Big Sound: Hublot Introduces the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater Ceramic
A limited edition available in black or white, the brand expands its material and mechanical savoir fair with a worldwide first.
Ceramic watches are certainly having a moment. For people who like to wear watches, the material offers many appealing properties: ceramic is scratch-resistant, is lightweight, feels cool to the touch, and is hypoallergenic. And as the technology improves, case surfaces can be baked in all kinds of enticing colors and finishes, allowing designers to get creative with their concepts.
Ceramic watches have also become something of a signature for Hublot. And in 2020 the brand made a huge move when it launched the Big Bang Integral Ceramic collection. Now in 2022, the brand has taken an even greater leap forward with the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater in ceramic.
A Big Deal
As the world’s first minute repeater fully encased in ceramic, we couldn’t help but wonder, why hasn’t it been done before? Well, one reason is the sound.
There are all kinds of ideas about how chiming watches should sound. Many manufacturers and collectors alike will tell you that only rose gold can deliver acoustic excellence. And trust us, we’ve been in many soundproof booths listening to the deep rich tones of cathedral gongs going off. It is one of the most enchanting complications.
Hublot, however, wanted to challenge the orthodoxy and its watchmaking team by creating a minute repeater completely encased in ceramic. And by and large, this timepiece holds its own against its rose gold predecessors.
Moreover, the watch not only deserves points for its technical difficulty –combining both a minute repeater and a tourbillon escapement – but, aesthetically speaking, it also stands out for the well-defined lines of its integrated ceramic bracelet fused to the 42mm case.
Working with ceramic is an exacting and, therefore, a highly time-intensive manufacturing process. As a result, many brands opt for leather or rubber straps to make life simpler. But the bracelet on the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater Ceramic is part of its allure. The links are so fluid and the material so comfortable that wearing it is a joy. But there is also substance to it, and presence is definitely something you want in a five-figure timepiece.
Let’s skip the specs and the tourbillon talk and get to the complicated part – the minute repeater and the sound.
As a former record store employee, I’m well acquainted with the concept of acoustic purity. Some people prefer the pureness of vinyl, while others are just as happy playing tracks off their smartphone and listening to them through earbuds. You can easily say that the sound of this minute repeater can’t compare to that of the Jaeger-LeCoultre featured in the video above, but you also can’t compare a Hublot to a JLC for many other reasons.
Despite not being housed in solid gold, the gongs on the ceramic Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater Ceramic sound perfectly pleasant. The chimes are also a little louder than most high-end minute repeaters, so that, in combination with the robustness of the ceramic, make this a practical version of the complication. Besides, minute repeaters are most fun when they are comfortable enough that you wear them every day and hear their chimes every hour, not once a month when you visit the vault.
Pricing & Availability
Currently, the watch is limited to 18 pieces in each color. But as Hublot continues to innovate, the company hopes to add more versions to the collection.
“Being the first, different, and unique has never been truer than for this Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic,” said Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe in a press release. “The first ceramic minute repeater in the world, the first Integral Big Bang in black ceramic, the first with a tourbillon: Hublot is pushing the limits of fine watchmaking far, very far. But as always, we do not see it as a zenith: it is a milestone that, in turn, will open up new horizons leading us to other horological explorations.”