The Doctor Is In: Meet the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross
The brand’s second collaboration with the British design star is a technical marvel.
To keep watchmaking vital, it’s essential that brands bring in fresh points of view. And not just regarding mechanical innovation but also in new ways of looking at the function of the watch and its place in culture.
Hublot has long sought collaborators from different disciplines to provide its designers with new lenses through which to view watchmaking. Top of mind are the successful and enduring collaborations with the tattoo artist behind Sang Bleu, Maxime Plescia-Büchi, or the colorful musings of multimedia artist Takashi Murakami. Now, the brand’s partnership with London-based multidisciplinary artist Dr. Samuel Ross continues in that grand tradition.
Hublot’s youngest collaborator, Samuel Ross entered the cultural consciousness with a British aesthetic and a strong interest in subculture, architecture, political commentary, and material exploration. Thus, when the maison and the doctor (Ross has an honorary doctorate in arts from the University of Westminster) first paired up in 2022, the result was the bold limited-edition Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross.
Finally, today, this eagerly awaited follow-up – the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross – has arrived, and it is a unique expression of Ross’ continued growth.
Let’s take a deeper dive.
Hublot describes Ross’s works as “both aesthetic and functional, his design purposeful. He creates simple and striking objects. His career has been unique, his rise swift; his creations are not dependent on any particular field or media, with his creativity crossing all disciplines. We share the same attraction to materials, technique, and innovation.”
But in this case, the collaboration is also an intellectual exercise. “As is the case for all of the brand’s friends and ambassadors,” adds the brand, “Samuel helps us define Hublot from a different angle.”
Dr. Samuel Ross’s relationship with Hublot sometimes suggests that the London-based artist might be multiple people. He first crossed paths with Hublot in 2019 when he won the Hublot Design Prize for his industrial designs that challenge the basic functionality of design, like a neon orange three-seated bench made of upcycled materials (which has clear parallels to the 2022 Big Bang Tourbillon Samuel Ross).
Ross’s creative energy, however, can’t be confined to just furniture. Trained as a graphic designer, he has applied his attraction to materials, technique, and innovation across myriad disciplines. He has drafted stage designs, exhibited sculptures and artwork, and worked with several fashion designers like the legendary Victor Abloh. Ross later founded his label, A-COLD-WALL*, in 2014 and his industrial design shop, SR_A, in 2019 – all before turning 30 in 2021.
Each of Ross’s endeavors informs the others. For instance, Ross’ first collaborative piece with Hublot had an industrial look that still managed to reference the natural world through its honeycomb motif (which worked, thematically speaking, because bees are known for their industriousness). Moreover, its bold orange palette was also a direct reference to the brutalist street furniture from the Hublot Design Prize exhibition.
Now, in 2023, Ross has rethought a few of those design details, most noticeably turning the original version’s 44mm case from bold orange to a shiny, grey micro-blasted titanium. Then, to play up this monochrome finish, the crown has been over-molded in gray rubber, while the tourbillon bridge is rendered in a neutral shade. It also comes with three smooth rubber straps: black, white, or vivid green.
“The expression changes, the spirit behind it does not,” explained Ross. “We are focused on crafting refined, minimal, and expressive timepieces. SR_A looks to expand, redefine, and establish timeless icons of design, reflecting a spirit of innovation, optimism, and craft. I firmly believe we need all three properties to usher in the next chapter of luxury.”
Secrets of the Beehive
With the Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A, Ross has also incorporated more of the philosophical views of his design company, SR_A, namely its mission to alter consciousness. Like Hublot, he is interested in the fusion of modern materials with sacred geometry. In this case, the recurring hexagon-shaped theme recalls the ancient magic of nature. But through these six-sided windows, we can admire the accuracy and technicity of the Manufacture HUB6035 automatic calibre.
Plus, instead of a traditional skeletonized tourbillon display, one admires the accuracy and technicity of the Manufacture HUB6035 calibre through the many hexagonal peepholes. It’s interesting to see so many disparate elements come together in a manner that completely nails the assignment. Like the sculpture he created for the Hublot Prize, this piece is a functioning work of art meant to be seen and enjoyed in public spaces!