Taken in comparison with high complications like perpetual calendars and minute repeaters, chronographs don’t often get the credit and due respect they deserve. When it comes to the mechanisms of these high complications, there’s a certain linear behaviour which allows the watchmaker to know that the user will have limited interactions with his watch.
Time continues to pass, allowing the date to jump, the months to change, the moon phases to shift, and so on and so forth. A chronograph, however, is an “at will” complication – that is to say the watchmaker and the watch mechanism he has designed within has no idea how or when its owner will decide to trigger its time measurement function. Hence, creation of a movement that can not only handle this random actuation repeatedly but also do so without impacting chronometry negatively is simply extraordinary.
The Unico just so happens to be Hublot’s first in-house movement and a fully integrated chronograph calibre built specifically for its Big Bang. Having thoughtfully placed its column wheel on the front of the movement, making the “action” visible through the partially skeletonised dial that is signature of many Big Bangs, this attention to detail offers something that true watch aficionados rarely get to appreciate from other, older manufactures.
For most if not all other chronographs, the column wheel – the very thing that governs operation of mechanical timekeeping – is hidden on the reverse, hence it is with great joy that the owner of a Unico can watch the interaction on the dial side.
Furthermore, consider that servicing cycles can take upwards of 10 months if not over a year before a timepiece ever returns to your wrist. The Nyon manufacture has also designed the silicon pallet fork and escapement wheel assortment to be completely modular for easy removal and servicing. It is these little details which lend credence to the notion that contrary to the opinions of watch snobs, Hublot is truly a serious watchmaker. Suffice it to say, we consider the Big Bang Unico to be one of the manufacture’s “serious timepieces”.
Serious But Fun
Colour blocking is a trend gracing catwalks in recent Fashion Week events and Hublot is no stranger to bright hues. The Hublot Big Bang Unico Summer Purple picks up where 2021’s original turquoise Summer model began with a 200-piece limited edition for 2022.
It is their second all-purple timepiece so far, joining the Big Bang Tourbillon Purple Sapphire released earlier this year at Watches & Wonders. Hublot’s light-hearted and playful attitude permeates from every fibre of the manufacture, and if it’s evident in something like a high-end tourbillon, it should have been no surprise that they would have done a similar treatment for their first serious in-house movement.
Executed in almost-monochromatic purple save for the exposed portions of its gunmetal calibre, the latest 42 mm Summer edition Big Bang Unico automatic flyback chronograph is smaller than other Big Bang models. Dressed in hardened anodised aluminium since the brand is eschewing its favourite materials like ceramic, carbon and titanium, the operatic ballet of time measurement functions of the HUB1280 flyback column wheel chronograph can be seen like its brethren.
Utmost user friendliness can be found in details such as a minute counter that can register 60 minutes instead of the more common 30 minutes. This makes it much easier for the owner to read the elapsed time.
In terms of aesthetics, both satin and polished surfaces can be found on the watch case and the colourful aluminium actually plays up the distinct brushed finishing on some of its facets. The titanium caseback and the trademark H-screws surrounding the bezel are some of the only elements which are not drenched in the purple rain, providing a nice contrast.
BIG BANG UNICO SUMMER PURPLE
PRICE + SPECS
Case 42 mm anodised aluminium with 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic HUB1280 calibre with 72 hours power reserve
Limited to 200 pieces
Allyson Klass had her start in the publishing industry 20 years ago as a fashion stylist and writer. Over the years, she’s worked in various women’s and bridal magazines covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She’s now Deputy Editor of Prestige Singapore and oversees the watches and jewellery beats. Off duty, she enjoys spending time with her family and searching for the next beach holiday destination.