“You’re so square, baby, I don’t care,” Elvis Presley sang in his 1957 hit song. But most watch wearers are considerably less open-minded, with the vast majority of mechanical timepieces still housed in circular cases. Admittedly, it’s not a complete strangle-hold with several square-jawed watches becoming classic designs – the Cartier Tank, Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso and TAG Heuer Monaco to name but three. Nevertheless, Hublot’s decision to bring out a new case shape in the form of a square watch is still a significant departure for the brand.
The word “Hublot” does, after all, translate to “porthole” in French, with the brand’s characteristic watch designs traditionally informed by the shape of a nautical window. In addition, when former CEO Jean-Claude Biver reinvigorated Hublot, the game-changing model that kickstarted the brand’s rise was the Big Bang chronograph in 2005. This was a watch that stood out, in part for the way it combined materials such as ceramic, rubber and gold, but also for its unique “sandwich” case construction that gave the watch its highly distinctive profile. Having exploded onto the scene, the Big Bang soon became central to Hublot’s identity and recognisable at the merest glance. Deviating from this successful formula to create a new case shape in the form of the Hublot Square Bang therefore represents something of a gamble. But with characteristic audacity, Hublot has opted to go all-in.
This first instalment of the Hublot Square Bang comes in five different iterations. There’s an all-black version that’s limited to just 250 pieces worldwide, plus other pieces in titanium, titanium and ceramic, King Gold (Hublot’s proprietary gold alloy), and King Gold and ceramic. Beyond these different materials, each of the watches follows a similar design template.
Despite the new case shape, familiar aspects of the Big Bang remain. Six screws continue to secure the bezel into place, while the case is still built with a modular construction with a central housing dressed with an upper and lower plate. While this serves to reassert the brand’s trademark look, the square shape of these plates creates a technical challenge, making it harder to ensure the watch stays watertight. Nevertheless, Hublot insists the final product delivers guaranteed water resistance of 100 metres, meaning that it still belongs at the watch world’s sportier end. Understandably proud of overcoming these challenges, the Square Bang shows off its in-house Unico movement through a transparent dial predominantly made of sapphire crystal. The sandwich construction of the dial also provides different levels of depth to add visual interest and an architectural feel.
Hublot’s watches are never exactly wallflowers and the Square Bang may sound imposing with a 42mm wide case and thickness of 14.5mm. In the metal, however, the ergonomics of the way in which the strap and lugs conform to your wrist make it surprisingly comfortable. The rubber strap meanwhile is indented with further miniature squares to reaffirm the watch’s angular identity.
Hublot has dabbled with a different shape in the Big Bang family before, offering the tonneau case of the Spirit of Big Bang in 2014. It proved to be a surprise hit for the brand and the Square Bang looks likely to build on that success due to the way it manages to retain Hublot’s brand DNA in spite of its (literally) edgier format. It’s place in the broader market is also intriguing with most luxury square watches leaning towards the more refined end of the scale, while the Square Bang looks defiantly high-tech and sporty.
As a fresh addition to the Hublot range, it promises much for the shape of things to come.