Watches & Wonders: Hublot Presents The Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic, The Radiant Child
Limited to 250 pieces, the new Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic marks the beginning of a new era in ceramic cases.
Mastering color has been a technological challenge throughout human history. In fact, the development of modern chemicals is in large part due to the quest for stable processes to fix pigments and deliver precise colors consistently.
Then, in 2018, with the introduction of the first watch made with red-colored ceramic, the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, Hublot opened a new chapter in both ceramics and colorization.
Now, at the 2021 edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva, Hublot is releasing a new, radical, and high-tech ceramic creation: the 42mm Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic – a radiant and striking chronograph that is sure to brighten even the darkest day.
Consequently, today, Watchonista tries to understand what high-tech ceramic and how Hublot is improving upon its already unique properties for easier use in contemporary watchmaking. Moreover, we had the pleasure of feeling the Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic on the wrist and admire its bright yellow ceramic as sunlight danced across its surface.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic Ceramic a.k.a. the “Kill Bill”
Let’s face it, my first encounter with the Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic was shocking as it resembled a piece of art or a singular design piece more than it did a wristwatch. But the more I observed the watch, the more the unyielding radiance of the yellow ceramic contrasted with its black ceramic accents and offered an intriguing composition made of power and tension.
As I tried to understand why the specific combination of black and yellow felt so right, I realized the answer could be found in nature. By combining yellow and black, wild animals such as the fire salamander give a clear message to other species: “I'm dangerous, potentially poisonous, toxic, or both, and probably deadly. Eat or attack me at your own peril.” In the animal kingdom, this type of conspicuous coloration is called aposematism, but at its core, it is advertising at the most instinctual level.
And as art often imitates nature, so does the Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic, but it is also a proper child of pop culture. Like Andy Warhol’s Banana on the album cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico or Kill Bill’s black and yellow iconography, the contrast of a shiny sun and the darkest night is a perfect match. Between fear and fascination, between strength and risk.
For over a decade, Hublot has been mastering the Art of Fusion, often through the brand's mastery of exotic materials, which brings us this new yellow ceramic. Make no mistake, the development involved in producing a colored ceramic is immense. It is a time-consuming process, taking Hublot no less than four years to accomplish, and requires finding the right balance between temperature and pressure without burning the pigments of color. And in a press release, the brand stated that not only has Hublot's R&D department and Metallurgy & Materials laboratory perfected this process, but the process Hublot uses actually increases the material's water-resistance and makes it harder than traditional ceramic.
On the wrist, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic encapsulated all those contradictions. Its yellow ceramic dominates and even hijacks your look, but the matte black ceramic accents instill a sense of precision and contain the veritable solar eruption on your wrist. And that dialog even continues with the black and yellow lined rubber strap.
The Unico HUB1280 Chronograph Movement
From a watchmaking perspective, the Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic is a perfect combination of Hublot’s singular approach to watchmaking by mixing innovative, high-tech materials and contemporary high-end movements.
And a superlative watch deserves a first-rate movement like the self-winding chronograph flyback manufacture caliber Unico HUB1280 movement. An updated version of the Unico HUB1242 from 2010, the HUB1280 was introduced in 2018 and designed to fit in a 42mm case, instead the 45mm case of the original. It is also thinner, allowing the case thickness to be reduced, from 15.45mm to 14.5mm.
Keeping the column wheel on the dial side of the movement and the openwork bi-compax architecture with dissymmetric counters, the HUB1280 has four patents. Including one for the oscillating seconds clutch and one for an adjustable ball-bearing chronograph friction system that replaced the traditional Pellaton-type automatic winding system. The HUB1280 was also designed to facilitate assembly and maintenance.
Pricing & Availability
Available for $26,200 (CHF 24,900), the Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic is a limited edition of 250 pieces, so you better get one while you still can. It will, for sure, be a must-have this summer! Learn more on Hublot's website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)