black.
Two models shine in a satin-finished and polished King Gold or titanium case with the bezels in the same materials while two variations differ with a black ceramic bezel.
Hublot's All Black livery reappears on a limited edition of 250 pieces. Housed in a black ceramic case, the Square Bang Unico All Black is designed with the dark colour present on all the surfaces while polished or satin-finishes alternate to reveal subtle shades.
Each model comes with a black rubber strap, whose textured pattern evokes chocolate squares. The push-pieces are also decorated with rubber chocolate squares that further emphasise the Square Bang Unico's identity.
Square Bang Unico Titanium Ceramic version.