During the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai, Hublot has unveiled its Big Bang Integral collection with integrated bracelets and the third iteration of tattoo artist Maxime Buchi’s Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II chronograph. The overall design and functionality of the Sang Bleu II are identical to the two existing models, but the colour scheme for 2020 is matte blue, the same blue used by the tattoo artist for his creations. An audacious (to say the least) combination of geometry and volume, this latest Sang Blue II chronograph is a limited edition of 100 pieces in King Gold and 200 in titanium.
The “it” tattoo artist
Collaborations, partnerships, limited editions, bespoke editions, designer watch straps, you name it… Many watch brands are on the hunt for originality and the highly desired ‘cool’ factor that will attract millennials. Since its eruption on the market in 2005, the Big Bang collection has been all about audacious, over-the-top, contemporary and often explosive design coupled with innovative materials. Since tattoos are all the rage, Hublot decided to reach out to Maxime Buchi, the “it tattoo artist” of our times. As one of the most sought-after and hip tattoo artists, with studios in Zurich and London and a design agency – named Sang Blue, dedicated to artistic design ranging from sunglasses to capsule collections for brands like Nike – Buchi is the incarnation of contemporary cool.
The Sang Bleu II
Following the highly successful (sold out) first edition of the Sang Bleu in 2016, Hublot came out with a souped-up second edition in 2019 with chronograph functionality and an even more complex 3D dial. Like the second-generation Big Bang Sang Bleu II models in the collection with black dials and black rubber straps, the imposing 45mm case of this new model bristles with edges and angles and the seemingly endless juxtaposition of geometric shapes.
Available in titanium and Hublot’s proprietary King Gold, the shape of some elements of the Big Bang case have succumbed to the geometric shapes Buchi uses in his tattoos (look at the one on his head and you’ll see what we mean). The bezel abandons its usual round shape for a hexagonal profile with the classic 6 H-shaped titanium screws. Even the central metal lip extending from the case to the rubber strap features an engraved triangle to perpetuate the dizzying array of shape upon geometric shape. The surfaces exalt the geometry with alternating polished and satin-brushed finishes. A black rubber-clad crown and the rectangular chronograph pushers complete the casing, which is water-resistant to 100m.
The skeletonised dial performs similar feats of 3D geometric acrobatics with countless layers that create an intense sensation of depth and complexity. Reading the time takes some practice and consulting elapsed times on the sub-counter is a serious challenge. This has obviously not been designed as a performance chronograph, although stopping and resetting the chronograph seconds hand offers some extra functionality.
A central seconds hand for the chronograph, extending across the entire diameter of the dial, indicates the seconds against the inclined matte blue seconds track. The hours are minutes are indicated by arrow-shaped hands placed on quadrilateral kite-shaped structures. There are two hexagonal rotating sub-dials tucked under the profusion of elements, the one at 3 o’clock for the elapsed minutes and the one on the left for the small seconds. There is also a date window, tucked in between 4 and 5 o’clock on the matte blue ring for the hours. As the central hour and minute hands rotate around the dial parts of the movement can be seen.
A sapphire caseback reveals the Hublot Manufacture Unico automatic flyback chronograph movement (HUB1240.MXM) with column wheel. Running at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour the power reserve is of 72 hours. The rotor is designed by Buchi.
Strap and Prices
The thematic matte blue colour extends to the rubber strap that features an elongated V-shape to match the triangle on the lugs and has a black rubber border and a black-plated deployant buckle. Both editions of this very bold Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II are limited editions: 200 in titanium and 100 in gold. The titanium model retails for EUR 24,800, the King Gold model for EUR 46,600.
More information at hublot.com
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.