Hublot is an iconoclastic watch brand. Forty-one years ago, they cheerfully subverted the course of traditional watchmaking by putting a rubber strap on a gold watch to mix luxury and utilitarian elements in a thrilling way. That gamechanging dress watch would forge the path for Hublot’s future tagline: “The Art of Fusion”.
That slogan continues to inform the brand as it pushes the boundaries of material science. Hublot, for example, has worked with the Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology to produce new alloys, like their scratch-proof “Magic Gold”, while the brand continues to invest heavily in cooking up innovative watchmaking composites.
Hublot’s adventures in high-tech ceramic are particularly eventful. This ultra-tough material is made with a base of zirconium that’s sintered at very high temperatures. That heating process is so intense that it typically limits your colour options due to the fact that it incinerates the actual pigments. But Hublot have found a secret way around this to make high-tech ceramic in vivid hues from smurf blue to fire-engine red. Their latest watch shows Hublot’s renewed efforts to conquer the rainbow, one primary colour at a time.
Suffice to say, this isn’t a watch that you’d wear if you doubt yourself – it’s bold, bright and the colour of a perfectly ripe banana (nope, there no green tinges here). That yellow is splashed all over the ceramic case and rubber straps while the numerals, hands and indices, minutes are similarly bathed in the canary hue.
That brilliant colour is countered by the blacks and greys of the skeletonised dial through which you can spy Hublot’s in-house movement within. These dark shades highlight the watch’s internal complexity with the high-contrast scheme also helping to circumvent the issue of legibility – a common problem with skeleton dials.
The flashy looks of the Yellow Magic are backed with robust functionality in the form of a 72-hour power reserve and 100 metres of water resistance. It may be a watch that demands lots of attention, but it’s certainly not high maintenance.
Playful and exuberant, Hublot will never be a watch brand for everyone. But in creating what they claim is the first-ever bright yellow ceramic watch, they demonstrate what they do so well. Here is a brand that’s forward-thinking, energetic and determined to stretch the horological boundaries. In a watch world that often feels a little po-faced, those qualities are particularly welcome. The Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic feels like it’s made not out of ceramic but unadultered serotonin. After all, everybody loves the sunshine. Price: $36,600.